1) “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” 8 p.m.NBC. Here is one of TV’s top moments, still the best after 55 years. It started with the wit and warmth of Dr. Seuss’ book. Then Chuck Jones – the genius behind Road Runner and many Bugs Bunny cartoons — brilliantly animated it. He included Boris Karloff as the droll narrator, with Thor Ravenscoft booming a song about the mean one, Mr. Grinch (shown here). NBC will also have it on Christmas night; in between, it airs Dec. 11 on TBS and Dec. 17 on TNT.
2) Cartoon overload. Way too many cartoons collide, from 8-9 p.m. NBC follows “Grinch” with the new “5 More Sleeps ‘Til Christmas,” based on Jimmy Fallon’s book. CBS counters with the excellent “Frosty the Snowman” at 8 and the lame “Frosty Returns” at 8:30; ABC fills the hour with “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” There’s more at 9: “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” on CW and the new “Trolls: Holiday in Harmony” – with zesty visuals and some clever moments – on NBC.
3) “Christmas in Tune,” 8-10 p.m., Lifetime. A country music star (played by Reba McEntire) reluctantly agrees to do a fundraiser with her estranged husband (John Schneider). They bicker and … well, this story contains zero surprises. It gets by on the stars’ likability, some appealing music and a palette that – even by Christmas standards – glows with vibrant colors.
4) “Great Performances: Coppelia,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS. In 1816, E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote “The Nutcracker” and this story of an artificial beauty who enchants townsfolk. Now, with that story of surface beauty feeling timely, here’s a superb version of the “Coppelia” ballet. With no words, it blends animation, two-dimension art and gifted dancers. Michaela DePrince, 26 – born and orphaned in Sierra Leone, adopted and raised in Boston, trained in Harlem and Holland – is the luminous star.
5) And more: We don’t need more animation, but Freeform has the splendid “Mulan” (1998) at 7 p.m. and “The Little Mermaid” (1989) at 9. Also, magicians get the focus in “Masters of Illusion: Christmas Magic,” from 8-9 p.m. on CW. At 9:30 on NBC, “Saturday Night Live” reruns Christmas sketches.