December was once the dead time in television. But the end of the year has become a favored time among cable networks to start new shows. The result is a slew of high-profile programming debuting in the weeks before Christmas: a HBO two-part movie called "Tsunami: The Aftermath," the return of Showtime's "Sleeper Cell," Sundance Channel's six-part "One Punk Under God," a new series for the Sci Fi Channel and two new sitcoms from TBS.

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