Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, December 21, and Saturday, December 22. All times are Eastern.
Fringe (Fox, 9 p.m., Friday): It’s rare for broadcast networks to air new episodes of their shows this close to Christmas, barring extraordinary circumstances, but Fox evidently just doesn’t care about Fringe anymore, which makes it much, much easier to make a top pick this pre-holiday weekend. So finish up all your last-minute shopping, then kick back to watch as Fringe Division attempts to save the world from the Observers all over again. Noel Murray will bring the eggnog and fruitcake if you guys bring the peppermint schnapps. (What? Saving the world requires peppermint schnapps!)
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The X-Files (1 p.m., Saturday): Zack Handlen gets the unenviable task of shutting out the lights on TV Club Classic for the year with two X-Files episodes you may or may not remember, including the return of the villainous Donnie Pfaster. Zack also gets to reopen TV Club Classic on January 3. See you then!
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Evacuate Earth (National Geographic, 8 p.m., Friday): Well, it just crossed over to Dec. 21, 2012, here on the West Coast, so it looks like the end of the world hasn’t come. But in case we’re forced to eat those words, check out this special on how we might evacuate the planet if everything turned to shit.
Back To The Beginning With Christine Amanpour (ABC, 9 p.m., Friday): The four or five days before Christmas and Easter weekend are pretty much the two times of the year the network news divisions can haul out their religious reports, so here’s a thing about the roots of Bible stories or something.
Christmas With The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Jane Seymour and Nathan Gunn join the famed choir for a celebration of the season, which we can only assume will conclude with a recreation of our favorite Christmas episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. You know the one.
Whisker Wars (IFC, 10 p.m. Friday): What could be more holiday-y or more American than celebrating the gift of being able to grow facial hair? We certainly don’t know, and you can watch tonight’s installment if you want to feel patriotic and festive all at once. It’s a warm, good feeling, everybody!
Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (NBC, 8 p.m., Saturday): The first ever animated Christmas special returns to the broadcast networks for the first time since the 1980s, and if you’ve read our 13 Days Of Christmas piece on it, then you know to expect something with good songs and a puzzling storytelling structure.
The Year In Pup Culture (Animal Planet, 9 p.m., Saturday): If, for some reason, the thought of reliving 2012 via the barrage of year-in-review specials that are about to arrive fills you with a nameless dread, well, why not watch this one, which at least cloaks all of what happened in the guise of puppies?
Miracle On 34th Street (AMC, 8 p.m., Friday): We were going to say something about how great this movie is, but then we realized we hadn’t checked to see if it was the mid-90s remake, which is nowhere near great. Which one is it? We’re not going to look it up, so you may as well tune in and find out!
The Ref (Flix, 8 p.m., Friday): Are you just about done with all of this Christmas bullshit? Then watch one of the funniest, nastiest Christmas movies ever made, as well as one of the best. Denis Leary plays a thief who takes a bickering couple—Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey—hostage. It’s as fun as it sounds.
The Quiet American (Sundance, 8 p.m., Saturday): Michael Caine was Oscar-nominated for his work in this compelling adaptation of the Graham Greene novel of the same name. Directed by Phillip Noyce, the film takes viewers into the world of Vietnam, before the war that came to define it broke out.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl: Ball State vs. Central Florida (ESPN, 7:30 p.m., Friday): It’s time for college bowl season, which means we’re going to have a week or so of mostly meaningless games before getting to the stuff people care about. Like this game. What the hell’s a Beef ‘O’ Brady anyway? We want answers!
Monday Night Football: Falcons at Lions (ESPN, 8:30 p.m., Saturday): Ha! ESPN thinks it can pull a fast one on us and put Monday Night Football on Saturday night, but still act like it’s the same thing. You can’t just do stuff like that to us, ESPN! We have college degrees! We know the days of the week!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Thursday): Is “The Visitor” the best episode Deep Space Nine ever produced? We can’t say for certain, but we’re willing to bet it’s in the top five. Zack Handlen takes a look back at this moving depiction of what happens to the Siskos after a horrible accident. It’s great stuff.