What’s On Tonight (And Tomorrow): Marathons, Movies, And Santa Claus Comes To ‘Doctor Who’

Doctor Who: Last Christmas
(BBC America, Thursday 9:00 p.m.) — There’s the natural pull of a fresh Doctor Who episode and the fun of seeing Nick Frost play Santa Claus to attract viewers, but a lot of fans will be watching to see what happens between the Doctor and Clara following the events of the season finale.

Doctor Who Marathon (BBC America, Already in Progress) — In the run-up to the Doctor Who Christmas Special, BBC America has been marathoning Doctor Who episodes since 8:00 a.m. today and, save for the morning news tomorrow, they’ll continue on right up until the special tomorrow night with a collection of Tennant era favorites, every Christmas episode of the modern era, and all of season 8 (which kicks off tomorrow morning).

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (ABC Family, Wednesday 7:00 p.m.) — “Merry Christmas! Sh*tter was full!”

It’s A Wonderful Life (NBC, Wednesday 8:00 p.m.) — An American classic about the hidden impact of one good man’s life on a town and an insidious piece of communist propaganda that casts bankers as prone and wicked. Enjoy the warm feels, you commie pig. Every time a bell rings, Ayn Rand sheds a tear.

Bad Santa (MTV, Wednesday 8:00 p.m.) — How on earth will the censors mask the pivotal “F*ck me Santa! F*ck me Santa! F*ck me Santa!” scene?

A Christmas Story 24-Hour Marathon (TBS and TNT, Wednesday 8:00 p.m.) — I’m constantly surprised by the enduring legacy of this film and absolutely flummoxed by the existence of this marathon on not just one, but two networks. I just tried re-watching it and had to bail before the halfway point, but to each his or her own. Feliz Navidad.

The Polar Express (Disney XD, Wednesday 9.00 p.m.) Christmastime is flooded by nostalgic re-airings of past Christmas specials and Christmas movies from days gone by, but The Polar Express is the rare modern and worthy addition to the club. Which is a nice thing.

NBA Basketball (Multiple Networks, Thursday 12:00-10:30 p.m.) — After the presents and the eating, there’s a lot of day left on Christmas. Luckily, the NBA will be there for you with their sh*tty Christmas jerseys and a handful of marquee matchups.

The action starts at noon with the Wizards and the Knicks on ESPN, then jumps to ABC for the 2:30 p.m. game between the Thunder and the Spurs and the 5:00 p.m. return of LeBron James to Miami as the Cavs take on the Heat. The 8:00 p.m. game between the Lakers and the Bulls feels like a come down after that because the Lakers suck, but the 10:30 game between the Warriors and Clippers should be fun. Both prime time games will air on TNT.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (CBS, Thursday 8:00 p.m.) — The live action film airs immediately after this, but I’ll stick with the animated original, thank you very much.

How Murray Saved Christmas (NBC, Thursday 8:00 p.m.) — The war on Festivus has begun and NBC has taken hostages in the form of both Jason Alexander and Jerry Stiller in their animated film about a delicatessen owner who takes over for Santa Claus. Like Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas (which airs at 9:00 p.m.) this special previously aired earlier this month, so it’s Christmas leftovers for NBC.

The Black Mirror Christmas Special (Direct TV’s Audience Network 9:30 p.m.) — In my opinion, every positive thing that I’ve heard people say about Black Mirror is an understatement. If you aren’t familiar with the bleak and cynical science fiction anthology series about the potential evil evolution of our techno-culture, the first two seasons are streaming on Netflix right now, so there’s still time to catch up before the Christmas episode (which stars Jon Hamm). Unfortunately, if you’re like me and you don’t live in England or have Direct TV you can take all the time in the world to catch up, because it’s probably going to be a while before you get a chance to watch this episode.

Understandably, all the late night talk shows are off the air or in reruns, but I’m sure you can fill the void by catching an ep of Doctor Who or an airing of A Christmas Story. Anyway, have a happy holiday.