Ho Ho Ho, it’s time to get into the holiday spirit with the return of one of the most popular Disney+ shows, “The Santa Clauses”, which is based on the classic Disney film trilogy and sees Tim Allen return as Santa Claus once again, along with the rest of his family. This new season picks up straight after the events of the last season, with the Claus family all back together, with Scott adamant that his son takes over the reins and starts off his Santa training, but this doesn’t go down well with the elves, who just know that Cal just not Santa material. Meanwhile, Mrs Claus takes on the role of head of security and is trying to track down who stole a mysterious nutcracker figure, and Sandra is also going through her own crisis while learning how to control her own superpowers.
Much like with the first season, each episode is around half an hour long and dropping two episodes at once is probably what’s needed for this series, since both episodes help set up the general storyline for the show, highlighting the issues with Scott’s push to make Cal the new Santa, when he is clearly not ready nor mature enough to do so. Personally, I found Sandra’s storyline of her own abilities growing beyond just talking to animals and requiring training from La Befana the witch. And I get the feeling that the Clauses are going to need a superpowered teenager on hand for the epic confrontation later down the season.
That’s because this show has fixed one of the biggest problems from the first season, a true villain. This comes in the form of Mad Santa, an evil Santa from the 13th Century who has a distrust of humans and, more importantly, the elves, who imprisioned him for centuries. Mad Santa is played by Eric Stonestreet, who you might know as Cam from “Modern Family”, and he does a great job of hamming up the pantomime-style baddie. Throw in a gnome played by the excellent, Marta Kessler, who you might know as Constance from the Disney+ Original series, “The Mysterious Benedict Society”.
Having a proper villain in this series keeps things much simpler and involving other well-known iconic mythical creatures and characters is going to make this show an easy, fun show for families to watch together. But it also feels very far removed from the original film that we all loved from the 90s. Sometimes, Scott doesn’t even resemble the same character, feeling sometimes more like the robotic Santa from the third film.
It also makes an interesting idea of how Mad Santa wants to reclaim his job, and it’s funny to see him adjusting to modern life, as not everything has improved since the 13th century. So many Christmas films involve people trying to save Christmas. The idea of having Santa’s eventually fighting over the role does feel more fresh.
This show isn’t going to win any awards, but it is something very unique on Disney+ and something the streaming service has been unable to replicate: a live-action series with an established franchise that isn’t Marvel or Star Wars. And that’s rather refreshing! It’s best not to expect too much from this show. Just embrace that it’s a family-friendly holiday show, with some cheap gags along the way and plenty of heart.
Overall: “The Santa Clauses” is just more of the same, which isn’t a bad thing; its cheesy, it’s bright and fluffy, precisely what you want from a Disney Christmas series, though maybe I’d be happier had this been released in December, as I’ll be honest, it feels a bit too early to be getting into the Christmas spirit (note, I watched these first few episodes in October!). I enjoyed these first two episodes. It’s daft, its light-hearted family entertainment and more of the same, which isn’t a bad thing.
Rating – 4 Out Of 5
“The Santa Clauses” returns with a double episode premiere on Wednesday, 8th November 2023, on Disney+, with a new episode being released each week.