It just wouldn't be Christmas without "It's a Wonderful Life," would it?
Ice skating (4 p.m.-6 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- The past meets the present here at the U.S. Postal Service Skating Challenge, with Olympic medalists Dorothy Hamill and Paul Wylie going up against, among others, current world champions Michelle Kwan and Todd Eldredge. ABC.
"It's a Wonderful Life" (8 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- And it's a wonderful film, too, as Clarence the angel shows a suicidal George Bailey how rotten the world would be had he never lived. Though the movie has its dark overtones, the ending is guaranteed to get those happy tear ducts flowing. This 50th anniversary airing on NBC will be your only chance to see it on TV this year, so don't miss it. NBC.
"Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- When the Rev. Johnson is struck blind and unable to lead the Christmas Eve service, the townspeople wonder if this isn't some sort of sign from God. CBS.
"Relativity" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Edward Zwick directed tonight's episode, in which Isabel and Leo's religious beliefs clash over the holidays, culminating in a Christmas Eve celebration that brings their two very different families together. ABC.
"Walker, Texas Ranger" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Chuck Norris plays two roles, as he perks up Christmas for a bunch of orphans by telling them a Texas Ranger version of "A Christmas Carol." CBS.
"National Geographic Explorer" (10: 05 a.m.-12: 05 p.m., TBS) -- "Explorer" celebrates 10 years on the Superstation with this best-of compilation.
"Little Shop of Horrors" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., repeats 1 a.m.-3 a.m., TNT) -- Rick Moranis tends a man-eating plant that talks and sings just like Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops. This musical adaptation of a legendarily low-budget Roger Corman quickie just kinda sits there, although it does include good performances from Steve Martin, as a merrily sadistic dentist, and Bill Murray as a patient who's more than happy to oblige.
Pub Date: 12/21/96