Tag: lifetime

2018 Holiday Movie Survival Guide

“Wait a minute…” I can hear you saying upon reading the title of this blog “Halloween hasn’t even arrived and Rachel is already talking about Christmas movies?” Well my friends, in my world Christmas has officially arrived with the start of Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas season. It all begins this Saturday, October 27th, with the premiere of Christmas at Pemberley Manor.

Christmas at Pemberley Manor Final Photo Assets


Last year I gave you a ‘Hallmark Christmas Survival Guide‘ and all of those guidelines hold true for this year, but I thought I would add to it for 2018 and broaden the scope to more than just Hallmark Channel. So, here goes your 2018 Holiday Movie Survival Guide:



  1. Get Ready to Sing– Naturally singing usually goes along with Christmas but this year in particular we are seeing it showcased all over the place. Hallmark has 2 country music star vehicles with Christmas at Graceland (Kellie Pickler) and It’s Christmas, Eve (Leann Rimes). They also have films with singing in it such as the before mentioned Pemberley Manor, and likely in Christmas at Honeysuckle Lane, Christmas Wonderland, Midnight Kiss and more. There is also Time to Come Home for Christmas which is based on a Blake Shelton song and a book written by his mother, so I expect some original songs there.Other channels are getting in the game with Lifetime’s Christmas Harmony, Hometown Christmas and Jingle Belle, Up Network’s Hometown Holiday and Netflix’s  The Princess Switch.
    In the world of feature films get ready for the Christmas zombie musical Anna and the Apocalypse!


  2. Vermont is Holiday Magic Land- Hallmark has long had a love of the little state (movies such as Falling for Vermont and Moonlight in Vermont) but this year it is particularly the place of all Christmas magic.
    We have Last Vermont Christmas, Road to Christmas, Entertaining Christmas, and many others that appear to be set in Vermont but we don’t know yet from the preview
  3. Royal is Romantic- With 2018 having 2 British royal weddings it shouldn’t be a surprise that many royal movies have crept their way into this season. Netflix alone is giving us 2 with The Princess Switch and A Christmas Prince: the Royal Wedding (a sequel to last year’s surprise hit A Christmas Prince). Up Network has Christmas with a Prince. Hallmark Channel has their 6th royal movie this year with Christmas at the Palace.pandp mistletoe
  4. Bring on the Classic Literature- this year we have a number of films based on classic literature. Naturally we have takes on A Christmas Carol with Every Day is Christmas from Lifetime and mildly A Shoe Addict’s Christmas (also based on the novel). In addition, we have 2 movies based on Pride and Prejudice with the before mentioned Pemberley Manor and Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe starring Lacey Chabert and Brendan Penny.
  5. TV Reunions- another trend this year is bringing back cast-members from popular shows for Christmas movies. One Tree Hill alums Hilarie Burton and Robert Buckley are in The Christmas Contract on Lifetime. (Also from OTH is Bethany Joy Lenz in Poinsettias for Christmas on Lifetime). Also on Lifetime we have a Cosby Show reunion with Tempsett Bledsoe  and Keisha Knight Pulliam in Jingle Belle. (Also from Cosby Show is Dondre Whitfield in Christmas Everlasting on Hallmark who played a memorable role as Vanessa’s smug boyfriend Robert for multiple episodes).
    Finally, you won’t want to miss a Wonder Years reunion with Danica McKellar and Dan Lauria reteaming for Christmas at Grand Valley.christmas everlasting
  6. Diversity- What’s this? Non-white people celebrate Christmas? This is very exciting. We have POC leads on 6 Hallmark movies with Christmas Everlasting (the Hall of Fame film), A Majestic Christmas, Memories of Christmas, A Gingerbread Romance, Christmas Made to Order and Midnight Kiss.
    On Lifetime we have My Christmas Inn, The Christmas Pact, Jingle Belle, Every Day is Christmas, A Twist of Christmas and Christmas Lost and Found. Also on Netflix is the adorable looking The Holiday Calendar starring Kat Graham.
    kurt russell
  7. Christmas Magic Everywhere but Hallmark- with 37 new premieres you’d think we would be seeing lot of St Nick and his elves on Hallmark but alas it is not to be. The only potential Christmas Magic (outside of God magic with A Godwinks Christmas) is possibly Northern Lights of Christmas which is about a woman who inherits a reindeer farm and Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa (although it may be just letters no actual Santa sighting). There is a magical guardian angel in Shoe Addicts Christmas but no Santa.
    Fortunately the other channels are coming through in droves. On Lifetime we have Santa’s Boots, Christmas Perfection, and the epic A Very Nutty Christmas about a nutcracker that comes to life! Also A Christmas in Tennessee teases a visitor with a ” well-known sweet tooth for cookies and milk”
    On Netflix we have The Holiday Calendar and The Christmas Chronicles with Kurt Russell playing Santa.
    You won’t want to miss The Truth About Christmas on Freeform about a woman who is cursed to not be able to lie after sitting on Santa’s lap. And on Up Network we have A Christmas Switch about 2 Moms that switch places magically for Christmas.
    And we may actually get a good feature film of The Nutcracker with Disney’s Nutcracker and the 4 Realms.
  8. Technology is the Thief of Love- this isn’t necessarily a new theme but I noticed in a lot of the descriptions mentions of apps or websites mucking things up for our heroines. The biggest example is Mingle All the Way about an app designer who tries to match businessmen and women together with her app but ends up matching much more. Return to Christmas Creek and It’s Christmas Eve also feature app/website designers.  And on Lifetime we have Christmas Pen Pals about an app that connects lovelorn with pen pals.

