Wednesday, November 28, 2007

shrek christmas

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 at 11:35 am in TV, Charlie McCollum, General.

One of my colleagues was complaining this morning that it's not even December yet but the networks and cable channels are already pouring out the holiday specials. It would be nice to get the Thanksgiving leftovers out of the fridge before we deal with Santas, dancing reindeer and "A Charlie Brown Christmas.'' But in TV world, the traditional decking of the halls seems to start earlier and earlier.

So, last night, we had our first dose of "A Charlie Brown Christmas'' and, frankly, you can never have too many of doses of what may be the best holiday 'toon ever created and one of the most spiritual programs to ever air on network TV. If you missed it, there's a repeat scheduled for Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Tonight, we have something new: "Shrek the Halls'' (8 p.m., ABC), a totally charming bit of whimsy that delves into how Shrek ― initially resistant to holiday cheer ― eventually embraces the spirit of the season. The half-hour special has all the trappings of the hit movies, including the gag-a-minute and culturally aware dialogue and the core cast of Mike Myers as Shrek, Eddie Murphy as Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Fiona and Antonio Banderas as Puss In Boots. The best single moment: Puss In Boots becoming fascinated by the ball at the end of his Santa's hat.

There's not a ton of depth to "Shrek the Halls'' but it is fun.

If you're looking for a little meat on your holiday cartoon, "Shrek'' will be followed by "How the Grinch Stole Christmas'' (8:30 p.m., ABC), the best Christmas special not involving the Peanuts gang. The cartoon ― from the masterful Chuck Jones ― does a superb job of recreating the Dr. Seuss classic and has some wonderful voice work from the late Boris Karloff as the Grinch and the story's narrator.

p.m. (NBC) "Christmas in Rockefeller Center." The New York holiday season gets a big boost Wednesday night with this annual tree-lighting ceremony in Rockefeller Center. Nick Lachey, Al Roker and Ashley Tisdale co-host the coverage, which includes performances by Tisdale, Natasha Bedingfield , Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Sean Kingston and Taylor Swift.

8 (ABC) "Shrek the Halls." It's the first Shrek Christmas special and it's destined to become a classic alongside the Peanuts franchise. Shrek stars in this traditional holiday tale about a guy who doesn't appreciate the spirit of Christmas until situations and people around him prove the point. Cameron Diaz, Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy are just a few of the big-screen film's voice stars who are part of the new special.

8:30 (ABC) "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." ABC follows a new special starring a big green guy with this 1966 Dr. Seuss gem, also starring a green character who comes to terms with the meaning of Christmas.


10 p.m. (NBC) "Life." The best news so far this week is that NBC has picked up "Life" for the full season. Now, if they can settle the writers strike, we'll be assured the show will be on all season. Tonight, Detectives Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis) and Danni Reese (Sarah Shahi) investigate the case of a runaway girl who is found dead under a freeway overpass. She is discovered sitting upright and clutching a guitar, with her throat slit.


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