Netflix has a well-established strategy: identify genres and formats that “belong” to other networks and gradually intrude on them. “The Final Table” is a clear response to Bravo’s “Top Chef,” while “Dogs,” a docu-series, would have gone to Animal Planet in a previous life. And now that it’s the holiday season, it’s certainly on the lookout for those treacherous Hallmark Channel Christmas rom-coms. Between Halloween and New Year’s Eve, Netflix will premiere four Christmas-themed original love stories, the crown gem of which might be
Holiday Rom-Coms Are More Difficult Than They Appear
“A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” is a sequel to the smash hit “A Christmas Prince” from last year. While Hallmark executives may be shaken by this unofficial violation, they may also be content with the knowledge that the Christmas Movie Industrial Complex is more difficult than it appears. There are some very particular standards, as the cultural critics on “Saturday Night Live” reminded us last year. You’ll need a career-girl protagonist, although one who is either yearning to escape the pressures of Big-City Life or is already there. one who is attempting to flee but is unaware of it. In any case, she’s helped by a Prince Charming or similar character who, after a few plot twists, sweeps her off her feet and into his fairy-tale life. Hallmark took decades to master this formula, but the all-powerful Netflix Algorithm nailed it. With its premise of Amber (Rose McIver), a journalist dispatched to the fictional European country of Aldovia for an undercover report on the royal family, “The Christmas Prince” delivered admirably. Prince Richard (Ben Lamb) proposes to her at the end of the touching story, and she joyously accepts. If a computer had been involved, it could not have been better engineered.
So now we have “A Christmas Prince: A Royal Wedding,” which appears to fulfil all of the requirements. However, in an unexpected twist, it fails to capitalise on the potential of these flicks to become a full franchise. Amber and Richard are still madly in love in the sequel. Amber’s love story is making magazine covers left and right in Meghan Markle-style fashion, but she’s had to leave journalism behind. (The Aldovians even force her to stop blogging!) Amber has been trying her hardest to adapt into royal life, but it’s not easy given her super-American tendencies. The algorithm then grew fatigued. Amber and Richard are still madly in love in the sequel. Amber’s love story is making magazine covers left and right in Meghan Markle-style fashion, but she’s had to leave journalism behind. (The Aldovians even force her to stop blogging!) Amber has been trying her hardest to adapt into royal life, but it’s not easy given her super-American tendencies. The algorithm then grew fatigued. Perhaps even the 0s and 1s require a day off. Because that’s all there is to the Netflix narrative. In the 90 minutes, there are a few additional things that happen. There’s a lot of wedding planning going on, and Aldovia is having financial problems, which Amber fixes by using her long-forgotten reporting talents.
And it may come as no surprise to some of you that “Royal Wedding” does, in the end, end with the couple happily married. But, other from King Richard’s half-hearted vow that “there’s always next year” when it comes to a thrilling new Christmas adventure, none of this suggests a franchise. Given Netflix’s quick pace of content creation, it’s plausible that the company’s process just lacks the time to create tale worlds. There are certainly ways to go beyond a single love story: “Crazy Rich Asians” made a concerted effort this summer to build up a sequel that would introduce a completely different couple for the next edition of the romantic comedy franchise. To be true, serialised narratives have a hard time creating believable, captivating love stories. (The rare exception is FXX’s “You’re the Worst,” which requires careful adjustment.) “It’s like ‘Knocked Up,'” Judd Apatow stated. They drive away in the end, but people will remark it’s a nice ending, and I’ll respond, ‘I have no idea what occurred the next morning.’ Before they awoke, she could have kicked him out.'” Meanwhile, as the pioneering Hallmark Channel has demonstrated, new upbeat Christmas film franchises are surely achievable. “Christmas in Evergreen,” starring Ashley Williams as Allie, was released in 2017.
a small-town veterinarian who is hoping for her long-term boyfriend Ryan (Teddy Sears) to propose to her. She takes matters into her own hands and wishes on a snow globe that this will be the most romantic Christmas she has ever experienced. (Spoiler alert: it was successful.) This year, Hallmark is releasing “Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa,” which focuses on a brand-new couple: Lisa, a retail designer who returns to her hometown, and Kevin, a contractor who is first brusque but gradually sweeps her off her feet. Evergreen, a tooth-achingly lovely tiny town, serves as a constant and might easily serve as the setting for a variety of implausible fairy tales. “The Princess Switch” and “The Holiday Calendar,” both of which are now available on Netflix, would fit in perfectly with their basic-cable counterparts. However, neither is set up to become major franchises, highlighting the difficulty of making the rom-com succeed as a long-form story. This is unsatisfactory. Not because it will detract from the quality of these flicks; after all, one of the hallmarks of the traditional Christmas rom-com is that it is… well, good enough. Netflix, on the other hand, might develop a Marvel Cinematic Universe of joyful tales of love, family, and the holidays, thanks to its massive disruption potential.
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