Twelve Days of Netflix 8: Christmas Town

On the eighth day of Christmas, Netflix sent to me: "a very special Christmas episode of The Twilight Zone," which is how Liza McCann (Nicole DeBoer) describes it when she is called out of the blue to visit her estranged father in the small town of Hollyville. She brings her young son Mason, who is excited to see his grandfather and to spend time in a place that not only appears to be crazy about Christmas, but may be the base of operations for Santa Claus himself. While Mason runs around spying on elves and the local mechanic fixing a certain sleigh, Liza tries to figure out what has happened to her type-A father who used to think that Christmas was a waste of time. The owner of the local diner where her father works, Kevin (Patrick Muldoon), tries to explain the local perspective.

This movie is like watching a holiday episode of Gilmore Girls from a parallel universe, where Rory is a largely unsupervised boy. It spends a lot of time and energy explaining how Santa's workshop could really work in logistical terms in the modern age; as the snooping Mason discovers, it is a rather depressing Ikea-like warehouse with painted concrete hallways and a locker room where Santa gets changed. It's an odd choice for a film that is about a parent rediscovering the magic of Christmas.