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Must see TV

December 21, 2012 - John Mehno
The Christmas specials come back every year, headlined by the iconic "Charlie Brown Christmas."

But there's another type of holiday programming that is just as relevant. Just about every series does a Christmas-themed episode at some point, and some of them are classics.

A lot of situation comedies did Christmas shows this year. "New Girl," "The Mindy Project," "The Middle" and "Mike and Molly" were the best of the ones I caught.

In no particular order, these are the ones you should always try to catch:

--Andy Griffith Show: From the first season of the series. A store owner is a real-life Scrooge who pays no attention to the calendar when creating misery for a family down on its luck. Turns out, though, that the flinty-hearted man is more sentimental than anyone thinks, and he figures out a way to be part of the celebration at the court house.

--Mary Tyler Moore Show: The work schedule has Mary working alone on Christmas Eve for the first time. But co-workers Lou, Murray and Ted create a happy ending.

--Happy Days: Fonzie has big plans for the holiday...or does he? Richie wisely sees through the Fonz's big talk and realizes that his friend really has nowhere to go for Christmas. So, of course, he winds up with the Cunninghams and even fixes the faulty mechanical Santa.

--Dick Van Dyke Show: The staff of the Alan Brady Show creates a special for the show within a show. Rob and Laura, Buddy and Sally and even Mel Cooley get a chance to show off their talents. Also features the worst version of "The Little Drummer Boy" ever, painfully sung by Ritchie Petrie.

--Everybody Loves Raymond: They did a bunch of them, but the best was the one about the toaster. It was so retro chic.

--Big Bang Theory: It's the one where socially-awkward Sheldon tries to find an appropriate gift for Penny.

--Newsradio: Dave finds himself doing everyone's job as the staff tries to hustle out early on Christmas Eve.

Some of these are on youtube. Otherwise, check your local listings.

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