Christmas On the Bayou
Saturday, Dec. 14 (Lifetime)
Holiday Movie: Blowing away Hallmark and ABC Family in sheer Original Holiday Movie output this season, nearly all of Lifetime's Christmas cheese-doodles follow the same template: Workaholic urban Career Woman/Single Mom with a Precocious/Sullen Son retreats to Small Town USA to find a flannel-shirted Mr. Right and/or lost Christmas Spirit. In Christmas On the Bayou, she's Hilarie Burton (White Collar, One Tree Hill), he's Tyler Hilton (also One Tree Hill ... hmmm), and the title implies the Small Town. Naturally, Burton's character is torn between returning to the big city as a loveless spinster with a mopey brat and staying in Swampville with her childhood sweetheart and maybe a new career as gator bait. The kicker: "Only a Christmas miracle orchestrated by Papa Noel (Ed Asner!) can steer her heart to her true home." Gator bait it is, then.
A Snow Globe Christmas
Saturday, Dec. 14 (Lifetime)
Holiday Movie: Even more bizarre, A Snow Globe Christmas goes Merry Meta on your ass with Alicia Witt as a single, workaholic TV exec who produces holiday movies—but doesn't believe any of it, because she's so cynical and big-city-like! When she gets all emotional (you know, like women do) and tries to smash her favorite childhood snow globe, it somehow knocks her on the head and unconscious (another recurring theme), and she wakes up in the perfect small town portrayed inside the snow globe! With a husband (Scrubs' Donald Faison), two kids and a guardian angel! Mind! Blown! Of course she's not going to go back to her manless/childless TV-exec life, because "she slowly realizes the importance of family and begins to find happiness." But, did her replacement at the network ... produce this movie? Whoa.
Sunday, Dec. 15 (Hallmark)
Holiday Movie: Now try and follow this one: Luckless-in-love single mom Ryan (Tricia Helfer) has decided the only man in her life will be her young son (awww!)—until her equally lonely brother Owen (country singer/definitely not actor J.T. Hodges) arranges a temporary house-swap with New York City ad man Sean (Mark Lutz), himself recently dumped. As Ryan and Sean hit it off down in North Carolina, Owen's becoming smitten with Sean's assistant (Cristina Rosato) up in NYC. How the hell does the season figure into all of this? The home-swap is over ... on Christmas! Relationship choices will be made, and Hodges will squeeze in at least a couple of holiday songs at convenient neighborhood open-mics.
Psych: The Musical
Sunday, Dec. 15 (USA)
Holiday Special: Not so much Christmas-y as just, well, musical: Psych showrunner Steve Franks has promised/threatened an all-singing episode for years, and finally delivers with this case of Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill) tracking down an insane playwright (Anthony Rapp) who once burned down a theater with a critic locked inside—nice move—which leads to another consultation with adorable serial killer Yang (Ally Sheedy). The fans, who won't get any more new episodes until February of next year, will looove Psych: The Musical; haters will be bleeding from the eyes and ears.
Thursday, Dec. 19 (Adult Swim)
Holiday Special: In "Wreck the Malls," the NTSF:SD:SUV unit races against time to extract a terrorist Santa Claus from the San Diego mall; a weaponless Trent (Paul Scheer) is trapped inside with his kids; and even more pressing, the team desperately needs to finish their Christmas shopping. This truly is the time to give "the gift of corpses, and verbal slights to all other religions," and The New York Times has declared this holly-jolly-shooty NTSF yuletide offering as "particularly unpleasant," sight unseen. Christmas really has come early!