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What to Watch on Saturday: Erik Estrada battles a Chupacabra on Syfy

NCAA Basketball Tournament (CBS) - The madness continues. For more information on games and networks (all games will air on truTV, TNT, TBS and CBS), check out our NCAA Tournament channel guide, which has a link to schedules.

Kids' Choice Awards (8pm, Nickelodeon) - Josh Duhamel hosts the 26th annual celebration honoring kids' favorites in film, television, music and sports. Scheduled performers include Pitbull and Ke$ha.

Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story (8pm, Lifetime) - A college student is accused of murdering his father and badly disfiguring his mother in a vicious attack, but he maintains he is innocent of the crimes. Based on a true story. Here's Adrienne's review.

Chupacabra vs. The Alamo (9pm, Syfy) - When Chupacabras attack the San Antonio region, DEA Agent Carlos (Erik Estrada, right) teams with a band of outlaw gangsters to battle the horde of blood-sucking creatures. The battle culminates at the Alamo. Also stars Julia Benson ("Stargate Universe").

20/20: Vacation Confidential (9pm, ABC) - The news magazine offers tips for avoid travel pitfalls, including hotel scams and pickpockets. Also, a look at unusual vacation trends, such as web-selected travel partners and bear-sighting trips.

"Pastor Brown" does a good job of keeping the faith

There's not much original, but there's something lovely about "Pastor Brown" (8 tonight, Lifetime), a film about a prodigal daughter challenged to find her way home.

When we first meet Jesse (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), she's pole dancing at a club in New York. Meanwhile, in her hometown of Atlanta, her pastor father (Keith David) collapses in the pulpit; soon Jesse's sister (Nicole Ari Parker) is calling for her to come home to be by daddy's bedside.

It's not a pleasant homecoming. Everyone knows Jesse isn't the Broadway dancer she claims to be. Her sister is resentful that she's been left at home to be dutiful and that, despite being dutiful, dad seems to like Jesse better. Plus she's been left to raise Jesse's son (Michael B. Jordan), who also has a chip on his shoulder just for Jesse for abandoning him.

Dad calls a bedside meeting, unexpectedly (and inexplicably) says he wants Jesse to take over for him as head of his church, and promptly dies. Almost no one is happy about this decision, but especially Rev. Callaghan (Michael Beach), an assistant pastor who has been waiting to take the main job, and his cousin Angelique (Tasha Smith), who has some unexplained ancient resentment toward Jesse. Even Jesse is skeptical, but after some thought, she decides to go for the job.

This, of course, is a story of redemption, and one of forgiveness, and it isn't just Jesse who needs forgiveness or redemption. For a bunch of church-goers, there's lots of bad behavior on display here.

But it works because the cast is strong. Richardson-Whitfield is just a wonderful actress; her Jesse is strong and vulnerable. She knows she's made bad decisions but she always owns them and Richardson-Whitfield imbues her with a quiet confidence and grace that makes her transition from troubled girl to enlightened woman seem plausible. Beach manages to bring layers to his unlikeable character that aren't necessarily in the script.

And the script does have lapses. Jesse and her son's relationship shifts course abruptly, a character played by first-time director/actor Rockmond Dunbar doesn't really have a place, but I'll give points for not going with the obvious ending.

Unlike other films that center in the church, this film isn't particularly preachy, although at least one message is clear: Father/heavenly Father knows best.

"Twist of Faith" focuses on the love, not the reality

If you believe love is blind, love conquers all, and all you need is love, have I got a movie for you!

It's the sweet, hopeful and implausible "Twist of Faith" (8 tonight, Lifetime), the tale of how music and singing brings an unlikely couple together.

Jacob (David Julian Hirsh) is a kindly Orthodox Jewish cantor, a loving husband, and a devoted father of three who lives in Brooklyn. One day, his family gets on a bus and is slaughtered by a guy hopped up on something. The tragedy leaves Jacob unable to speak, but able to leave his garments, wallets and keys behind, board a bus and end up making his way to the deep South.

In the small Alabama town he eventually ends up in lives Nina (Toni Braxton), a single mother and devout Baptist church member; naturally she's in the choir. She lives next door to the church with her Uncle Moe (Mykelti Williamson) and her son Asher (Nathaniel James Potvin). Asher takes to silent Jacob first; Uncle Moe gives him a place to stay at the church, and when Jacob, who is also a carpenter (a Jewish carpenter!), proves himself handy, he earns a permanent place, much to suspicious Nina's chagrin.

But after a reminder that she's a Christian, Nina comes around and shows him some kindness; soon silent Jacob breaks his silence just for her. Before you know it, he's singing with the choir and everything. And the next thing you know, they're giving one another eyes of longing. Can this interfaith love be?

