There’s lots of Christmas TV; here’s the list

This sounds like the title of the worst holiday movie ever: “COVID Conquers Christmas.”
Fortunately, it didn’t work out that way. TV people adapted, adjusted, improvised. In quantity, we’ll have about the usual number of Christmas shows – somewhere between a zillion and way too many.
And in quality? We’ll notice some changes, right away on Thanksgiving Day. One “parade” (on NBC) will only ba a block long, with some of the music acts taped in advance; the other (on CBS) will mix new music with clips of past parades. At night on ABC, Derek and Julianne Hough (shown here) will start with a new song-and-dance number … then simply show ones from past specials. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 27: Great and Grinch-y

1) “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (shown here), 8 p.m.,, NBC. Here is one of TV’s all-time greatest moments, a perfect blend of two witty geniuses – author Dr. Seuss and animator Chuck Jones. Catch it often; It will be on TBS on Dec. 6 and 13, on TNT on Dec. 17 and then back to NBC on Dec. 25. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov.26: Parade (sort of) starts Christmas season

1) “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” 9 a.m. to noon, NBC, repeats 2-5 p.m. It’s not like the spectacle (shown here) of previous years; floats and balloons will travel one block, in front of NBC cameras, with no one curbside. But there will be spectacle, Santa and performances, some taped in advance. The “Hamilton” cast will be there; so, separately, will Leslie Odom Jr., who won a Tony in the show. Other casts are “Mean Girls,” “Get Ready,” “Jagged Little Pill”; individuals include Dolly Parton, Bebe Rexha, Sofia Carson, many more. Read more…

“Bell”: A Mis-spent childhood is redeemed

Tracey Wigfield could have dawdled away her childhood on other things – extra homework or clubs or all the other ideas that guidance counselors talk about.
But she had a better project – watching “Saved By the Bell” reruns.
“It was just always on,” Wigfield recalled. “I watched it every single day after school.”
Consider that to be career preparation. Now she’s made a “Bell” reboot (shown here), which arrives Wednesday on the Peacock streaming service, just in time for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 25: From Lapland to courtroom

1) “Nature: Santa’s Wild Home,” 8 p.m., PBS. On the Northern edge of mainland Europe is Lapland (shown here), the legendary home of Santa Claus and the real home of giant herds of reindeer. This Finnish turf is both gorgeous and harsh. Summers are brief, beautiful and filled with mosquitoes; bears eat 80 pounds a day, to prepare for hibernation. Musk oxen don’t hibernate; they simply stand in the wintger cold, not moving. There are other fascinating scenes here, from soaring owls to orcas gulping swarms of herring. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 24: Night of dramas, including No. 400 for “NCIS”

1) “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. This is the 400th episode of a show that seems eternal. “JAG” had 10 seasons, the last two overlapping with its spin-off, “NCIS” … which has just started its 18th season … and has two more spin-offs, in their seventh and 12th years. That adds up to 47 seasons (26 years) of Naval crimesolvers. Tonight flashes way back to when Gibbs (Mark Harmon) tackled his first case. Sean Harmon plays a younger version of his dad, which he’s done six previous times; he’s shown here, right, with a younger version of Ducky. Read more…

When do shows return? Here’s an update

After months of delays and adjustments, the TV networks have now scheduled most of their fall shows.
Many, however, will be arriving mid-winter, not in the fall. That starts with four CBS shows in early December (including “Magnum, P.I.,” shown here), then speeds up in January.
The latest news involves January starts for three ABC shows – “The Rookie” (Jan. 3), “Mixed-ish” (Jan. 26) and the new “Call Your Mother” (Jan. 13). Still in limbo are a few shows that were expected this fall – CBS’ “Evil” and “Equalizer” and NBC’s New Amsterdam” and “Manifest.” Also, ABC reversed course and canceled Stumptown.” Read more…

ABC sets return of “Rookie,” “Mixed-ish” and new comedy

The last pieces of the new TV season are finally in place – almost.
ABC has set January starts for the return of “The Rookie” (shown here) and “Mixed-ish” and the debut of a comedy, “Call Your Mother.” That will finally return it to two nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) with comedies.
Now there are only two shows that were originally planned for fall, but remain in limbo. Both are on CBS – the second season of “Evil” and the Queen Latifah reboot of “Equalizer.” One show (ABC’s “Stumptown”) was set for fall, then canceled. The ABC moves are: Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 23: Gilmores return, stars dance

1) “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” 8-10 p.m., CW; continues through Thursday. Before triumphing with “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amy Sherman-Palladino infused “Gilmore Girls” with that same blend of deep characters and whip-smart dialog. The show only won one Emmy (“Maisel” already has 20), but ran seven seasons and had this Netflix mini-series. Lorelei is running the inn and her daughter visits. (They’re shown here.) Past co-stars – Melissa McCarthy, Jared Padalecki and Milo Ventimiglia – also appear. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 22: Music stars and the Grinch

1) “American Music Awards,” 8-11 p.m., ABC. It’s time to link performers, award-show style. Bebe Rexha (shown here) is with Doja Cat, Bad Bunny with Jhay Cortez. Jennifer Lopez is with Colombian star Maluma; Justin Bieber does “Lonely” with Benny Blanco and “Holy” alone, There’s more – Katy Perry (singing “Only Love”), The Weeknd , BTS, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Dua Lipa, Lewis Capaldi, , Lil Baby, Nelly, Megan Thee Stallion, Shawn Mendes, Dan + Shay, Bell Biv DeVoe and Machine Gun Kelly. Read more…