×

Arthur’s Perfect Christmas

Of all of the new holiday fare sure to be paraded on the networks this season, PBS comes up with an instant classic with this delightful special that has something for everyone. "Arthur's Perfect Christmas," the first primetime one-hour special based on the popular children's series by Marc Brown, is a thoughtful, inclusive and highly entertaining story for all ages.

With:
Arthur - Michael Yarmush D.W. - Oliver Grainger Binky/Dad - Bruce Dinsmore Buster - Danny Brochu Francine - Jodie Resther Muffy - Melissa Altro Brain - Steven Crowder Mr. Ratburn - Arthur Holden Mom/Quackers - Sonja Ball Grandma Thora - Joanna Noyes Tommy Tibble - Jonathan Koensgen Timmy Tibble - Ricky Mabe Oliver Frensky/ Security guard - Mark Camacho George - Mitchell Rothpan Bitzi/Old Woman - Ellen David Uncle Fred - Harry Standjofski

Of all of the new holiday fare sure to be paraded on the networks this season, PBS comes up with an instant classic with this delightful special that has something for everyone. “Arthur’s Perfect Christmas,” the first primetime one-hour special based on the popular children’s series by Marc Brown, is a thoughtful, inclusive and highly entertaining story for all ages.

Created by the team that has garnered three Emmys over five seasons, “Arthur’s Perfect Christmas” follows the holiday adventures of the colorful characters of Elwood City. And like most folks around the holidays, even these animated animals aren’t immune to the pressures of the season.

Arthur, an eight-year-old aardvark, has big plans for Christmas, and like the harried adults around him, he wants everything to go perfectly for the holidays. But as the big day gets closer, unexpected obstacles get in the way.

To begin with, Arthur’s caterer dad decides to forgo the traditional turkey dinner in favor of an “authentic” Christmas meal with hummus and dates. Arthur’s four-year-old sister D.W. has her own ideas about decorating the tree and pesters her older brother with constant rewrites on her letter to Santa.

The idea of seeing the holidays as a time of pressure and stress even for kids makes for an interesting new twist, and writer Peter Hirsch works in many issues and ideas with a subtle touch.

While Arthur frets over his traditional Christmas, his friends face their own problems. Buster, Arthur’s best friend, is already exhausted from the nonstop holiday festivities that his mother has frantically organized in effort to compensate for an absentee dad.

Meanwhile, best friends Muffy and Francine get into a fight when Muffy declares that Hanukkah isn’t as important as Christmas. The Brain and his family have to explain why they celebrate Kwanzaa while Binky tortures everyone with his experimental cooking as he and his family prepare to work at a shelter on Christmas Day.

Director Greg Bailey handles all of these stories in tandem, yet never steers toward information overload or cheap holiday sentiments. Keeping the issues light and entertaining is a wonderfully creative score of original songs, including “Baxter Day” by Barney Saltzberg and “What’s the Use of Presents” by director Hirsch.

As usual, the animation is slick and colorful, although astute fans of the series may notice some discrepancies in the voice actors — D.W. and the Brain have a new sound and Arthur’s voice actor, Michael Yarmush, is growing up even though the his character remains a perpetual eight-year-old. The appeal of the show and its characters, however, is unscathed.

Tech credits are top notch with special kudos to the cadre of character and background designers who give depth and detail to this clever tale.

Arthur's Perfect Christmas

Special; Thurs., Nov. 23; 8 p.m.; PBS

Production: Filmed on location in Montreal and Boston by Marc Brown studios, WGBH Educational Foundation in association with CINAR Prods. Inc. Executive producers Marc Brown, Carol Greenwald, Peter Moss; producers, Cassandra Schafhausen, Lesley Taylor; director Greg Bailey; writer, Peter K. Hirsch; music, Ray Fabi. 60 MIN.

Cast: Arthur - Michael Yarmush D.W. - Oliver Grainger Binky/Dad - Bruce Dinsmore Buster - Danny Brochu Francine - Jodie Resther Muffy - Melissa Altro Brain - Steven Crowder Mr. Ratburn - Arthur Holden Mom/Quackers - Sonja Ball Grandma Thora - Joanna Noyes Tommy Tibble - Jonathan Koensgen Timmy Tibble - Ricky Mabe Oliver Frensky/ Security guard - Mark Camacho George - Mitchell Rothpan Bitzi/Old Woman - Ellen David Uncle Fred - Harry Standjofski

More TV

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island’ Pulled For Second Night After Former Host Caroline Flack’s Death

    For a second consecutive night, ‘Love Island’ will not air on U.K. broadcaster ITV2 following the death of former host Caroline Flack, Variety has confirmed. An ITV spokesman said: “Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection. All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.” “After careful consultation between [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    Caroline Flack's Death Prompts U.K. Petition Demanding Media Inquiry

    A petition calling on the U.K. government to launch an inquiry into British media coverage of public figures has garnered close to 206,000 signatures. The death of former “Love Island” host Caroline Flack, one of the country’s most popular TV personalities, spurred the initiative, which asks government to investigate the press following “the maltreatment of [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island' Host's Shock Death Revives Concerns Around Mental Health, Media Scrutiny

    The death of popular “Love Island” host Caroline Flack has sent shockwaves across the U.K. and again raised long-running concerns about broadcaster ITV’s support of cast members on the hit reality competition as well as the country’s intense media scrutiny of public figures. Flack, one of the U.K.’s most recognizable reality hosts, was found dead [...]

  • Caroline Flack'ITV Palooza!', Royal Festival Hall,

    Caroline Flack, Former 'Love Island' Host, Dies at 40

    Caroline Flack, the former host of the U.K. reality competition, “Love Island,” has died. She was 40. “Everybody at ‘Love Island’ and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news. Caroline was a much loved member of the ‘Love Island’ team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends,” [...]

  • Lynn Cohen

    Lynn Cohen, Magda on 'Sex and the City,' Dies at 86

    Lynn Cohen, a veteran stage and screen actor who played Magda on “Sex and the City,” died Friday. She was 86. Magda was Miranda Hobbe’s (Cynthia Nixon) housekeeper and eventually her nanny, and Cohen also appeared in both film adaptations of the show. She talked to Cosmopolitan about her role in 2018. “It showed a [...]

  • 'Outlander's' Sophie Skelton on Brianna's PTSD,

    'Outlander's' Sophie Skelton on Brianna's PTSD, Motherhood in Season 5 (SPOILERS)

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven’t yet watched the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” entitled “The Fiery Cross,” streaming now on the Starz app. In the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” Brianna (Sophie Skelton) gets confirmation of something viewers have suspected since the Season 4 finale — that her rapist, Stephen Bonnet (Ed [...]

  • Netflix's 'Love is Blind' Pods

    How Netflix’s New Reality Series ‘Love is Blind’ Works

    Apologies to “The Bachelor,” ‘Love Island” and “90 Day Fiance” — you’re all decomposing roses compared to the majesty of Netflix’s out-of-left-field SENSATION, “Love is Blind.” The premise of this “experiment,” a label this reality series delights in using, is simple. A handful of singles enter soundproofed “pods” where they then date other singles without [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content