Alibi V.25 No.51 • Dec 22-28, 2016 

Idiot Box

Stocking Suffer

Christmas around the dial

You know the routine: Wake up early with the kids, unwrap a bunch of presents, gargle down some coffee and then wait around impatiently until you have to drive over to some relative’s house for dinner. Your only hope of escape is to hide in the den and watch TV this Christmas. So here are a few holiday highlights to get you through the day.

While you clean all the wrapping paper off your living room floor, you can start the day by watching “The Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration” (KOAT-7 9am). Derek and Julianne Hough host. Alessia Cara, Sofia Carson, Jordan Fisher perform. I’m assuming those are teenage Disney Channel stars-turned-singers. Just ask your kids.

There are a bunch of holiday movies strung throughout the day on various networks. But the less you know about stuff like 12 Dog Days Till Christmas, Merry Kissmas, A Christmas Wedding Date and Wish Upon a Christmas, the better off you are. If you’re in a religious mood, you can tune in for Turner Classic Movies’ annual airing of the 1961 Biblical epic King of Kings (TCM 3pm). That counts as going to church, by the way. Christmas With the Kranks (Lifetime 7pm) and Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (USA 7pm) both have the word “Christmas” in the title. But they’re a long way from classics. If you’re looking for seasonal favorites, Freeform (formerly ABC Family) has got a nice marathon with 2003’s Elf (Freeform 3:40pm) starring Will Ferrell, 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Freeform 5:45pm) starring Chevy Chase and 1988’s Scrooged (Freeform 7:55pm) starring Bill Murray.

In the evening CBS gets all nostalgic by colorizing some very old Christmas specials. First up is the “I Love Lucy Christmas Special” (KRQE-13 7pm) in which Ricky and Lucy reminisce about the day son Ricky Jr. was born. Next is “The Dick Van Dyke Show—Now in Living Color!” (KRQE-13 8pm) in which Rob and Laura reminisce about the day son Richie was born.

“When Calls the Heart” is evidently a Canadian-American drama based on a movie which was based on an “inspirational” novel about Mounties and schoolteachers and coal miners, circa 1910. If you’re a fan, you can watch “When Calls the Heart: When Calls the Heart Christmas” (Hallmark 7pm) in which “a peddler comes to Coal Valley selling the townspeople his wears and teaching them lessons about joy and giving.” That sure sounds like a plot stolen from a very special episode of “Little House on the Prairie”—so it’s no surprise to find that Michael Landon Jr. developed the series.

If you’re in the mood for more historical holiday drama, the BBC’s late 1950s period drama about nurses offers up its “Call the Midwife Holiday Special” (KNME-5 6pm). In it, the staff at Nonnatus House works to save a mission hospital in South Africa that is understaffed, underfunded and facing foreclosure. Not to worry, Christmas miracles are common this time of year.

BBC America, meanwhile, goes all futuristic, gifting sci-fi fans with its annual “Doctor Who” Christmas special. This year, with “Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio” (BBC America 7pm). The Doctor travels to New York where he encounters a superhero (Justin Chatwin from “Shameless”) battling brain-swapping aliens. Now that’s the sort of Christmas I can get behind.