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!)

Spielberg, Disney and Dahl: A Great Combination

Sneak peek info on the upcoming "BFG" movie.
Ruby Barnhill plays Sophie in The BFG. (Disney)
Today, Disney released the teaser trailer for the upcoming The BFG coming to theaters next summer (see below) and it looks like it could be another great classic. The BFG, written by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach), is about Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a little girl who is taken from an orphanage by a giant and brought to Giant Country. (Kinda makes you wonder why it wasn’t called Sophie and the Big Giant, but I digress…) The film is being directed by Steven Spielberg, which is a pretty big deal in the Disney universe.

“I think it was kind of genius of Roald Dahl to be able to empower the children. It was very, very brave of him to introduce that combination of darkness and light which was so much Disney’s original signature in a lot of their earlier works like in Dumbo, Fantasia, Snow White and Cinderella, and being able to do scary, but also be redemptive at the same time and teach a lesson, an enduring lesson, to everyone, it was a wonderful thing for Dahl to have done, and it was one of the things that attracted me to want to direct this Dahl book,” says Spielberg.

The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), played by Mark Rylance, is sort of an outside in Giant Country. According to the press release, he stands 24-feet high, has enormous ears, has a keen sense of smell, is dim-witted and is a loner. This is in contrast to Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) who are even bigger (about twice the size) and eat humans. During Sophie’s visit, the BFG brings her to see Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children. But as you can imagine, in a land of giants, all does not go well. Soon Sophie and her big buddy go to London to tell the queen (Penelope Wilton) and her maid (Rebecca Hall) that not only do giants exist, but they are on their way to attack London.

Published in 1982, The BFG is the Dahl book that hasn’t been adapted into a feature film. It was also Dahl’s favorite. Can you think of anyone better to handle this project than Spielberg and Disney? “It was very important for us to be loyal to the language,” says Spielberg. “It’s a story about friendship, it’s a story about loyalty and protecting your friends and it’s a story that shows that even a little girl can help a big giant solve his biggest problems.” Spielberg had writer Melissa Mathison, who wrote the script for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, to pen the BFG script.

The BFG opens in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.

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