Move over Hallmark and Lifetime, Netflix is hoping to take over Christmas programming with a robust slate of holiday features.
The streaming giant has five new cheerful movies including the sequel to the Vanessa Hudgens-led The Princess Switch and The Christmas Chronicles.
There’s also a film starring Dolly Parton, a Debbie Allen documentary, a diverse musical starring Forest Whitaker called Jingle Jangle (not the one from Riverdale!), and a rom-com about how friends with benefits never work starring Emma Roberts.
In other words, Netflix is here to spread all the holiday cheer:
Here’s your full list of programming:
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey – Nov. 13
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Madalen Mills, Keegan-Michael Key, Sharon Rose, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Ricky Martin, Kieron Dyer, Justin Cornwell, Lisa Davina Phillip, Hugh Bonneville
Official synopsis: “A musical adventure and a visual spectacle for the ages, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a wholly fresh and spirited family holiday event. Set in the gloriously vibrant town of Cobbleton, the film follows legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker) whose fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. But when his trusted apprentice (Emmy winner Keegan-Michael Key) steals his most prized creation, it’s up to his equally bright and inventive granddaughter (newcomer Madalen Mills) — and a long-forgotten invention — to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within. From the imagination of writer-director David E. Talbert and featuring original songs by John Legend, Philip Lawrence, Davy Nathan, and “This Day” performed by Usher and Kiana Ledé, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey reminds us of the strength of family and the power of possibility.”
The Princess Switch: Switched Again – Nov. 19
Stars: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, Nick Sagar
Official synopsis: “When Duchess Margaret unexpectedly inherits the throne to Montenaro and hits a rough patch with boyfriend Kevin, it’s up to her double Princess Stacy of Belgravia to get these star-crossed lovers back together… but the course of true love is complicated by the appearance of a handsome royal who’s intent on stealing Margaret’s heart. Throw in the unexpected arrival of Margaret’s outrageous party girl cousin Fiona, a third look-alike who has ambitions of her own, and you have the recipe for Christmas triple trouble!”
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square – Nov. 22
Stars: Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Jenifer Lewis, Treat Williams, Jeanine Mason, Josh Segarra, Mary Lane Haskell
Official synopsis: “A rich and nasty woman, Regina Fuller, returns to her small hometown after her father’s death to evict everyone and sell the land to a mall developer – right before Christmas. However, after listening to stories of the local townsfolk, reconnecting with an old love, and accepting the guidance of an actual angel, Regina starts to have a change of heart. This is the story about family, love and how a small town’s Christmas spirit can warm the coldest of hearts. Featuring 14 original songs with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton.”
The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two – Nov. 25
Stars: Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Jahzir Bruno, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Julian Dennison, Tyrese Gibson with Judah Lewis and Darby Camp
Official synopsis: “It’s been two years since siblings Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy Pierce (Judah Lewis) saved Christmas, and a lot has changed. Kate, now a cynical teenager, is reluctantly spending Christmas in Cancun with her mom’s new boyfriend and his son Jack (Jahzir Bruno). Unwilling to accept this new version of her family, Kate decides to run away. But when a mysterious, magical troublemaker named Belsnickel threatens to destroy the North Pole and end Christmas for good, Kate and Jack are unexpectedly pulled into a new adventure with Santa Claus (Kurt Russell). Written and directed by Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Harry Potter) and co-starring Goldie Hawn, The Christmas Chronicles 2 is an action-packed adventure for the whole family that’s full of heart, humor, and holiday spirit.”
Tudo Bem No Natal Que Vem / Just Another Christmas – Dec. 3
Stars: Leandro Hassum, Elisa Pinheiro, Ariane Botelho, Miguel Rômulo, Louise Cardoso, Danielle Winits
Official synopsis: “After taking a very nasty fall on Christmas Eve, grinchy Jorge blacks out and wakes up one year later, with no memory of the year that has passed. He soon realizes that he’s doomed to keep waking up on Christmas Eve after Christmas Eve, having to deal with the aftermath of what his other self has done the other 364 days of the year.”
