Hallmark Christmas Movies Are Comin' To Town — Already

Nov 1, 2019

‘Tis the season for Hallmark Christmas movies. We look at surging ratings and the growing need for feel-good TV.


Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming and network publicity for Crown Media Family Networks, which includes the Hallmark Channel. (@MichelleVicary)

Emily VanDerWerff, critic at large for Vox. Former TV editor for The A.V. Club. (@tvoti)

Lacey Chabert, will be appearing in her eighth Hallmark Christmas film this year, “Christmas in Rome.” She had leading roles in the film “Mean Girls” and the TV show “Party of Five.” (@IamLaceyChabert)

From The Reading

Vox: “How Hallmark takes over your TV every Christmas” — “There is a place where it’s always Christmas. Where there is always snow on the ground, where togetherness is the word to live by, where the horrors of the world reliably subside amid the flurries of a beautiful snowstorm. If, in Narnia, it was always winter but never Christmas, then on the Hallmark Channel, it’s always winter and always Christmas (at least between the months of October and January).

“The standard line about Hallmark’s endless parade of made-for-TV Christmas movies is that they’re dumb and super cheesy, but they give your grandmother something to watch. They embrace ideas of tradition and family, but only in the vaguest sense. They’re apolitical in a way that people who blanch at the idea that all art is political call apolitical.

“I should admit up front that I love a good Hallmark Christmas movie. I’ll watch just about any Hallmark Christmas movie I stumble upon, but my favorite, 2014’s Nine Lives of Christmas, involves a fireman played by Brandon Routh who finds love at Christmas because he adopts a cat who befriends another cat, and the other cat just so happens to belong to the woman our hero is meant to be with.”

New York Times: “How Many Christmas Movies Is Too Many Christmas Movies?” — “When Bill Nighy sang ‘Christmas Is All Around’ in ‘Love Actually’ 16 years ago, he could have been discussing the state of holiday movies in 2019. Among this year’s nearly 100 new releases, viewers can choose to celebrate ‘Christmas in Rome,’ ‘Christmas in Montana,’ ‘Christmas in Louisiana,’ ‘Christmas at Dollywood,’ ‘Christmas at Graceland,’ ‘Christmas Under the Stars’ or ‘Christmas at the Plaza.’

“While holiday movies have long been reliable box-office staples — ‘Home Alone’ was the top-grossing domestic movie of 1990 — and there are several new theatrical releases this season, recent years have seen an explosion of fresh content on cable and streaming services. It’s probably no surprise that Hallmark channels have increased their annual Christmas movie count by 20 percent since 2017, but Lifetime has more than quadrupled its output in the last two years and Netflix has doubled its in that same time.

“How is it even possible that there’s room for so many movies from a single genre? Are we reaching peak Christmas?”

E! News: “How Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies Unexpectedly Became a Coveted Rite of Passage” — “It’s not Christmastime until Hallmark says it is.

“And the holiday-owning network has officially dubbed it the season, with its 10th Annual Countdown to Christmas officially kicking off this weekend. For the milestone event, 2019’s slate is jampacked with 40 new movies across three channels ready for Hallmark lovers to watch every Saturday and Sunday through New Year’s Eve.

“E! News exclusively announced the line-up for the annual and highly anticipated programming event, which boasts the most star-studded ensembles of leading women and men yet, with a slew of big names making their debut in Hallmark Christmas movies, joining the beloved fan-favorites who’ve seen surprising success thanks to their relationship with the network. And other stars (and networks) are taking notice, not that Hallmark is all that concerned.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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