And That’s a Wrap!

beach_santaOkay, guys, that about covers it for another year. Time to go work off all those extra holiday treats, right?  Or take a cue from Santa here and catch a few post-Christmas naps. Yeah, that’s probably a better plan.

I’ll be back here on the 25th of every month again in 2017, reviewing holiday shorts until it’s time to start back up with next year’s specials.

I hope Christmas was good to you and your loved ones, and that the coming year brings you all kinds of delights. See you in January!

Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey

title

Plot in 3 Sentences: Nestor is thrown out of the barnyard because of his long ears and his mother gives her life to save him during a snowstorm. He meets a cherub who guides him to his destiny, which is to carry Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. His ears allow him to hear guiding voices and bring the expectant couple safely to their destination, making him a hero among the animals.

Fun Fact: The special is based on a 1975 Gene Autry song, which Roger Miller covers as the title song for this show.

My thoughts: There’s no question that this seems like a mawkish and sentimental attempt by Rankin/Bass to recreate their earlier success with 1964’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The stories share a lot of similar themes, although there was a little more social conscience at work here, as the show takes a much stronger stand against the bullying that Nestor receives from the other animals. A song called ‘Don’t Laugh and Make Somebody Cry’ was part of the original broadcast but is usually missing when it’s shown during the ABC Family holiday schedule. Long time Rankin/Bass fans will recognize some familiar faces in the cast, as models from The Year Without a Santa Claus, The Little Drummer Boy and Rudolph’s Shiny New Year were all re-used here. Yes, it’s a really sad story and I don’t watch it every year, but it’s one that I consider to be a classic that’s worth watching (if you have a box of Kleenex nearby).

camels

Further proof that camels are jerks.

sad-nestor

Nestor is showing us what all the viewers look like.

tilly

Tilly is adorbs.

mary-and-joseph

Mary’s eyes are so light blue that it makes her look blind.

Individual Superlative: Make that the Jumbo Kleenex – I watched the premiere of this special with two boys that I was babysitting and the three of us were reduced to a blubbering mass of tears and sniffles after Nestor’s mother died. “Ears, Nestor.” SOB.

Want to Watch it? Nestor, the Long Eared Christmas Donkey is available on VHS and DVD and it still shows up annually in the regular holiday programming.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

Hello, friends!tv-guide

Can you believe the holidays are knocking on our door again already?  Hope you’ve had a nice year!  I’m happy that we’ve all made it past the election and am glad to see you’re back for another month of Christmas special reviews.

Again, I picked a few I wanted to review and randomized the rest. I’ll post every night at 8pm (EST) starting tonight and running through Christmas Day.  The randomizer threw me a good mixed bag this year and I hope you’ll find some new specials to enjoy. During the off-season, I’ve added another hundred or so to my collection, putting me just over 700 now.

Thanks for joining me for another year of this nonsense. I enjoy writing these up and appreciate anyone who takes the time to read any of them. Go ahead and get that ugly elf sweater ready because the fun kicks off at 8pm tonight!

And That’s a Wrap!

Christmas DogAnd there you have it, friends. That’s all the nonsense I’ve got to share with you this year.

I’ll be back on the 25th of every month again in 2016, reviewing holiday shorts until it’s time to start covering next year’s selection of specials.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that the new year brings you all kinds of delights. See you in January!

It’s the Holiday Special Season!

SpecialsHello, friends!

Here we are again, ready to kick off another month of Christmas special reviews.  Over the course of the year, I’ve somehow managed to add more than two hundred specials & shorts to my collection, which now stands at somewhere in the neighborhood of 600+.

Once again this year, I picked a few I wanted to review and randomized the rest. I’ll post every night at 8pm (EST) starting tonight and running through Christmas Day.  I feel like the randomizer was not kind this year and has offered up a bunch of less than stellar specials…but there are a few highlights coming up, so stick with me, friends.

Thanks for joining me for another year of holiday foolishness. Grab some popcorn and a blanket, because the fun kicks off at 8pm tonight!

And That’s a Wrap!

Santa waves goodbye

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this Christmas season.  Squinty-eyed Santa and I are waving goodbye for 2014!

I had a great time writing these up and sharing them.  And considering that I’ve added another hundred to my collection this year (yikes!), I will never live long enough to review them all if I just do 30 per year.  So I’ve made a couple of decisions:

  • I’m going to take all the dull preschool specials off the list. They’re probably as boring to review (and read reviews about) as they are to watch and just not worth taking the spots away from the more deserving.
  • Just to share a little of the Christmas spirit through the rest of the year, I’m planning to post a review on the 25th of every month leading up to next Thanksgiving, when we’ll start all this nonsense up again for 2015.  We’ll see how that goes.

Thanks to those of you who have been reading along.  Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and are gearing up for a Happy New Year!

A Very Special Christmas Special Blog of Specials

Christmas-TV-Film-GuideOkay, I’ll admit it. I am addicted to Christmas specials. They say the first step to solving an addiction problem is admitting you have a problem, which I’ve just clearly done. (See above.) The second (and far more interesting) step is discussing the object of your addiction with fellow addicts. But since I’ve never really met anyone with a collection problem as awesome troubling as mine, I’ve decided to create this blog and talk about it here. So here’s what you can expect:

  • I’ll post every day (at 8:00pm (EST) since that’s the standard time slot for Christmas specials) starting the day after Thanksgiving and ending on Christmas Day.
  • Each post will contain a brief (3 sentence) plot synopsis, fun fact, short review, some screencaps, a silly superlative and suggestions on where to find it if you want to watch it yourself.
  • I’m also tagging these posts by common themes so you can easily see all the specials that share them. And I have a mild side-addiction to over-organization.

And here are some more points, also with bullets to make them feel important:

  • When I say ‘Christmas special,’ I am referring to both special presentations (such as A Charlie Brown Christmas or How the Grinch Stole Christmas) and Christmas themed episodes of regular shows. (But NOT full-length movies.)
  • I’m using my own personal collection, which started about 30 years ago and varies widely in quality, so please excuse the way-less-than-High-Definition of some of my screencaps.
  • The majority of my specials range from 20 to 50 minutes. There are a few animated shorts that are less than 10 and a few longer specials that run over an hour.  (Many of which shouldn’t. I’m looking at you, Star Wars Holiday Special.)

For this first year, I picked ten I wanted to review and just let my handy randomizer pick the others out of the 400+ that I have. (Yes, 400+. I already admitted I had a problem. Shut up.) My collection includes the awesome, the good, the bad, the awesomely bad, the irreverent, the hilarious, the disturbing and the majorly weird. But I kinda love ‘em all and even more so when I can share them with friends. See you on Friday for our first special and here’s a teaser…it involves the Muppets.