The Week in DVR: It’s a Wonderful Bogie Marathon! Plus, Ricky Gervais’ Most Perfect Work

Monday: Prison Break
Monday night brings the "Fall finale" of the Fox serial, and frankly, it can’t come soon enough. In what has become a weekly ritual, we DVR Prison Break on Mondays; watch it on Tuesdays; and then furiously email with our friends about how gloriously stupid and terrible it is for the rest of the week. More often than not, those email chains end with a variation of "why do we watch this show?" The only acceptable answer we can think of is that Prison Break is actually, underneath it all, just darn entertaining. Either that, or we’re masochists. [Fox, 9 p.m.]

Tuesday: The Office
The series finale of the original version of The Office–better known as "The Christmas Special"–is quite possibly our favorite thing ever. We’re talking films, television shows, books … nothing compares to the heartbreaking perfection that Ricky Gervais put together for his final go around at Wernham-Hogg. For most of the two hours, every character is cloaked in failure and regret to an almost unbearable degree. Then, just when you think things can’t get any sadder, Mr. Gervais pulls the happiest of happy endings out of his bag of tricks. By the time the last 10 minutes are over, you’ll never be able to hear Yazoo’s "Only You" again without a tear coming to your eye. [BBC-America, 9 a.m.]

Wednesday: It’s a Wonderful Life
It just wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without George Bailey. We’re continually fascinated by Frank Capra’s most famous film because the perception of it has changed so much over the last 20 years. When we were kids, and broadcasts of It’s a Wonderful Life aired so frequently during the holiday season that they became a punch line, everyone talked about how corny and toothless the movie was; now, you can’t walk two feet without tripping over some think piece about how bleak and miserable it really is. We never thought It’s a Wonderful Life fit snugly into either category. To us, it’s the ultimate "hope" movie. Hope that no matter how bad things get–that no matter how bad you screw things up–there is always a chance to get on your feet again. And there’s nothing toothless or miserable about a message like that. [NBC, 8 p.m.]

Thursday: Casablanca
We don’t think Humphrey Bogart was born in a manger, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate his birthday on December 25, too. In honor of Mr. Bogart’s special day (he would have been a spry 109 years old), TCM has been kind enough to schedule a marathon of his most popular films, starting with Casablanca. Afterward stayed tuned for The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen and High Sierra, in succession. We shouldn’t complain–that’s a lot of Bogie, after all–but we wish they had found room for The Petrified Forest and Key Largo. Maybe we’ll get our wish next Christmas when he turns 110. [TCM, 8 p.m.]

Friday: Definitely, Maybe
Our esteemed colleague gave Definitely, Maybe an honorable mention on her top-10 list for 2008, and while we don’t share the same enthusiasm for Adam Brooks’ film, we do really like it. Sure, it’s not perfect. Ryan Reynolds and Isla Fisher could have more chemistry together; Kevin Kline and Rachel Weisz could appear in a few more scenes (and by "few more scenes," we mean "all the scenes"); the ’90s flashbacks could have better musical cues; but, in the end, none of that stuff matters. Fact is, the wonderful relationship between Mr. Reynolds’ almost divorced dad and his precocious daughter (played by the precocious Abigail Breslin) is more than enough to make up for any of the shortcomings. [More Max, 9 p.m.]

The Week in DVR: It’s a Wonderful Bogie Marathon! Plus, Ricky Gervais’ Most Perfect Work