Disney Plus this week sees the release of The Santa Clauses, a made-for-Disney Plus mini-series based on the three “The Santa Clause” movies starring Tim Allen as the titular character Scott Calvin / Santa Clause. Let’s dive into the first two episodes and see if the magic and family fun from the movies carries over to the TV series format.
The Santa Clauses thankfully sees Tim Allen returning to the role he made his own as grizzled toy maker turned Santa, Scott Calvin. Set some 16 years after the end of the third film which saw Santa and Mrs Clause (Elizabeth Mitchell) settling into life at the North Pole and welcoming their first child. Along with the returning Mr & Mrs Clause, The Santa Clauses brings back some known characters Charlie (Eric Lloyd) and Bernard (David Krumholtz) and introduces us to a host of new characters at the North Pole including the Clause children Sandra (Elizabeth Allen-Dick) And Cal (Austin Kane).
On Christmas eve during his normal rounds, Santa is starting to take note that his Christmas list is getting smaller each year. His magic is also starting to falter thanks to a dip in Christmas cheer. This little issue with the magic sees Santa start to question his future in the red suit and begins to highlight somewhat of a change inside him as he starts to look at just what is next and the possibility of retirement from being Santa Clause.
The first two episodes of The Santa Clauses are filled with throwbacks to the original movies. One-liners, replayed scenes and even a trip to a fully grown-up Sara from the original movie make it for a beautiful trip down memory lane.
I for one love the movies and am a big fan of Tim Allen’s work all the way back to him improving homes, yet something feels a little off but I don’t think it is him. There seems to be an underlying tone of something more in the series. I cannot put my finger on it just yet.
For starters, there is a reliance on slapstick-style comedy and characters that are played dumbed down. Whoever decided to make Santa’s son Cal a bumbling idiot interested only in VR gaming needs to have a good look at themselves. Mrs Clause is concerned that she is only ever referred to as Mrs Clause and doesn’t have a first name and she is ready to step away from being the Clauses and enjoy Santa’s retirement as a family.
Santa is trying to hold onto some old world views of Christmas that may not be so favourable anymore in this world gone mad yet in the process is beginning to understand the importance of growth and the impact him being Santa has had on his family.
There is a bit of a tagged-on side story with Kal Penn’s character Simon Choksi. He is a toy maker trying to get into the e-commerce world but failing. The show looks like it is setting him up for some major part moving forward but you will have to watch it to see what I am talking about, too much of a spoiler for the moment.
The Santa Clauses captures some of the feels of the original movies but misses the mark with its new characters and story elements. With only two episodes being released so far it is not enough for me to be completely hooked yet but I will continue giving it a go. Allen slips back into the sleigh with ease yet the story needs a bit more heart and a bit less TV sitcom to be memorable.
The Santa Clauses is available now on Disney + with new episodes released weekly.
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