So there you have it! Christmas season is upon us, and I can’t wait! Make sure you are following The Hallmarkies Podcast as we cover all these films in one way or another. We have interviews and guests lined up and it is going to be amazing!


Drop Dead Diva

Since I’ve been doing a lot of complaining lately about television I thought I’d profile a show I like- a show that portrays a confident beautiful woman, who just happens to be plus size.  The show is called Drop Dead Diva and it is just wrapping up its second season on the Lifetime Network.   I admit that the premise for the show is silly, but once you get beyond that hurdle the acting, writing and stories are thoroughly charming.  The set up for the show is that a silly, selfish model named Deb dies in an accident.  At the same time an unhappy, overweight, intelligent lawyer named Jane is shot.  After riding the escalator in the sky Deb decides she’s not ready to die, hits the return button and ends up in Jane’s body.  This leaves a model-diva type in a plus size body with the brains of a top-notch lawyer.

Basically the show is kind of like Legally Blonde: Plus Size Edition.  In fact, Elle Woods and the new Jane Bingham are cut from the same cloth- weaving knowledge from fashion and modeling into the courtroom in funny, if completely ridiculous ways.   The realism in the court doesn’t matter in this type of show because it is all about the writing and the characters.   The dialogue is funny but also tender and engaging (although there may be one to many episodes using Jane’s weight as a point of conflict- would it really come into play that often in court!).   Just as Elle Woods managed to underplay all the silliness with a real heart, the Drop Dead Diva plots always bring the flirty playfulness back to real and touching human emotion.  It is not just a fluffy show.  It deals with death, after-life, self-esteem issues, body issues, dieting, family drama and more.

The acting is also great with Brooke Elliott doing a marvelous job as Jane.  She manages to play both Deb and Jane in the same performance.  Even when she is suppose to be the serious lawyer you can see the twinkle in her eyes from Deb.  I relate to Jane in so many ways.  Like her, I am a workaholic who loves intellectually stimulating conversation, but I also have a side of me that loves painting my nails and throwing parties for my friends. I like to think I have the same twinkle in my eye that Jane has!  🙂

Brooke is also kind of a role model for me.  She’s a Broadway star, has an amazing voice and is now a lead in a great television show.  She hasn’t let her weight stop her.  I actually think she is beautiful- in a way more beautiful and unique then the actress playing Deb in flashback.  She makes the show.

Anyway, the other actors are all great including Margaret Cho (definitely doing her most tame role in years) who is very funny as Jane’s tough talking assistant.   Also, need I mention the terrific cameos throughout the first season?  (They must have gone through their rolodex because season 2 has not had as many).  In season 1 they had Tim Gunn, Liza Minnelli, Delta Burke, Rosie O’Donnell, Paul Abdul, Faith Prince (another Broadway veteran- her and Brooke sing an amazing version of Love is a Battlefield!)  and more.

There isn’t much more to say, but if I had a teenage daughter, Drop Dead Diva is the kind of show I would want her to watch- and not only because it has a plus size woman in the lead.  Its more than that- it shows a woman like Jane who is spunky, loves to laugh, and is learning to love her body.   It promotes the right type of image for women of any size- an image that life should be exciting no matter our weight.

The first season is available on DVD so I encourage all the girls out there to check Drop Dead Diva out.  (It is a pretty girly show.  I’d be surprised if any guys found it tolerable but you never know).  I have the first season if anyone wants to borrow.