Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Hard to believe this stop-motion animated holiday classic from Rankin-Bass turns 60 years old next year. Thankfully, Rudolph never ages, as the earnest young reindeer proves the worth of his embarrassing glowing nose on a particularly eventful and snowy Christmas Eve. Also trying to figure out his place in the world: misfit elf Hermey, who’d much rather be a dentist. Good luck getting the earworm of Burl Ives (as Sam the Snowman) singing “Holly Jolly Christmas” out of your head for the next few weeks.
Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test
As part of their final challenge, the remaining recruits are taken hostage and subjected to 12 hours of grueling interrogation to test their resolve. Only the strongest will stay the course and make it through the last stage of selection in the season finale.
Desperate Souls Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy
TCM’s Dave Karger hosts a night honoring the works of documentarian Nancy Buirski, who passed away in August at 78, leaving a legacy including the Full Frame Documentary Festival at Duke University, which she founded in 1998 and directed for the following decade. The tribute opens with Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of 1969’s controversial Midnight Cowboy, the first movie rated X to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Buirski’s other films include 2011’s The Loving Story (10/9c), about the interracial romance of Richard and Mildred Loving during the Civil Rights Era; Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq (11:30/10:30c), a 2013 profile of the renowned ballerina and muse of George Balanchine; 2015’s By Sidney Lumet (1:15 am/12:15c), featuring an extended 2008 interview with the great film director; and 2020’s A Crime on the Bayou (3:15 am/2:15c), about a Black teenager and his Jewish lawyer taking on white supremacy in 1960s Louisiana in the courtroom all the way to the Supreme Court.
A four-part true-crime drama, available for binge-watching, is set in a Welsh community over two parallel time frames in 2002 and 1973. In the more contemporary storyline, DCI Paul Bethell (Life on Mars’ Philip Glenister) eagerly reopens an investigation into a triple-murder cold case from nearly 30 years ago, using then-new forensic tools of DNA analysis to find the killer. Flashbacks portray the younger Paul (Scott Arthur) as a junior officer in a town wracked by grief.
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