Christmas is still a week away as i type this, and I'm already starting to feel a bit Grinchy.
All the usual prime-time suspects are on a holiday hiatus. No Heroes or Grey's Anatomy until next month.
So I intended to write a Twelve Days Of Christmas-inspired piece about the year in TV, but my feeble attempt never got past the first day, when my true love gave to me a suicidal Partridge named Danny Bon-a-duce. Besides, next's week's issue will have my year-in-review list of deservedly memorable TV moments.
Then I thought I'd write about new shows headed our way in January. But the only one that's piqued my interest shot it through the tinselled roof, actually is 24. Am I the only one who gets goosebumps at the thought of a bearded and shackled Jack Bauer preparing to suplex another terrorist cell into submission while Chloe smirks from the sidelines?
Granted, I hear someone gets stabbed to death over on Degrassi, which might give the series a bit more life than its recent Fast And The Spurious street racing storyline. And the Discovery Channel is airing Ocean's Deadliest, the documentary Steve "Crikey" Irwin was making when he was killed by a stingray. Having swum with stingrays, I'm curious to see if the show gives these gentle creatures the Jaws treatment.
So that leaves nothing to write about but all the holiday shows.
Don't get me wrong, I like holiday programming. I've already seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, proof that Chevy Chase can actually be funny and not just an insufferable bore. And while I don't need to see Elf or The Santa Claus 2 ever again, I'm looking forward to a triple bill of It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle On 34th Street and A Christmas Carol, a Yuletide Oreo cookie of dark, light and dark.
Has there ever been a more painfully passionate screen smooch than the one shared by A Wonderful Life's Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed? Makes you want to lasso the moon for a Buffalo gal (or guy) of your own.
And just as Edmund Gwynn offers the quintessential screen Santa in Miracle, Alastair Sim is the one and only Ebenezer Scrooge.
I know a lot of people have a soft spot for the Albert Finney musical version. Some people even like the Depression-era An American Christmas Carol starring the Fonz. But the one true A Christmas Carol is the 1951 Sim version properly known as Scrooge, a faithful and truly dark interpretation of the Dickens classic that must be seen in black-and-white. If it's been Ted Turnerized, I'll turn the colour off.
Speaking of which, thanks to TVtropolis (the recently rebranded Prime), I can catch up on Christmas episodes of some of my favourite old shows, like The Wonder Years, in which Kevin tries to convince his dad to buy a colour TV, and Beverly Hills 90210, in which an atypically unselfish Brenda invites an orphaned store Santa home for Christmas dinner despite Dylan's strangely scarred raised eyebrow.
Of course, if I happen on Ralphie's quest for a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle I won't flip away. (Incidentally, A Christmas Story was directed by Bob Clark, who also directed the holiday horror Black Christmas, a remake of which is headed into theatres on the 25th, as well as Rhinestone, a different kind of scary movie, in which a bedazzlered Sly Stallone sings country songs and which has not been remade.)
But mostly I'll spend my time checking out the Dr. Who spinoff Torchwood that a NOW I.T. pal has thoughtfully downloaded and burned for me, and plowing through box sets of The West Wing (love the snappy repartee) and Wonder Woman (love the bullet-deflecting bracelets).
Scrooge (in black-and-white, listed as A Christmas Carol) airs Saturday at 8 pm on CTV, and (ugh!) in colour on Sunday at 11 pm on CBC.
It's A Wonderful Life airs Sunday at 7 pm on CBC.
Miracle On 34th Street airs Sunday at 9 pm on CTV.
A Christmas Story airs Sunday at 4 pm on CBC.
What to watch this week
Friday, December 22
Citynews Spirit of the season Breakfast Television, CP24 and CityNews at noon and 6 pm will broadcast live from the Sheraton Centre. Viewers are asked to share the holiday spirit by bringing new, unwrapped toys for the CHUMCity Christmas Wish and/or a non-perishable food item for the Daily Bread Food Bank. Cash donations will also be accepted.