We hope you’ll take your family out to see the animated Nativity movie “The Star” this week (click here for our review), but if you’re doing in-home entertainment, here are some great choices to share between Tuesday and Turkey Day.
All times Eastern, check local listings for time and channel in your area. For those who’d rather listen than read, here’s an audio version of this post.
Our Tuesday offering is actually a holdover from last week, when we highlighted “The Princess Bride” (click here to read that). If you missed it then, it airs Tuesday at 8 and 10 p.m., on BBC America. It’s also available for streaming on Amazon Video.
On to this week’s new picks:
Nature: Nature’s Miniature Miracles — Wednesday, 8 p.m., PBS
All about the new episode, from PBS:
Great things come in small packages and animals are no exception to the rule. Learn the epic survival stories of the world’s smallest animals as NATURE shines a light on these tiny heroes who have evolved extraordinary skills and achieved mind-boggling feats: from a tiny sengi, considered the cheetah of the shrew world, to a hummingbird who travels thousands of miles north each year, from a small shark that walks on land to an army of baby turtles instinctively racing to the safety of the open ocean. Through vast savannas to rocky plateaus and down to the depths of the seas, it is a great big world out there, but for these animals, size does not matter.
BTW, it’s followed by “NOVA: Extreme Animal Weapons,” but that may be a bit intense for little ones.
Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars — Thursday, 8 p.m., PBS
Author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s high-spirited orphan Anne Shirley comes to life in this Canadian-produced version of the classic children’s book. “The Good Stars” is the second of two movie-length productions aired on PBS.
Catholic American actor Martin Sheen stars as Matthew Cuthbert, half of a brother-sister team of foster parents helping to raise Anne (Ella Ballentine).
When Anne Shirley turns 13, she faces complex issues with her friends, inspirational adults and Marilla and Matthew. At the same time, she begins a friendship with Gilbert Blythe that emotionally escalates to disrupt the status quo of her peaceful world. Her free-spirited nature is challenged by her perceived need to become sensible, and her journey toward this goal is fraught with confusion and more than a few unfortunate – albeit, amusing – mishaps.
Elf (2003) — Wednesday, 8:50 p.m., and Thursday, 6:40 p.m., Freeform
It’s not the same kind of actually Christian Christmas movie as “The Star,” but Catholic reviewer Steven Greydanus finds worthy elements in this story of a human (Will Ferrell) raised among elves, who returns to his human kin.
The core of the movie, though, is Buddy’s relationship with his human father (James Caan). Can the man be redeemed? Can he learn to care for Buddy — as well as the rest of his family? And can Christmas spirit be restored to a jaded New York City?
Of course, the Christmas spirit we are talking about here isn’t the real McCoy — the recognition that Jesus Christ is born, the kind that would make one want to sing “Joy to the world; the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King!” No, it’s the Hollywood kind of Christmas spirit, involving only sentimental warm-fuzzies to fight the cold winter air of white Christmasses that never come in Hollywood. But still, it’s something.
See you on Friday, with no doubt the beginning of the big Christmas-TV-special season.
Image: Courtesy Breakthrough Entertainment/PBS