“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” 8 p.m., ABC.
On Christmas Eve, we
get an extra chance to savor a classic. Alongside its understated
humor, this cartoon has warmth, earnestness and a dandy, jazzy score.
Wrapping up the hour
are shorts based on “Peanuts” cartoons. At 9 p.m. (a late switch
for ABC) is a rerun of “It's Your 50th Christmas,
Charlie Brown,” with music by Sarah McLachlan, Boyz II Men, David
Benoit and Kristin Chenoweth – who won a Tony award playing
Charlie's little sister.
Movie classics, NBC and cable.
Two Christmas Eve
traditions return, when NBC reruns “It's a Wonderful Life” (1949)
from 8-11 p.m. and cable launches its marathon of the witty “A
Christmas Story” (1983).
You can choose your
time for “Story.” It starts at 7 p.m. on TNT and 8 p.m. on TBS,
then re-starts every two hours on each, for 24 hours. If you must
know what happens next, “A Christmas Story 2” (2012) – with
Ralphie as a teen, obsessing on a car -- is every hour on CMT, from
10 a.m to 2 a.m.
ALTERNATIVE: Cartoons, all day.
Many kids need to be
distracted from their Santa obsessions. Fortunately, cable helps out,
starting with ABC Family. It has older cartoons from 7-10 a.m., then
returns with brisk, modern ones – the “Prep & Landing”
tales and “Toy Story That Time Forgot” -- from 5-6:30 p.m.
By then, FXX has
joined in. It has “Simpsons” reruns (many holiday-themed) from
5-8 p.m. and the terrific “Simpsons Movie” (2007) at 8 and 10. FX
joins in with three animated movies – action in “Rise of the
Guardians” (2012) at 7 p.m., humor in “Turbo” (2013) at 9, both
in “Kung Fu Panda 2” at 11.
Marathons, all day,
cable. While the “Doctor Who” blitz continues on BBC America, a
mega-marathon has just begun. At midnight, the Science Channel began
showing every episode of “Mythbusters” in order. That's 11 days,
248 episodes, 2,950 experiments ... and 900 explosions. That sets up
the show's final season, which will be on both Discovery and Science.
Football, noon and 8
p.m. ET, ESPN. On Christmas Eve, it can be fun to watch people in the
tropical part of the world. So today brings the Bahamas Bowl, with
Western Michigan and Middle Tennessee, each 7-5; tonight has the
Hawaii Bowl, with Cincinnati (7-5) and San Diego State (10-3). Also
at 8, the NFL Network has San Diego at Oakland.
Prejudice” (2005), 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., Oxygen. Here's a masterful
film, with director Joe Wright and star Keila Knightley showing you
don't need much dialog to film a classic.
“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. Skipping Christmas detours, CBS has reruns of
its terrific Thursday line-up. Here's a collision of opposites –
the mothers of Sheldon (Laurie Metcalf, who has three Emmys and seven
nominations) and Christine Baranski (one win, 12 nominations).
p.m., CBS. In a funny episode from last February, Christy is promoted
to manager ... and promptly finds that life doesn't get any easier.
Christmas Tree Light Fight,” 10 p.m., ABC. This amiable show has
ordinary (almost) people with spectacular displays. After three
Mondays, it gets a Thursday hour.
11:35 p.m., two networks. NBC goes to the Vatican, for services in
St. Peter's Basilica, CBS visits an interfaith service at an
Episcopal church in San Francisco.