Some of our readers can’t get enough of celebrating holiday cheer, but some of our readers … Well, if you’re already shuddering at the waves of sentimental holiday tales sweeping through our culture—then this story isn’t for you. NO, we’re not implying you’re an Ebenezer Scrooge. Millions of Americans follow other faiths. Perhaps Diwali is your holiday season. If this story isn’t your cup of egg nog, then enjoy the thousands of other stories at ReadTheSpirit.
But for the millions of us who enjoy the guilty pleasures of sentimental, romantic and dramatic holiday tales—then you definitely should check out the Hallmark Channel and the Hallmark Movie Channel each week through the end of the year. As Editor of ReadTheSpirit, each November and December, I help readers discover the best in holiday gems. After Thanksgiving, for example, we will publish our annual holiday gift guide of great books to select for friends and loved ones.
This week, I’ve logged hours previewing Hallmark films debuting this month and in December. One nice feature of the two Hallmark channels: If you miss a particular movie debut, simply scroll forward in your TV schedule and you will find your favorite film rolling around again—and again. Here is the Hallmark Channel home page where you can check out all of that channel’s listings. And, here is the Hallmark Movie Channel home page, which has different offerings.
CARRIE FISHER DOES DICKENS:
‘IT’S CHRISTMAS, CAROL’ AIRS IN NOVEMBER & DECEMBER
Many of us have a soft spot for any media project involving Carrie Fisher, given her iconic roles in the Star Wars saga and—to be honest—sympathy over her relatively hard life. Beyond her shining moments in Star Wars and in personal relationships with Dan Akroyd and Paul Simon, Fisher also openly talks about her long periods of addiction and her struggles with bipolar disorder. Despite it all, Debbie Reynolds’ daughter is a survivor and it’s great to see her show up in Hallmark’s It’s Christmas, Carol—a Charles Dickens remake—as one of the well-meaning ghosts.
Of course, none of these made-for-TV movies have the heft of a Steven Spielberg production (we also recommend his new Lincoln)—but that’s hardly the point! These are fun tales to watch after a busy day, either on you own or with a loved one sharing the couch with you. A lot of the charm flows from nostalgia and the good humor of seeing actors and actresses we know and love playing other parts for a couple of hours. In addition to Carrie Fisher, fans of Carson Kressley (in the photo above and well-known most recently as an occasional guest on Dancing with the Stars) shows up costarring in this ensemble. You may even be a fan of Emmanuelle Vaugier (of CSI:New York a few years ago and Two and a Half Men more recently); in this case, she’s the Scrooge character.
WILLIAM SHATNER DOES DICKENS, TOO: ‘A CAROL CHRISTMAS’
As you are scanning through the Hallmark Channel schedule, don’t mix up your Dickens remakes! Over the next coupld of weeks, Hallmark also is showing the 2003 made-for-TV movie A Carol Christmas. In that production, Tori Spelling plays the Scrooge. Here’s the gem: William Shatner, who many of us miss after Boston Legal ended its quirky run on network TV, co-stars in a dual role. He is Spelling’s colleague in “real life,” and he shows up as the Ghost of Christmas Present, as well. If you’re watching—or recording for later viewing—mark both Dickens remakes to enjoy.
A THANKSGIVING GEM COMING SOON:
HALLMARK’S ‘LOVE AT THE THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE’
If you’re a big TV fan, you will recognize Autumn Reeser from several series: She’s in the new apocalyptic thriller, The Last Resort; and she has appeared in Entourage, No Ordinary Family and the new Hawaii Five-O. If you’re not familiar with her work from those series, think of a brunette Reese Witherspoon. She co-stars with Italian-Canadian actor Antonio Cupo. Early in the romantic comedy, a young woman who nearly swoons over the handsome Cupo describes him as “George Clooney.” And, had George Clooney and Reese Witherspoon co-starred in Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, we can only imagine the greater depth they would bring to this production. But, again, that’s not really the point! You’ll enjoy Reeser and Cupo scurrying around real-life Chicago, supposedly working on producing a holiday parade—but actually working on producing a romance. Come on, it’s all fun holiday viewing!
Review by ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm
Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.