As your family works its way through those Thanksgiving leftovers, and takes a break from backyard flag-football games, there’s a cornucopia of family-suitable fare to share together on the couch — so 5 for Friday goes supersized!
As always, all times Eastern (check local listings for time and channel in your area.) Also owing to the length of this post, we won’t have an audio version this week.
Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie — Friday, 7 p.m., Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Teen Nick
We covered this new edition of the classic ’90s cartoon in an earlier blog (click here), but basically, this one picks up a few years after the show, as the characters are a bit older and taller. In search of his long-missing parents, city kid Arnold accompanies his class on a trip to South America.
Also, we learn that the beloved Pigeon Man has taken up residence at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, to care for his feathered friends there.
According to the A.V. Club, “The Jungle Movie” is something special:
Arnold is the quietly grounded, positive kid who lives and breathes hope, who in his own way gave that hope to a city and its citizens. In his quest to find his parents, he is taken out of his urban comfort zone, a place in which he is well-known and trusted, and thrust into the unknown, where his faith, resolve, and friendships are challenged.
Arnold has always been a kind of an outsider though, a loner whose drive has always been backed, however subtly, by the idea that his parents were out there, somewhere. Now he has the chance to find them, and Bartlett presents that search as the true, adventurous, heartfelt culmination that he, and Arnold, deserve after all these years.
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town — Friday, 8 pm., ABC
The 1970 stop-motion-animation special, with Fred Astaire as the storytelling mailman, is a rather weird version of the Santa Claus origin story — but it does have this lovely, faith-filled moment:
By the way, if you want a Christmas animated presentation that actually IS about the real Christmas, “The Star” — Catholic director Tim Reckart and Christian executive producer DeVon Franklin’s Nativity tale from the POV of the animals — should still be in theaters. But if more Christians don’t go see it, it may not hang around on the big screen for Christmas. Just sayin’. We now return to our regularly scheduled post, already in progress.
Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns — Friday, 8 p.m./8:30 p.m., CBS
Jimmy Durante narrates the 1969 animated tale of a snowman who comes to life, from a story by Romeo Muller (who also wrote “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”) and based on the popular song. Following is a 1992 sequel, with John Goodman as the voice of Frosty, who is in peril from a snow-removal spray; Jonathan Winters (that’s appropriate, right?) narrates.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas — Friday, 8 p.m., NBC
After already airing on cable, the 1966 animated version of Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s classic tale of the redemption of a Christmas- and Who-hating Grinch comes to network primetime.
DreamWorks Trolls Holiday (PREMIERE) — Friday, 8:30 p.m. NBC
From NBC, describing this follow-up to the 2016 “Trolls” movie, which introduced the troll-eating Bergens:
Now that the Bergens’ one holiday (Trollstice) is gone – and the Trolls don’t have to worry about being eaten by their neighbors – Poppy, the eternally optimistic Troll queen, has made it her mission to bring a brand new day of celebration to Bergen Town.
When Poppy recruits reluctant Branch and the rest of the colorful Snack Pack to join her quest, she’ll try to prove to her best Bergen friends, Bridget and King Gristle Jr., that life would be better if they’d just adopt a new holiday. But just because Poppy won’t rest until the village embraces Ticklepalooza or Balloon Squeal Day doesn’t mean the Bergens are ready to launch a celebration as loud, crazy and glittery as the little Troll suggesting it.
Robbie the Reindeer in Hooves of Fire/Robbie the Reindeer in Legend of the Lost Tribe — Saturday, 8 p.m./8:30 p.m., CBS
The British-produced animated specials air back-to-back, with Irish actor Ardal O’Hanlon as the voice of Robbie. In the first special, from 1999, he struggles to get in shape to join Santa’s team. In the second, from 2002, Robbie joins forces with a lost Viking tribe to battle nemesis reindeer Blitzen.
The National Dog Show — Saturday, 8 p.m., NBC
If you missed it on Thanksgiving Day, here’s a replay of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s dog show, with John O’Hurley as host. Spoiler alert: a dog wins!
Wrapped Up in Christmas (PREMIERE) — Saturday, 8 p.m.. Lifetime
This might be too much of a romance for younger kids — kissing, ick! — but preteens and up might enjoy this new movie starring Tatyana Ali as a mall manager whose little niece asks the mall Santa (Brendan Fehr) to find her a boyfriend — not knowing that her aunt is trying to close Santa’s aunt’s failing toy store.
The “Director’s Cut” airs Monday at 8 p.m., also on Lifetime.
The Story of Santa Claus — Saturday, 9 p.m., CBS
Edward Asner is the voice of Santa in this 1996 animated special, which also features Tim Curry as the voice of elf Nostros, and Betty White as Mrs. Gretchen Claus. It’s another Santa origin story, produced by Arnold Shapiro, better known for such reality fare as “Scared Straight!” It’s … odd, but some orphans do get helped.
A Very Merry Toy Store — Sunday, 8 p.m., Lifetime
Christian Melissa Joan Hart and Catholic Mario Lopez star as rival toy-store owners who must join forces to fight a big-box-store interloper. Again, like the other Lifetime movie above, might be too lovey-dovey for little ones.
Image: Courtesy Nickelodeon