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TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: December 18

A select viewing guide for Tuesday December 18

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FAMILY A Charlie Brown Christmas (ABC, 8 p.m.) Some festive specials simply get better with age. First broadcast way back in 1965, the story’s premise finds good ol’ Charlie Brown in a funk over the crass commercialism of the holiday season; even his faithful dog Snoopy is expecting a big payoff! Chuck’s search for the true meaning of Christmas leads him to buy a scrawny tree for the school party, which naturally only opens him up to even more harsh ridicule from his mean-spirited classmates.

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DRAMA NCIS (CBS, Global, 8 p.m.) Still holding strong as the second most-watched show on American television (after NBC’s Sunday Night Football), this crime drama takes a three-week break following tonight’s holiday-themed outing. While most of the NCIS heroes scramble to solve a murder investigation, team member Tony (Michael Weatherly) is fuming over the unexpected arrival of his con-man father, played by guest star Robert Wagner. Meanwhile, resident forensics whiz Abby (Pauley Perrette) is driving everyone crazy with her festive preparations.

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REALITY Keasha’s Perfect Dress (Slice, 9 p.m.) Remember Keasha Rigsby? The straight-shooting bridal consultant was the primary reason to watch the TLC series Say Yes to the Dress, which documents the daily routine at New York’s swanky Kleinfeld Bridal Salon, but seemed to fade from sight in the show’s sixth season. Well, turns out Keasha relocated to Toronto to open her own bridal shop, which provides the setting for this new series launched several weeks ago. In tonight’s new episode, Keasha deals with a client named Heaven Leigh who wants to order two spiffy frocks for her wedding: A mermaid outfit (seriously) and a ball gown in any colour but white. She’s going to make a beautiful bride.

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REALITY My Three Wives (TLC, 10 p.m.) Is there room on television for another polygamist family? This special introduces viewers to the Darger clan, featured briefly in a recent episode of TLC’s Sister Wives. Patriarch Joe Darger has been married to best friends Alina and Vicki for the past 22 years; he’s also married to Vicki’s twin sister Valerie and the entire brood–they have 23 kids!–ramble all over the U.S. in two big white vans. If this concept doesn’t become a regular weekly TLC series I’ll eat my hat.

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MOVIE Scrooge (Vision, midnight) The must-see movie of the 1970 holiday season, this big-budget film places Charles Dickens’s classic story into a musical setting. The inimitable Albert Finney acquits himself nicely as the misanthrope Scrooge, while acting veteran Alec Guinness rattles the chains as his long-dead former partner Marley, who warns the old grouch of impending visits from three spirits on Christmas Eve. Of course, everyone knows the Dickens story by now, so watch this version for the over-the-top musical production numbers, particularly Finney’s performance of I Hate People.

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