Highlights: December 16-22

KLRU Highlights

The entire first series of Masterpiece Downton Abbey airs noon to 6 pm Sunday. Then starting at 6 pm Sunday, the first three parts of Downton Abbey, Series II depict the lives of the noble Crawley family and the staff who serve them, set at their Edwardian country house in the early 2oth century.

Live From Lincoln Center at 9 pm Monday presents a program of favorite arias and ensembles, including selections by Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Massenet, Mascagni, Handel and Wagner, from The Richard Tucker Opera Gala.

First Freedom: The Fight For Religious Liberty at 7 pm Tuesday profiles the generation of colonial Americans who raised the ideal of religious freedom to the level of a fundamental human right.

Iranian Americans at 8:30 pm Tuesday explores the history and lives of the Iranian American community in the United States.

Frontline at 9:30 pm Tuesday presents the epic story of the rise of Christianity.

Nature at 7 pm Wednesday documents the breathtaking landscapes framing intimate scenes of wolves and coyotes, elk and bison, bears and otters as they make their way through their most challenging season of the year in “Christmas in Yellowstone”.

NOVA at 8 pm Wednesday follows an international team of archeologists, architects and engineers to find out if they can reverse the destructive forces of man and nature to save one of the great wonders of the ancient world in “Riddles Of The Sphinx”.

NOVA at 9 pm Wednesday travels to one of Egypt’s most impressive temples, built some 3,500 years ago for the celebrated female pharaoh Hatshepsut, in search of answers to a tantalizing archeological mystery in “Building Pharaoh’s Ship” at 9 pm Wednesday.

Actor/Comedian David Cross talks about his career on Overheard with Evan Smith at 7 pm Thursday.

Arts In Context at 7:30 pm Thursday profiles Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the U.S. specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action, and just plain fantastic movies from around the world, in “All My Friends Are Vampires”.

The Mind of a Chef at 8 pm Thursday explores Chef David Chang’s past: dishes from childhood, summer eating, his time in Japan and golf.

The Daytripper at 8:30 pm Thursday follows Chet to Stephenville, TX as he visits Dublin Bottling Works, sees some barrel racing at Lone Star Arena, and polishes it off with chicken fried steak in the “cowboy capital of the world”.

Emmy and golden Globe-winning actress Jane Seymour and Grammy Award-winning baritone Nathan Gunn join the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in a magnificent Christmas special featuring some of the season’s best-loved songs on Christmas With The Mormon Tabernacle Choir at 9 pm Thursday.

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 10 pm Thursday features performances and readings by James Taylor, Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Ledisi, The Fray, Phillip Phillips and Rico Rodriguez.

Great Performances at 9 pm Friday presents The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour”, a film arguably ahead of its time with a mostly improvised and loosely plotted script based around a surreal dreamlike coach trip to an unknown destination.

Austin City Limits presents a classic performance from Tom Waits’ 1979 appearance at 7 pm Saturday.

Replace lawn or cover the ground under trees with water-wise plants on Central Texas Gardener at noon Saturday. On tour, a gardener created sculptural art in a healing garden to soothe cancer traumas.

Starting at 8 pm Saturday, the first three parts of Downton Abbey, Series II depict the lives of the noble Crawley family and the staff who serve them, set at their Edwardian country house in the early 20th century.