Überweihnachten – November TBD
Official description: “A three part Christmas mini-series starring Luke Mockridge — one of Germany’s most popular comedians — as likeable loser Bastian who travels home for Christmas only to be confronted with the fact that his brother is now dating his ex-girlfriend. As the brothers fight and bicker through the Christmas period Bastian fails to notice that the parents are hiding something …”
Dash & Lily – Nov. 10
Stars: Austin Abrams, Midori Frances, Dante Brown, Troy Iwata, Keana Marie, James Saito, Jodi Long, Glenn McCuen, Michael Park, Gideon Emery, Jennifer Ikeda, Diego Guevara
Official description: “A whirlwind Holiday romance builds as cynical Dash and optimistic Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City, finding they have more in common with each other than they would have expected. The series is based on the young adult book series Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares from the New York Times bestselling authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.”
Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas – Nov. 18
Official description: “Benjamin Bradley, best known as Mr. Christmas, is a veteran in the interior design industry with a healthy obsession with the holiday season. For Mr. Christmas, the holidays are all about celebrating love, life, family and friends through meaningful traditions. In the new Netflix series Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas, Bradley takes you behind the scenes as he puts his design expertise and vast Christmas collection to good use. Equipped with lights, garlands, and enough tinsel to blanket the North Pole, he and his team of elves work around the clock to bring holiday cheer to families and communities deserving of a home makeover for the most joyous time of year. Mr. Christmas invites viewers along for the ride to kick off the holiday season and get inspired to take their own home decorating and traditions to the next level.”
Sugar Rush: Christmas: Season 2 – Nov. 27
Official description: “This competition series challenges bakers to create holiday treats that look festive and taste amazing — all against a ticking clock.”
Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker – Nov. 27
Official description: “From Shondaland, Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker spotlights the career of award-winning entertainer Debbie Allen and follows her group of young dancers as they prepare for Allen’s annual “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” production.
The Holiday Movies That Made Us – Dec. 1
Official description: “This in-depth look at two iconic holiday movies (“Elf,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) uses behind-the-scenes footage and cast and crew interviews.”
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays: Season 3 – Dec. 4
Official description: “‘Tis the season for eight returning bakers to vie for the holiday crown as they race to make wondrous winter treats.”
How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding – December TBA
Official description: “When family rebel and disappointment, Tumi Sello, begrudgingly joins her dysfunctional family for the first Christmas holidays in years, it’s not the merry return of the prodigal daughter everyone was hoping for. She manages to ruin her younger sister’s Christmas wedding before it even takes place, and spends her next 6 days frantically trying to get things back on track.”
Alien Xmas – Nov. 20
Official description: “When a race of kleptomaniac aliens attempts to steal Earth’s gravity in order to more easily take everything on the planet, only the gift-giving spirit of Christmas and a small alien named X can save the world.”
Dragons: Rescue Riders: Huttsgalor Holiday – Nov. 24
Official description: “Huttsgalor’s favorite winter festival is finally here! But will some ice-breathing dragons put a frost on everyone’s fun.”
A Go! Go! Cory Carson Christmas – Nov. 27
Official description: “When a snow plow, who has an uncanny resemblance to Santa, crashes in the Carson’s yard, Cory must remind him who he is in order to save Christmas.”
Wonderoos: Holiday Holiday! – Nov. 29
Official description: “It’s winter in the big city and everyone is excited to celebrate the holidays! When Poppy decides to throw a holiday party for Sully, the Wonderoos learn that there are lots of different holidays and ways to celebrate!
Angela’s Christmas Wish – Dec. 1
Official description: “Angela’s Christmas Wish is a heart-warming tale of a determined little girl who sets out to reunite her family in time for Christmas. Based on characters from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, it is a tender and funny story about the importance of family and togetherness.”
Chico Bon Bon and the Very Berry Holiday – Dec. 3
Official description: “When Barry the Berry Bear doesn’t show up to deliver the traditional Blunderberry Cakes on Blunderberry Day Eve, the Fix-It Force kicks it into high gear to save the town’s most magical holiday!”
