TV/Radio

Kermit, Miss Piggy, Lady Gaga christen holiday TV season

mwashburn@charlotteobserver.comNovember 27, 2013 

It is time again for our holiday huddle, and we’re going to start with something nutty.

It comes Thanksgiving night in the form of “Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular” (9:30 p.m., ABC). Even if you’re not a Lady Gaga fan (Remember, just when we feared the Earth was almost out of lyrics, she came up with “Ga-ga, Ooh-La-La”), you can’t go wrong with 90 minutes of Muppets.

And, personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with Gaga. Great pipes. Odd personality. In fact, on the intellectual spectrum of live entertainers, she almost lands in the Muppet realm herself.

In this Muppet show, Gaga comes to croon holiday favorites and hit on Kermit, thus arousing the jealous porcine passion of Miss Piggy. It’s one of those situations that kept Ann Landers in business for so many years.

Filling out the flesh-and-blood portion of the cast is Sir Elton John, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, RuPaul and Kristen Bell. On the hands-in-their-heads side of the ensemble, we get the Swedish Chef, Animal and Beaker.

This will beat camping out in the cold at a shopping center in hopes of snagging a $79 flat screen. Trust me.

It is also one of the few new entries in the holiday lineup this year. People tend to like the shows they grew up with – Charlie Brown and the old Rankin-Bass classics continue to draw a crowd decades after they were created.

Elsewhere on your holiday TV menu:

Thursday

“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (8 p.m., ABC): Charlie Brown turns to Snoopy and Woodstock to cater Thanksgiving, and the result is a disaster.

Friday

“Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (8 p.m., ABC): Animated version of the Dr. Seuss story narrated by Boris Karloff.

“Shrek the Halls” (8:30 p.m., ABC): Shrek’s plan for a quiet family holiday spirals into trouble when visitors arrive.

“Elf on the Shelf: An Elf's Story” (8:30 p.m., CBS): Chippey, a scout from the North Pole, plans to bring magic to the family he’s assigned to.

“My Santa” (9 p.m., ION network): Single mom falls for a mall Santa, unaware he is the heir to the Santa legacy.

“Eloise at Christmastime” (9 p.m., Hallmark Movie Channel): Eloise figures out how to engineer romance at her plush New York hotel.

Saturday

“Nightmare Before Christmas” (3 p.m., MTV): Tim Burton’s arresting 1993 musical tale of the night Christmas almost got hijacked.

“Flight Before Christmas” (8 p.m., CBS): Young reindeer tries to make the team.

“Story of Santa Claus” (9 p.m., CBS): Elves help a lost toymaker launch Christmas.

Sunday

“Polar Express” (5 p.m., ABC Family): Tom Hanks voices the conductor on a train bound for the North Pole.

“Christmas in Conway” (9 p.m. ABC): A Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation in which a ride on a Ferris wheel is believed to be the perfect present.

Monday

“Jack Frost” (7 p.m., ABC Family): Pardon-Me-Pete the Groundhog tells how Jack Frost became human and helped a knight win over a lady.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” (8 p.m., ABC): Materialism, the school pageant and that poor, sad tree.

“It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas” (8 p.m., CW): With the help of an angel, Kermit saves the theater. Includes David Arquette, Joan Cusak, Willliam H. Macy, Whoopi Goldberg, Molly Shannon and Zach Braff.

“CMA Country Christmas” (9 p.m., ABC): Jennifer Nettles hosts performances by Trace Adkins, Luke Bryan, Sheryl Crow, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, the “Duck Dynasty” family and others.

Tuesday

“Scrooged” (8 p.m., ABC Family): Bill Murray’s 1988 movie about coming to discover the meaning of the holiday.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (10 p.m., ABC Family): Clark Griswold tries to created the “most fun-filled old fashioned family Christmas ever.”

Wednesday

“Christmas in Rockefeller Center” (7 p.m., NBC): Annual tree lighting in New York.

“SNL Christmas” (9 p.m., NBC): Holiday sketches from “Saturday Night Live.”

“Deck the Halls” (10 p.m., ABC Family): Matthew Broderick, Danny DeVito play decoration-war neighbors.

Dec. 5

“Muppet Christmas Carol” (9 p.m., ABC Family): Muppets take on the Dickens’ classic with Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Dec. 6

“Frosty’s Winter Wonderland” (6 p.m., ABC Family): Jack Frost tries to ruin Frosty’s wedding.

“Frosty the Snowman” (8 p.m., CBS): Classic animated version of how he came to life one day.

“Yes Virginia” (8:30 p.m., CBS): A little girl writes to the newspaper with a big question: Does Santa exist?

