1) “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas” (shown here), 8-10 p.m., NBC. There’s a ragged feeling to this odd hybrid. But there are great moments … and a reminder that Parton, 76, is an amazing songwriter. She tosses off a couple of her hits (way too briefly) at the start, then does less-familiar ones, from gospel to pop, that are brilliantly done. The scripted parts are weak; the music – with Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Willie Nelson, Jimmie Allen and more – soars.
2) “Frozen II” (2019), 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. Here’s a late switch for ABC. The network had scheduled “CMA Country Christmas” tonight and this animated gem for Dec. 8. Now they’ve switched weeks; tonight, the movie is followed by holiday highlights of “America’s Funniest Home Video.”
3) “25 Days of Christmas” begins, Freeform. When this began, 26 years ago, it could dominate holiday viewing. Now there’s competition everywhere, but the notion is still fun: Christmas shows all day (except for “700 Club” and infomercials), Dec. 1-25. Today, that starts and ends with “Simpsons” reruns, from 7-9 a.m. and midnight to 2 a.m. There are also “Family Guy” ones from 9-10 a.m., plus (see next item) some familiar films.
4) “Santa Clause” and “Home Alone” films, Freeform. This has become the main “25 Days” plan: A few movies – good ones, fortunately – are shown over and over. Today, the “Santa Clause” ones are at 11:30 a.m. (1994), 1:30 p.m. (2002) and 4 p.m. (2006); they’ll be shown together nine more times this month. The “Home Alone” films are at 6 (1990) and 8:30 p.m. (1992). They’ll be on Freeform 23 more times (really) and on ABC on Christmas Eve.
5) “Freddie Mercury: The Final Act” (2021), 8-10 p.m., CW. Six months after Freddie Mercury’s death (at 45), his Queen bandmates led a mega-concert before 72,000 people, providing both potent music and information about AIDS. This documentary assembles footage of that 1992 concert and more. Also from 8-10 p.m., Showtime profiles heavy-metal singer Ronnie James Dio. And at 10, HBO starts a series profiling Richard Branson.