Every TV show, if it’s on long enough, will eventually get a Christmas special. Some make it a traditional thing like The Simpsons do Halloween and others go big with a memorable one-off. Either way, it’s an inevitability. But just because it’s an easy way for the writers to get out of actually trying that season, doesn’t mean they’re all creatively pointless. There are some that use the holiday to do something unique or interesting. We here at SAW think these six shows have the best chance of doing just that.
Here are Six TV Shows That Should Get a Christmas Special.
Young Sheldon (CBS)
If you don’t know anything about Young Sheldon, it is narrated by Jim Parsons in the same unreliable narrator way that Bob Saget narrates How I Met Your Mother. so everything he is telling us comes only from his perspective. It was revealed in The Big Bang Theory that Sheldon lost his father (George) to a heart attack when Sheldon was young. They have teased this on multiple occasions, so the one thing that everybody has known since before Young Sheldon began to air was that George was eventually going to get killed off. The funny thing is, Young Sheldon has never had a Christmas episode and the main reason for that is because apparently, Sheldon Cooper does not believe in Christmas. However, after almost six seasons and with the looming threat of George no longer being a part of the show fast approaching, now is the perfect time and reason why Young Sheldon needs to have a Christmas episode while George is still alive.
How I imagine this episode would go could be the origin of why and how Sheldon would be boycotting the very existence of Christmas as well as the scientific improbability of one man being able to fly around the whole world in one single night, the magical sleigh being pulled by flying reindeer, why elves would agree to make toys for children but somehow agreeing that cole would be the appropriate gift whether they were either naughty or nice that year. (you know, everything that makes him so annoying). By the end of the episode, after he has spent all of his time trying to convince everybody why they shouldn’t believe in Christmas, he is confronted by his twin sister who convinces him that even if he doesn’t believe in Christmas he should still spend time with his family to which he reluctantly agrees to do so. This can be one last good memory that Sheldon has of his family and with his father before George is out of his life (and the show) forever.
Severance (Apple TV+)
With apologies to Andor, Severance is my favorite show to debut in 2022, and I can’t think of another show that would have me as excited by the prospect of a Christmas episode. There are a few reasons for this – firstly, we’ve already been privy to how weird the world of celebrations at Lumon can get. If a “music dance experience” and a “waffle party” can deliver memorable entertainment in mere scenes, imagine what an entire episode devoted to the most wonderful time of the year could do. Who’s to say that Lumon Industries, appearing themselves to be a cult-like new religious movement of some kind, wouldn’t reimagine the entire nativity in the image of its founder Kier Eagan and hold up a funhouse mirror to our own bizarre traditions? Not to mention, the bifurcated structure of the characters’ lives opens up a world of possibilities for exploring starkly different experiences of the holiday season. Maybe the most festive Innies are the least festive Outties. Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?
–D. N. Williams
Reacher (Prime Video)
After two underrated films starring Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher was rebooted for television with Alan Ritchson in the title role. Although Cruise’s version of Reacher was the one who introduced me to Lee Child’s long-running and best-selling series of novels, Ritchson’s Reacher is easily the more faithful version. He’s taller. He’s bloodier. He takes no shit from no one. But he’s also got morals and a kind heart. So, with Christmas-themed action films suddenly all the rage right now (Fatman, Violent Night), why not bring that level of festive mayhem to the small screen? Reacher stumbles into another small town the week before Christmas, expecting to find some comfort food at a local establishment. Instead, he finds trouble. Chaos — as usual — ensues, ending with Reacher dressed up as Santa before departing down the road. Pick a book, move the setting to winter, and adapt the rest faithfully. It’s as simple as that.
