Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Holiday films on CBS; uplifting Christmas movies on UPtv


The Hallmark Channel may not be alone in the holiday spirit but even network television can’t compete with as many Christmas-themed specials.

However, CBS makes an effort with its own foray into the jolly season.

Airing on Nov. 29, “Reindeer in Here,” a one-hour animated holiday special, is based on the award-winning Christmas book and plush set created by acclaimed author Adam Reed and written for the screen by Greg Erb and Jason Oremland.

This is the heartwarming story of how Blizz, a young reindeer living at the North Pole who has an unusual trait — one antler that is significantly smaller than the other — and his unique group of friends band together to save the future of Christmas.

Blizz just wants to show Santa that his original inventions can make Christmas even better. Theo, a lonely 10-year-old boy, is the new kid in town who longs to make friends.

When a mysterious villain swipes the magical snow globe that holds the wishes of every child in the world, these two unlikely heroes become Santa’s only hope to save Christmas.

Blizz and Theo can’t save Christmas all on their own, so they enlist the help of their trustworthy friends, including Candy, the oversharing Snowgirl; Pinky, the only entirely pink reindeer at the North Pole; and the dimwitted mohawked polar bear Hawk.

Joining the group to help out is the big-toothed nervous-Nelly reindeer Bucky, and the adorable and hilarious Smiley the elf who has served as Santa’s harried Head of Holiday Operations for the past 500 years.

Amanda Kloots (“The Talk” co-host) stars in and executive produces “Fit for Christmas,” the tale of Audrey, an enthusiastic Christmas-obsessed fitness instructor at a beloved, financially beleaguered community center in quaint Mistletoe, Montana.

Audrey begins a holiday romance with a charming, mysterious business owner (Paul Greene), complicating his plans to turn the center into a more financially profitable resort property. “Fit for Christmas” airs on December 4th.

Mark Amato, who has created a dozen holiday-themed films, including last season’s CBS original movie “A Christmas Proposal,” as well as “A Kiss Before Christmas,” is the writer of “Most Love Christmas,” the holiday special to air on Dec. 11.

A renowned romance novelist (Liza Lapira of “The Equalizer”) famous for her Christmas-themed books finds herself snowbound in the charming town of Cranberry Falls.

Stuck in this village, the novelist unexpectedly becomes involved in a love triangle between her childhood crush (Nathan Witte) and a reporter (Neal Bledsoe) determined to interview her to save his dying magazine.

Award-winning singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow executive produces and writes the title song for “When Christmas Was Young,” a Nashville music-themed movie from a script by bestselling novelist Robert Tate Miller (“Hope at Christmas”).

The story follows a headstrong music manager (actor/musician Tyler Hilton) in desperate need of a hit song for his last remaining client, who finds himself falling for a gifted singer-songwriter (Karen David).

While the singer may have abandoned dreams of making it big, Hilton’s music manager attempts to secure the rights to a Christmas song she wrote years ago. “When Christmas Was Young” debuts on Dec. 18.



UPtv, the television home for uplifting entertainment, may be outdoing everyone else in the holiday cheer department, with 17 original movies celebrating the Christmas spirit.

Let’s take a look at a few of the offerings. On Dec. 3, “Christmas on the Slopes” is the story of a celebrity chef (Soma Chhaya) taking her first real Christmas vacation and ends up wandering into the kitchen of a luxury resort.

The handsome but grouchy head chef (Olivier Renaud) mistakes her for the sous chef, and their chemistry sparks a holiday romance. But will everything blow up when the head chef learns the truth about her?

“Santa’s Got Style,” debuting on Dec. 11, finds department store executive Madison (Kathryn Davis) charged with coming up with a fresh idea for the holiday season. She decides that instead of a classic Santa, this year they would hire a young Santa with fashionable style.

But when she has difficulty finding the perfect model, her longtime best friend Ethan (Franco Lo Presti), who has been in love with her for years, throws on a beard and disguises himself as the Santa of her dreams.

The weekend before Christmas delivers “Sappy Holiday,” with Vanessa Sears’ Joy stranded in a small town after her car breaks down. She meets the charming James (Jon McLaren), a local trying to save his family’s maple farm.

Christmas weekend brings a double bill for Saturday and Sunday, with “The Snowball Effect” being the tale of rival meteorologists (Anjali Khurana and Landon Moss) tracking a huge snowstorm in the town of Mistletoe and having to work together to get home in time for Christmas.

Christmas Day brings “Christmas in Wolf Creek” where a runaway reindeer threatens the annual Christmas play and a struggling couple (Nola Martin and Tim Rozon) must work together to save Christmas for the town and each other.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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