“The Santa Clauses” and the issue with streaming services

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor-In-Chief

The Santa Clauses show shows everything wrong with Disney Plus

The Santa Clauses is a complete and total indictment of streaming services as a concept. It shows everything wrong with the current release model that Disney Plus has utilized, and it is a permanent blotch on the company’s brand.

When Bob Chapek took over the reins of the Walt Disney Company from Bob Iger in 2020, a noticeable decline in the quality of products being released from the company was apparent relatively quickly. The pandemic no doubt deterred the various studios reporting upwards to the house of mouse, but the ultimate, untimely issue was not COVID, but an unnecessary amount of filler content being produced for the Disney Plus streaming service.There was a clear trend in the style of projects released by Disney Plus. The largest, most frustrating trend, was taking pitches for feature-length movies and turning them into six-episode miniseries. From this, no Disney property was safe. 

The Obi-Wan Kenobi movie was turned into a six-episode-long Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries that, while a decent show, was unnecessarily long. Marvel Studios’ “Moon Knight,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” and “Loki” were all six episodes loaded with promises that unfortunately would have worked much better as movies.

The reasoning behind this is clear, Disney Plus is in a need of original content. The streaming service launched in 2019, and at the time the only key pieces of original content that it launched with were the first seasons of “The Mandalorian” and “The World According to Jeff Goldblum.” Turning pitches for movies into longer miniseries ensures that not only will Disney Plus have content, but the weekly release method keeps subscribers subscribed. If a Moon Knight fan wants to watch “Moon Knight,” they will likely subscribe the week of the first episode. By the time episode six has been released, they have already been billed for two months of a subscription as opposed to one. Because of this, the Walt Disney Company has a direct financial incentive to make their shows longer than they need to be and to increase the amount of filler content present in their programming.

And now, the six-episode miniseries has come for Santa Claus. Or rather, The Santa Clause. Tim Allen was not safe from this, and thank goodness he wasn’t, because this show is the quality level that Tim Allen deserves to have his name associated with.

In all seriousness, this show is awful. I dare you to watch, there is simply no way that you will be able to sit through it without screaming violently. The show is an unnecessary blob or regurgitated Christmas cliches and unrelenting callbacks to the previous films in the series.

The jokes are uninspired and unfunny. Beyond that, the show has an unnecessarily right-wing tone, and a vaguely anti-woke message behind it. This does not make sense, because Santa Claus would not be a Republican. He is the leader of a self-sufficient worker commune that distributes their only export en masse to the entire world for free. He is basically a communist.

The cast of this is forgettable. Obviously, Tim Allen returns as Santa Claus and delivers the most mediocre performance of his career. Others from the film series return, but you will only really care about them if you are a big fan of the original films.

Kal Penn is in this, and he was fine. (Kal Penn, if you’re reading this, you deserve better. Also, you should make Harold and Kumar 4.)

The cast for this is irrelevant because the show feels like it was written by a computer algorithm to fill as much space as possible. The first two episodes were basically nothing but filler, with no clear antagonist to Santa Claus beyond the vague appearances of Kal Penn.

Therein lies the inherent issue with The Santa Clauses: The Santa Clause is a film franchise. The traditional narrative of the Santa Clause films (he has to do some stuff as Santa Claus, then he learns the true meaning of Christmas) cannot work as a TV series because Tim Allen can’t learn the true meaning of Christmas every week. The narrative cycle simply does not lend itself to the miniseries format and this project should never have been made in the first place. If there were an actual legitimate demand from the Walt Disney Company to bring back the Santa Clause franchise, you would be watching Tim Allen on the big screen this week. Clearly, however, the desire here is for money and Disney Plus subscribership numbers, not the magic of Christmas.