Watching Christmas: your unscrambled survival guide for a season without streaming


When you’re used to a plethora of viewing options, coming home for the vacation can be a nerve-racking experience.

With the festive family reunion potentially in a remote location or in a true Wi-Fi and Sky area, it can mean the terror of limited TV options to help you get through this intense time on either side of the Father’s Delivery window. Christmas.

If you’re trapped in a Christmas in the clear, Things to watch is here to help. We’ve put together a list of the 12 Christmas TV saves – a dozen options to give you a little more cheer this holiday season – and there’s no special ice cream or sitcom capade (well, almost. ) in sight.

Top Gun, The Simpsons Christmas Marathon, and Best in Show are just three of the free delights on offer to help you have a Christmas without streaming this year.

Provided

Top Gun, The Simpsons Christmas Marathon, and Best in Show are just three of the free delights on offer to help you have a Christmas without streaming this year.

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Hamish Blake and Ryan

Provided

Hamish Blake and Ryan “Brickman” McNaught challenge a quartet of celebrities on Lego: Brickmas.

Christmas Eve

Lego: Brickmas (7 p.m., Three)

This two-part festive special sees a quartet of Australian celebrities attempting to demonstrate their building skills. Competitors include Block Australia host Scott Cam and pop singer became Beauty and the geek singer Sophie Monk, who will team up with former contestants on the hit reality show.

The producers promise fun, mischief, and surprisingly impressive results, with even Ryan “Brickman” McNaught stepping in to help with the Christmas-themed challenges. Continue at the same time on Christmas Day.

Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise face off in Top Gun.

SUPPLIED / Supplied

Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise face off in Top Gun.

Top Gun (8:40 p.m., Three)

What better way to bond with your family and just free your brain after the year we’ve had than with this cult action movie from 1986.

If you need speed or like your “young and dumb” action then this should more than satisfy. Featured Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Kelly McGillis and Val Kilmer.

“The story is laughable, the routine of leadership, the underlying ethics highly questionable; but flight stirs blood like speed,” wrote Free time magazine.

Sarah Gadon plays Princess Elizabeth in A Royal Night Out.

Provided

Sarah Gadon plays Princess Elizabeth in A Royal Night Out.

the day of Christmas

A royal evening (3h35, TVNZ 1)

If you’re desperately trying to stay awake to see Santa Claus, or have a hard time falling asleep, this is a delightful speculative adventure about what might have happened when the two Windsor sisters had a sleepless night. .

Some might disapprove of seeing our Queen portrayed in this genre of Carry On, but, beautifully pitched and modulated, this 2015 tale is a top-notch coming-of-age comedy. Featured Sarah Gadon and Bel Powley.

Go South filmed 320 hours of footage of some of New Zealand's most beautiful locations, following Kiwi Rail's Great New Zealand Journey from Auckland to Greymouth.

GO SOUTH / SKY TV

Go South filmed 320 hours of footage of some of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations, following Kiwi Rail’s Great New Zealand Journey from Auckland to Greymouth.

Go south (5:30 a.m., Prime)

A welcome rehearsal of New Zealand’s first slow TV attempt could be the backdrop you need to get through Christmas Day. This 12-hour production, cut from 320 hours of footage, features no interviews or voiceovers, just a road, rail and sea journey from Strand Station in Auckland to the Tasman Sea, just outside of Milford Sound.

Richard Ayoade looks back on some of his favorite cities in Travel Man's Greatest Trips.

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Richard Ayoade looks back on some of his favorite cities in Travel Man’s Greatest Trips.

Travel Man’s Greatest Journeys (1:10 p.m., your choice)

With visits outside our borders having been essentially impossible last year, what better way to rekindle your travel urge than by watching some of the highlights of the biggest travel show on TV.

Richard Ayoade looks back on some of his favorite adventures from the series, including Vienna, Dubai, Helsinki, Florence, Porto and Tenerife, as well as some he would have preferred to avoid.

What could be better on Christmas Eve than over two and a half hours of one of the world's best sitcoms.

Fox / TNS

What could be better on Christmas Eve than over two and a half hours of one of the world’s best sitcoms.

The Simpsons Christmas Marathon (7:30 p.m., Duke)

So your festive dinner or family reunion didn’t quite go as planned? Or do you just want to share guaranteed laughs that all whānau can enjoy? Then this collection of some of the best vacation episodes from over three decades of the long-running animated series should really hit the nail on the head.