Well, the film actually kind of ignores that. While doing a nice job showing the rituals of Jacob's faith, "Twist of Faith" then pretty much ignores his commitment to that faith and that maybe, just maybe, Jacob's Orthodox Jewish mom, who lives in an Orthodox Jewish community, and pronounces his name 'Yacob' might at least be taken aback if her son told her he's got a thing for a black Christian woman. And what about the equally startling notion that a Jewish man from Brooklyn wouldn't think twice about moving to po-dunk Alabama?

While "Twist of Faith" doesn't handle race and religion realistically, it's got all the other tropes you want to see when Yankees go South: gospel music, rednecks, and guns (In the North, they're used for killing innocent people, in the South, for killing innocent, but tasty rabbits).

While Braxton and Hirsh don't have much chemistry, they are a good-looking pair; it's Williamson who saves the day. He's good even in a trifle like this.

Still, "Twist of Faith" is sweet-natured and the music's good. Even a critic like me likes a love story. After all, love is all that matters.

What to Watch on Saturday: 'Betty & Coretta' and NFL Honors

Betty & Coretta (8pm, Lifetime) - The lives of Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz (the wife of Malcolm X) are chronicled as they carry on as single mothers following the assassinations of their husbands. Stars Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett and Ruby Dee (narrator).

NFL Honors (9pm, CBS) - Alec Baldwin is joined by celebrities and NFL stars in New Orleans as the league salutes its top players. Awards presented include NFL MVP, Coach of the Year, and the Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Pit Boss (9pm, Animal Planet) - Sebastian's trip to Florida to see his newborn nephew depletes an already understaffed workforce at Shortywood and the kennels. Also, tempers flare between Ashley and Shorty at a minor league baseball game.

Dixie Mafia (10pm, Discovery) - A show examining organized crime on the Gulf Coast. Geaux gangsters?

Austin City Limits (Midnight, UNC-TV) - Country music's Tim McGraw performs a mix of his greatest hits and new songs.

The mistakes made when it came to "Prosecuting Casey Anthony"

It seems odd to describe a Lifetime movie as 'serious minded,' but that's the word that comes to mind when watching "Prosecuting Casey Anthony" (8 tonight, Lifetime). While not completely without notes of melodrama, the movie presents a clear-eyed and illuminating look at the 'Tot Mom' case.

As the title suggests, the story is told through the perspective of the prosecutor Jeff Ashton (Rob Lowe); he's being interviewed by a TV reporter trying to figure out, as we all are, how he lost the case. Ashton was near retirement and longing for one last case after a near-perfect winning career record. He's brought on by Linda Burdick (Elizabeth Mitchell) who respects his forensic know-how; the third person on the team is Frank George (David Richmond-Peck).

Casey Anthony (Virginia Welch) isn't in the film much; we experience her much like we did in the trial. We see her on video and reacting during the trial, which is a smart decision on the filmmakers' part. Anthony's defense attorney Jose Baez (Oscar Nunez), is both flamboyant and underrated. There's also Anthony's sad/pathetic parents Cindy (Marina Stephenson Kerr) and George (Kevin Dunn).

The story line stays focused on the case, including appearances by Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell, except to show through Ashton's relationship with his wife Rita (Marisa Ramirez), how obsessed he becomes with the case.

And he was obsessed, mostly, it seems because Anthony's guilt seemed so obvious, the case such a slam dunk, that every setback, every tactic that Baez came up with seemed to confound the defense. Although squarely in Ashton's court, the film doesn't skirt over the prosecution's mistakes. They were outplayed by Baez, for whom Ashton seems to have real disdain.

Lowe, who also executive produced, is fine as Ashton; he doesn't overplay the emotion (despite the occasional dramatic pause). You get the sense of a man who is highly competent and tightly wound. And maybe a little to confident for his own good.

And maybe for the good of Caylee.

You might want to shun "An Amish Murder"

The Amish are hot! Well, on TV. We've had reality shows "Breaking Amish" and "Amish Mafia." And now a (more?) fictionalized version of that (once?) insular part of American culture is presented in not awful/not great "An Amish Murder" (9 tonight, Lifetime), starring Neve Campbell.

Campbell plays Kate, the chief of police in small-town Ohio who, under mysterious circumstances, left the Amish community she now polices. For the most part, her job involves herding loose cows off the road, but one day, a body is found. An Amish girl is dead and the evidence points to a serial killer who terrorized the community years before.

The case brings pressure on Kate, who is new to the job, and pulls her back into the orbit of the family and community that now shuns her. That includes her brother Jacob (played by Christian Campbell, Neve's real-life brother) and Lucas (Jilon Vanover) the man she would have married and whom she abandoned without a word (because of the mysterious circumstances).

What to Watch on Saturday: Jack White and the will to kill

Willed to Kill (8pm, Lifetime) - In this Lifetime movie, a female police detective discovers a personal connection to the serial killer she's chasing.

