Sunday, December 19, 2021

TV Show Review: Beebo Saves Christmas

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun story filled with laughs
Cons: The moral doesn’t quite work for me.
The Bottom Line:
Unique Christmas show
Designed for all to enjoy
Delightfully fun

“Hot Chocolate Fixes Everything.”

When I first heard that the CW was going to premier a Christmas special this year, I didn’t know what to think.  Beebo Saves Christmas could either be a lot of fun or turn into a disaster.  I decided to give it a chance, and I’m very glad I did.

Not familiar with Beebo?  Then you aren’t a fan of the DC Arrowverse shows that air on the CW.  Beebo is a stuffed creature, I'm thinking closest to an alien type bear, that has appeared in most of the shows in that extended universe, most noticeably Legends of Tomorrow.  Supposedly, Beebo is a stuffed animal who has starred in a series of animated TV specials over the years.  The toy version of the character has had some pretty fun and funny moments in the Arrowverse Superhero shows, so he has a loyal fan base already built in for those who watch them.  All the characters on those shows know who he is.  Now, it’s our turn to get to see him in his original animated universe.

As this special opens, it is almost Christmas, and Beebo (voiced by Ben Diskin) is excited.  His friends, however, seem to be preoccupied with things in their own lives and aren’t ready to celebrate it the same way he is.  Then Beebo gets a form letter back from Santa, and Beebo fears something is wrong.  When he finds out his friends have gotten the exact same letter, he decides he must travel to the North Pole and find out what is going on with Santa.  Since it is Christmas Eve, the clock is ticking.  Can he save Christmas?

The animation in this hour long special was very stylized.  It almost looks hand drawn, although I’m sure it was computer generated.  It’s not quite retro, not quite fully modern.  But it works, especially since we are dealing with characters we aren’t supposed to recognize.  Don’t worry, when we are dealing with Santa or elves or some other familiar character, they look right.  Still stylized, but we recognize them.

Yes, this is an hour long special, and that was part of what worried me.  I worried this could fall flat and be painful to watch.  I started it giving myself full permission to turn it off if it was bad.  Within minutes, that fear went away.  It was fun.  There was plenty of humor, some of which was aimed at adults without being adult humor, if that makes sense.  We’re talking things like the characters commenting on how short the trip to the North Pole turned out to be.  Little jokes that poke fun at Christmas specials.

I’ve mentioned the Arrowverse shows several times, but that isn’t to say that you need to have seen those shows to enjoy this special.  It stands completely on its own.  You might wonder who this main character is, but after a few minutes, you will be caught up in the action and not care in the slightest.

The story holds up, too.  I’m not sure I completely like the moral of the story.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad.  In fact, it’s good in some ways.  But it also partially excuses some behavior that I think shouldn’t be encouraged as Beebo realizes that the behavior from his friends was their way of enjoying the holiday.  I feel like the writers were trying to justify their own behavior.  Again, it’s not bad, and it is something to remember – there are two ways to look at everything.  Anyway, there are plenty of fun moments and complications on the way to the resolution of the story, so this becomes a mostly minor issue for me.

I’m not super familiar with the voice cast.  Ben Diskin has voiced Beebo’s plush version on the Arrowverse shows, so I’m glad they stuck with him here.  One of the other main characters is voiced by Yvette Nicole Brown.  All of the main cast does a great job capturing the spirit of the special with their work.  I have to give a special shout out to Victor Garber, a main character on Legends of Tomorrow for a few years, who gets a voice cameo here.

Is Beebo Saves Christmas something I’m going to want to watch every year?  Most likely not.  But I could definitely see myself watching it again in the future if I have the chance.  It’s fun if not quite classic material.

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