The Penguin (HBO Max)
Ever since I saw Batman Returns when I was a wee lad, I’ve always felt like every Batman movie should take place on Christmas. There’s something about the holiday that perfectly lends itself to the exaggerated set design of that universe. It’s like filling up a shotgun with red and green buckshot and blasting holes into gothic pitch-black architecture. The two things create a nice juxtaposition of images that should clash but go together amazingly well. I doubt Matt Reeves cares about my fetishistic need to marry the two styles, so any Batman sequels are out. So my next best alternative is the Untitled Penguin Spinoff. I can already picture Oswald dressed as Santa popping out of a giant gift brandishing a Tommy gun mowing down his enemies. He can even have a pet penguin he dresses up like an elf. It’s a wacky idea that might tip too far into unbelievable comic book fantasy but seeing as how the movie was so super serious it stopped being fun, I’ll take it.
Squid Game (Netflix)
When you think of a Christmas episode, you normally think of a sitcom, where the holiday cheer can be injected into a humorous situation with plenty of heart to boot. But how about we take a darker look at Christmas by bringing a Dirty Santa-themed episode to last year’s breakout hit Squid Game.
While Christmas may not be celebrated the same in Korea, and there may not even be a variation of Dirty Santa there, the game definitely fits the show’s themes of simple games being taken up to 10. Squid Game is all about people living in desperate poverty and what they will do to win the big prize, and Dirty Santa could bring that tradeoff front and center as contestants are goaded to steal the safe gifts from their fellow players to keep from getting a deadly reward. The show could spice up the rules by allowing contestants to defend their gifts from potential thieves with a fight to the death. There are all kinds of heightened stakes that could be added to create tension while highlighting the worst commercialism of the season.
Werewolf by Night (Disney+)
Okay, so while I pitched this to Duke as a Werewolf by Night Christmas Special I REALLY meant a MAN-THING Christmas Special. Hell, have the title be Giant Sized Werewolf by Night Christmas Special with “Werewolf by Night” crossed out and “Man-Thing” painted over it as a nod to the classic Giant-Sized comics. I’ve honestly been thinking about it since watching the end of the Werewolf by Night one-shot, where Ted and Jack end up in the woods at a campsite. I thought “I bet that’s a swamp. I bet that’s Man-Thing’s swamp.”
Because the swamp where Man-Thing resides is, in the Marvel comic universe anyway, the Nexus of All Realities. A place where anyone – and anything – can show up and drag our heroes on to all sorts of adventures. I know, I know – you’ve probably had a bellyful of cross-time/cross-universe shenanigans at this point. I still love that stuff, though, and I think there’s plenty of mileage to be had with some of the more off-beat characters in the Marvel Universe.
So, picture if you will, it’s Christmas Eve in the swamp. Ted and Jack are not having the best holiday – seeing as Ted is an almost-mindless muck-encrusted mockery of a man and Jack suffers from occasional hair (and teeth and claw) issues. They’re a mopey duo, not feeling the spirit of the holiday – until a sled crashes out of the sky and into their campsite. And who is that in a red suit and hat? Is it Santa? No, it’s HOWARD THE DUCK in a Santa costume! The real Santa is in the back seat, in even worse shape than Ted and Jack – seems he’s the victim of a bad guy named D’Spyre (I’m not making this up – well, yeah I am, not the name, though). He’s convinced that no one believes in him anymore and there’s no point to any of this Christmas stuff.
Howard needs Ted and Jack to help him 1. Deliver all the freakin’ toys and 2. Convince Santa (and in the process, themselves) that the spirit of the holiday DOES exist and people DO believe in Santa. And on the way they get to visit a bunch of lesser known Marvel characters (like, say, Alpha Flight, Wundarr, the Great Lakes Avengers, and Squirel Girl). In the end they save Christmas and Ted gets to do the “whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch on D’Spyre. There are all kinds of shenanigans our heroes can get up to (and I just love the idea of pairing Jack and Ted with Howard). Yeah, it wouldn’t be as horror oriented as the original Werewolf by Night – but I think it might be just as much fun.
What are some other shows currently airing or coming soon that you think need to do a Christmas episode?