Dec. 7

“The Naughty List” (6 p.m., Cartoon Network): Snowflake’s mischievous brother Winter gets them both put on the naughty list and they must do chores for Santa, and save Christmas in the process.

Dec. 8

“Holidaze” (8 p.m., ABC Family): Jennie Garth plays a high-powered executive who returns to her hometown with plans to build a giant discount store but runs into resistance she’d never imagined.

Dec. 9

“Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” (8 p.m., ABC): Return of the 1970 Rankin-Bass production narrated by Fred Astaire telling the origins of Santa.

“Kung Fu Panda Holiday” (8 p.m., CW): Po is torn about what he should do for the holiday, with voices of Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman and Jack Black.

“Great Christmas Light Fight” (9 p.m., ABC): Christmas lights competition features families vying for $250,000.

Dec. 10

“Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir” (9 p.m., WTVI): Tom Brokaw and Alfie Boe host concert of holiday favorites.

“Year Without a Santa Claus” (9 p.m., ABC Family): Mrs. Claus gets ready to do the job herself.

Dec. 11

“Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale” (10 p.m., NBC): Grown-up Christmas music.

Dec. 13

“The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas” (8 a.m., WTVI): The Cat in the Hat, Nick and Sally go around the world to help a lost reindeer find his way home.

“Silent Night” (9 p.m., WTVI): Opera recounts the story of the World War I Christmas Eve truce.

Dec. 14

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” (8 p.m., NBC): Classic 1946 Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed movie from Frank Capra about the meaning of Christmas.

“Frosty Returns” (8:30 p.m., CBS): With a new season, the snowman makes a comeback.

Dec. 15

“All I Want for Christmas” (9 p.m., ION network): An ambitious businesswoman gets one of Santa’s helpers to allow her to read others’ unspoken thoughts. She soon learns what a mixed blessing it is.

Dec. 16

“Disney Prep & Landing” (8 p.m., ABC): Elite elf unit faces squabbles over assignments.

“Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice” (8:30 p.m., ABC): Elves Wayne and Lanny must recover classified technology hacked into by Naughty Kid.

“Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas” (9 p.m., Fox): Oops. Sid wrecks Santa’s headquarters.

Dec. 18

“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (7:30 p.m., ABC Family): Mickey and his Disney pals reprise the Dickens story.

“Home for the Holidays with Celine Dion” (8 p.m., CBS): New music with guests Chris Young and Ne-Yo.

“Michael Buble Christmas” (10 p.m., NBC): Guests include Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Cookie Monster.

Dec. 19

“Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble” (9 p.m., WTVI): Musical concert.

“Charlotte Children’s Choir” (9:30 p.m., WTVI): Holiday favorites.

“Queen City Christmas” (10 p.m., WTVI): Charlotte-area artists celebrate the season.

Dec. 20

“Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown” (8 p.m., Fox): Peanuts gang stages intervention to get Linus away from the blanket.

“Christmas in Washington” (8 p.m., TNT): Hugh Jackman hosts annual holiday show that includes Backstreet Boys, Sheryl Crow, Anna Kendrick, Janelle Monáe, Pat Monahan and Charles Barkley.

“Christmas at Belmont” (10 p.m., WTVI): Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves hosts traditional carols, classical works and light-hearted seasonal favorites.

Dec. 21

“Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey” (7 a.m., ABC Family): Nestor carries Mary to Bethlehem.

“The Little Drummer Boy” (7:30 a.m., ABC Family): Aaron cannot afford a present for baby Jesus, so he plays a song on his drums.

“Pinocchio’s Christmas” (8 a.m., ABC Family): Pinocchio gets conned out of money for Geppetto’s gift.

“I Want A Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!” (8 p.m., ABC): Snoopy invites his brother, Spike, for a holliday visit.

Dec. 23

“Muppet Christmas Carol” (8 p.m., ABC Family): Kermit and the Muppets take liberties with the Dickens Christmas tale.

“A Chipmunk Christmas” (8:30 p.m., ABC): Alvin gives away his harmonica to a sick boy.

“Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choir” (9 p.m., WTVI): Holiday choral music from the St. Olaf Choir.

Dec. 24

“A Christmas Story” (8 p.m., TBS): Jean Shepherd’s classic 1983 movie about Ralphie and the Red Ryder BB gun begins in two-hour rotation through Christmas Day.

“Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (8:30 p.m., ABC): Jim Carrey starts as the Grinch in the 2000 live action film.

Dec. 25

“Elmo’s Christmas Countdown” (10 a.m., WTVI): Elmo tries to count down to Christmas but the counting boxes are missing.

“Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade” (10 a.m., ABC): Holiday performances from the Disney parks.

“Merry Madagascar” (8:30 p.m., CW): Madagascar critters help Santa when he gets stranded.

Washburn: 704-358-5007

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