25 September 2011
Rudolph Day, September 2011
Tis the Season TV by Joanna Wilson
This is a first, an exhaustive effort to chronicle every television special, movie, animated feature, and series episode from the advent of television to the present that has to do with December holidays (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.) and Christmastide. If you are a lover of these specials and series episodes, this is the volume for you, although the recommendation comes with several caveats.
First, it's not complete. Now, there are so many Yuletide media efforts it would have been more miraculous if Ms. Wilson had not skipped any of them. Nevertheless, she did skip at least one television film, the Keshia Knight-Pulliam vehicle The Little Match Girl, nor did I see Rick Steves' European Christmas and PBS's annual Christmas at St. Olaf and Christmas at King's College, although other PBS specials and cable channel specials are represented. There may be others missing; these are only the ones I saw.
Second, not all Christmas series episodes are described, and mistakes and misspellings appear in descriptions. For example, three Lassie Christmas episodes are not described, there is no description for the Knot's Landing Christmas episode, etc. Some of the description mistakes are very amusing if you are familiar with the series: for instance, in the description of The Waltons episode "The Children's Carol," Verdie is referred to as "Burdie"! There are other goofs like this.
Also, occasionally Wilson's descriptions are very stilted.
Still, I am impressed. This was a huge body of information to research, and it's very difficult to describe yet the twelfth or thirteenth Lawrence Welk Show Christmas episode or what happens in several decades of Bing Crosby or Bob Hope specials! It's my hope Ms. Wilson will get leave to do a second edition of this book and fix all the errors. A complete version of this work would be stunning.
As a nice, basic reference, this book cannot be beat.