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TV marathon lineup: 'A Christmas Story,' 'Elf' and more

By Sharon Kennedy Wynne
Tampa Bay Times
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- TBS
Oh, Ralphie (Peter Billingsley), how we love you and “A Christmas Story”! The annual marathon runs Tuesday and Wednesday on TBS.

If ever a day was made for lying around in your jammies binge-watching your favorite shows, it’s Christmas. The pressure is over, the stores are closed, and it’s time to catch up with or revisit some TV gems.

“A Christmas Story” (Tuesday-Wednesday), TBS: The cult classic comedy set in the 1940s about the family life of young Ralphie as Christmas approaches has a loose plot that makes it easy to check in at any point, watch a scene or two that you like, then go back to getting the pies out of the oven. This year marks the marathon’s 17th run, and it remains one of the most popular bits of holiday programming events on cable, drawing more than 50 million viewers at some point in the marathon.

“Breaking Bad” (Friday-Sunday), AMC: What? You didn’t get the $300 collector’s edition package for Christmas? Invest some time instead as AMC airs all five seasons of the masterful Emmy-winning drama, the last time you can see the whole series for free. Tread lightly. Starting at noon each day, the episodes will run Dec. 27-30.

“The Walking Dead” (Dec. 31-Jan. 2), AMC: And you thought you had nothing to do New Year’s Eve. Spend it with zombies. The two-day marathon starts at 9 a.m. Dec. 31. Episodes will air back-to-back until 5 a.m. on Jan. 2. New episodes return on Feb. 9 .

“Happy Endings” (Dec. 31-Jan. 1), VH1: The lovable comedy (canceled by ABC this year) will be back on the air, first with a marathon of all 57 episodes starting on New Year’s Eve at 8 p.m. and running through New Year’s Day. Reruns will settle into their new time slot on Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. starting Jan. 8 on VH1.

“Elf” (Tuesday-Wednesday), Starz: You cotton-headed, ninny muggins can’t get enough of Buddy the elf, so the Starz channel will show 24 hours of “Elf” starting at noon Tuesday.

“Bad Santa” (noon to 6 a.m. Tuesday-Wednesday), Starz Comedy: For those who landed on the naughty list this year, Starz Comedy is showing 24 hours of the oh-so-wrong comedy starring Billy Bob Thornton. It starts at noon Tuesday.

“Doctor Who” (Tuesday-Wednesday), BBC America: The “Doctor Who” Christmas special will premiere in the U.S. with the final regular appearance of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and the first regular appearance of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor following his brief cameo in “The Day of the Doctor.” It premieres at 9 p.m. on Christmas Day, but not before an all-day marathon of Season 6 episodes beginning at 4 a.m. Christmas Eve, followed by Christmas specials, including a Doctor version of A Christmas Carol and “The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe,” a Narnia-themed special that is a fan favorite. Then it’s Season 7 episodes, “Day of the Doctor” at 6 p.m. on Christmas Day followed by a farewell to Matt Smith in an hourlong retrospective documentary. The Christmas special airs at 9 p.m., in which the Doctor must sacrifice everything to save a town called Christmas from the Time Lord’s greatest enemies.

“Brain Games” Nat Geo (Wednesday): This highly rated show on National Geographic Channel aims to make synapses and dendrites more accessible through a series of fun interactive experiments. Catch up with an all-day marathon starting at 9 a.m. Christmas Day through 2 a.m. the next day.

“Roots” BET (Tuesday-Wednesday): The original miniseries gets a full run from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m Tuesday on BET. Then on Christmas Day, it’s “Alex Haley’s Queen,” the 1993 miniseries series starring Halle Berry as Haley’s paternal grandmother from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“Man v. Food” Travel Channel (Wednesday): After you’ve stuffed yourself on Christmas candy, you can relive the horrific dining experiences of Adam Richman from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Christmas Day.

“Glee” Oxygen (Wednesday): A treat starting at 7 a.m. of specials, including “A Very Glee Christmas” and “Glee, Actually” followed by a series of beloved chick flicks starting with “When Harry Met Sally” and “Splash.”

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