Hockey Night in Canada: Montreal Canadiens 100th Anniversary Ceremony
CBC, 6:30 p.m.
Were you aware there is a new Montreal Canadiens' version of Monopoly? There's also a Canadiens stamp available from Canada Post. Like this special, the commemorative items are connected to the centennial of the venerable hockey franchise, which has more Stanley Cup wins than any team in NHL history. Tonight's broadcast from the Bell Centre marks the 100th anniversary of the team's first game. The live broadcast will bring the return of several retired Habs legends for the on-ice ceremony.
Dreams Come True: A Celebration of Disney Animation
ABC, 8 p.m.
This special reflects on 75 years of animation from the Disney studio. Hosted by Ugly Betty's Vanessa Williams, the hour-long show explores the inspiration behind Walt Disney's most iconic cartoon figures, including Mickey Mouse, Snow White and Pinocchio. Childhood memories of watching the characters are culled from Miley Cyrus, Whoopi Goldberg, Elton John, Sigourney Weaver and Dick Van Dyke, who danced with cartoon penguins in Mary Poppins.
CBS, CTV, 9 p.m.
Medium jumped to CBS following five seasons on NBC and has been pulling in solid ratings on Friday nights. Tonight, soccer-mom psychic Allison (Patricia Arquette) has disturbing visions of a massive bioterrorist attack, which edges closer toward reality once samples of a deadly viral disease go missing. DRAMA
Bravo!, 10 p.m.
Currently in its fourth campaign, Dexter's sophomore season introduced the character of Lila (Jaime Murray) - a recovering drug addict and arsonist who becomes sponsor to nice-guy serial killer Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) - and Keith Carradine as the FBI special agent airlifted into the Miami homicide police division. In tonight's rebroadcast, Dex learns one of the men who murdered his mother is still alive, while the manipulative Lila urges him to seek closure.
Anne of Green Gables:
A New Beginning
CTV, 8 p.m.
From 2008, this TV-movie takes Lucy Maud Montgomery's character of Anne Shirley into previously uncharted territory. Featuring a plotline not covered in the books, the story concerns a middle-aged Anne (Barbara Hershey) in the years following the Second World War. The death of her physician husband overseas has left her grieving. A long-buried secret has Anne flashing back to her troubled years before she arrived as an orphan at Green Gables.
Kidnapped for 18 Years: The Jaycee Lee Dugard Story
TLC, 8 p.m.
Chilling and all too real, this special retells a story torn from the headlines. Many viewers will likely be familiar with one of the most infamous kidnapping cases in recent memory. Jaycee Lee Dugard was only 11 years old when abducted by strangers while waiting for her school bus. The child was held by kidnapper Phillip Craig Garrido for 18 years before she was found by police last August. The program relives the young woman's terrible years in captivity.
CBC News Network, 10 p.m.
Like it or not, Wal-Mart has forever changed the way people shop. Carrying almost every consumer product under the sun, the international retailer has carved out its niche with competing retailers, and virtually driven the mom-and-pop stores out of business. And Wal-Mart has not scored any points for good business practices. This series of snapshots visits with Chinese-Canadian union activist Ana Liu on her crusade to unionize Canadian Wal-Mart workers, and politico Al Norman, who successfully prevented the building of a Wal-Mart in his Massachusetts hometown.
AMC, 10:30 p.m.
Along with the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life, this 1954 musical ranks among the most beloved holiday films. The story follows song-and-dance men Bob (Bing Crosby) and Phil (Danny Kaye), who hook up with fellow entertainers Betty and Judy (Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen). All four team up to put on a big show at the struggling ski lodge owned by Bob and Phil's old general (Dean Jagger). Crosby and Kaye's rendition of sisters in drag is priceless.
Decked for the Holidays
HGTV, 7 p.m.
This how-to guide is hosted by home decor expert Karen McAloon, with assistance from designers Erinn Valencich and Frank Fontana. The special covers the application of festive adornments inside and outside the house and includes useful tips for hip home entertaining. Hanging mistletoe is so passé.
The Hangman's Graveyard
History, 8 p.m.
