Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, December 23. All times are Eastern.
Family Guy/American Dad (Fox, 9 p.m./9:30 p.m.): Violating the Christ-Claus-Silverman Accords of 1971, Fox airs a new Family Guy and a new American Dad two days before Christmas—certainly the closest to the holiday a network has aired new episodes of an ongoing series in recent memory. It makes more sense for the Family Guy installment, which is the “Peter tells the story of the Nativity” half hour that was preempted by a presidential address last Sunday. American Dad has pocketed its Christmas episode, however, opting instead to fill viewers in on Francine’s past as “Baby Franny,” a headline-grabbing toddler who plunged down a well, Baby Jessica (or Timmy O’Toole) style. Why save the Smith’s tangle with Krampus for a later date? Only Jesus, Santa, legendary TV exec Fred Silverman, and our own Kevin McFarland know for sure.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
The Nativity (BBC America, 1 p.m.): A version of Christ’s birth told from a perspective that’s not Seth MacFarlane’s—though Peter “Malcolm Tucker” Capaldi plays Balthazar, so Family Guy might not have the most foul-mouthed Magi on TV today.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Recognizing that some viewers may have missed the initial airing of “To Cur With Love” because shhh, the president’s trying to figure out why Americans can’t fucking stop shooting each other with assault weapons, Fox graciously brings this encore presentation to the pre-Christmas potluck.
Epic (Destination America, 10 p.m.): When What’s On Tonight? hears the word “epic,” our thoughts typically turn to inches-thick fantasy novels and the a cappella bridge of Muse’s “Knights Of Cydonia”—log cabins, however, don’t typically enter the conversation. But if the first episode of this show on lavish home furnishings is devoted to the type of house that built Abraham Lincoln, we suppose we can make room for log cabins—somewhere between the ski chase in The Spy Who Loved Me and this photo—in our personal definition of epic.
Lost Treasure Hunters (Animal Planet, 10 p.m.): There are so many ways a show with this title can go: Is it about the hunt for lost treasure? Or are the treasure hunters themselves lost? Perhaps they’re going after salvaged props from Lost. (One man’s trash is another man’s collectable Dharma Beer can.) Another theory: It’s “lost” because Animal Planet unceremoniously dumped the series in a Yuletide snowbank.
The Sound Of Music (ABC, 7 p.m.): The film adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s final collaborative effort has become a December tradition for ABC—presumably because the uncut version eats up four hours of airtime no one at the network wants to think about.
American Psycho (MoreMAX, 7:15 p.m.): Memo to the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre: Hyperviolent satire of dehumanizing 1980s greed doesn’t kill people—but the greed of the gun lobby (and asinine deflections of its culpability for widespread gun violence) just might.
Sunday Night Football: 49ers at Seahawks (NBC, 8:20 p.m.): Seattle is undefeated at home this year, but the Seahawks trail the 49ers in the NFC West standings because they haven’t been as dominant outside the confines of CenturyLink Field. Another home win here could have a big effect on the NFC conference race.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Fringe: As the series heads toward its conclusion, Noel Murray is heartened to see it’s taking the sci-fi path least traveled, avoiding the need to unravel a convoluted web of mysteries. One lingering enigma: How is it that Mystery Science Theater 3000 alum Bill Corbett has yet to be tapped to play an Observer?