The Mob Doctor (9pm, Fox) - Constantine asks Al Trapani to help locate his estranged son, who's in debt to a dangerous cartel, and in return, Constantine wants Grace to find out what's behind the North Side boss' girlfriend's mysterious ailment.

Pit Boss (9pm, Animal Planet) - In the season premiere, Ashley's in charge when Shorty goes on a book tour, but she clashes with Ronald and Sebastian over a dog rescue.

Cesar Milan's Leader of the Pack (10pm, Nat Geo Wild) - In his new series, dog whisperer Cesar Milan is on a mission to save "unadoptable" dogs and find them homes. Each episode follows a transformation of a damaged dog with no home and little hope, into a balanced, confident animal ready to live a happy life with a new owner.

Austin City Limits (Midnight, UNC-TV) - Jack White performs songs from his 2012 solo album "Blunderbuss."

What to Watch on Saturday: Christmas movies all day and all night

Miracle on 34th Street (4:45pm, AMC) - Maybe my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Maybe. Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his portrayal of the department store Santa on trial to prove he's real in this heartwarming 1947 Christmas fantasy.

White Christmas (7pm, AMC) - Irving Berlin's music plus the singing and dancing of Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney? Yes, it's the 1954 classic "White Christmas." It airs again at 9:45.

Elf (8pm, CBS) - In this 2003 movie, a human (Will Ferrell) who has been raised by elves leaves the North Pole to search for his gruff birth father (James Caan) in New York City. Also stars Zooey Deschanel, Bob Newhart, Edward Asner and Mary Steenburgen.

Baby's First Christmas (8pm, Hallmark) - A new movie in which feuding lawyers spend Christmas together for the birth of their married siblings' son. But when the pair discover their siblings are in major financial trouble, they set out to solve the problem and end up on an adventure around the city.

Merry In-Laws (8pm, Lifetime) - A new movie in which a woman learns that her future in-laws are Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.

The Real St. Nick (10pm, Lifetime) - Another new Lifetime movie, this one about about a psychiatrist who reluctantly falls for a cute guy who is placed in a psychiatric ward after he claims he is Santa Claus.

Hitched for the Holidays (10pm, Hallmark) - A single New Yorker hires a woman to pose as his girlfriend to appease his family during the holidays. But as the two spend more time together attending parties and gatherings, their fake relationship starts to feel real.

Saturday Night Live (11:29, NBC) - Martin Short hosts and Paul McCartney is the  musical guest. 

What to Watch on Saturday: Christmas flicks, Bo Jackson and the Heisman

Frosty the Snowman (8pm, CBS) - Another "Frosty" showing, followed at 8:30 by "Frosty Returns" and at 9 by "The Flight Before Christmas."

Heisman Trophy Presentation (8pm, ESPN) - The 78th ceremony in New York City honors college football's most outstanding player. The finalists include Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.

Come Dance with Me (8pm, Hallmark) - An investor (Andrew McCarthy) takes dance lessons in hopes of impressing his boss -- and potential father-in-law -- at a swanky party. But, this being a Hallmark movie, he falls for his dance instructor and has to make a tough decision.

The American Giving Awards (8pm, NBC) - Joel McHale, perhaps the snarkiest man alive, hosts this gala paying tribute to community champions and five U.S. charities. A total of $2 million will be granted to five charitable organizations.

Holly's Holiday (8pm, Lifetime) - A lifetime movie about a handsome mannequin in a Christmas window display that comes to life and becomes the man of an advertising executive's dreams. Unfortunately, even though he's gorgeous, his personality remains a bit lifeless.

30 for 30: You Don't Know Bo (9pm, ESPN) - A documentary about professional football and baseball player Bo Jackson, directed by Michael Bonfiglio.

The 12 Disasters of Christmas (9pm, Syfy) - In this movie, a teenagers enlists the help of her father in order to prevent the end of the world after a number of strange occurrences strike her hometown.

Gary Gulman: In This Economy (10pm, Comedy Central) - Comedian Gary Gulman performs stand-up in Boston. His topics include the financial crisis, renting movies, and a conversation between Donald Trump and Bill Gates.

Taylor & Burton never made a film as bad as 'Liz & Dick'

As I recall Elizabeth Taylor hated being called 'Liz.'

But I bet she didn't hate that as much as she'd hate "Liz & Dick" (9 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime), the TV movie about her love affair with Richard Burton, starring Lindsay Lohan and Grant Bowler.  

It's not exactly disrespectful using the nickname the actress hated so much. The film makes a big deal about the fact that the couple helped herald the era of stars being hounded by paparazzi with their scandalous affair, and in tabloid culture they were 'Liz & Dick.' (Combining their names a la Brangelina would have been far worse. Try it.)

Yet that paparazzi-bait note is pretty much all the movie has to hang its hat on. It's all shallow replications of Elizabeth Taylor outfits and hairstyles, and Taylor/Burton fights and meltdowns without much insight or energy.

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