Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday TV :(

Why isn't there anything good to watch on American television during the xmas season?  In the UK, you can watch special made for xmas specials of some of the best shows.  I wish I were a Doctor Who fan - watching the xmas special on xmas seems like it would be the perfect end to the day.  I've failed to take to Downton Abbey - but if I were a fan, I'd watch the xmas episode.  Even Call the Midwife is more interesting to me than what is on offer in the US.  Here, where we have three or four hundred tv channels, the programming primarily consists of reruns of every crappy movie with the words Christmas or Santa in the title.  (Home Alone and Elf seem to be the only two acceptable holiday movies on American tv.)  Even when a regularly aired American television series does a Christmas episode, they run it weeks before Christmas.  Castle did its xmas episode the first week of December.

Here's a brief listing of what passes for holiday programming on American television:

December 24:
Shrek the Halls
A Star for Christmas
A Christmas Wedding
Its A Wonderful Life
The Santa Clause
The Santa Clause 2
The Santa Clause 3
Home Alone
Miracle On 34th Street
Bad Santa
A Christmas Carol (with Jim Carrey)
The Family Stone
Surviving Christmas
The March Sister at Christmas (contemporary version of Little Women)
MTV - Teen Mom marathon
Firefly marathon
A Christmas Story
A Christmas Carol (with Patrick Stewart)

The Family Stone is a good movie but I've seen/heard it a dozen times.  Including yesterday.  I would like to see the episodes of Firefly that I've missed - but that's not going to happen on Christmas Eve.  I feel bad for those who end up watching a Teen Mom marathon.

December 25:
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Home Alone
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Anything But Christmas
A Christmas Kiss
Hitched for the Holidays
Joyful Noise
Merry In-Laws
The Big Bang Theory - marathon
Santa Santa Santa
CSI-North Pole
Law & Order-The Naughty List
The Santa Christmas
A Holiday Called Christmas

Nothing good here.  I've been working my way through The Big Bang Theory and while I would watch a marathon of it on Christmas, I would end up by my lonesome if I did.

I do plan on watching the Outnumbered xmas special.  And the made for TV movies of the Ian Rankin novel Doors Open and the William Boyd novel Restless.  Boyd was on Front Row recently and the interview was so good that in a major about-face I am looking forward to reading his James Bond novel in 2013. I have already watched a BBC Four rock doc on Slade which I think was considered special holiday programming.  Slade are relatively unknown in the US.  I saw a video they did when I was a kid in a hotel in Luxembourg and I thought they were cool.  And then I stumbled across a BBC Three sitcom called The Visit in 2007 that used a Slade song for its theme music.  (That was a great, but short-lived show.  It was a sitcom set in a prison in Manchester and most of the action was set around visiting hours when the inmates would sit in a large room and be visited by their families.  It felt more like a play than a tv show.  I liked the northern accents, too, even if it was a bit of work to understand everything.) So I have had this heretofore unfulfilled yearning to know more about Slade and in general, I love watching these BBC music docs whenever I can catch them.  Its a shame we can't have something similar here.  (Even the series Rock of Ages from a few years ago that was rebroadcast here had to be massively edited because of rights issues to the music covered.)

I shouldn't complain too much about not having good tv to watch on the holidays.  We have a ton of good dvds to watch and the ability to stream tv and movies via the internet.  We do have the complete dvd box set of The Shield and that is something I know from past experience makes for perfect holdiay viewing.  And I know we will watch a Christmas episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm - the one where Larry David mistakes the Christmas cookies made for a nativity scene to be animal cookies and gets into trouble for eating the baby jesus.  Best joke ever.

1 comment:

Louis XIV, "The Sun King" (Nick Jones) said...

I'm looking forward to the Restless adaptation; I didn't get round to writing anything about the book, so maybe I'll get something together about the book versus the TV drama.