Each week, Torontoist examines the upcoming TV listings and makes note of programs that are entertaining, informative, and of quality. Or, alternately, none of those. The result: Televisualist.
It’s time for the annual viewing of A Christmas Story, which, unlike many holiday viewing traditions, remains entertaining and hasn’t grown worse with age. (Well, except for the waiters singing carols in the Chinese restaurant. That’s pretty tasteless now.) (City, 8 p.m.)
The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank is a fun docu-special about the Neuschwanstein and the other fabulous castles that King Ludwig II bankrupted his royal family to build (thus making him one of the most useful monarchs of all time). (TVO, 8 p.m.)
If you can’t wait for the World Junior Hockey Championships to begin, tonight you can watch a prep match between Team Canada (yay!) and Switzerland (BOO! NAZI GOLD HOARDERS!). (TSN, 7 p.m.)
In case you needed to remember all the ways that 2014 was really a terrible year, ABC brings you The Year: 2014. Come for the social injustice, stay for the environmental disasters (and don’t forget that we had another Transformers movie this past year). (9 p.m.)
Annual Christmas movie viewings abound! You can catch Scrooge, with Alastair Sim’s still-definitive Ebenezer (CBC, 8 p.m.); or maybe instead you’ll want to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, which is always a fine choice for holiday viewing (City, 8 p.m.); or maybe you’re in the mood for some tunes with White Christmas (CHCH, 8 p.m.); or maybe you’d like to see Scrooged (Spark, 8 p.m.).
Or, if Christmas classics are not your thing, maybe instead you’ll want to watch The 12 Dogs of Christmas, which is a Christmas movie set in a 1930s town that has banned dogs (boo!) and it is up to a spunky youngster to save the dogs (yay!) and utter many lines of dialogue, such as “I’m going to save the dogs” and “Gimme that dog!” while the baddies say things like “Dogs aren’t allowed!” and “Those dogs are mine!” Rest assured, these are all direct quotes. (YTV, 9 p.m.)
IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAS so why are you still in bed when you can watch The Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration, wherein all your beloved Disney intellectual properties parade to celebrate Christmas in Disney World? We bet you don’t have a good answer for that one! (CBC, 10 a.m.)
Rogers 10 has thankfully brought back the televised fireplace log if you don’t want to see Disney characters wavings at kids in Florida on Christmas morning. (10 a.m.)
The Queen’s annual Christmas message is, in fact, still airing (eight whole minutes this year!), and this year it is pre-recorded. A lot of British gossipmongers are buzzing that perhaps Her Majesty plans to abdicate the throne, but to that we say: firstly, the Queen wouldn’t be so silly as to pre-record her own abdication message as it might get leaked, and secondly, the Queen is 88 years old, and maybe she just wants to sleep in on Christmas morning. Also, we doubt the Queen wants Camilla Parker-Bowles to become Queen, on account of Ms. Parker-Bowles being a dirty commoner. (CBC, noon)
TSN airs Christmas Day basketball all day, as it is a fine sporting tradition now: first you can watch the Washington Wizards beat the hell out of the hapless New York Knicks (noon), then watch the defending champion San Antonio Spurs take on the hungry and tough Oklahoma City Thunder (2:30 p.m.), then watch LeBron James go up against his former championship team as the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Miami Heat (5 p.m.), then witness Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers most likely get destroyed by the Chicago Bulls (8 p.m.), and finally the Golden State Warriors and the L.A. Clippers, two of the best teams in the league who not coincidentally hate each other, finish off the day (10:30 p.m.). And if you’re wondering where the Raptors are playing, the answer is “against other teams who are not important enough in the United States to merit Christmas Day games.”
At some point Love Actually became a holiday tradition, as did debating the merits of Love Actually (we come down on the pro side of the debate, but you can assemble your family and have a healthy argument about whether it is a good movie or a devil movie—hey, it beats talking politics). (W, 9 p.m.)
And of course, there is always the annual Doctor Who Christmas special, which this year features the Doctor teaming up with Santa Claus. Really. (Space, 9 p.m.)
In the post-Christmas haze, you can enjoy the 2014 Royal Variety Performance, wherein Bette Midler, Shirley Bassey, Ellie Goulding, One Direction, and many, many others perform for Wills and Kate, as commoners do for the royals in England. (CBC, 8 p.m.)
Spark airs Despicable Me, which is Perfectly Decent Sitting-Down-to-Watch-a-Movie Post-Christmas fare. (Sunday, 8 p.m.)