Everyone loves a Christmas episode. Your favourite show, no matter how hardcore, for a single episode (per season, if you’re lucky), suddenly finds that it has a sentimental side and piles on the schmaltz and star filters to help its characters learn some heartfelt lessons about friendship, love, pudding, and ghosts.
But not every beloved show managed to make a Christmas episode. Some left us to fend for ourselves in the wilderness of imagination and fanfic. And that’s a damn shame.
We’ve collected together five shows that we would have loved to see make a Christmas episode but never did. Bah! Humbug!
It would have been impossible to showcase a Christmas episode of this classic cult series considering that the first run took place starting in late February towards the end of March 1989 (although season two was full of rich autumn colours but why nit-pick?). One wonders what might have been had the series taken place just two months earlier during the holiday season, but considering the original series was about a murdered 17-year-old high school girl, perhaps there were some topics which would have been too rough for audiences to accept during a time of joy and happiness. Had there been a season three in 1991 (where writers were actually planning a flash-forward in time), well who knows? On that note, it’s also kind of a small shame the creators of Twin Peaks didn’t feature a holiday episode during the show’s triumphant return in 2017. Imagine if Dale Cooper had emerged from his 25 year exile inside the black lodge during yuletide season? I have a feeling Dougie Jones would have loved that. Still, one shouldn’t wonder ‘what if’ considering that Twin Peaks is pretty much as perfect a TV series as has ever existed, regardless of what time of year it took place. And hey, we do have The 12 Days of Twin Peaks holiday video. – Jason Sheppard
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry is said to have believed that human religion will die out in the future, and certainly be gone by the 24th century – the time period in which Star Trek: The Next Generation is set. As a Humanist, Roddenberry wanted to keep human religion out of Star Trek as much as possible (although alien religion is all over the Star Trek universe). It’s one of the things that makes Star Trek what it is.
But the crew of the Enterprise-D were like a family, and watching the series when it aired it was perhaps natural to want to see this beloved family celebrate a familiar holiday together (and I don’t mean Captain Picard Day). The closest that we got was in Star Trek: Generations, when Picard (Patrick Stewart) is in The Nexus and we see him with a family celebrating Christmas, complete with presents and decorated tree.
The sentimental side of me wishes that the writers had found a way – some kind of Roddenberry loophole – for TNG to do a Christmas episode, but my sensible side is immensely relieved that they didn’t. But at least we have the TNG ‘Let it Snow/Make it So’ video.
At a traditional length of just six or seven episodes per season, the UK sitcom has an excellent chance of completely missing the boat (sleigh?) for a Christmas episode. Its American cousin, on the other hand, with its much longer seasons, has a much better chance of hitting the right time-frame and being able to schedule a Christmas themed show within its 13-26 annual episodes. UK sitcoms often make up for this lack of opportunity with a Christmas special, which may or may not have anything to do Christmas itself, but which is aired over the holiday period.
Spaced, which was created by and also starred Jessica Hynes and Simon Pegg, ran for just two seasons and a total of 14 episodes from 1999. It had neither an in-series Christmas episode nor a special. And that’s a real shame, because with its nerdiness and surreal humour it would have been ripe for a Christmas episode. One can imagine Daisy (Hynes) and Tim (Pegg) engaging in some bizarre and not-actually-subversive antics, trying to wrangle Mike (Nick Frost), Brian (Mark Heap), Twist (Katy Carmichael), and Marsha (Julia Deakin) into some form of festivities, all the while alternately flirting with and sniping at one another. Colin the dog would be dressed as Father Christmas and it would all end with a semi tongue-in-cheek Christmas sing along and a lot of tattered tinsel. Oi Oi! You lucky people!
Black Books, created by Dylan Moran and Graham Linehan, ran for three seasons, from 2000 to 2004. The show revolved around curmudgeonly London bookshop owner Bernard Black (Moran), his optimistic yet beaten sales assistant Manny Bianco (Bill Bailey), and Bernard’s best and only friend, man-eating drunkard Fran Katzenjammer (Tamsin Greig). Black Books was constant bizarre chaos, and its style not too far removed from that of Spaced, with which it shared actors.
The entire set-up of Black Books was just asking for a Christmas special. All the ingredients are there: Bernard – a man-shaped misery who hates people and celebration; Manny – an eternal optimist who would just love everything about Christmas; and Fran – who doesn’t care as long as she can get pissed. One could see it taking the form of a reversed Scrooge story, with Bernard showing the ghost of Christmas present that there’s just no point, whilst Manny dresses as a hedgehog and Fran tries to seduce the ghost of Christmas future. Or something. Whatever the plot, it would be a beautiful and comical disaster.
Game of Thrones
He’s making a list. He’s checking it twice. He’s gonna find out who’s naughty and – THEN HE’S GONA KILL THEM ALL!
It doesn’t really matter that (spoilers) most of the original cast of characters are dead by now. It could be one of those flashback episodes.
It doesn’t matter that Christmas isn’t actually a thing in Game of Thrones – there are enough similar elements that it could be made to work. They like their tree worship. They like their expensive and hard-won gifts. They like their incest. No – wait – not that one. They like their… murder at a big religious celebration?
Actually, this is a terrible idea. Game of Thrones should never have a Christmas episode. Never. What the merry fuck was I thinking? – Wendy Attwell