Blue Glow

Salon's TV picks for Weekend, Dec. 17-19, 1999

Topics: The Simpsons, Conan O'Brien, Courtney Love, Gary Coleman, Television,

Series

On Now and Again (9 p.m. Fri., CBS), Michael is kidnapped by a mysterious man who contacts Lisa and tells her the truth about her husband’s death. Sammo plays Santa Claus (now, why didn’t they think of this before?) to find a missing boy on Martial Law (9 p.m. Sat., CBS). The residents of Arlen are in a Y2K panic on King of the Hill (7:30 p.m. Sun., Fox). On the Christmas episode of The Simpsons (8 p.m. Sun., Fox), a private for-profit “learning company” takes over Springfield Elementary with an ulterior motive — to gather children’s input in an attempt to create the ultimate must-have toy. Tim Robbins and Gary Coleman guest. Felicity (8 p.m. Sun., WB) has some confusing sex dreams about Noel (and a lot of other people). On Futurama (8:30 p.m. Sun., Fox), it’s “Xmas” (that’s the official name of the holiday in the year 3000), and that means a visit from the gigantic robotic Santa Claus (voice of John Goodman) who kills the naughty. VH1 Legends (10 p.m. Sun., VH1) has a biography of the Clash, featuring interviews with founding members Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon. This is a very big deal.

Specials

Matt Groening co-produced (with star Drew Barrymore) the new hour-long animated special Olive, the Other Reindeer (8 p.m. Fri., Fox), about a dog who sets out for the North Pole when she hears that an injury to one of Santa’s reindeer threatens to cancel Christmas. Barrymore voices the title role; Michael Stipe sings the theme song. Cool! Whatever happened to “The PJs”? They’re back, temporarily, for The PJs Holiday Special (9 p.m. Fri., Fox), in which Thurgood (Eddie Murphy) repossesses his tenants’ belongings in order to get the money to buy his wife a computer for Christmas. Holiday at Pops (8 p.m. EST/9 PST, Sat., A&E) is the annual Boston Symphony Orchestra Christmas concert, conducted by Keith Lockwood. This year, Boston native Conan O’Brien drops by to narrate “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Billy Crystal, Sting, Liza Minnelli, Jon Stewart, Mary J. Blige and the Rockettes are among the performers in The Radio City Music Hall Grand Re-Opening Gala (10 p.m. Sat., NBC). The pig who wants to be a sheepdog is back on a rerun of Babe (7 p.m. Sun., ABC). The two-hour “Biography” special The Unknown Jesus (8 p.m. EST/9 PST, Sun., A&E) talks to biblical scholars about who Jesus really was and how his teachings and name have been misinterpreted and subverted throughout the centuries. Jimmy Stewart has his dark night of the soul once again in NBC’s exclusive showing of It’s a Wonderful Life (8 p.m. Sun., NBC). One Love: The Bob Marley All-Star Tribute (8 p.m. Sun., TNT) features Marley’s widow, Rita, Ziggy Marley, Lauryn Hill, Jimmy Cliff, Tracy Chapman, Chrissie Hynde, Erykah Badu, Darius Rucker, Ben Harper and many more disciples of the reggae master. Stephen King: Master of Macabre (10 p.m. Sun., The Learning Channel) is a profile of the author, filmed with his cooperation last summer before he was hit by a car while walking near his Maine home.



Sports

Basketball:

Lakers at Timberwolves (8 p.m. Fri., TNT)

Football:

Steelers at Chiefs (12:30 p.m. Sat., CBS)

49ers at Panthers (4 p.m. Sat., Fox)

Jaguars at Browns, Patriots at Eagles or Chargers at Dolphins (1 p.m. Sun., CBS)

Redskins at Colts (1 p.m. Sun., Fox)

Seahawks at Broncos or Jets at Cowboys (1 p.m. Sun., CBS)

Bills at Cardinals (8 p.m. Sun., ESPN)

Talk

Rosie O’Donnell (syndicated) Winona Ryder, Michael Boatman

David Letterman (CBS) Courtney Love, Jude Law

Jay Leno (NBC) Tim Allen, Charlize Theron, Luscious Jackson

Nightline (ABC) Vice President Al Gore, Bill Bradley in a New Hampshire town meeting

Conan O’Brien (NBC) Jim Carrey, Tony Bennett

Joyce Millman is a writer living in the Bay Area.

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