I have an MA in Film Studies so obviously I am putting this to good use by writing about Christmas made for TV movies (or Hallmark /lifetime TV Movies shown on Channel 5). If you are familiar with the genre you will know they are full of various tropes and often follow the same narrative patterns. In fact so much so I have devised this Christmas TV movie bingo so you can make a “fun” game of watching them. You can bet there will be a Christmas competition, probably baked goods, definitely Christmas trees, snow (although some terrible ones don’t bother with snow), someone needs their life to change and always a happy ending.
There is a reason for the formulaic nature of the films, familiarity provides comfort, this is the reason that people go back time and again to the same old films and there is something reassuring about the predictability of these films. Saying that there is a spectrum of the films personally I find the films with former 90s TV stars or other recognisable actors are usually a bit better. By TV stars think Mario Lopez, Melissa Joan Hart (they have made a few films together), James Van Der Beek, Danica MacKellar or Chad Michael Murray, plus others. There is also one film where Trevor Eve appears and doesn’t say much.
There are problems with the films, they are often very straight. The fact that the first Hallmark Christmas movie to feature a gay lead couple was only released last year says a lot about the problems but they are improving and one day an LGBTQ+ film won’t make headlines. The hallmark film is Christmas House, Lifetime also released The Christmas Set Up.
My personal favourites all seen on Channel 5 (note I am only including TV movie types) –
A Very Merry Toy Shop
The Evergreen series
Christmas a la Mode
(actually these are the only ones I can remember the names of…)
Where might you see these fine films? There are several options but Channel 5 Christmas Movies in the afternoon started in November and they go up to 2 a day from end of November! No excuse to miss out plus there is the famous GREAT! Movies Christmas on Freeview: 51, Sky: 319, Virgin: 424, and Freesat: 303. This channel has a mix of cinema and TV movie release.
Anyway enjoy some bad TV movie fun this festive season.