Feed Your DVR: 12/21/14 to 12/27/14
Sunday, December 21st – In just a few short hours, you and your family have the opportunity to gather round the TV and have some good old-fashioned family fun. That fun is, of course, singing along to the timeless classic The Sound of Music – the 1965 Rodgers and Hammerstein version starring Julie Andrews, not the fascinating-in-a-hot-mess-sort-of-way live version from last year. Because, after all, nothing says Christmas like yodeling and fleeing from Nazis. (ABC, 7pm)
Monday, December 22nd – Today is a weak one on cable and broadcast, so let me steer you to the internet/On Demand instead. Esquire Network is releasing its new documentary series, The Short Game, in its entirety before it airs in the traditional weekly serialized format beginning in January. Following the lives of seven and eight year old golf prodigies as they vie for a spot in the U.S. Kids World Golf World Championship, the series marks the first time a show will debut in full through On Demand and streaming platforms before it runs on cable. (Available on esquiretv.com/NOW, the Esquire TV mobile app, and On Demand through select cable partners.)
Tuesday, December 23rd – Choose your own adventure tonight: if you have Christmas Eve off, tune into ABC at 9pm to watch The Year: 2014 and hate-watch with glee. Turn it into a drinking game by drinking anytime something makes you cringe or feel old, and enjoy the hangover tomorrow. If you’re headed into the office in the morning, may we suggest The Muppet Christmas Carol instead? Switch on WGN America at 8pm and watch this delightful (and surprisingly close-to-form) adaptation of the Dickens parable, starring Michael Caine in one of our favorite portrayals of Ebeneezer Scrooge.
Wednesday, December 24th – A holiday tradition akin to fruitcake and flying reindeer resumes tonight when TNT and TBS kick off their annual marathon of the 1983 classic, A Christmas Story. One or both of the networks have been airing the 24 hour marathon since 1997, so if you miss the first airing at 8pm, don’t worry – you can fit in one of the next eleven.
Thursday, December 25th – We wish you a very sci-fi Christmas today with two futuristic holiday specials. On BBC America at 9pm, the Twelfth doctor and Clara team up with Santa Claus to battle a collection of creepy aliens creepily called the Dream Crabs in the Doctor Who special, “Last Christmas”. Will this be Clara’s swan song in the TARDIS? You’ll have to watch to find out. If you’re of a more melancholy temperament (and have DirectTV), you should watch the Black Mirror holiday special “White Christmas,” starring Jon Hamm, at 9:30pm. After you watch this outstanding entry in the techno-thriller anthology series, your holiday gadget gifts may acquire a new menacing sheen.
Friday, December 26th – The newly remastered edition of The Wire marks its debut with a 5-day, 5-season marathon of the whole series, starting today at noon on HBO Signature. If the lack of 16×9 full-frame HD kept you from enjoying one of the best shows to ever air on television, then now’s your chance to catch up. (Starting today, the HD episodes will also be available on HBO Go as well.)
Saturday, December 27th – Since we’re a pop culture site devoted strictly to television, we don’t often get a chance to talk about award-nominated films. But tonight, Wes Anderson’s fantastic and fantastical The Grand Budapest Hotel airs on HBO, so we get to plug the director’s latest work to successfully blend whimsy with a very adult edge. We would be remiss in our Golden Globes prep if we didn’t watch (the movie received four nods) and encourage you to do the same. (8pm, and then multiple times across the HBO networks – check local listings for details.)
Streaming Pick of the Week – Amazon already had great luck with original series this year, as Transparent landed on many a critic’s top ten list. Early buzz suggests that it might have another solidly entertaining quality entry on its hands with Mozart in the Jungle, all ten episodes of which are available starting December 23rd. Gael Garcia Bernal stars as Rodrigo, the hotheaded and innovative new conductor of the New York Symphony orchestra, whose brilliance often outpaces the motivation of the musicians under his command. Enter Hailey (Lola Kirke), a young oboe player desperate for a chance and burning with the fire that Rodrigo demands. If you’d like an early taste, the pilot episode is available now.
Selected Holiday Specials: Seriously? Just turn on the TV and hit random numbers on the remote. You’ll find something.
Upcoming Finales: Homeland season finale (12/21, Showtime, 9pm); The Affair season finale (12/21, Showtime, 10pm)