Men of a Certain Age (Monday, 10/9c, TNT)
This seriocomic slice-of-midlife-crisis drama returns for a second season with its three best buds of a certain age (Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, Scott Bakula, each terrific) adjusting to new circumstances. Joe (Romano) is tentatively re-entering the dating pool and practicing for the seniors' golf tour, while Owen (Braugher) has to figure out how to be a boss to Terry (Bakula) without sacrificing their friendship. Low-key to a fault, this series gets a ratings boost from a powerful lead-in: The Closer (9/8c), wrapping its sixth season with a five-episode run of new episodes.
Eureka and Warehouse 13 (Tuesday, 9/8c, Syfy)
Summer's breeziest sci-fi/fantasy romps return to spread a little seasonal cheer with stand-alone special holiday episodes. First up: Eureka, featuring Saturday Night Live vet Chris Parnell (aka 30 Rock's Dr. Spaceman) as a scientist who threatens the company holiday party when his unstable hydrogen crystal experiment begins to grow at a dangerously high rate. Following that is a new episode of Warehouse 13 in which Pete and Myka are tasked to find a sticky-fingered thief in Santa Claus drag who's making life a holy terror for a workaholic played by Paul Blackthorne. Meanwhile, Artie has a very Hanukkah reunion with his estranged father (special guest Judd Hirsch) after a 30-year separation.
Mythbusters (Wednesday, 9/8c, Discovery)
In this installment, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman are serving at the pleasure of the president: Barack Obama, who has recruited the Mythbusters for the White House campaign to involve more kids in science. President Obama appears in this episode to challenge the guys to replicate a myth they've tried and failed at several times before: proving if Greek mathematician Archimedes could really have set fire to a Roman fleet using only mirrors and sunlight. This time, though, they'll have 500 students helping in the experiment.
Community (Thursday, 8/7c, NBC)
If you were told any current sitcom was going to do a holiday episode in stop-motion animation, your first guess would have to be Community, the most adventurous and unpredictable comedy currently on air. One week it's sending up zombie movies, the next conspiracy-theory noir. And now it's the study group's turn to see themselves as Rankin-Bass styled animated misfits, courtesy of (who else) Abed's fertile imagination. When he wakes up in animated form and takes it as a sign that he must discover the true meaning of Christmas, his pals become worried about his mental stability and take this as a sign to get inside Abed's peculiar brain once and for all. Let the surreal shenanigans begin.
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