It was only a matter of time before animation's most playful franchise delivered a TV special for the Christmas holiday season, and ABC's new Toy Story That Time Forgot (Tuesday, 8/7c) is the opposite of forgettable, an instant delight that is sure to be a favorite perennial for years to come. While all of the usual Pixar playmates are along for the ride, the focus of this two-days-after-Christmas fable is the adorable dinosaur toy Trixie (winningly voiced by Kristen Schaal), who's longing for her "kid" master Bonnie to see her for the creature she is. But imagination is a funny thing, and Toy Story is nothing if not a celebration of the special bond children have for their toys, which they use (and sometimes abuse, or neglect) as they see fit.
In Time Forgot, the toys find themselves ignored in favor of newfangled video games when Bonnie visits a friend's house. She deposits her bag of not-quite-constant companions in an alien playroom, where they're confronted by a fierce army of fresh-out-of-the-box Battlesaur dino-warriors who, because they have yet to be played with, have no idea they're toys. Their top soldier, Reptillus Maximus (Grey's Anatomy's Kevin McKidd, clearly enjoying himself), is instantly smitten with the beguiling "dinosaur goddess" Trixie, and she's likewise impressed at how "everyone's so committed to their roles!" in his humorless tribe. But soon enough, the "foolish outlanders" find themselves in a slapstick high-stakes war with their combative brethren, and may the best toys win. Wonderfully clever, exciting and ultimately moving in its exhilarating embrace of playtime, Toy Story is a treat for the kid in all of us.
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DOING THE SPLITS: It's all about sex and self-actualization in a posh new city — Los Angeles — in Bravo's first scripted series in a long while, the bitter(not-so)sweet Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce (10/9c), which can be raunchy and bitingly funny when it's not being painfully raw. From Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), this female buddy dramedy stars Lisa Edelstein (House) as Abby McCarthy, a successful self-help/relationship advice author, whose books are frequently touted by Kathie Lee and Hoda in a saucy bit of NBC synergy, but whose own marriage to Jake (Paul Adelstein) has collapsed to a level of hostility where they're texting nasty insults to each other in front of their unsuspecting children. As a sample of the show's humor, after learning Jake is bedding a CW actress, Abby wonders: "She play a parent?" (No such luck.) And while most of the men in this series don't come off well, including Abby's conflicted and concerned gay brother (Patrick Heusinger), it's notable that Abby shares some of the emotional blame for the current marital meltdown.
For moral, and sometimes immoral, support, the disoriented, adrift Abby leans on her snarky divorced gal pals — or "the whores with the scarlet 'D' on their chest," as they see themselves through the eyes of the smug school moms — who include the hilarious Janeane Garofalo as a vengeful lawyer and Beau Garrett as a carefree "dirty hippie" of an ex-model who enjoys a most unusual and lucrative relationship with her ex. Their misadventures initially tend toward the torrid, and the fetching, kvetching Edelstein is memorably moving as she nervously steps outside her mommy comfort zone to walk (and then some) on the wild side. Some of the randy dialogue strains a bit too hard to be provocative ("My vagina is not dead, it was just in a coma"), but what's truly shocking is how harsh and unforgiving the domestic blow-ups can be, as Abby and Jake survey the wreckage of their life together. The best parts of Divorce are those that remind us how messy and panicky such a dissolution can be for all involved. These Girlfriends just want to have fun, but it comes at a price.