Prepare to feel goose bumps while watching this snapshot of dark Toronto history. In September, 2007, a team of archaeologists headed by Dr. Ron Williamson excavated an old burial site located beneath the city's infamous Don Jail. The team stumbled upon the skeletal remains of 15 unlucky men who perished at the end of a noose at the old jail between 1880 and 1932. This program identifies the victims and the crimes that sent each man to the gallows.
Food, 8:30 p.m.
Former Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fixture Ted Allen is a culinary Columbo in this lively series. In each episode, Allen and his assistants conduct elaborate science experiments to answer burning food questions such as: Does chicken soup really prevent a cold? Tonight's show examines the causes of heartburn and offers up remedies. Allen tells us the most effective cure is sitting right in your kitchen cupboard.
An Inconvenient Truth
CBC News Network, 10 p.m.
Winner of the 2007 Oscar for best documentary, this film makes the ominous prediction that Earth is only a decade away from catastrophe on an epic scale. Speaking from a personal perspective, Gore explains the causes and effects of global warming and offers up some sensible solutions. The film indirectly earned Gore the Nobel Peace Prize and restarted his career as the planet's environmental protector.
Pearl Harbor: Who Fired First?
History, 7 p.m.
The unspoken theme of this history documentary appears to be: Who started the fight that launched the U.S. involvement in the Second World War? The program rewinds to events that allegedly took place before the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. According to this report, the duty destroyer USS Ward, on patrol in Hawaiian waters, fired on and sank a midget Japanese submarine. First blood was drawn. Three months later came the day of infamy.
Law & Order: SVU
NBC, 8 and 9 p.m.
The sturdy crime drama airs in back-to-back episodes tonight. First, detectives Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Munch (Richard Belzer) investigate the horrific death of a male teenager set afire. The case somehow connects to a high-school religious sect based on chastity. In the second, singer Hilary Duff plays the young mother of a two-year-old girl who suddenly goes missing.
Denis Leary: Merry F-g Christmas
Comedy, 10 p.m.
Not for the easily offended, this 2005 special is hosted by Denis Leary, who clearly does not enjoy the holiday season. Among other targets, Leary skewers A Charlie Brown Christmas in the animated short titled It's Jihad, Farley Towne. Comedian Charlie Murphy delivers his own unique take on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (Santa snorts coke in this version). And make sure the kids are out of the room for the soft-core porn parody Nuns with Colds Gone Wild.
Food, 11 p.m.
It's a cruel fact of life that most new restaurants fold within a year of opening. The format of this series challenges two restaurateur top guns to fix a flagging eatery in one week. Tonight's show focuses on Sean and Claudine, owners of Natchos Thai Thai in downtown Toronto. While the restaurant is pulling in a sizable lunch crowd, it's empty at night. Chef David Adjey and designer Meredith Heron roll up their sleeves to overhaul the decor and dinner menu.
TCM, 5:45 p.m.
Alfred Hitchcock's final film was not his best work, but still worth a look. Attempting to merge black comedy and crime drama, the story involves a wealthy dowager hiring the psychic Blanche (Barbara Harris) and her lowlife boyfriend Lumley (Bruce Dern) to locate her missing nephew. The only heir turns out to be the psychotic Arthur (William Devane) who kidnaps and kills people with help from his girlfriend Fran (Karen Black). In patented, patient Hitchcock fashion, the four characters try to outwit each other, with all eyeing the old bird's money.
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town
CBC, 8 p.m.
Coming from the producers of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, this holiday chestnut features the identical style of animation, with bigger voice talents. Narrated by a stop-motion version of Fred Astaire as a mailman, the 1970 special tells a rather scattered version of the origins of Santa Claus, voiced by Mickey Rooney. In this account, Santa, aka Kris Kringle, was an abandoned baby raised by toy-makers. He began coming down chimneys once toys were banned in Sombertown. Then he grew a beard. That about covers it.
The Cosby Show: A Look Back
TBS, 9 p.m.
