“Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas,” 8 p.m., NBC.
It's been an odd
journey for this amiable tale of a guy who exits the North Pole,
after learning he's not really an elf. First was the fun 2003 Will
Ferrell movie ... which reruns at 8:55 p.m. today on Freeform. Then
was a musical that reached Broadway for the Christmas seasons of 2010
And then came this
2014 cartoon, which takes most of the Broadway songs, writes a new
story and squeezes everything into an hour. There are good things
here, including a neatly offbeat animation style and a voice cast led
by Jim Parsons. The opener is terrific, but the rest of the music is
II: “Star,” 9 p.m., Fox.
This show – which
reruns its pilot tonight, then returns Jan. 4 -- triggers a cascade
of mixed feelings. The music is great, the characters are fascinating
... and yet there's a sameness. Unlike “Empire” (from the same
producer), this has everyone spit out slight variations of a similar,
Jude Demorest is
terrific as Star; a survivor of the foster-care system, Star is ready
to rescue her half-sister and form a girl group with someone she met
on the Internet. Grown-ups are beautifully played (by Queen Latifah,
Benjamin Bratt and Lenny Kravitz) ... yet all seem to occupy a narrow
ALTERNATIVE: Christmas movies, cable.
channels rerun some of their main new films this year, including two
with Oscar-winners: Shirley MacLaine mentors an ill-suited guardian
angel in “A Heavenly Christmas” (8 p.m., Hallmark); Mira Sorvino
has amnesia after a small-town car crash in “A Christmas to
Remember” (7 p.m., Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, followed by
“Sound of Christmas” at 9).
including “The Santa Clause” (1994) at 6:50 p.m. on Freeform and
George C. Scott's terrific “A Christmas Carol” (1984) at 8 p.m. on AMC.
8 and 9 p.m., CBS. The eighth season (really) begins; it will borrow
the 8 p.m. slot until “Hunted” arrives Jan. 25 ... with
“Survivor” waiting until March. This opener has two female bosses
– the Build-a-Bear CEO and the mayor of Gary, Indiana.
8 p.m., Fox. The two cops sort of reverse their roles in this rerun.
Murtaugh (Damon Wayans), the cautious family guy, tries some
dangerous motorcycle stunts; Riggs (Clayne Crawford), the wild one,
becomes paternal when an 8-year-old is the only good witness to a
deadly casino heist.
“Christmas at the
White House,” 8 p.m., and Michelle Obama interview, 9 p.m., Oprah
Winfrey Network. First, Winfrey visits the Obama White House at
Christmastime; then we get a rerun of her Michelle Obama interview,
which debuted Monday on CBS.
“Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit,” 9 p.m., NBC. This rerun has Anthony Edwards
(“ER”) as a police sergeant whose son has been accused of rape.
9 p.m., ABC. In a rerun, Jay tries to make an impression on the new
family across the street. Also, Manny tries to attract a free-thinker
and the Pritchetts take advantage of Alex's mono.
10 p.m., ABC. Robin Roberts interviews the year's key people in
sports (LeBron James, Michael Phelps) and show-business (Chance the
Rapper, Broadway's Lin-Manuel Miranda),plus Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha,
the pediatrician who led the push to stop the water crisis in Flint,
Xmas Carol,” 10 p.m., TBS. Our Christmas fantasies have never
really included being serenaded by Charles Barkley, Fred Willard,
Shaquille O'Neal or Tony Sirico. That happens in this special, which
also includes musical people – Ludacris, Alfonso Ribeiro, Conan
O'Brien (a lovely Irish-tenor voice), Rashina Jones (daughter of
music man Quincy Jones), Kenny G., T-Pain and more.