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A select viewing guide for Thursday November 22
FAMILY Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (Global, 8 p.m.) Good grief, is Christmas here already? While American television eases into the holidays with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (ABC, 8 p.m.), Global dives headlong into the festive season with this animated chestnut first broadcast in 1962. In this take on Charles Dickens’ tale, the myopic cartoon figure Mr. Magoo (voiced by Jim Backus) plays a famous stage star lured back to the stage to assume the role of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. The familiar storyline is spruced up by several original songs by renowned Broadway composer Jules Styne. Viewed 50 years later, the show’s minimalist animation style actually looks pretty cool.
DRAMA Beauty & the Beast (Showcase, 9 p.m.) Never underestimate the public appeal for big furry animals. Launched last month, this new drama isinspired by the eighties series of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the fanciful fairy tale, has been pulling healthy U.S. ratings and recently received a full-season renewal from The CW. This time around, ex-Smallville regular Kristin Kreuk plays Catherine “Cat” Chandler, a NYPD cop haunted by the image of witnessing her mother’s murder years before. That same tragic night, Cat’s life was saved by a swift-moving beastie, which turns out to be a handsome medic named Vincent (Jay Ryan). And now, Cat and Vincent are a kickass crime-solving duo, which certainly comes in handy in tonight’s new episode as they try to find the killer of a prima ballerina. Like The CW’s Arrow, it’s the TV version of a comic book.
DOCUMENTARY Michael Jackson: Bad 25 (ABC, 9:30 p.m.) Don’t expect any tawdry details about Michael Jackson in this documentary that recently enjoyed a brief theatrical run. Produced and directed by Spike Lee, the film is a glowing homage marking the 25 th anniversary of the deceased pop star’s 1987 album Bad, which closed off the astrounding record-selling trifecta that Jackson began with Off the Wall and Thriller. Lee several people involved in making the album, including Stevie Wonder, who performed the duet Just Good Friends with Jackson, and Martin Scorsese, who directed the Bad music video. And there’s fresh perspective on the King of Pop’s musical legacy from the likes of Mariah Carey, Cee Lo Green and Jackson’s seeming heir: Canada’s own Justin Bieber.
REALITY Along for the Bride (TLC, 10 p.m.) Any good bride is only as good as her bridesmaids. Debuting tonight, this new series provides an unscripted video diary of brides and their bridesmaids in the days leading up to the big event. The format follows them picking out dresses, selecting the menu and venue for the reception and even the bachelorette party. And just like real life, there are hitches leading up to the nuptials. In tonight’s opener, a bride named Aki has been planning her wedding for the past 16 months with no help whatsoever from her maid of honor, Kelly. When Kelly discovers Kelly may in fact be in jail, the bridesmaid rotation is quickly rejigged.
MOVIE Columbo: Murder by the Book (Vision, midnight) The late Peter Falk’s name will forever be associated with the TV sleuth Columbo. All told, Falk began playing the character on a semi-weekly basis in 1968 and was still wearing the same trench coast in TV movies as late as 2003. First broadcast in 1971, this TV movie–directed by Steven Spielberg, no less–stars Jack Cassidy as the pompous Ken Franklin, a man made very rich from writing mystery novels. When Franklin commits murder himself, he makes the double mistake of having someone witness the crime and using a modus operandi lifted from one of his novels. Enter the rumpled gumshoe.