No matter how hi-tech your Christmas, at a certain point you'll end up collapsing in front of the box. Our 12 days of perfect Christmas planning continues with a guide to what's worth watching over Christmas.
Yeah, we know: a couple of key sporting events aside, TV at this time of year is generally a wasteland, and many of you will be turning to Channel BT and hoping for a few good DVD box sets to tide you over. But there are a handful of shows worth looking out for/setting your PVR to record. Here's our picks (and with no apologies for the emphasis on public broadcasters; have you seen the rubbish the commercial networks are scheduling?).
5. Catherine Tate Christmas Special: Nan's Christmas Carol
ABC, Friday December 24, 9:30pm-10:20pm Catherine Tate is something of a polarising comedian, and taking on Dickens isn't the most original approach (our #1 inclusion notwithstanding). Nonetheless, this is the first Australian broadcast of the special, Tate's first comedy excursion since a 2007 festive set of new sketches.
4. Did Cooking Make Us Human?
SBS, Tuesday December 28, 7:30pm-8:30pm A documentary examining a fascinating premise: have humans evolved because our mastery of cooking expanded our general cognitive capacity? Something to muse on while chewing through leftover salmon and turkey.
3. Carols By Candlelight
Nine, Saturday December 24, 8:00pm-10:30pm Yes, it's cheesy and predictable and features Karl Stefanovic. But it's as close as we get in Australia to a TV Christmas tradition — well, except for perhaps the next entry . . .
2. A Very Specky Christmas
ABC, Saturday December 25, 7:35pm-8:35pm Six seasons in, the ABC's pop quiz is still going strong, and the Christmas episodes are always overloaded with special guests. Plus you can skite by answering the questions faster than the family. Don't cheat with a smart phone, though, that doesn't count. (The 2010 special is on December 24 at 8:30pm.)
1. Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol
ABC, Sunday December 26, 7:30pm-8:30pm Double points to the ABC for showing this at basically the first feasible date (less than 24 hours after the UK transmission), rather than months later. We should reward the broadcaster by not immediately downloading it from Channel BT. Doctor Who At The Proms 2010 is on at 5:30pm if you fancy a musical twist on Who earlier in the day.
Got your own TV recommendations for the Christmas period? Share them in the comments.
Lifehacker's weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained. And yes, we know the Who trailer we've featured here is a fan effort. We like it anyway.