Our biweekly viewing guide returns with a classic animated film, specials adapted from classic animated films, and a new movie featuring live-action characters that aren’t quite classic, but are pretty animated.
All times Eastern (check local listings for time and channel in your area):
The Polar Express (2004) — Tuesday, 8:55 p.m.; Wednesday, 6:45 p.m., Freeform
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, who, with William Broyles Jr., adapted Chris Van Allsburg’s 1985 children’s book for the screen, this 3-D computer-animated film stars Tom Hanks in six roles.
One of them is as the conductor of the Polar Express, which takes Billy, a boy who’s starting to doubt Santa’s existence, who goes on the magical trip of a lifetime.
From a 2006 review at Catholic Exchange:
Jesus’ saying in Mark 10 is a familiar one: “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Children show us how to approach Jesus: with wide-eyed belief and unquestioning faith.
One animated film worth seeing again this Christmas reminds us of what it means to have faith like a child’s. Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express takes us on one boy’s journey from doubt to belief. On one level, the story can be interpreted as a retelling of The Miracle on 34th Street, but for Christians, this film can also be seen as a tale about a return to untainted belief.
Shrek the Halls; Toy Story That Time Forgot — Thursday, 8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC
“Shrek the Halls,” from 2007, features the beloved film ogre dealing with a house full of fairytale pals on what he had hoped would be a family-only Christmas.
First aired in 2014, “Toy Story That Time Forgot” finds the toy gang on a post-Christmas play date, where they meet some delusional action figures.
Psych: The Movie — Thursday, 8 p.m., USA Network
The upbeat 2006-14 series returns with a holiday movie that reunites fake-psychic Shawn Spencer (James Roday), his crimesolving pal, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dule Hill), Shawn’s retired-cop dad, Henry (Corbin Bernsen) and the rest of the original gang.
In this reboot, the action has moved from Santa Barbara to San Francisco (although it’s still all shot in and around Vancouver, Canada). When a mystery assailant targets one of their own during the Christmas season, best buddies Shawn and Gus go to work.
Guest stars include Zachary Levi (“The Star”), Kurt Fuller, Jazmyn Simon, Ralph Macchio and WWE wrestler Charlotte Flair.
They join cast regulars Roday, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson and Bernsen, and returning guest stars WWE wrestler John Cena, and Jimmi Simpson.
Throughout its run, “Psych” avoided overt violence and sexual content, and always emphasized fun, friendship, family and general wackiness. The twists, turns and pop-culture obsessiveness may be too much for elementary-school kids, but preteens and up should enjoy watching with their parents.
And remember to watch for the pineapple!
Image: Courtesy USA Network