You wouldn’t think Christmas would be a particularly propitious time to set your pilot. Pilots usually air in the fall, or just after the holidays. And Christmas is the season for marathons of shows and movies you already know and love. But when you think about it, the holidays are rife with drama and emotion — often of the familial warfare variety. So there’s some material there.
There are a handful of pilots — that I’m aware of — that are set during the holiday season. Here’s a list. Are there others? Please leave comments if you know!
1. The Simpsons. This series premiere actually aired around the holidays, as a Christmas special, about a month before the show premiered. It’s a great pilot. Pardon my galoshes.
2. South Park. Back when this show was low-budget and shocking. “The Spirit of Christmas,” aka “Jesus vs. Santa” still holds up. See for yourself.
3. Little House on the Prairie. This is actually a pilot movie, and it’s not entirely set on Christmas, but we’ll count it.
4. Six Feet Under. I haven’t watched this yet, but I’ll blog about it in the near future. It apparently opens with a grisly car crash on Christmas Eve. It’s a family drama, so the holidays seem like a valid starting point.
5. The Waltons. Like The Simpsons, this famous family was introduced to TV audiences with a Christmas special. Beyond that, they are nothing like The Simpsons.