Is Christmas news?
The two-part special "Back to the Beginning With Christiane Amanpour" (9 p.m., ABC) isn't technically about Christmas, but it's clearly a nod to a season of faith. Amanpour examines the origins of the biblical narratives that have formed the basis of religions followed by billions to this day.
She travels the region known as the Holy Land that is associated with the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as the varying interpretations and philosophical schisms that have been the source of so much conflict between religions -- and, just as often, within them. The four-hour odyssey concludes at 9 p.m. Dec. 28.
---CBS steals a move from the cable playbook and offers viewers three
More than a decade ago, cable networks created followings for their series with countless repeats, something that never worked for networks, locked into airing 21 separate hours of prime time every week.
I'm a little surprised it's taken so long for a network to attempt the marathon pattern that has made hits of series dating to TLC's "Trading Spaces," Bravo's "Project Runway" and everything from "Deadliest Catch" to "The Walking Dead." Cable's scheduling flexibility even allows those channels to repurpose old network shows into their saturation strategy. Who hasn't sat through a few lazy weekends watching nothing but "Law & Order" reruns or old helpings of "NCIS"?
On tonight's rerun episodes of "The Good Wife": Opposing counsel keeps Alicia and Diane off-balance (8 p.m.), a female
officer accuses a military contractor of rape (9 p.m.), Alicia's mother (Stockard Channing) descends for the holidays (10 p.m.).
---Speaking of cable series, "Haven" (10 p.m., Syfy) wraps up its season with a series of bangs as Audrey realizes she may have been trying to solve at least one mystery too many. Laura Vandervoort ("Small ville") guest stars as a woman driven literally mad by love.
---Die-hard fans should not miss "The Brit List: The Doctor Who Ultimate List of Lists" (10 p.m., BBC America). The network has solicited fans to select the top five "Doctor Who" companions, the five scariest moments, the top five monsters and the five things you'd see only on the long-running British import.
---"Michael Buble: Home for the Holidays" (8 p.m., NBC, r).
---"The Happy Elf" (8 p.m., CW).
---The 1994 version of "Miracle on 34th Street" (8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., AMC).
---"A White House Christ mas: First Families Remember" (9 p.m., NBC, r).
---"Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" (9 p.m., CW).
---"Holiday in Handcuffs" (midnight, ABC Family).
---A Boston restaurant needs help on "Kitchen Nightmares" (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).
---Nina Sharp offers insight into the Observers on "Fringe" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---The large cast of "New Year's Eve" (9 p.m., HBO) portrays New Yorkers from all backgrounds bumping into one another on the big night. Critics were unkind to the 2011 Garry Marshall romance. One of the better reviews (by Connie Ogle of The Miami Herald) offered the faintest of praise, using the phrase "not unbearable."
---The "30 for 30" (10 p.m., ESPN Classic) documentary "You Don't Know Bo" examines the life, career and marketing of multisport talent Bo Jackson.
The riveting 1994 documentary "Crumb" (2 a.m., TCM) makes a critical case for the legacy and influence of underground comic artist Robert Crumb, while discussing what many see as the violent mis-
ogyny of his work. It also explores his relationship with his deeply disturbed siblings. Not to be missed.
---Mike forms a dodgeball squad on "Last Man Standing" (8 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).
---"The Good Wife" meets "The Beverly Hillbillies" in sitcom hell on the pilot episode of "Malibu Country" (8:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).
---Amanda Seyfried, Brad Wollack, Kerri Kenney-Silver and Greg Fitzsimmons appear on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!, r).
---Jay Thomas and Darlene Love appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Terry Bradshaw, Elle Fanning and Chris Mann on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Paul Rudd, Mario Batali and Rod Stewart appear on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Jamie Foxx and Bianca Kajlich on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.