The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Specials

Christmas TV specials, limited series and movies are bigger than ever these days from now until the New Year, you’ll be able to find some festive yule-tide programming every night of the week. From the traditional viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, the different versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to baking shows and live music specials, we’ve got them all listed on the new Christmas TV Specials page. (Since not all of the networks list their specials early, this list will be updated throughout the coming weeks, so check back often for new additions!)

'Star Trek' Ventures into Cliche Territory

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine as Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk
(Photo: paramount)
What I enjoyed about the first J.J. Abrams version of “Star Trek” was how the movie stayed true to the old TV series but still had its own personality for the new franchise. That is until halfway through when Leonard Nimoy reprised his role as the Spock of the future giving advice to his younger self. It cheapened the story a bit and leaned on Nimoy’s performance as a crutch.
Four years later, “Star Trek into Darkness” is a better film with a better story, but Abrams still slips into that behavior once again. While the main story is new, there is some recycled material. 

To not give out any spoilers, I won’t be specific, but one scene in particular is almost identical to a previous film. The only difference is that he switched out the characters.

While the stories in the TV show were fairly simple, “Into Darkness” is more complex. Not overly complicated, but it is confusing in places. Still, you needn’t be a long time fan to enjoy the movie. It plays well on its own. This story begins with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew (Spock: Zachary Quinto, Bones: Karl Urban, Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty: Simon Pegg, Sulu: John Cho, Checkov: Anton Yelchin) trying to save another planet from destruction of a raging volcano. This is met with some difficulty. When the Enterprise arrives home, Captain Kirk is not celebrated, but demoted. He is however, brought right back to work to fight off an evil terrorist who is linked with someone inside the federation. That someone is Noonien Singh, PBS’ Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch. Singh has a score to settle and Kirk stands in his way.
Fans of the 1966-69 series will appreciate just how much this new movie resembles the original crew. All of your favorite heroes are back and they all get some screen time as well. There is even a tribble. Uhura gets to do a bunch more in this movie then she ever did on the series, but still wears dangly earrings. Sometimes the creators took too much care to make these characters match their former selves. Dr. Bones is over the top annoying with his one-liners, and the accents of both Scotty and Checkov are too strong. The film gets a little silly in places too. Still, it’s a great popcorn action flick with cartoon-like violence. There is little blood and one particularly violent scene is carried offscreen.

There is a recurring message with this film that might make for some good conversation with an older teen watching the movie with you. Captain Kirk and Spock are adults, and yet, they are both still growing into manhood. Kirk in particular starts out with little respect for others, but shines in the end. They are faced with difficult decisions and need to rely on themselves to make the right ones.The two have their weaknesses and strengths. They learn from each other and risk their lives for the other. Integrity is key if you want to be a leader and Kirk learns that…the hard way. (Originally posted on Facebook)

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