Last year around this time I blogged about the 10 best and worst songs of the holiday season. This year I'll switch it up and do the five best Christmas specials.
(Before you complain, in this case it'll be all Christmas, since none on the list are Hannukkah or Kwanzaa of Festivus-oriented, though it's about time someone writes a screenplay for "A Charlie Brown Festivus.")
5) "I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown" -- The obscure little brother of the Peanuts made-for-TV-special franchise, it appropriately follows Linus and Lucy's obscure little brother Rerun as he goes on a quest to get a dog for Christmas. Coincidentally, Snoopy's skinny bro Spike just happens to be up from Needles for the holidays. It's a Christmas miracle!
4) "Prep and Landing" -- ABC seems to roll out a new P&L episode every Christmas and the first one (2009) was the best, but it's good shit. Nice to see a new special that's well done. Wayne and Larry have to get Timmy's house prepared for Santa's arrival. Wayne, who got passed over for promotion, is sulking and it jeopardizes the arrival. I know it's a cartoon, but this was actually really suspenseful.
3) "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." -- Stop motion animation at its finest from the old Rankin-Bass folks. Like Rudolph and the dentist elf Hermey, I think we've all felt like we were part of the Island of Misfit Toys at one point in our lives. Add to that the stress of making sure Christmas doesn't get canceled, being chased around by the Abominable Snowman, and this is funny and suspenseful. Some of the musical numbers were a little iffy, and I always felt like Yukon Cornelius was a little creepy, but this timeless classic is worth sitting through the whole hour.
2) "Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation" -- I mean, Phineas and Ferb are so well done anyway, but it's a stroke of brilliance to take them out of the usual setting of summer vacation and into winter break. They try to save Danville from being bypassed by Santa thanks to a misunderstand. Meanwhile, Agent P and Doofenschmirtz battle over figgy pudding and bad Sal Tuscany records. Again, some of the musical numbers are a bit goofy, but a great way to spend a December evening. (Ad, actually, there is a Hanukkah reference in this one.)
1) "A Charlie Brown Christmas" -- I mean come on, did you think it was gonna be anything else?
That's what Christas is all about, Charlie Brown.