Blue Glow

Salon's TV picks for Holiday Week, Dec. 24-Dec. 31, 1999

Published December 24, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

Christmas specials

It's a Wonderful Life (8 p.m. Dec. 24, NBC) has one more airing this year. Rapidly gaining on Capra's classic as a holiday tradition: The annual "Christmas Story" marathon (beginning 8 p.m. Dec. 24, TNT), 12 continuous showings of the 1983 movie about a kid who wants a BB gun for Christmas. On Christmas Day, Fox reruns its heartwarming trio of 1999 yuletide episodes of The Simpsons (8 p.m. Dec. 25), The PJs Holiday Special (8:30 p.m. Dec. 25) and Futurama (9 p.m. Dec. 25, Fox). The Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade (8 p.m. Dec. 25, ABC) has its first showing in prime time; Wayne Brady, 98 Degrees and Woody and Buzz are among the stars.

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New Year's specials

Coverage of the new millennium begins before dawn in most places in the United States. All-day, time-zone-chasing coverage can be found on The Millennium (beginning 1:30 a.m. PST/4:30 a.m. EST Dec. 31, MSNBC); Millennium 2000 (beginning 1:40 a.m./4:40 a.m. Dec. 31, PBS); ABC 2000 (beginning 1:50 a.m./4:50 a.m. Dec. 31, ABC); CNN Millennium 2000 (beginning 2 a.m./5 a.m. Dec. 31, CNN); the concert special Millennium Live: A New World's Eve (beginning 6 a.m. Dec. 31, PAX TV), featuring Sting, Phil Collins, Aerosmith and 'N Sync, among others; The New Millennium (beginning 6 a.m. Dec. 31, Fox News Network); and Feliz Milenio (beginning 6 a.m. Dec. 31, Univision). Later that night in the United States, it's MTV 2Large (8 p.m. Dec. 31, MTV), with Goo Goo Dolls, Blink 182 and others performing from Times Square; The Millennium (9 p.m. Dec. 31, NBC), with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric, plus a Jay Leno monologue (11:35 p.m. Dec. 31, NBC); America's Millennium (8 p.m. Dec. 31, CBS), hosted by Dan Rather, and including Late Show with David Letterman and a Washington gala featuring Will Smith, President Clinton and Steven Spielberg, who introduces his short film recapping American achievements of the past century; Fox 2000 (11 p.m. Dec. 31, Fox), with Brit Hume and Paula Zahn anchoring from Times Square and performances from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Neville Brothers; and Nickellennium (midnight Dec. 31, Nickelodeon), during which kid viewers across the country are supposed to decorate a paper bag, blow it up, make a wish into it at midnight and then pop it.

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Other series and specials

Santa is very good to us: HBO is rerunning the first season of The Sopranos (10 p.m. Dec. 26, HBO), two episodes a night through Dec. 30 beginning at 10 p.m., then three in a row on Jan. 2, beginning at 9 p.m. Biography (8 p.m. EST/9 PST Dec. 27, A&E) rides the "Man on the Moon" bandwagon with its own profile of Andy Kaufman. Time Magazine's Person of the Century (10 p.m. Dec. 27, CBS) is revealed. Robert Cringely assesses the possibility of imminent computer meltdown on Y2K: The Winter of Our Disconnect (check local times, Dec. 28, PBS). Cosby (8 p.m. Dec. 29, CBS) pays tribute to late co-star Madeline Kahn. Stevie Wonder, Sean Connery, Jason Robards, Victor Borge and Judith Jamison are saluted in The Kennedy Center Honors (9 p.m. Dec. 29, CBS). ESPN has a SportsCenter: 50 Greatest Athletes of the Century Marathon (beginning 7:30 p.m. Dec. 30, ESPN2). Greg Gumbel and Jim Nantz look back at CBS' Greatest Sports Moments (8 p.m. Dec. 30, CBS) from 1974 to the present. And if you're up in the wee hours of Dec. 31 and you're looking for a millennium eye-opener a bit bleaker than Katie Couric introducing native dancers from Fiji, then this one's for you: a millennial showing of Strange Days (2:30 a.m. Dec. 31, USA), Kathryn Bigelow's seedy 1995 thriller set on New Year's Eve 1999, starring Ralph Fiennes as a charming loser named Nero who tries to save the world, or at least a girl (Juliette Lewis, playing the world's worst punk singer). Happy New Year!

By Joyce Millman

Joyce Millman is a writer living in the Bay Area.

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