The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Specials

Christmas TV specials, limited series and movies are bigger than ever these days from now until the New Year, you’ll be able to find some festive yule-tide programming every night of the week. From the traditional viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, the different versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to baking shows and live music specials, we’ve got them all listed on the new Christmas TV Specials page. (Since not all of the networks list their specials early, this list will be updated throughout the coming weeks, so check back often for new additions!)

‘Designated Survivor’ Not to be Missed

Review of "Designated Survivor."
Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) unexpectedly takes the oath. (ABC)

One of ABC’s biggest new shows this fall is Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland. Sutherland plays happily married and father of two, Tom Kirkman, a lower level cabinet member. He isn’t thought of too highly among the other staff members as well. After a disappointing day at work, Kirkman’s life is about to get more interesting.

As you may know, during many presidential speeches, one cabinet member is selected sequestered away to serve as a “designated survivor” should anything happen to the president or vice president. In the series premiere, Kirkman plays that role. While watching the speech, Kirkman discusses home life issues with his wife, Alex (Natasha McElhone) while negotiating with his daughter to go to bed over the phone. After a few light-hearted moments, the TV monitors go black and he soon learns that not only has the U.S. Capitol been destroyed during the president’s Stat of the Union speech, but that in a matter of moments, Kirkman will have to be sworn in as the new President of the United States. Yikes.

While he is briefing with his new staff on how to tell the country what happened, Kirkmans’s daughter and teenage son are being brought in to their new digs at the White House. From here on out, Tom will be walking a tightrope act between keeping his family intact while leading the country and figuring out who was responsible for the attack.

Unlike his character Jack Bauer in the FOX series 24, Kirkman is a nervous wreck. He steps into the men’s room to get a grip and has a conversation with another staff member through his stall door and learn how some of the other staff really feel about him, then engages in another awkward conversation when he emerges from said stall as the staff member starts to verbally backtrack the negative things he has just about the new president. However, just like Jack Bauer, Kirkman proves that he is ready to lead if the others will only get out of his way. It’s a pretty tense first hour for the show and I’m not sure how they will be able to keep the momentum going each week, but for now, Designated Survivor is the show not to miss.

Designated Survivor premieres on Wednesday, September 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

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