TV and entertainment aficionado Bill Brioux shares his top picks to celebrate the holidays with Ignite TV
By: Guest writer, Veteran TV Critic Bill Brioux
How many Holiday-themed movies and specials are on TV this December? To find out just press mic and say, “Holiday Cheer” or “Happy Holidays” on your Rogers’ Ignite TV voice remote.
Up pops row upon row of colourful holiday movie icons featuring festive flicks from Hallmark and W Network, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, hayu, Super Channel, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and many other channels and streaming services.
And boy, if ever there was a year when we could all use a little more Christmas cheer, 2020 has been it. With every level of government urging families to stick close to home to curb COVID-19, having a direct line on all the Santa shows has never been more welcomed.
To help Rogers’ Ignite TV customers this holiday season, here are ten cool Yule suggestions, all only an Ignite TV command away:
Wonder Woman 84 (available for rent on Christmas Day). The most anticipated sequel of the year comes directly into homes on-demand via Ignite TV starting Dec. 25. Gal Gadot is back as the lasso-slinging DC superhero, with Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) as bad guys from a bad decade – the ‘80s.
Beside Wonder Woman’s latest, ordering movies on demand is bigger than ever this holiday season, with Elf, The Grinch, Home Alone, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation all just an Ignite command away.
The Holiday Movies That Made Us (available on Netflix). Did you know that the costumes and overall design of the 2003 Will Ferrell feature Elf was based on the 1964 Rankin-Bass animated classic Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer? Or that Garry Shandling was the original choice to play the James Caan role in that movie? Just two of the nuggets found in this fun docuseries.
The Christmas Edition (Citytv). Citytv has packed its schedule full of holiday films this season. This 2020 Lifetime original stars Carly Hughes as newspaper woman making a name for herself in Alaska. Can she prevent an evil owner from stopping the presses? Marie Osmond grabs her share of the front page.
Happiest Season (available on Amazon Prime Video). Here is a feel-good holiday movie with a twist: a woman brings her girlfriend home for Christmas to meet her very traditional parents. Problem – she has not come out to them yet. The film stars Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis and, in a scene-stealing role, Dan Levy from Schitt’s Creek. Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen play the parents.
Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas (available On Demand on W Network). Based on Blake Shelton’s hit song, this shot in Vancouver film finds five guests summoned to an inn at Christmas – one of them being Hallmark favourite Lacey Chabert. Stephen Huszar and Leon Robinson also star; directed by Calgary native David Winning.
Christmas with a Crown (available On Demand on Super Channel Heart & Home). A savvy businesswoman (Lisa Durupt) returns to her hometown to take over management of a faltering winter festival only to meet a dashing stranger (Marcus Rosner). Has her prince have finally arrived? Shot last March during a real Edmonton snowstorm.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (PBS). Be of good cheer, Charlie Brown. Not only can viewers watch your classic 1965 animated special all month long on AppleTV+ (free between Dec. 11 through 13), but it will also air on PBS and PBS Kids on Dec. 13. Good grief! Peanuts for everyone!
A Christmas Story (CBC). Bob Clark directed this 1983 favourite starring Peter Billingsley as a kid named Ralphie who just wants a B-B-gun for Christmas. Filmed in and around Cleveland, Ohio, St. Catharines, Ont., and, in a few scenes, Toronto. A 2008 documentary, Road Trip for Ralphie, visits all the locations.
It Happened One Christmas (available on Amazon Prime Video). Here’s an oddity from 1977: a remake of It’s a Wonderful Life starring Marlo Thomas. She plays a female version of the original’s George Bailey – Mary Bailey Hatch – who wishes she had never been born. Cloris Leachman plays her befuddled angel, Clara Oddbody; Orson Welles is the new Mr. Potter. Wayne Rogers, Doris Roberts and a young Christopher Guest also star.
The Shop Around the Corner (available on TCM). TCM has five holiday-themed classics in a row airing day and night on the 24, including Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Christmas in Connecticut (1945), The Bishop’s Wife (1947) and The Shop Around the Corner starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Rutherford.
Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2020 (premiering Christmas Day on PBS). Set in December 1965, just as things go haywire at Nonnatus House right before Christmas. Among the calamities: Sister Monica Joan is rushed to hospital, and Trixie is incensed to receive a subscription to a Marriage Bureau as a Christmas gift.