“8 Simple Rules” (KOAT-7 7 p.m.) ABC's Friday night sitcom lineup (including “Complete Savages” and “Hope & Faith”) gets into the holiday spirit with a run of Thanksgiving-themed episodes. Odds are somebody's kid will lose a part in the school play, or somebody will hide a live turkey in the bathroom to protect it from being killed or some sweet old person from across the street will be invited over for dinner as part of a “very special episode”--you know the drill by now.
It's a Wonderful Life (KOB-4 7 p.m.) Just as Punxatawney Phil coming out of his hole and looking for his shadow each February signals the end of winter, the ritualistic airing of this holiday fave singals the beginning of the Christmas season. For a weird twist, click on the simulcast for the visually impaired, where the film will be narrated by former president George Bush.
“Games We Grew Up With” (HGTV 7 p.m.) I doubt, 20 years from now, anyone will look back fondly at a childhood spent playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Here, HGTV takes us on a nostalgic tour of the board games we all grew up on--like Monopoly. Now there's a game.
A Christmas Carol: The Musical (KOB-4 8 p.m.) Unwilling to give up his former network NBC, former Frasier Kelsey Grammer stars as Scrooge in this singin' and dancin' version of the holiday fave. Other TV stars along for the ride include Jason Alexander, Jesse L. Martin, Jane Krakowski and Jennifer Love Hewwit
“Ultimatum” (Style 8 p.m.) I've never seen this reality-ish series on the Style network, but it sounds awfully unpleasant. Tonight's ep is titled “Agree to My Implants or We're Not Getting Married.” Sounds like a fine basis for eternal matrimony.
“The Real Gilligan's Island” (TBS 7 p.m.) OK, even I'm intrigued by this one. Idiot Box Hall of Fame entry “Gilligan's Island” goes the reality show route with a real-life skipper, millionaire, professor, farm girl, movie star and bumbling goofball stranded on a deserted island. There are actually two groups of “castaways” competing against one another to get off the island.
“Christmas in Rockefeller Center” (KOB-4 7 p.m.) Watching them put that giant tree up in New York City every year is a fine holiday tradition. But do we really need the likes of Al Roker and Nancy O'Dell doing the dopey play-by-play?
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (KRQE-13 7 p.m.) Well, it's Dec. 1 and we've already burned out most of the seasonal TV favorites. Here's at least one for the month of December, though. It's got stop-motion animation, Burl Ives, an elf who wants to be a dentist and the Abominable Snowman. What's not to like?