Christmas on the Bayou (Saturday, Dec. 14, Lifetime), holiday movie: Blowing away Hallmark and ABC Family in sheer Original Holiday Movie output this season, Lifetime features Christmas cheese-doodles that almost always follow the same template: Workaholic urban Career Woman/Single Mom with a Precocious/Sullen Son retreats to Small Town USA to find a flannel-shirted Mr. Right and/or lost Christmas Spirit. In Christmas On the Bayou, she’s Hilarie Burton (White Collar, One Tree Hill), and he’s Tyler Hilton (also One Tree Hill … hmmm), and the title implies the Small Town. Naturally, Burton’s character is torn between returning to the big city as a loveless spinster with a mopey brat, and staying in Swampville with her childhood sweetheart and maybe a new career as gator bait. The kicker: “Only a Christmas miracle orchestrated by Papa Noel (Ed Asner!) can steer her heart to her true home.” Gator bait it is, then.
A Snow Globe Christmas (Saturday, Dec. 14, Lifetime), holiday movie: Even more bizarre, A Snow Globe Christmas goes Merry Meta on your ass with Alicia Witt as a single, workaholic TV exec who produces holiday movies—but doesn’t believe any of it, because she’s so cynical and big-city-like! When she gets all emotional (you know, like women do) and tries to smash her favorite childhood snow globe, it somehow knocks her unconscious (another recurring theme), and she wakes up in the perfect small town portrayed inside the snow globe! With a husband (Scrubs’ Donald Faison), two kids and a guardian angel! Mind! Blown! Of course she’s not going to go back to her manless/childless TV-exec life, because “she slowly realizes the importance of family and begins to find happiness.” But, did her replacement at the network … produce this movie? Whoa.
Finding Christmas (Sunday, Dec. 15, Hallmark), holiday movie: Now try and follow this one: Luckless-in-love single mom Ryan (Tricia Helfer) has decided the only man in her life will be her young son (awww!)—until her equally lonely brother Owen (country-singer/definitely-not-actor J.T. Hodges) arranges a temporary house-swap with New York City ad man Sean (Mark Lutz), himself recently dumped. As Ryan and Sean hit it off down in North Carolina, Owen’s becoming smitten with Sean’s assistant (Cristina Rosato) up in NYC. How the hell does the season figure into all of this? The home-swap is due to end … on Christmas! Relationship choices will be made, and Hodges will squeeze in at least a couple of holiday songs at convenient neighborhood open-mics.
Psych: The Musical (Sunday, Dec. 15, USA), holiday special: This is not so much Christmas-y as just, well, musical. Psych showrunner Steve Franks has promised/threatened an all-singing episode for years, and finally delivers with this case of Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dulé Hill) tracking down an insane playwright (Anthony Rapp) who once burned down a theater with a critic locked inside—nice move—which leads to another consultation with adorable serial killer Yang (Ally Sheedy). Fans, who won’t get any more new episodes until February of next year, will looove Psych: The Musical; haters will be bleeding from the eyes and ears.
NTSF:SD:SUV (Thursday, Dec. 19, Adult Swim), holiday special: In “Wreck the Malls,” the NTSF:SD:SUV unit races against time to extract a terrorist Santa Claus from the San Diego mall; a weaponless Trent (Paul Scheer) is trapped inside with his kids; and even more pressing, the team desperately needs to finish their Christmas shopping. This truly is the time to give “the gift of corpses, and verbal slights to all other religions,” and The New York Times has declared this holly-jolly-shooty NTSF yuletide offering as “particularly unpleasant,” sight unseen. Christmas really has come early!
DVD ROUNDUP FOR DEC. 17!
When witness protection relocates a mob family (including Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer) from Brooklyn to France, wackiness, violence and the usual wise-guy caricatures ensue. Directed by master of comedy … Luc Besson? (20th Century Fox)
Ghost Team One
Two roommates (Carlos Santos and J.R. Villarreal) and a random girl (Fernanda Romero) become ghost hunters to flush out a supernatural presence in their apartment, which turns out to be a really, really horny ghost. Boo jobs for everybody! (Paramount)
Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) take on the Supervillain Formerly Known as Red Mist, The Motherfucker (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), with no help from Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). (Universal)
The Lone Ranger
The folks who brought you Pirates of the Caribbean drop a bigger pantload than all three sequels combined: The Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) and Tonto (Johnny Depp) fight injustice in the Old West! It’s a “runaway train” of meh! (Disney)
Shameless: Season 3
In the third season of the best show you should be watching harder, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) fights for custody of her siblings; Frank (William H. Macy) becomes a gay-rights hero (?); and everybody has sex with everybody. Good times. (Warner Bros.)
More New DVD Releases (Dec. 17)
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Alien Uprising, Barracuda, Burn Notice: The Complete Series, Contest, Devil’s Pass, Elysium, Family Guy: Vol. 12, Justified: Season 4, Line of Duty, Mischief Night, Psych: The Musical, The Secret Village, The Sound of Music Live!