The Seventh Stream (December 9; 9 to 11 p.m.; CBS), written and directed by John Gray, is a “Hallmark Hall of Fame” variation on Hans Christian Andersen (The Little Mermaid) and John Sayles (The Secret of Roan Inish), with Scott Glenn as a despondent Irish widower, Fiona Shaw as a storekeeper, Eamon Morrissey as comic relief, and Saffron Burrows as the magical sea creature who transforms their fishing village. Beautiful and lugubrious, like the coast of Connemara and Saffron herself.
The Day Reagan Was Shot (December 9; 9 to 11 p.m.; Showtime), with Richard Crenna as the president, and a superb Richard Dreyfuss as control-freak Alexander Haig, who decided he was in charge while everybody else sought to deceive the public and the Soviets, is as stylish as Thirteen Days when executive producer Oliver Stone isn’t hitting us with his big stick.
With the Filmmaker: Portraits by Albert Maysles (December 10; 8 to 8:30 p.m.; IFC) debuts with the director of Gimme Shelter spending quality time with Martin Scorsese, after which Maysles will investigate Wes Anderson, Robert Duvall, and Jane Campion.
The Pretender: The Island of the Haunted (December 10; 8 to 10 p.m.; TNT) is a mishmash of Oedipal flimflam, child ghosts, mystic scrolls, swarthy villains, and lousy writing – and an insult to the series from which it humorlessly devolves.
Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (December 10; 8 to 10 p.m.; HBO) deserves the Oscar it won last March for best documentary feature: an absorbing account not only of the thousands of children who fled from Nazi Germany to foster homes in England after Kristallnacht in 1938, but of what became of them afterward and what they think about it now.
Taking Back Our Town (December 10; 9 to 11 p.m.; Lifetime) stars Laura Innes and Ruby Dee in the true story of two women who took on a Japanese petrochemical corporation, and state and local politicians, to save their Louisiana town from toxic poisoning.