The holiday season is upon us again, and you know what that means, don’t you? Christmas television! Lots and lots of Christmas television. In addition to all the holiday-themed episodes of your favorite prime time series coming up, there’s ABC Family’s traditional 25 Days of Christmas programming to slog through, not to mention the TV Land 24-hour Merrython kicking off this Saturday night.
To make sure you don’t get lost in the avalanche, every week in December we’ll be providing you with a handy guide to the best of the best of upcoming holiday TV. So grab your TiVo remotes and get programming. (All times are Eastern and subject to change. Some programs will be re-aired throughout the coming weeks–check your local listings.)
– SATURDAY DEC. 1 –
M*A*S*H: “Dear Dad”
Hawkeye writes a letter home, describing Christmas at the 4077th in this outstanding season one episode written by Larry Gelbart. Not only is it the very first of the series’ classic “Dear ___” episodes–a storytelling device that Aaron Sorkin stole/paid homage to on both Sports Night and The West Wing–it’s also one of the show’s funniest episodes.
M*A*S*H: “Dear Sis”
In this touching season seven Christmas episode written and directed by Alan Alda, Father Mulcahy pens a letter confessing his frustrations to his nun sister. If the scene between Charles and the Father doesn’t have you reaching for a Kleenex (“You saved me, Father. You lowered a bucket into the well of my despair, and you raised me up to the light of day.”), the group hymn at the end will.
– SUNDAY DEC. 2 –
Little House on the Prairie: “Christmas at Plum Creek”
That Ingalls family sure knows how to do Christmas right. And you know it’s just not the holidays without a Gift of the Magi plot twist.
Robot Chicken Christmas Special
So you spent the whole day watching Very Special Episodes of Good Times, All in the Family and The Brady Bunch over on TV Land and now you’re feeling all holidayed out? Not to fear: Robot Chicken‘s disturbing puppets are the perfect antidote to all that Christmas cheer.
– MONDAY DEC. 3 –
A Charlie Brown Christmas
I’m just gonna say it: Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree really *is* lame. But boy do those Peanuts kids know how to shake their tailfeathers.
The Closer: “Next of Kin”
Not in the mood for adorable moppets? Then watch this all new two-hour special, where Brenda and Fritz travel to Georgia, arrest a suspect in a deadly Los Angeles robbery *and* suffer through Christmas with Brenda’s parents.
Chuck: “Chuck Versus the Crown Vic”
It’s time for the Buy More holiday party and you just know those Nerd Herders know how to have a good time.
– TUESDAY DEC. 4 –
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Yes, we all know Hermey flames more than the Heat Miser. The real question is, what the heck is wrong with that doll on the Island of Misfit Toys? She looks perfectly fine to me.
– WEDNESDAY DEC. 5 –
Pinky & the Brain: “A Pinky & the Brain Christmas”
All Pinky wants for Christmas is for Santa to give Brain the world. This touching episode–one of highlights of the notoriously snarky series–manages to melt your heart without sacrificing any of its trademark humor.
Futurama: “Xmas Story”
So in the future Santa is a giant robot that spreads terror on Christmas eve? Right on.
– THURSDAY DEC. 6 –
Olive the Other Reindeer
A dog and a penguin team up to save Christmas from an evil mailman. No, really. And it was nominated for an Emmy.
– FRIDAY DEC. 7 –
Billy and Mandy Save Christmas
When Santa (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) is bitten by a vampire it’s up to Billy and Mandy and Grim to save him. Come on, you know you want to see that.
Monk: “Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa”
Monk becomes a social pariah when he shoots a man dressed as Santa Claus.
Psych: “Gus’ Dad May Have Killed an Old Guy”
Christmas with the Gusters (guest stars Phylicia Rashad and Ernie Hudson) is ruined when evidence in a murder case leads the police straight to Gus’ dad.