Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bad Christmas Specials

I'm back! Time to take a break from your regularly scheduled programming to talk about some crappy Christmas themed TV specials!

He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985)
This will probably come as a surprise to most, but the The He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special is not that bad, especially considering the next two specials. Some children from Earth are stranded in the mystical world of Eternia with only He-Man, She-Ra, and Christmas cheer to protect them! This special is pretty silly but still enjoyable for what it is. The scenes in which Skeletor shows his Christmas spirit are hilarious and those parts alone make this special worth watching. I've only seen a couple episodes of He-Man, but this is pretty much what you would expect, cheesy 80s fun.

Christmas Comes to Pac-Land (1982)
Everything had a Saturday morning kids show in the 1980s: Rubik's Cube, Rambo, and even Pac-Man! Christmas Comes to Pac-Land originally aired in 1982 and this special hasn't aged well after thirty years. The special is a spin-off of the show, so if you have only played the video game you'll probably be surprised to see that Pac-Man's wife is named Pepper (who I guess is not Ms. Pac-Man?!) and that the couple have a child aptly named Pac-Baby. Apparently the show did a good job of cashing in on the success of Pac-Man and early 80s arcade games as it lasted two seasons and besides this Christmas special there was also a Halloween special. The Pac-Man show originally aired on ABC. A year after its premiere, rival network CBS came up with their own Saturday morning cartoon featuring video game characters titled Saturday Supercade. As for the actual special, Christmas Comes to Pac-Land is nothing more than an 80s artifact. Not even talented and prolific voice actors such as Peter Cullen and Frank Welker can make it interesting as Christmas Comes to Pac-Land is surprisingly boring. The Pac family fights the evil ghosts and helps Santa deliver toys on Christmas which is pretty much it for 22 minutes. If Christmas Comes to Pac-Land couldn't hold my attention I doubt overactive kids chowing down Fruit Loops even bothered to finish watching it. Kids in 1982 would've had more fun heading down to the local arcade and popping in some quarters to actually play Pac-Man.

Sonic Christmas Blast (1996)
Sonic the Hedgehog was so popular in the early 90s that the character headlined two TV shows airing at the same time! Sonic the Hedgehog aired on Saturday mornings at ABC. The show was surprisingly serious and dark for a kid's cartoon as it focused on Sonic as a freedom fighter in a post-apocalyptic world and in my opinion, certainly the better of the two. The other show, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, had a much lighter tone and aired weekdays in first-run syndication. Sonic Christmas Blast was a spin-off of the second show, despite a non-speaking cameo by Sally Acorn who was a character from the Saturday morning show. Although Sonic Christmas Blast managed to keep me interested more than the Pac-Man special, it was much more annoying. The voices of Dr. Robotnik's robots are irritating and Sonic's quest to attain "ultimate velocity" has nothing to do with the main plot of Santa being kidnapped and replaced by a robot. The animation is better than that of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, which isn't saying much considering how cheap and lazy that show was animated. Although Sonic Christmas Blast is nowhere near as boring as Christmas Comes to Pac-Land, you are better off just sticking with the video games for both.


  1. "I want MORE chimneys! MMMMOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE!"

    Also, Cullen and Welker were in the Pac-Man one? We should've just watched a random episode of Transformers, instead.

  2. Haha, yeah a couple of voices in Christmas Comes to Pac-Land sounded familiar to me so I looked it up. Cullen voiced Santa and "Sour Puss" while Welker provided the voices for "Chomp Chomp" and "Morris Reindeer." Now I wonder, was there a Christmas Transformers episode?

  3. Chris, my husband Vinnie and I were just talking about HE-MAN & SHE-RA animated specials yesterday! We love animation, whether it's good, great, or so-bad-it's-good! :-) In fact, that HE-MAN/SHE-RA special aired this week on Me-TV! Since our daughter loves Sonic The Hedgehog in all his forms, it was a fun opportunity to tell her about the cartoons we grew up with. Thanks for the memories, and Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and anything else you'd like to celebrate! :-)

  4. Hi Dorian,
    It's awesome that the He-Man/She-Ra special is still being aired on TV. I also watched both Sonic cartoons as a kid though I was more into the video games. Happy Holidays!

  5. Awesome reviews. I remember the Sonic cartoon growing up but don't think I ever saw the Christmas special. I actually quite liked the Adventures show with the two comedy henchmen Grounder and Scratch but I will admit I haven't seen it in year. I always thought with that show that borrowed a lot of the look of Felix the Cat for Sonic.

  6. Thanks Jack. This special is a spin-off of the Adventures cartoon and does have Grounder and Scratch. I don't think the cartoon has aged well but its still pretty silly and certainly more fun to watch than Christmas Comes to Pac-Land.

    I only saw the Felix the Cat movie as a child but even then saw a similarity between it and Sonic with the world designs.