Over the last few years, the four major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX) have been making new animated holiday specials to try to revive the genre. And for the most part they’ve succeeded. “Shrek the Halls” and “Prep and Landing” have been big hits for ABC. “Merry Madagascar” and “Yes Virginia” are also very good. Four new ones premiered this holiday season. Here are my thoughts:
“Hoops and Yoyo Ruin Christmas” CBS – The hilarious Hallmark card characters get their own special in which they go back in time and help save Christmas for future generations. It’s funny, has cute animation and a surprise twist. B+ View here: HOOPS AND YOYO (CBS.com)
“The Elf on the Shelf: An Elf Story” CBS – Based on the Elf on the Shelf book and toy, this bland special is just a marketing to try to sell the product. It’s lacks excitement, heart and talented voice work. This is one of the weaker efforts in recent years. C-
“Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas” FOX – The entire voice cast from the “Ice Age” film series are part of this half-hour special which may be a predictable, but is still clever (although Scrat is underused). B
“Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” ABC – This follow-up is a genuine original, with lots of laughs and nice messages. I still prefer the original, but this is great fun. A- You can watch the original “Prep and Landing” and this sequel back-to-back this Thursday beginning @8pm on ABC.