1) “Robbie the Reindeer:Hooves of Fire” and its sequel, 8 and 8:30 p.m., CBS. We’re used to cartoons that are brash and frantic. Here’s the opposite, with droll, dry wit. It’s British, of course; the voices were re-cast for us, using one Brit (Hugh Grant as Blitzen) and lots of Americans. Ben Stiller voices Robbie (shown here), with Britney Spears as Donner, Leah Remini as Vixen and Jim Belushi as Santa.
2) “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), 8-11 p.m., NBC. Most years, NBC shows this twice – once on a Saturday, then again on Christmas Eve. This time, however, it plans to rerun its “Christmas Story” musical on Dec. 24, so catch this now. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed star in a warm-hearted tale.
3) More Christmas shows. They’re everywhere tonight: CBS has another cartoon (“The Story of
Santa Claus”) at 8 p.m. and cable has four new movies — 8 p.m. on BET, Hallmark and Lifetime, 9 p.m. on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries – plus lots of old ones, And there are classics — “Elf” (2003), 7 and 9 p.m., AMC; “Santa Clause” (1994), 7:45 p.m., Freeform; and “Scrooged” (1988), 9 p.m., VH1.
4) Football, all day. Primetime has Utah (ranked No. 7) hosting Colorado at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC and Oklahoma (No. 9) at Oklahoma State (No. 21) at 8 on Fox. Before that, however, the Big Ten has important business: At noon on Fox, Ohio State (No. 2) visits its rival Michigan (No. 13). At 3:30 p.m, on ABC, Wisconsin (No. 12) visits Minnesota (No. 10); the winner faces Ohio State next week in the conference championship game.
5) “Three Identical Strangers” (2018), 8-10 p.m. ET, CNN (barring breaking news). Here is a fascinating story, told with just the right mixture of glee and rage. A college freshman suddenly learned he was one of triplets, separated at birth. The guys met, partied, became celebrities; it’s a giddy tale … until it’s not. The second half of the documentary raises serious questions about parenting styles and (especially) about research ethics. The result is compelling.