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The Globe and Mail

TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: December 13

A select viewing guide for Thursday December 13

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COMEDY Up All Night (NBC, 8 p.m.) Midway into its second season, this sitcom starring TV vets Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as first-time parents has not exactly set the ratings world on fire, but NBC is sticking with the show for the foreseeable future. In tonight’s holiday-themed episode, Regan (Applegate) and Chris (Arnett) venturing outside the Big Apple to give baby daughter Amy her first look at real snow. Elsewhere, Regan’s ex-boss, the deposed daytime talk diva Ava (Maya Rudolph) finds it difficult to keep her shopping addiction in check for her first budget-conscious Christmas.

NBC

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COMEDY Yes, Minister (Vision, 8:30 p.m.) When it comes to taking jabs at the political process, British television remains peerless. Originally broadcast on the BBC from 1980 to 1984, this cracking good series takes place in the office of a cabinet minister in the British government’s fictional department for administrative affairs. The right honourable Jim Hacker (Paul Eddington) is a decent chap struggling to push through legislation amid the layers and layers of red tape, and with not much help from his officious but very clever permanent secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby (Nigel Hawthorne). Tonight’s episode has a seasonal theme and finds Sir Humphrey about to tender his resignation for a much loftier position, while Hacker sets his sights on the highest post in the land: prime minister.

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DRAMA Beauty and the Beast (Showcase, 9 p.m.) Meet the new odd couple of American television, Launched last month on The CW–which hasn’t had a hit show since Gossip Girl–this fanciful drama was inspired by the eighties series of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the centuries-old 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 brooding medic named Vincent (Jay Ryan). Naturally, Cat and Vincent are a now kickass crime-solving duo and in tonight’s new episode she uncovers the truth about a murderous mutant prowling the streets of New York. Guess who swoops in to save her at the last minute?

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DRAMA Flashpoint (CTV, 10 p.m.) Arrividerci, Flashpoint. The most successful, and probably the best, crime drama in Canadian TV history wraps tonight after five seasons and 75 episodes. One of very few homegrown shows to become a hit in both Canada and the U.S. (the first two seasons aired on CBS before moving to the ION cable channel), Flashpoint kept viewers engaged with white-knuckle stories of heroic cops dealing with life-threatening situations; each episode really was like its own little movie. In tonight’s second half of the two-part closer, Strategic Response Unit leader Parker (Enrico Colantoni) and his team deal with a mad bomber who has planted bombs all over the city. And judging from the advance clips, at least one SRU member will not walk away from this crisis.

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MOVIE Mermaids (TLN, 10 p.m.) Remember the days when Cher was considered an A-list movie star? Released three years following her best-actress Oscar win for Moonstruck, this 1990 romantic comedy takes place in the early sixties and casts the husky-voiced diva as Rachel Flax, a free-spirited single mom who relocates to a small Massachusetts town with her two daughters, Charlotte (Winona Ryder) and Kate (Christina Ricci) in tow. While Kate focuses on swimming, her big sister falls for an older Catholic boy and mom dates a local shop-owner named Lou (Bob Hoskins). The perfect movie for a girl’s-night-in party.

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