The Santa Clauses TV Review

Last Updated on November 16, 2022

Plot: Scott Calvin is back! After being Santa Claus for nearly thirty years, he’s as jolly as ever. But as Christmas declines in popularity, so does his Santa magic. Scott struggles to keep up with the demands of the job, as well as being there for his family. Upon discovering there is a way to retire from his post, Scott considers stepping down as Santa Claus and finding a worthy successor so that he can become a better father and husband.

Review: Early in the first episode of The Santa Clauses, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) meets a character from the original movie and finds her grown up. When he says it is hard to believe that it has been twenty-eight years since he became Santa, it was a moment that made me realize how long it has been since the 1994 premiere of The Santa Clause. In that time, Disney produced two sequels which together grossed just under $300 million worldwide. While the third film suffered atrocious reviews, love for the Christmas franchise has been fervent for decades. Thanks to Disney+, Tim Allen and many members of the franchise have returned for this new limited series which is the best addition to the franchise since the original and offers a welcome addition to the options to enjoy this holiday season.

The Santa Clauses,Tim Allen,Elizabeth Mitchell,Disney Plus

Set over six episodes (two of which were made available for this review), The Santa Clauses finds Scott Calvin continuing to bring joy and gifts to children across the globe. But, his magic is beginning to fade which brings him to learn of yet another clause in his duties as Saint Nick. Scott decides to retire so that he can spend time with his wife Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell) and children Buddy (Austin Kane) and Sandra (Elizabeth Allen-Dick). His eldest, Charlie (Eric Lloyd) is off with his own family which gives Scott a reason to give up the job he has come to love. Enter Simon Choksi (Kal Penn), a game inventor and head of a corporate delivery company who has fallen on hard times. While it is never expressly stated that he is the next Santa in the first episodes, the amount of screen time spent with Simon and his daughter makes it seem like the logical choice. Plus, his initials are also S.C.

The Santa Clauses never feels like a television series but rather an extended film. The production values are far superior to the three original movies combined and the story delves more into the lives of the Claus clan as well as the elves at the North Pole. Matilda Lawler portrays Betty, Santa’s Chief of Staff, who replaces Spencer Breslin and David Krumholtz from the original films. While Breslin does not appear, Krumholtz does in the later episodes. These early chapters also do not feature appearances by Laura San Giacomo as Befana the Christmas Witch or Peyton Manning. Instead, these episodes present the fading magic that Santa has over the world and how he begins to face the idea of leaving the North Pole to his successor.

The trailers show the Clauses departing their surroundings and becoming the Calvins, living back amongst the masses, but that is not really featured in the episodes I saw. Most of the first two episodes are either at the North Pole, which looks better than it ever did in the movies or with Simon Choksi as he tries to save his career while also investigating if Santa actually exists. The elves get a lot of screen time and the idea of having child actors play these ageless beings continues to be a fun way of approaching the mythology. The child actors are all quite good, especially Matilda Lawler and Devin Bright who plays Santa’s right-hand elf, Noel.

A lot of what makes The Santa Clauses better than the films is the talent behind the camera. Jack Burditt serves as showrunner and head writer on the series and brings experience as a comedy writer. With years of writing for Frasier, 30 Rock, Modern Family, and Tim Allen’s series Last Man Standing, Burditt leads a writing staff that keeps the Christmas theme positive through the series without relying on cheap comedy to pander to younger viewers. This series is clearly designed for the kids who loved the original and are now adults with their own children. There are a lot of jokes in each episode that are clear double-entendres that keep the humor appealing for adults while still appropriate for the little ones. Director Jason Winer, a veteran of Modern Family and New Girl, brings a small-screen comedy focus but on a feature film scale. The Santa Clauses never feels scaled down for a streaming platform but looks as good as any big-screen production.

The Santa Clauses,Tim Allen,Elizabeth Mitchell,Disney Plus

The Santa Clauses is not a bold reinvention of the franchise nor is it anything revolutionary when it comes to Christmas entertainment. What it does do, similar to Disney+ hit sequel Hocus Pocus 2, is find the reason why audiences connected with the original The Santa Clause and replicate it. By making this into a series, I felt more invested in Scott Calvin’s journey as Santa. The Santa Clauses is far funnier than the first three films combined and benefits from Tim Allen feeling energized in the role more than he has in years. This is a worthwhile watch that is a fitting revival of The Santa Clause series with welcome returns from fan-favorite characters and the introduction of new ones.

The Santa Clauses premieres with two episodes on November 16th on Disney+.


About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.