Writers rehash a 'wonderful' but tired idea

Friday, December 19, 2003

All I want for Christmas is to review a show based on an original idea. How many times do we have to watch shows resort to the same tired variation on "It's A Wonderful Life"?

This season we've seen characters from "Life with Bonnie" and "One on One" go through the motions of imitating the Capra classic. Tonight, the cable comedy "Even Stevens" (6:30 p.m., Disney) repeats a 2000 episode in which Louis (Shia LeBeouf) has a horrible Hanukkah experience and wishes he never existed. With the help of an elderly and angelic relative, he then sees just how dull things would be without him.

I propose that some clever screenwriter create a show or movie that ponders what their life would be if they never saw "It's a Wonderful Life" and had to wrack their brains for something new.

Other holiday offerings include another airing of the often-repeated 1989 comedy "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (8 p.m., NBC). Nick Stabile stars as the jolly guy's offspring in the 2000 made-for-TV comedy "Santa Jr." (7 p.m., Hallmark). The practical-minded can learn a few holiday tips on "Christmas Design on a Dime" (9 p.m., HGTV).

Tonight's other highlights