Sunday TV: ‘Doctor Who’ Special, NBA’s Return

American networks usually take the holiday off, but in England, Christmas is a big TV event, with special episodes of favorite shows. One that also shows in the U.S. (in fact the day before it shows in Britain), is from “Doctor Who” (BBC America, 9 p.m.) in which he helps a girl find his brother, lost in a wintery forest.

Here’s your Christmas gift: The start of the NBA season, after a 146 day lockout. There wasn’t much hue and cry during the absence of the basketballers. But the late start today will be something of a novelty. And there’s a lot of games planned – enough for 12 hours straight, with Celtics at Nicks (TNT, noon), Heat at Mavericks (ABC, 2:30 p.m.), Bulls at Lakers (ABC, 5 p.m.), Magic at Thunder (ESPN, 8 p.m.) and Clippers at Warriors (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.).

It’s almost as much time given to “A Christmas Story” (TBS, 6, 8 and 10 a.m., noon, 2, 3, 4 and 6 p.m.) which continues its annual 24-hour marathon until 8 p.m.

Don’t worry, there’s one NFL game this Sunday: Bears at Packers on Sunday Night Football (NBC, 8:15 p.m.). And to fill the hold in the afternoon, a clip show: “NFL Holiday Spectacular” (CBS, 3 p.m.).

There’s nothing else new on broadcast TV but “60 Minutes” (CBS, 7 p.m.).

It’s last call for most Christmas movie, so there’s “The Perfect Gift” (BET, 6 p.m.), “The Twelve Wishes of Christmas” (ION, 7 p.m.), “Elf” (TV Guide Channel, 8 and 9:30 p.m.), “The Perfect Holiday” (BET, 8 p.m.), “The Ultimate Gift” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.), “The 12 Men of Christmas” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.), “Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage” (Lifetime Movie Network, 8 p.m.), “The Polar Express” (ABC Family, 8 p.m.), “Christmas Mail” (ION, 9 p.m.), “A Season for Miracles” (Hallmark, 10 p.m.) and “Dear Santa” (Lifetime, 10 p.m.).

The day starts early with the “Disney Parks Christmas Parade” (ABC, noon) with performances by Christina Aguilera, One Republic and Nick Cannon.

And there’s an antidote: “Bad Santa” (Comedy Central, 8 p.m.).

Geoffrey Zakarian defends his title on “Iron Chef America” (Food Network, 9 p.m.).

“Leverage” (TNT, 9 p.m.) offers a new episode.

Animated features tonight include “Kung Fu Panda” (FX, 7 and 9:30 p.m.) and “Shrek the Third” (TBS, 8 and 10 p.m.).

Last week’s finales get a replay: “Dexter” (Showtime, 7 p.m.) and “Homeland” (Showtime, 8 p.m.).

Films directed by Leo McCarey are featured on Turner Classic Movies, with “Going My Way” (8 p.m.), “Make Way for Tomorrow” (10:15 p.m.), “Duck Soup” (midnight), “The Milky Way” (1:15 a.m.), “Love Affair” (3 a.m.) and “Once Upon a Honeymoon” (4:30 a.m.).

Sunday Talk

ABC: Ed Gillespie, Jonathan Karl, Cokie Roberts, George Will. CBS: Nancy Cordes, John Dickerson, David Martin, Anthony Mason, Norah O’Donnell, Bob Orr, Elizabeth Palmer. CNN: Sen. Dick Lugar, Condoleezza Rice. Fox News: Mike Huckabee, Cardinal Donald Wuerl.

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