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TV offers many merry marathons for holidays

This year marks the Christmas Story marathon’s 17th run.


This year marks the Christmas Story marathon’s 17th run.



If ever a day was made for lying around in your jammies binge-watching your favorite shows, it’s Christmas. The pressure is over, the stores are closed and it’s time to catch up with or revisit some TV gems.

A Christmas Story (Dec. 24-25), TBS Did you realize that Bob Clark, the director of this totally charming and lovable Christmas film, is also the director of the raunchy Porky’s? The cult classic comedy set in the 1940s about the family life of young Ralphie as Christmas approaches has a loose plot that makes it easy during TBS’ annual marathon to check in at any point, watch a scene or two that you like, then go back to getting the pies out of the oven. This year marks the marathon’s 17th run and it remains one of the most popular bits of holiday programming events on cable, drawing more than 50 million viewers at some point in the marathon.

Breaking Bad (Dec. 27-30), AMC What? You didn’t get the $400 collector’s edition package for Christmas? Invest some time instead as AMC airs all five seasons of the masterful Emmy-winning drama, the last time you can see the whole series for free. Tread lightly, Bad fans. Starting at noon each day, the episodes will run Dec. 27-30.

The Walking Dead (Dec. 31-Jan. 2), AMC And you thought you had nothing to do New Year’s Eve. Spend it with zombies. The two-day Walking Dead marathon starts at 9 a.m. Dec. 31. Episodes will air back-to-back until 5 a.m. on Jan. 2. New episodes of The Walking Dead return on Feb. 9 .

Happy Endings (Dec. 31-Jan. 1), VH1 The lovable comedy (canceled by ABC this year) will be back on the air, first with a marathon of all 57 episodes starting on New Year’s Eve at 8 p.m. and running all the way through New Year’s Day. Reruns of the show will then settle into their new time slot on Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m.  starting Jan. 8 on VH1.

Elf (Dec. 24-25), Starz You cotton-headed ninny muggins can’t get enough of Buddy the elf, so the Starz channel will show 24 hours of Elf starting at noon Dec. 24.

Bad Santa (Dec. 24-25 noon to 6 a.m.), Starz Comedy For those who landed on the naughty list this year, Starz Comedy is showing 24 hours of Bad Santa, the oh-so-wrong comedy starring Billy Bob Thornton. It starts at noon Dec. 24.

Doctor Who, (Dec. 24-25) BBC America The Doctor Who Christmas special will premiere in the U.S. with the final regular appearance of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and the first regular appearance of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor following his brief cameo in “The Day of the Doctor.” It premieres at 9 p.m. on Christmas Day, but not before an all-day marathon of Season 6 episodes beginning at 4 a.m. Christmas Eve, followed by Doctor Who Christmas specials, including a Doctor version of A Christmas Carol and “The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe,” a Narnia-themed special that is a fan favorite. Then it’s Season 7 episodes, “Day of the Doctor” at 6 p.m. on Christmas Day followed by a fond farewell to Matt Smith in an hour-long retrospective documentary featuring highlights with the man himself, his castmates, writers, producers and celebrity Whovians. Finally, the Christmas special airs at 9 p.m., called The Time of the Doctor, in which the Doctor must sacrifice everything to save a town called Christmas from the Time Lord’s greatest enemies.

IFC Vacation (Dec. 24-25) It’s an “X-mas Vacation” marathon starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday  through 8 p.m. on Christmas Day, with Johnson Family Vacation, National Lampoon’s Vacation, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, Vegas Vacation and a Malcolm on the Middle marathon.

Golden Girls, LOGO (Dec. 25) Gather around the cheesecake for a marathon of Golden Girls starting at 10:30 a.m. Christmas Day through 6:30 p.m. the next day.

Brain Games, Nat Geo (Dec. 25) The brain is one of our most complex organs, and this highly rated show on National Geographic Channel aims to make synapses and dendrites more accessible through a series of fun interactive experiments. Catch up with an all-day marathon  starting at 9 a.m. Christmas Day through 2 a.m. the next day.

Roots, BET (Dec. 24-25) The original miniseries gets a full run from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m Tuesday  on BET. Then on Christmas day it’s Alex Haley’s Queen, the 1993 miniseries series staring Haley Berry as Haley’s paternal grandmother, from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Man v. Food, Travel Channel (Dec. 25) After you’ve stuffed yourself on Christmas candy, you can relive the horrific dining experiences of Adam Richman from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Christmas Day.

Glee, Oxygen (Dec. 25) A treat starting at 7 a.m. of Glee specials, including “A Very Glee Christmas” and “Glee, Actually” followed by a series of beloved chick flicks starting with When Harry Met Sally and Splash.

Oy! to the World: A Mel Brooks Christmas Marathon (Dec. 25, 6 a.m.) Sundance Channel Spend the day with the funny man, who’ll share insights about making his movies, starting with both the 2005 and 1968 versions of The Producers (6 a.m., 9 a.m., respectively), as well as Young Frankenstein (3:30 p.m.)

[Last modified: Friday, December 20, 2013 1:47pm]


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