Idiot Box: What (And Who) To Watch On Christmas Day

Christmas Day Around The Dial

Devin D. O'Leary
3 min read
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Odds are you spent most of Halloween and Thanksgiving watching TV. So don’t kid yourself that most of your activity on Christmas Day won’t consist of staring at the idiot box. Opening presents takes, what, an hour? You could go to church for a few hours. Dinner might take up a couple more. That still leaves a big, gaping hole in your schedule which should in no way be filled by talking to relatives. Instead, get your hands on a cold bottle of egg nog, some brandy and a television remote. Oh, sweet comfort and joy!

There’s a fine variety of movies to be savored on the day. The “24 Hours of
A Christmas Story” marathon is still going on over on TNT. Feel free to tune in any time. Turner Classic Movies starts out early with some religious stuff including Going My Way (TCM 5:30 a.m.), The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (TCM 7:45 a.m.), The Nun’s Story (TCM 9:30 a.m.), The Song of Bernadette (TCM 12:15 p.m.) and King of Kings (TCM 3 p.m.) That’s a full slate of priests, nuns, Virgin Marys and Christs. Watch at least one and you won’t be required to go to church. On the secular side, you can witness (for the 15th or 16th time, probably) the Griswold clan survive their chaotic holiday in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (ABC Family 7 p.m.). On the flat-out sacrilegious tip, there’s the raunch classic Bad Santa (Comedy Central 7 p.m.). Personally, I’m sticking with Cousin Eddie. But if you’re in a particularly cynical frame of mind, Billy Bob Thornton popping pills in a Santa outfit ought to do it for you.

ABC tries to get us in a proper tinsel-slinging mood by presenting the 1966 holiday special to end all holiday specials
“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (KOAT-7 7 p.m.). Then they go and ruin the whole thing by following it up with Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (KOAT-7 7:30 p.m.), the live-action 2000 feature film starring Jim Carrey. Feel free to change the channel as soon as the animation ends. NBC tries out the 2008 computer-animated version of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (KOB-4 7 p.m.). It’s not very Christmasy, but it’s a lot more Seussian than the Carrey film.

Somehow over the last few years, Christmas has become the domain of BBC’s “Doctor Who.” As expected (and eagerly anticipated), the channel is taking the opportunity to present the show’s now-traditional Christmas special. This year, it’s
“Doctor Who: The Snowmen” (BBC America 7 p.m.), which finds our time-and-space-spanning hero battling a frosty menace. And yes, that is Sir Ian McKellen as the voice of the evil snowmen. But the Who magic doesn’t start or stop with the BBC’s offering. Nope. Syfy is delivering “Who” fans a fine stocking stuffer by broadcasting all 26 episodes of the Australian sci-fi series “K-9” (Syfy 8 a.m.). This one’s a live-action / computer-animated spin-off starring the fourth Doctor’s robot dog. Yeah, it’s aimed at kids, but it’s the first time we get to see it here in America. Feel free to share this nerdy gift with the younger members of your family, and have a Merry Televised Christmas!

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