Captain Underpants Mega Blissmas – Dec. 4
Official description: “George and Harold love Christmas, but they feel like it could use some upgrades. So they make a comic about a new version of the holiday: BLISSMAS. Instead of red bows, laser shows! Instead of ugly sweaters, cool capes! Instead of decorating trees, creating tree-bots! The boys take Melvin’s time toad back to convince Santa to incorporate some of their ideas to his new holiday. But they come back to the present to find that their plan didn’t work quite how they’d hoped. George and Harold realize they need to help Santa remember the true meaning of Christmas before it’s gone forever!”
Mighty Express: A Mighty Christmas – Dec. 5
Official description: “Mandy Mail must deliver a load of late Christmas letters to the North Pole, then all the trains join in to help Santa deliver the presents during a big storm.”
Super Monsters: Santa’s Super Monster Helpers – Dec. 8
Official description: “When GrrBus takes Sami, Zane, Olive and Rocky on a field trip to the North Pole, they accidentally cause a catastrophe at Santa’s workshop – and it’s up to the eight older Super Monsters to come to the rescue and save Christmas!”
Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love: Christmas – Dec. 9
Official description: “A holly, jolly gathering takes a strange turn when Ashley bumps her head and gets a glimpse of her near-distant future with Tío, Tad, Stick and Brooke.”
The Big Show Show: Christmas – Dec. 9
Official description: “When Big Show gets injured Cassy has to fill his big shoes in the hopes of winning the neighborhood Christmas competition. Meanwhile JJ, Mandy and Lola are sent on a scavenger hunt for presents only to discover spending time together might be the best gift of all.”
A Trash Truck Christmas – Dec. 11
Official description: “When Hank finds out that Trash Truck doesn’t know what Christmas is, he sets out to show him and their friends what the magical holiday is all about. And luckily for Santa, the friends are up to speed just in time to help save Christmas.”
‘Feel Good’ Season 2 Packs Quite the Punch
In Season 2, the final adaptation of comedian Mae Martin’s (they/them) semi-autobiographical comedy, Feel Good takes on much more content in its short six episodes, packing quite the punch.
We’re guided deeper through the traumas of the primary character Mae and left wondering how they’re able to stand on their own two feet after years of childhood grooming, drug addiction, and parental toxicity.
The light answer to this is humor. As it’s joked often throughout the episodes, “comics are supposed to be sacks of shit.” Through light-hearted comedy and the power of laughter, Mae’s story is dissected. However, at times, big topics are rushed and viewers are left grasping at strings, wishing there were more episodes in the season.
Following an unfortunate relapse in Season 1, we’re immediately thrown into Mae’s life in Canada, as they’re about to reenter rehab. They’ve only been away from England for a couple of months, but with the fresh wounds of the breakup, both George (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mae aren’t healed and are still stuck in their desire for each other. I mean, Mae still has George’s photo on their nightstand!
While in rehab, Mae reconnects with an old “friend,” Scott. When he’s first introduced we’re left wondering who he is and what his role is in Mae’s life. As an addict and queer comedian, there’s much more behind Mae’s curtain of trauma than initially presented in Season 1. Much more trauma that’s led to rash behavior, and Mae’s conversation with Audrey, easily foreshadows this.
Intertwined with the main storyline, Mae’s also navigating their non-binary identity. Mirroring Martin’s own coming-out as non-binary, Mae’s figuring it out, explaining that they see themselves as more of a Ryan Goslin or Adam Driver.
Again, with only six episodes to squeeze so much storyline into, Mae’s rehab stint only lasts 15 minutes into the first episode before they’re running out the door back into the arms of Scott.
As Mae’s stumbling through life in Canada, George is also trying to keep her mind focused on things like saving the bees. At an event at her school, she meets Elliot, a bisexual, polyamorous man with who she bonds. He’s the nice guy, maybe too nice for George. He’s one of those men who are self-proclaimed progressive and ultra-feminist, trying to mansplain the harm in porn’s presentation of women and how sex needs to be a safe space for connection.