The superstation TBS - which airs The Cosby Show daily - fills two more hours of airtime with this retrospective special. First aired in 2002, the film reconsiders the show's prime-time run from 1984 to 1992 and explores how it changed society perceptions of African-American families. Along with countless clips, The Cos himself is interviewed and there are Cosby Show reflections from Oprah Winfrey, P. Diddy and Adam Sandler. Adam Sandler?
MTV, 10 p.m.
Considering the success of the MTV reality series 16 and Pregnant, this sequel was probably inevitable. The new series catches up with four teen girls - Maci, Amber, Catelynn and Farrah - who are now young mothers. The first season follows the moms dealing with various life issues, including marriage, money and the dwindling chance they'll ever resume their education, while taking care of an infant with little or no help from the child's father. They're kids tending kids.
L.A. Holiday Celebration
PBS, 8 p.m.
America's public broadcaster gets into the festive spirit with highlights from the annual L.A. Country Holiday Celebration that takes place at the Los Angeles Music Center each December. The program includes a breakdance version of The Nutcracker, followed by Japanese drummers, hip-hop dancers and a Latin-Klezmer fusion performance. And to all a good night.
Fox, Global, 9 p.m.
Better sit down, Glee-ophiles. Tonight's episode is the "fall finale," which means no more fresh episodes until the hit musical series returns in the spring. Tonight, the glee club is set to compete in the state sectionals, when Quinn (Dianna Agron) upsets the game plan with a dark secret. Elsewhere, gym coach Sue (Jane Lynch) schemes and Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) decides to follow his heart.
ABC, CITY-TV, 9:30 p.m.
Still holding its own among new fall arrivals, Cougar Town has found TV life after Friends for Courteney Cox. Tonight, her character of oversexed, fortysomething real-estate agent Jules is deeply flattered when a handsome and wealthy businessman (Scott Foley) feigns interest in an overpriced house. But his motive to meet her turns out to be a little creepy.
Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009
ABC, Global, 10 p.m.
Taking a break from The View, Barbara Walters sits down with the past year's biggest newsmakers in her annual interview special. At press time, Walters still had not revealed all 10 names, but confirmed the following participants: American Idol winner Adam Lambert, pop star Lady Gaga, political commentator Glenn Beck, reality-TV mom Kate Gosselin, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford, better known as the wife of the governor who briefly ran off to Argentina with another woman.
Touch of Pink
Bravo!, 4 p.m.
The feature-film debut of writer-director Ian Iqbal Rashid, this 2004 romantic comedy is precocious on all counts. The plotline casts Jimi Mistry as Alim, a gay Ismali-Canadian residing in a trendy London neighbourhood. The young hipster's relationship with boyfriend Giles (Kristen Holden-Reid) is going along swimmingly until the abrupt arrival of Alim's strong-willed mother Nuru (Suleka Mathew), whose plan is to take her son back to Canada where he can marry a nice Muslim girl.
Parks and Recreation
NBC, CITY-TV, 8:30 p.m.
Comedian Louis C.K. makes a guest appearance in tonight's holiday-themed episode of the clever mockumentary sitcom. The veteran stand-up plays a disgraced councilman embroiled in a low-grade sex scandal that has everyone talking in small-town Pawnee, Ind. The witless bureaucrat Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) naturally gets pulled into the muck. Leslie's shiftless superior Ron (Nick Offerman), meanwhile, steps in to cover for her and is shocked to discover she actually does some work every day. Ah, local government.
CBS, CTV, 9 p.m.
A boy's night out turns into another long night of work for the CSI staffers. The trio of Nick (George Eads), Greg (Eric Szmanda) and Hodges (Wallace Langham) take out the lab tech Henry (Jon Wellner) to celebrate his birthday at a biker bar. Between drinks, they stumble over a double homicide right at their feet. And all signs indicate that the killer is still in the room.
CBS, CTV, 10 p.m.
Still riding high in the Thursday-night ratings, this sophomore crime drama is holding its audience by keeping it simple. Tonight, psychic-sleuth Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) and his co-workers are attending a dreary black-tie fundraiser for the CBI (California Bureau of Investigation), when a prominent jeweller is robbed and murdered - at the same event. Once again, Jane proves himself to be the smartest person in the room.