All six adventures include times when a cable channel filmed a Christmas movie in Springfield, an infamous company attempted to create the ultimate Christmas toy, a huge snowdrift engulfed Springfield Elementary, Homer recorded an anti-Ned Christmas carol , Homer had A Christmas Carol– Epiphany style and Marge was determined to “fix” Christmas.

Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer teamed up for The Man Who Invented Christmas.

Provided

Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer teamed up for The Man Who Invented Christmas.

The man who invented Christmas (8:20 p.m., Māori TV)

While clearly sold as a festive dish, this 2017 Canadian-Irish co-production works best as a biopic of British author Charles Dickens. Featuring Downton abbey Dan Stevens, he explains how, just when things looked grim for the writer, a combination of his Irish maid and a few chance encounters sparked an idea – a festive fable.

Based on the book of the same name by historian Les Standiford, the impressive cast also includes Jonathan Pryce, Simon Callow, Miriam Margolyes, Christopher Plummer and Bill Paterson.

Ryan Reynolds and Abigail Breslin are Will and Maya Hayes from Definitely Maybe.

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Ryan Reynolds and Abigail Breslin are Will and Maya Hayes from Definitely Maybe.

Definitely maybe (10:30 p.m., TVNZ 2)

Ryan Reynolds is at his best, charming but reasonably family-friendly, in this 2008 romantic comedy about a man’s attempts to explain his impending divorce and past relationship with his 11-year-old daughter. Isla Fisher, Rachel Weisz and Elizabeth Banks co-starring.

“A sophisticated story of deception and accommodation,” wrote Chronicles of San Francisco Mick LaSalle.

Best in Show is one of the best dummies ever.

Provided

Best in Show is one of the best dummies ever.

The day after Christmas

Best in Show (12:40 p.m., TVNZ 1)

A pretty brilliant mockup documentary from 2001 by the same band led by Christopher Guest who invented Spinal Tap all those years earlier.

This time, it is the dog shows that are usurped, or rather the people who register their precious doggies in dog shows like Crufts. If you need an elevator this is the perfect way to end the day.

Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling play Cursed Lovers in The Notebook.

New Line Cinema

Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling play Cursed Lovers in The Notebook.

The notebook (2h10, TVNZ 2)

Alternatively, if you have a lot of pent up emotions after all the festivities, then this just might be the cathartic experience you need.

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams team up for this 2004 romantic drama based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. It is the story of cursed lovers: a poor but passionate young man and a young woman from a rich family who yearns for freedom. Of course, the road to their happiness does not go smoothly.

Teen Titans Go!  To The Movies is reminiscent of one of the best in South Park, but, you know, a little more for the kids.

Provided

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies is reminiscent of one of the best in South Park, but, you know, a little more for the kids.

Teen Titans Go! To the films (8:10 am, TVNZ2)

A great way to keep school aged kids entertained while you sleep. However, there is plenty for the grown-ups to do in this deliciously demented 2018 send-off of all things superheroes.

A film that is keenly aware of the DC Extended Universe’s shortcomings compared to its Marvel rivals (and to a lesser extent Fox). So he snatches the opening titles of the competition, steals Stan Lee for a cameo, and creates a more family-friendly carbon copy of a certain Merc with a rude mouth.

The results, sometimes a little too scatological, are often hilarious. With musical interludes, a lo-fi sensation and a rupture of the fourth wall, Teen Titans reminiscent of one of the best in South Park, but, you know, a little more for the kids.

Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood are Tony and Maria from West Side Story.

Provided

Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood are Tony and Maria from West Side Story.

West Side Story, (8:45 p.m., Māori TV)

With Steven Spielberg reimagining in Kiwi Theaters on the same day, there’s never been a better time to experience the 1961 original. Not only did it win 10 Oscars (including Best Picture), but it was also the highest grossing film of that year.

An adaptation of the 1957 Broadway hit, this Romeo and Juliet-esque tale centers on Natalie Wood’s Maria and Richard Beymer’s Tony, lovers cursed because their families are part of rival gangs.

Beautifully choreographed and filled with beautiful songs like Tonight and Somewhere, this is a rare case where two directors are better than one. Robert Wise was in charge of the dramaturgy, while Jerome Robbins (who had helped bring the Broadway show to life) was in charge of the musical sequences.

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