And as Mae knows, that’s definitely not how George likes to be treated during sex. Thankfully, George and Mae reconnect, and Elliot is quickly out of the picture with Mae and George recreating their first meet-cute, hoping to restart from a fully healed wound.
As Feel Good is written by a queer person, the portrayal of queer sex is finally construed in a realistic and non-hypersexualized manner. Mae and George run through various role-playing scenarios as they are falling into what seems to be a healthy relationship.
Realistically, their timeline is rushed, but Mae needed some stability before they faced the bigger demons hiding under the bed.
The show cleverly depicts Mae’s moments of withdrawal and trauma responses through a high-pitched ringing sound. As if we’re inside Mae’s head. Originally, Mae experienced the ringing sound when they were with George, as George was a replacement drug. But, in this season, the ringing sound appeared whenever the past tried to resurface.
Mae told Audrey that they had a hard time remembering the past, that it was all like a jumbly tumbly mess of Tupperware containers. But, as the episodes progress, each Tupperware slowly found its way to its matching lid.
It becomes clear that Scott isn’t just an old friend, but a man who used to abuse and take advantage of Mae. After Mae’s kicked out of the house at a young age for drug addiction, they move in with Scott who presents himself as a safe haven and gateway to Mae’s comedic success. When, in reality, he’s a pedophile who’s grooming them.
When a woman calls Mae to talk about Scott, presumably about the things he did to both of them in the past, Mae’s reminded of the trauma they had compartmentalized. A doctor suggests Mae might have PTSD, and with George’s help, they begin the journey of confronting the harmful past.
Meanwhile, through all of the personal traumas, Mae’s working through their professional success after being signed with an agent and fulfilling their dream of TV comedy. However, Mae finds it challenging to reinvent their success from the original standup virality that got them the agent in the first place. As mentioned earlier, with comics, the butt of their jokes is their own trauma.
Unfortunately, as Mae hasn’t healed from their trauma, there’s no way they can make light of it yet. As their career goes for a bit of a downhill turn, and they have a hard time performing for an audience, they begin to seclude themselves and withdraw from the world.
In a much-needed getaway, Mae, George, and Phil take a trip to Canada in order for Mae to confront Scott.
The scene in which Mae directly tells Scott they never want to speak to them again, although a bit anticlimactic, was retrospectively a strong scene that finalized Mae’s character arc in the perfect ending to a witty, raw, and endearing show.
The final episode leaves Mae leaps and bounds beyond where they had been before on their road to recovery. And just as Mae’s love for George grew healthily from a need to a want, our need for a Season 3 resolved itself, and we feel good saying our final goodbyes to Mae and George, knowing fully well they are on their way to a fresh start.
‘Elite’ Season 4 Review: New Students, New Mystery, Same Scandalous Drama
The wait is almost over.
On June 18, Elite returns for its fourth season, but aside from a few new faces and a new principal hellbent on making a difference, things at Las Encinas haven’t changed much at all.
In fact, things are more dramatic than ever.
The premiere of Elite evokes the same feelings as the start of the school year — there’s a rush of excitement for what’s to come.
The series indulges in more of what has made it such a success: scandal, parties, threesomes, love triangles, intrigue, crime, and sex. So. Much. Sex.
I always forget just how many vivid sex scenes there are until I get pulled into a new season, but I’m very quickly reminded.
The first day of school for Guzman (Miguel Bernardeau), Samu (Itzan Escamilla), Ander (Arón Piper), Rebeka (Claudia Salas), Cayetana (Georgina Amorós), and Omar (Omar Ayuso) is bittersweet. While they may be getting another shot at repeating their final year, their classmates Carla, Lu, Nadia, and Valerio have moved on to bigger and better things. It’s a bummer to lose such a great group of characters, but you almost don’t feel their absence when the new crop of students takes their place, flips the world upside down for current students, and simultaneously ushers in a brand new mystery.
The new mystery anchors the story, and like in seasons past, it plays out with flashbacks that lead up to the fated moment.
However, unlike in previous seasons, we find out pretty early on who is at the center of the mystery with the how remaining the big question mark.
But there’s no question about whether the Blanco family is involved.
