scorecardresearch Skip to main content

10 TV shows that bring the holidays home

From left: Alpha Trivette as Grandpa Walton, Logan Shroyer as John Boy Walton, and Marcelle LeBlanc as Mary Ellen Walton in "The Waltons' Homecoming" on The CW Nov. 28.Tom Griscom/Tom Griscom/The CW

NANTUCKET NOEL It isn’t really the holidays unless Hallmark gives us a Christmas movie set in New England. This romance checks that requirement off the list. Sarah Power and Trevor Donovan (from the CW reboot of “90210″) star, she as the owner of a toy store situated on a rundown wharf and he as the son of a developer who wants to tear the wharf down. Oh my, do you think there will be romantic sparks between them? Hallmark Channel, Nov. 19

A CASTLE FOR CHRISTMAS Brooke Shields stars as a famous author who goes to Scotland to buy a small castle. You know, normal stuff. But she’s met with resistance by the owner, played by Cary Elwes, who doesn’t want to sell to a foreigner. I do hope they can work things out. This holiday romance is directed by Mary Lambert, by the way, who, I recall, directed a 1987 movie called “Siesta” starring Jodie Foster, Gabriel Byrne, Ellen Barkin, and Martin Sheen that was as strange, interesting, and arty as “A Castle for Christmas” probably isn’t. Netflix, Nov. 26


ROBIN ROBIN The holidays call for at least one stop-motion special, and here’s a promising one. From Aardman Animation in the United Kingdom, it follows the journey of a little bird who sets out to discover her birthparents after being brought up by a family of mice (her egg rolled from the nest into theirs). Gillian Anderson and Richard E. Grant are among the voice actors, which is a very good sign. Netflix, Nov. 27

ONE LAST TIME: AN EVENING WITH TONY BENNETT AND LADY GAGA This concert special is bound to be poignant. It honors the friendship between Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, who began their musical partnership 10 years ago and have released two albums together. Filmed at two sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall in August to celebrate Bennett’s 95th birthday, the pair will perform duets and solo songs based in the Great American Songbook. Bennett has Alzheimer’s disease, but his singing ability remains intact. CBS, Nov. 28


THE WALTONS’ HOMECOMING Reboot, Will Robinson, reboot. Set during the Depression, the story has John Walton struggling to get home for Christmas during a storm. It also gives us 17-year-old John Boy at a crossroads, torn between supporting his family and wanting to be a writer. The film stars Bellamy Young (Olivia), Logan Shroyer (John Boy), Ben Lawson (John), and the original John Boy himself, Richard Thomas, as the narrator. The CW, Nov. 28

KELLY CLARKSON PRESENTS: WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES AROUND Singer and talk-show host Kelly Clarkson performs original songs — such as “Christmas Isn’t Canceled (Just You)” — as well as holiday classics. Yup, she has a new album out! There will be plenty of guests, including Brett Eldredge, Ariana Grande, Jay Leno, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Odom Jr., and Amy Poehler. NBC, Dec. 1

PIMPLE POPPER: A PIMPLE CAROL I wouldn’t want you Popaholics to miss this one. There may not be carols and trees, but there will be fireworks of a sort. Pore unclogger, pop queen, and enemy to cysts the world round, Dr. Sandra Lee helps patients address their skin issues in this special, so they can look their best for holiday photos and parties. TLC, Dec. 8

PEOPLE PRESENTS: BLENDING CHRISTMAS Haylie Duff and Aaron O’Connell play a couple introducing their families to one another during the holidays — which is not a fresh premise, to put it mildly. But wait, that’s not the draw. The movie serves as a reunion of four members of “The Brady Bunch”: Barry Williams, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, and Susan Olsen. Lifetime, Dec. 12


DOGS OF THE YEAR 2021 This annual holiday special gives us some of the best dog stories to make it into the news over the past 12 months. It celebrates a lot of very good dogs, some of whom offer therapy, or protect others, or help those with disabilities and seizures. It’s hosted by Kevin Frazier. The CW, Dec. 16

UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE More LGBTQ holiday movies are starting to show up, after Hallmark and Lifetime began to feature LGBTQ characters and stories last year. This year, Lifetime is featuring a lesbian holiday romance, in which two women — played by Elise Bauman and Tattiawna Jones — join forces to come up with the right tree for the Maine governor’s holiday party. Ricki Lake costars. Lifetime, Dec. 19

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him @MatthewGilbert.