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November 20, 2013

Merry Viewing!

A “Dexter” Christmas?

Why not? The serial killer of serial killers in sunny Miami celebrated the season several times during his just-ended Showtime run.

Also making merry: the crazy cartoon kids of “South Park.” Want a ghoul yule? Try “The X-Files” or “The Twilight Zone.” Sci-fi Santas? “Doctor Who” and “Warehouse 13.”

Christmas can be found where you least (and most) expect it.

While it’s true that TV has learned to play multiculti with its winter holidays — Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, winter solstice — it’s still mostly Christmas that TV takes note of at year’s end. That can mean the traditional religious observance, secular culture come-togetherness, or the commercial modernity of consumerist gift-giving.

Christmas TV seems to embrace everyone, every show, every genre, every decade or century setting.

This year’s holiday TV slate brings back Rudolph and Charlie Brown. We get seasonal music and merriment from artists new (Lady Gaga) and old (The Muppets), sometimes simultaneously. Sentiment-drenched TV movies premiere, and venerable standbys make their annual reappearance (Alastair Sim’s Scrooge, Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey). All kinds of episodes celebrate all sorts of ways — a fantasy-football Hanukkah, a duck-call Christmas, a newly colorized Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.

And that’s just on this season’s linear television channels. Turn to cable on-demand, DVD or online video, and you’ve got hundreds of celebratory options, anytime you want to watch. The highlights provided here are just the tip of the iceberg in this connected age, when it seems almost anything ever made might be accessible somehow.

Check your cable / satellite services, too, along with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other program providers. This is just a sampling of the holiday viewing available.


* Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas: Round-the-clock through Dec. 31, with a dozen holiday movie premieres (hallmarkchannel.com).

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