DVD Review: Christmas with Brady Bunch, Frasier, Sabrina & The Honeymooners



As Christmas trees pop up in stores next to piles of Halloween candies, people are already anticipating holiday specials. Most of the time we’re given the charming movies on what used to be ABC Family about the wonders of the season and he staying power of ’90s sitcom stars. But what about the classics? When those sitcom stars did Christmas specials on their original sitcoms? Those are fond memories for so many. Now four favorites are getting the holiday spirits. A Very Brady Christmas, Frasier: Christmas Episodes, Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Christmas Episodes and The Honeymooners: Christmas Laughter allows fans a chance to use their TV sets for more than yule logs.

A Very Brady Christmas reunited most of the cast for the holidays in 1988. For some reason, Susan Olsen skipped out on playing Cindy Brady, the youngest. Jennifer Runyon (Ghostbusters) takes over the role. Luckily Ann B. Davis returned as Alice. The first big thing is that the Brady house gets a glossy late ’80s makeover that’s so pastel and white, you’d expect the cast of Miami Vice to bust everyone. The film is about Mike (Robert Reed) and Carol (Florence Henderson) bringing the family together for the holidays which is a large thing to do in a rather small house. They’ve all gotten married and some have kids. This is a cramped living room. A Very Brady Christmas was originally released on DVD as part of a boxset. Now it is available solo so you can enjoy it with a huge family around the Jumbotron.


Frasier: Christmas Episodes reminds us that TV sitcoms most popular radio psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) was always around for the holidays. The DVD includes 8 Christmas specials that aired during the 11 seasons including “Miracle On Third Or Fourth Street,” “Frasier Grinch,” “Perspectives On Christmas,” “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz,” “The Flight Before Christmas,” “Mary Christmas,” “We Two Kings” and “High Holidays.” The shows do their best to explore certain strangeness of the season without repeating. They’re not just ripping off Charles Dickens each year. Eddie the dog proves he’s the most well trained thespian on the set as he doesn’t attack the tree.


Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Christmas Episodes reminds us that even witches can enjoy the holiday season. Six of the seven years it was on the air, Sabrina (Clarissa Explains It All‘s Melissa Joan Hart) is always up to decorate the house although they didn’t mind serving up Deviled Eggs. Was this an in-joke? Even though the episodes were magical, they were traditional TV Christmas in references. Even Salem the Cat (Night After Night with Allan Havey‘s Nick Bakay) doesn’t try to sneak in any pagan ceremony. Included in the set are “A Girl and His Cat,” “Sabrina Claus,” “Christmas Amnesia,” “Sabrina Nipping at Your Nose,” “Sabrina’s Perfect Christmas” and “Its’ a Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot Christmas.” The big bonus feature is “Sabrina Goes to Rome” for those of you who like to travel abroad during your holiday vacation break.


The Honeymooners: Christmas Laughter isn’t full of Christmas specials since the series only lasted one year. But it has the legendary “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” with Ralph (Jackie Gleason) and Alice (Audrey Meadows) doing their best to get each other the perfect gift even if they have to sacrifice something they treasure. Since they only made one holiday special, the DVD includes the not-so-holiday episodes “TV or Not TV,” “The Golfer,” “Better Living Through TV,” “The Man From Space” and “The $50,000 Answer.”

A Very Brady Christmas, Frasier: Christmas Episodes, Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Christmas Episodes and The Honeymooners: Christmas Laughter were individually released on October 10.

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