“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” 8:30 p.m., ABC.
Back in 1965, this
show skirted TV traditions. It had child actors, primitive animation,
a jazzy score and even a tad of scripture. It was fresh and different
... and one of the best half-hours in TV history.
The only bad news is
that it's paired tonight with a rare mis-step. Ever since the
original “Toy Story” in 1995, the Pixar people have been
brilliant. Still, the new “Toy Story That Time Forgot” (8 p.m.)
is oddly grim, short on laughs and long on violence and threats.
II: “American Masters,” 8-10 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
For a casual-seeming
guy, Bing Crosby covered immense scope. He was a sports buff who
co-owned a baseball team and invented pro-am golf, a technology buff
who propelled the idea of taping radio shows, an actor who made a lot
of silly movies and won an Academy Award.
Still, he's known
mainly as two things – a crooner with 41 No. 1 hits and a distant
dad (during his first marriage) who was blasted in his son's book.
All of that and more is covered in a fascinating profile.
ALTERNATIVE: “Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce” debut, 10 p.m.,
In its first
scripted series, Bravo tries to cover the entire turf in one gulp.
“Guide” is partly comedy and mostly drama, partly a West Coast
variation on “Sex and the City,” turning darker.
(“House”) plays a writer who tells others how to live a pleasant
life ... while her own marriage to Jake (Paul Adelstein) crumbles.
She turns to mismatched friends – a cynical little lawyer (Janeanne
Garofolo) and a flashy ex-model (Beau Garrett); the result tries
hard, sometimes succeeding.
ALTERNATIVE II: “CMT Artists of the Year,” 8-9:30 p.m., CMT and
Country music gets
another chance to celebrate itself. There will be performances by the
honorees – Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean
and Florida Georgia Line – and others.
special gets a two-network play. In addition, CMT will rerun it at
-- “NCIS” and
“NCIS: New Orleans,” 8 and 9 p.m., CBS. Gibbs (Mark Harmon) is
key to both reruns. In the first, the theft of drone secrets has him
working with former girlfriend Hollis Mann (Susanna Thompson). In the
second, Pride (Scott Bakula) needs his help, when key information is
-- “The Voice,”
8 p.m., NBC. Three people will be ousted, nudging the other five to
-- “The Flash,”
8 p.m., CW. Here's the start of a two-night crossover that blends
opposites – the bright, boyish enthusiasm of “The Flash” and
the dark urgency of “Arrow.” Tonight, the “Arrow” people
arrive in search of Captain Boomerang; on Wednesday, the “Flash”
people visit them.
-- “Agents of
SHIELD,” 9 p.m., ABC. The team rushes to find the ancient city
before Hydra does – an outcome that could be fatal. Also, Skye and
May try to get to Raina before Whitehall does.
-- “Chicago Fire,”
10 p.m., NBC. The squad has a classic rescue ... then is startled by
who takes credit.
-- “Sons of
Anarchy,” 10 p.m., FX. Often brilliant (and sometimes just
sadistic), “Sons” is now a week from its series finale. Jax knows
that his mother killed his wife and then told lies that set off a
brutal rounds of misdirected vengeance. Now she knows he knows; the
end is near.