The Week in DVR: Charlie Brown Gets His Tree, Frosty’s Back, and Timothy Hutton, Too

Monday: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Oh, what can we say? It’s perfect. Perfect! The Peanuts gang shows us every possible way to screw up the holiday: Snoopy decorates his dog house like it’s Atlantic City; Sally asks Santa to send cash money; Charlie Brown, that blockhead, mopes, sulks, overanalyzes, expects too much, and then settles on a terrible crappy little tree simply to test the Christian patience of everybody else. Thank God for Linus, who recites the relevant passages of the Gospel of Luke from memory, who wraps us all up in a blanket of good will, who can make animated characters and human viewers alike cry and cheer. It’s what secularists have on Christmas Eve instead of church. [ABC, 8 p.m.]

Tuesday: Ace In The Hole

There are some out there who believe 1951’s Ace In The Hole is Billy Wilder’s masterpiece—they’re wrong, of course, because The Apartment exists, and Sunset Boulevard. Nonetheless, this is a foul, sad piece of work, and maybe the most misanthropic movie ever made. Kirk Douglas stars as the down-on-his-luck reporter lucky enough to stumble upon the dream front page subject: a man trapped under a rock slide but still awake and circulatory enough to give interviews. Around the cave entrance, rubberneckers, first responders, well-wishers, misery tourists and a sloppy-seconds press corps all gather in expectation of an unhappy ending, which turns out much unhappier than you think. [TCM, 9:30 a.m.]

Wednesday: Leverage

We’re related to one of the writers, so consider our recommendation corrupt. Regardless, we have a tremendous weakness for any show or movie where a group of grifters operate with the elegance and efficiency of an Olympic relay team. Timothy Hutton is too saggy, shaggy and self-serious to be our Danny Ocean, but his supporting cast is a nerd summit: Gina Bellman was the sexpot in Coupling and the schizophrenic-loving wife in Jekyll; Christian Kane was the bad lawyer on Angel; Aldis Hodge guested as q.b. Voodoo on Friday Night Lights; and Beth Riesgraf you might know as Jason Lee’s wife and the mother of their child, Pilot Inspektor. Their geek résumés somehow lend them more credibility as smarter-than-thou con artists. [TNT, 12 a.m.]

Thursday: The Thing

Here’s the only thing you really need to know about this John Carpenter–directed remake of Howard Hawks’ The Thing from Another World; Kurt Russell has a flamethrower, and he kills aliens with it. [SciFi, 7 p.m.]

Friday: Frosty the Snowman

We can’t be positive that CBS is going to show our favorite version of this other Christmas classic (after all, the network is airing something called "Frosty Returns" right after). But, we’re optimistic—it’s Christmas after all! And nothing reminds us of being kids quite like crude, jerky animation and ominous narration. You know the song, so we won’t tell you what happens. And yes, it might make you cry. [CBS, 8 p.m.] The Week in DVR: Charlie Brown Gets His Tree, Frosty’s Back, and Timothy Hutton, Too