As Ander tells the investigator, the toxic family’s arrival “tainted everything.”
Benjamin (Diego Martin) is the extremely rich new school director. He comes in like a bulldozer with big plans to rehabilitate Las Encinas and its reputation after a tumultuous few years that led to two student deaths. He begins his reign by setting his sights on Samu and Omar, who he doesn’t believe belong at the elite school.
It’s honestly surprising anyone wants to send their children to get an education there at this point.
Benjamin doesn’t waste any time making changes, but with his focus solely on “discipline, excellence, and achievement,” he fails to realize that his family’s arrival brings the bulk of the drama.
Immediately, you begin to wonder how Benjamin plans to fix a whole school if he can’t even control his own children — Ari (Carla Diaz), Patrick (Manu Rios), and Mencia (Martina Cariddi).
Benjamin has a fraught relationship with his youngest, Mencia, who has brought the family pain in the past and continues to rebel and defy her father at every turn.
She has a genuine connection with new girlfriend, Rebeka, but the relationship stirs up even more problems for Mencia as Benjamin disapproves and thinks Rebe is a bad influence considering her mother’s reputation as a drug kingpin.
Little does he know, Mencia has gotten into a world of trouble all on her own.
While Rebe’s relationship with Mencia grows into one of the purest this season, following Samu’s betrayal last season, she’s understandably closed off and cautious with her heart.
Ander and Omar are still going strong but find their relationship is tested in unexpected ways when they invite Patrick, Benjamin’s son, into the fold.
Patrick knows the power he wields over them and intentionally meddles in their lives, but there’s also much more to him than meets the eye.
Ari is Benjamin’s star child who respects and listens to her father, but to her peers, she’s the resident mean girl who is oftentimes uptight and has a chip on her shoulder.
She catches the eye of both Samu and Guzman, which fractures their budding friendship. These two have always fought over women, but last time, Samu was being protective over his best friend, Nadia, who Guzman is still dating when the season commences.
Nadia appears only via video chat from her New York apartment, and their relationship allows the series to explore the trials and tribulations of a long-distance relationship that’s tested as temptation lurks right around the corner for Guzman.
While Guzman stands a chance with Ari based solely on social class and standing, Ari and Samu connect unexpectedly in an academic setting.
Who will the love triangle favor in the end?
Additionally, the school has attracted the youngest royal heir in Europe, Prince Philippe (Pol Granch). The series flips the classic “princess and the pauper” narrative to “prince and the pauper” as he connects with the school’s janitor Cayetana, making all of her fantasies come true.
But as the saying goes, “be careful what you wish for” as this fairytale quickly turns into a nightmare when it’s revealed the prince has a dark secret, and Cayetana’s past secrets with the late Polo and Valerio come back to haunt her.
Overall, you know exactly what you’re getting into when you press play on the fourth season. The writers have managed to deliver yet another incredibly intoxicating season about a group of lost souls looking for a purpose and tapping into the extreme lengths they’ll go to numb their pain.
Elite hits Netflix on Friday, June 18 with eight brand-new episodes.
*This review is based on the first four episodes of season 4 that were available to the press*
WATCH: Mel and Jack Talk Starting a Family in ‘Virgin River’ Season 3 Trailer
There’s plenty of baby talk going around in the Virgin River Season 3 trailer!
Netflix dropped the trailer for the upcoming drama on Friday, June 11 and it doesn’t waste any time answering the question on everyone’s mind: does Jack survive?
It’s quite an obvious answer considering there is no show without Jack, but if it’s been keeping you up at night, the good news is that he does.
Of course, that doesn’t put the question of who shot him to rest. (And we have some theories you can check out right here!)
As he recovers, he’s blessed to have Nurse Mel by his side.
With their romance finally heating up, the nosy locals in town begin asking questions about their future — is marriage in the cards? And what about babies?
Mel’s history will definitely come into play, especially as it was always her dream to have a child. But Jack is a new father to twins (at least we think they’re his) with his ex Charmaine.
Luckily, Charmaine is no longer hung up on him as she’s found a new man who is there for her and the kids!
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