What's on TV
Shows worth noting for Dec. 1 - 7
The following are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor. All times Eastern, check local listings.
The French Impressionists (PBS, check local listings): It's not like we can know too much about these artists. The men and women who mounted eight exhibitions in defiance of France's 19th-century Salon establishment changed the course of art forever. This documentary is narrated by Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated fame.
25 Days of Christmas (ABC Family, starting today through Dec. 25, check local listings): There's something for kids of all ages this month. In the animated classic "Jack Frost," featuring Buddy Hackett and Robert Morse, Jack falls in love and wants to be human so he can marry Elisa. The remake of "Miracle on 34th Street" stars Richard Attenborough. Another highlight is the classic cartoon "Nestor, The Long-Eared Donkey." And best of all is "The Snowman," a work of art for children and adults. The animated film has no dialogue, but exquisite music underscores the sweet emotions as a little boy's snowman comes to life and shows him the wonders of the world.
The Lost Battalion (A&E, 8-10 p.m.): TV doesn't often celebrate the heroes of World War I. But a decisive battle in the Argonne Forrest of France was really won by 500 young soldiers and their brave leader, Major Whittlesey. This somber story stars Rick Schroder as the major who leads his men into an impossible situation under orders, only to defy the Germans with extraordinary bravery. The film is a moving tribute to men in action and to another time and military ethic.
Elton John: Live By Request (A&E, 9 p.m.): To promote his new album, "Songs from the West Coast," Elton John will take live music requests from viewers. With a huge catalogue of albums, dating back to 1970s "Elton John," there will be plenty of material to choose from.
The Tick (Fox, 9:30-10 p.m.): Patrick Warburton (Puddy in "Seinfeld") dons his superhero costume to fight crime in this offbeat comedy series. Tonight, the Tick's sidekick, Arthur, is introduced to a support group for sidekick superheros.
'Twas the Night (Disney Channel, 8-10 p.m.): Bryan Cranston of "Malcolm in the Middle" fame stars as a devilish scam artist, Nick, whose influence over his nephew Danny is none-too-good. This slight, but sweet, family comedy finds Uncle Nick posing as St. Nicholas. When the elf himself shows up, Nick tries another scam, but Danny has better ideas.
Pearl Harbor: Death of the Arizona (Discovery Channel, 8-9 p.m.) Stockard Channing narrates this fascinating documentary about the sinking of the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941. Frame-by-frame analysis of film footage taken as a bomb dropped and exploded (shot by an amateur on the scene) tells much of the story. Of the crew's 2,000 men, 1,177 perished. Some survivors tell their stories.
Hell in the Pacific (TLC, 9-11 p.m.): Even a glance at World War II as it played out in the Pacific is horrifying. And this new documentary spares us nothing. The Japanese assault on Nanjing, China, in 1937 foretold Pearl Harbor. From the Malay Peninsula to the destruction of the Japanese fleet at Midway to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it's all here, and survivors and veterans tell it like it was. Though this film is historically important, some of it is indeed difficult to watch.