Pick of the Week:
Christmas in Washington
Sunday, 10-11 p.m. (NBC)
SUNDAY - 12/15
The Tick Loves Santa (Fox, 7:30-8 p.m.): It's the last chance for a while to catch "The Tick" on network TV. Fox has bumped this smart send-up of slam-bang action cartoons, so fans will have to tune in to Comedy Central Sunday nights to go buggy. The Tick (the ultimate superhero - a man built like a brick with a mind twice as thick) does battle with the forces of evil using such top-secret tools as a macaroni duck. (His war cry: Spoon!) In this special, the Tick and his pals chase down a pack of thieves dressed as Santa who are using the holiday to stuff their own stockings.
3rd Rock From the Sun (NBC, 8-8:30 p.m.): The Solomons celebrate their first Christmas on Earth, and the holiday may never be the same.
Behind the Scenes at People Magazine (TBS, 9-10 p.m.): Find out how the editors choose the weekly cover story, treat major news events, like the crash of TWA flight 800, and select their photos in this congratulatory program.
The Summer of Ben Tyler (CBS, 8-10 p.m.): A thoughtful look at a well-meaning lawyer (James Woods) whose family runs into the racism of the Deep South when they care for a mentally handicapped black teenager (Charles Mattocks) in 1942 Mississippi.
Nick at Nite's All-Nite Christmas Party (Nickelodeon, 9 p.m.-5:30 a.m.): On the 10th day before Christmas, Nickelodeon gave to us: eight hours of classic Christmas reruns. The festivities kick off with a holiday "Happy Days" and include yuletide episodes of "Taxi"; "The Dick Van Dyke Show" - featuring Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) and Rob (Van Dyke) as tap-dancing Santas; "A Christmas Carol" according to "The Odd Couple"; as well as "Bewitched," "The Bob Newhart Show," and others.
WEDNESDAY - 12/18
My Cousin Vinny (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): In this 1992 comedy, an unproven Brooklyn attorney comes to the rescue of his wrongly accused cousin on trial for murder in Alabama. Joe Pesci stars as the lawyer on a learning curve, but Marisa Tomei steals the show as his girlfriend. Her efforts won her an Oscar for best supporting actress. Also starring Ralph Macchio and Fred Gwynne.
Christmas in Washington (NBC, 10-11 p.m.): John Lithgow and the rest of the cast from "3rd Rock From the Sun" host the first family and other dignitaries at the National Building Museum in this holiday special. The annual gala, being taped on Dec. 15, features performances by Luther Vandross, Faith Hill, and the Naval Academy Glee Club.
THURSDAY - 12/19
A Charlie Brown Christmas (CBS, 8-8:30 p.m.): Vince Guaraldi's terrific jazz, Linus narrating the birth of Jesus, and the most pitiful Christmas tree ever combine to keep this marvelous holiday special evergreen.
A Garfield Christmas (CBS, 8:30-9 p.m.): Jon, Garfield, and Odie spend Christmas down on the farm, and America's favorite fat cat learns it's better to give than to receive.
FRIDAY - 12/20
The Sound of Music (NBC, 8-11 p.m.): Julie Andrews has been charming viewers as Maria the singing governess since this film first hit theaters in 1965. The musical, based on the real Von Trapp family, features songs by famous duo Rodgers and Hammerstein. It also stars Christopher Plummer as the dapper widower Von Trapp (with seven wily children) who unexpectedly falls for the struggling nun he hires in 1930s Austria.
Devoted fans should rent it on video, where they'll catch the movie in its entirety, including 30 minutes usually edited out for television.
SATURDAY - 12/21
It's a Wonderful Life (NBC, 8-11 p.m.): This classic movie, which epitomizes the belief that one man can make a difference, was originally written by Philip Van Doren Stern as a Christmas card. Frank Capra's masterpiece has been a gift to viewers for 50 years, with stunning performances by Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed that are guaranteed to choke you up, even on the eighth viewing.