TV highlights: Christmas classics, oh Christmas classics!


“It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC. Will you cry? Yes, yes, you will. (RKO Pictures via AP)
December 23, 2013

“It’s a Wonderful Life” (NBC at 8 p.m.) makes its grand holiday appearance on Christmas Eve, of all days. The 1946 Frank Capra classic stars James Stewart as a small-town banker who learns what life would have been like had he never been born. Donna Reed stars as his wife and Henry Travers portrays angel Clarence Oddbody. Will you cry? Yes, yes, you will.

Narrated by Boris Karloff, the original 1966 short film “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (ABC at 8) tells Dr. Seuss’s tale of the Whos and their love of Christmas and the evil Grinch, who has a heart two sizes small. Features songs by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel and Albert Hague.

The 2004 film “12 Dogs of Christmas” (CW at 8), starring Susan Wood and Eric Lutes, is set in a Depression-era Maine town that bans all canines. A 12-year-old girl tries to get the mayor to change this cruel anti-puppy policy.

Next up: the revamped 2000-era Grinch tale, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (ABC at 8:30). This is an adaptation of the original Seuss story, with a live-action, foul-tempered green Grinch at its center, starring Jim Carrey, a pre-punk Taylor Momsen and Jeffrey Tambor.

“Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Featuring Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw” (PBS at 9) features the Tony Award-winning tenor and the Peabody Award-winning news journalist at Temple Square for a Christmas celebration with Col. Gail “Hal” Halvorsen, who dropped candy for German children during the 1948-49 Berlin Airlift.

“New Girl” (Fox at 9) reruns its holiday episode in which Jess attends multiple parties in one night while avoiding Sam and Winston gets a cranberry stuck in his ear, because of course he does.

After you’ve wept through an entire box of tissues all in the name of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A New York Christmas to Remember” (CBS at 11:35) airs to probably terrify you, with Regis Philbin getting into the late-night Christmas spirit with a lot of puppets.

Netflix attempts the all-at-once release strategy for children early this morning with “Turbo F.A.S.T.” (Netflix at 12:01). Based on the DreamWorks Animation film “Turbo,” the five-episode series follows a snail named Turbo and his crew as they embark on daring adventures. It is the first original children’s series for the site.

— Rachel Lubitz

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