On TV this week
A Charlie Brown Christmas, 8 p.m., ABC Charles Schulz, who got rich off the mass commercialization of his own creation, has been reminding us the holiday is about people and not things since 1965. In this perennial special, the Peanuts gang take us back to a simpler time, when it seemed quaint for kids to put on a Christmas pageant with no adult supervision, and no one had fistfights over $40 Blu-ray players on Thanksgiving afternoon.
It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, 8 p.m., CW Joan Cusack wants to tear down the Muppet Theater and build a nightclub. Silly bankers; With all those pigs and frogs and bears, all you need to do is call codes enforcement or the health department, and they'll do it for you.
CMA Country Christmas, 9 p.m., ABC What's Christmas without Darius Rucker singing a song? The Blowfish ask themselves that every year.
The Battle of amfAR, 9 p.m., HBO A documentary about how Elizabeth Taylor and Dr. Mathilde Krim joined forces to create the American Foundation for AIDS Research out of two different organizations dealing with the disease. The title may have given away the ending.
Supernatural, 9 p.m., CW Castiel is kidnapped and tortured while helping Sam and Dean investigate an angel crime. Great, now the brothers have to deal with that, too. Thanks a lot, Castiel.
Sons of Anarchy, 10 p.m., FX Jax gets some news that's going to change his entire life. That's right, he's not going to be in Fifty Shades of Grey.
SEASON PREMIERE What Would You Do?, 10 p.m., ABC John Quinones hosts another round of recording people without their permission first, thereby exposing them for the dishonest, misogynist racists they all are. Just once it would be nice if one of their interview subjects admitted it on camera.
Marshal Law: Texas, 10 p.m., TNT A woman is stabbed over a taco. It wasn't at a Walmart on Gray Thursday, was it?
Christmas in Rockefeller Center, 8 p.m., NBC We know what the peacock will be wishing ends up under the tree: A few successful TV series to help them out of the ratings cellar.
SERIES PREMIERE State of Play, 9 p.m., HBO A discussion of why some parents obsess over their children's sports performance. It probably has nothing at all to do with seeking surrogate glory to compensate for years of frustration and disappointment at the realities of adult life.
Saturday Night Live, 9 p.m., NBC The Thanksgiving special was one day before the holiday last week, but this Christmas show is scheduled waaaay in advance. That way they can put off finding some replacement shows just one more week.
SERIES PREMIERE Mob City, 9 p.m., TNT A crime drama about the LAPD battling organized crime in the 1940s, with Ed Burns as Bugsy Siegel and Jeremy Luke as Mickey Cohen. And oh hey, look, Jon Bernthal is here, too. It's good to see zombie Shane from The Walking Dead is still shambling around somewhere.
SERIES PREMIERE Killer Contact, 10 p.m., SyFy The network doesn't have enough ghost shows, so this one is about paranormal investigators trying to solve cases about long-dead killers. Jack the Ripper we can understand, but they'll have to provide some background about Mayan king Lord Smoking Shell.
SERIES PREMIERE Kirstie, 10 p.m., TV Land Kirstie Alley stars as a Broadway star reunited with the son she put up for adoption years ago. Rhea Perlman is her assistant, but the real news is that we're going to find out if the world is ready to like Michael Richards again.
The Sound of Music Live!, 8 p.m., NBC Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer will be fending off Nazis live on your picture box tonight. Tune in just to see if all that rehearsal time was worth it.
Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor, 8 p.m., Showtime Badly injured combat vets work with comedians like Zach Galifianakis, Lewis Black, Bob Saget and B.J. Novak to make stand-up routines about their time in the service. We really tried to think of something funny to say without sounding crass, but we couldn't. We'll leave the jokes to the veterans.
SERIES PREMIERE Courtney Loves Dallas, 10 p.m., Bravo Courtney Kerr from Most Eligible Dallas gets her own show. She quits her job to write a fashion blog in the first episode. Oh, right, and star in her own reality show.
SERIES PREMIERE Come Dine With Me, 10 p.m., Lifetime An American version of the British import about five people taking turns hosting each other for dinner parties, then score how they think everyone did. That would be a tough one if you're in a group of people you really don't like all that much.
Frosty the Snowman, 8 p.m., CBS I grew up in Nebraska, where the idea of a snowman coming to life thanks to a magical hat made perfect sense to a 6-year-old used to snow days. I've always wondered how Floridian children felt about it, though. Between the snow, the hat and narrator Jimmy Durante, it must have been very confusing.
Yes, Virginia, 8:30 p.m., CBS An 8-year-old girl writes to a newspaper after she hears Santa Claus doesn't exist. Don't worry, he's as real as Black Friday newspaper advertising allows him to be.
SERIES FINALE Time of Death, 9 p.m., Showtime The show about people at the end of their lives comes to the end of its own. We hope you've prepared yourself.
The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! — Countdown to Music's Biggest Night, 10 p.m., CBS LL Cool J hosting this nominations announcement concert is as reliable as saccharine holiday specials and pre-empted fall series. We can only pray that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will again remind us they're gonna put their hands up like the ceiling can't hold them, whatever the heck that means.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org