What’s the best thing about Christmas – the anticipation of opening your presents; Christmas dinner; the endless supply of sweets and treats; spending time with loved ones? Or is it the fact that it’s time for the best TV series to show their Christmas episode? Probably the latter! Here’s a round-up of some of the funniest, most heartwarming, and occasionally frightening Yuletide specials, including the hunt for Father Christmas’s workshop, the search for the perfect Christmas tree, kidnapped tinsel, and a couple of killer Santas.
Bones – ‘Santa In The Slush’
Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) are looking for a Santa impersonator killer – that is, a Santa impersonator who is a killer, who killed another Santa impersonator. The problem is, of course, that all Santas look alike. Their only clue – this one smells of soup.
Modern Family – ‘White Christmas’
Gloria (Sofia Vergara) is dreaming of a white Christmas – and she wants everything to be just right. She rents a picturesque cabin in the mountains and off the family go… and, well, it doesn’t go quite as planned. The weather doesn’t play ball, there is already someone staying at the cabin (and it’s not Santa Claus), and their perfect Christmas fast turns into something like an outtake from The Shining.
American Horror Story – ‘Unholy Night’
Ian McShane makes a memorable appearance in this episode of AHS in the season Asylum. He plays a character called Leigh Emerson, a mass murderer who also killed a Santa impersonator. Now incarcerated, it was perhaps not a great idea to have him dress up as Santa for the institution’s Christmas photo shoot. Whoever made that decision will not be getting an Xmas bonus.
The Simpsons – ‘Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire’
The Simpsons has been running for thirty years this year – so far there have been an incredible 672 episodes of the show. And guess what – the very first episode, which debuted on 17th December 1989, was Christmas themed! In it, the family use up all their cash to pay for Bart to have a tattoo removed, so Homer has to get a job as a store Santa to raise some more money. Needless to say, chaos ensues.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – ‘Amends’
In this episode of the third season of the show, it’s Christmas at Sunnydale – so, time for romantic walks in the snow and cosy nights by the fire? Not exactly. Instead, Angel (David Boreanaz) is terrorised by a demon, who tries to get him to kill Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Season of goodwill my foot!
Family Guy – ‘Road to the North Pole’
Stewie and Brian (both voiced by show creator Seth MacFarlane) are fuming after a run-in with Santa at the mall. The pair of them head to the North Pole to teach Santa a lesson. The trip is not without incident, and includes an exploding truck and a night in a remote cabin. When they finally get to Santa’s workshop, things don’t pan out as they expected.
The X-Files – ‘Christmas Carol’
This episode is inspired by the Charles Dickens story of the same name, where Scrooge is haunted by ghosts at Christmas – here, while visiting her brother for Christmas, Scully starts receiving strange phone calls from a dead woman.
American Dad! – ‘The Most Adequate Christmas’
Stan’s quest to find the perfect Christmas tree ends in tragedy – said prized tree falls on him and kills him. He demands a second chance at life, and so must plead his case in a courthouse. Can he redeem himself – or will he have to find the big man himself, God, and put a gun to his head? I think we know the answer.
How I Met Your Mother – ‘How Lily Stole Christmas’
Lily (Alyson Hannigan) is furious with Ted (Josh Radnor) so she takes down all her Winter Wonderland decorations from the apartment and takes them back to her place, refusing to put them back up. Marshall (Jason Segel), excited to see Lily’s festive decorations, asks Ted: “When you walk through the door, does it feel like you’ve been slapped in the face by Christmas?” Just the slapped in the face part, unfortunately.
All these titles are available to own from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment