A super TV Christmas
Holiday Viewing by Sean McQuaid
Superheroes aren’t the most traditional Christmas concept, but seasonal TV is full of them. For 12 super days of Christmas, check out these dozen heroic holiday gems…
Batman: The Animated Series—“Christmas with the Joker” (S1E2, 1992)
Robin’s efforts to get a brooding Batman into the holiday spirit are interrupted when the Joker escapes Arkham Asylum for a yuletide crime spree complete with his own twisted TV Christmas special.
Batman: The Animated Series—
“A Bullet for Bullock” (S4E4, 1995)
Gotham’s most obnoxious police detective, Harvey Bullock, usually spends his holidays alone—but when a mysterious enemy targets him for death, Bullock reluctantly turns to the vigilante Batman for help.
The Tick—“The Tick Loves Santa!” (S2E12, 1995)
When a freak accident turns a Santa-suited bank robber into self-replicating one-man criminal army Multiple Santa, Christmas-loving superhero The Tick can’t bear to battle a villain who looks like Santa Claus.
The New Batman Adventures—“Holiday Knights” (S1E1, 1997)
A polished anthology of three holiday shorts including a Harley Quinn/Poison Ivy larcenous Christmas shopping spree, Batgirl & the GCPD vs. Clayface, and Batman & Robin vs. the Joker’s New Year’s evil.
Justice League—“Comfort and Joy” (S2E23, 2003)
The Leaguers take a winter break as Superman and Martian Manhunter enjoy a Kent family Christmas in Smallville, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl compare their very different approaches to holiday merriment, and the Flash races to find a special Christmas gift for orphans.
Smallville—“Lexmas” (S5E9, 2005)
A young Lex Luthor—surprisingly oft-sympathetic in this series set in Superman’s youth—reaches a dark crossroads as a holiday near-death experience shows him the idyllic life he could have if he chooses the right path.
Ultimate Spider-Man—“Nightmare on Christmas” (S3E22, 2014)
Lonely and discouraged at Christmas time, Spider-Man faces a nightmarish series of foes from his past, present and future in a trippy episode that pays tribute to Spidey comics and cartoons of decades ago.
Ultimate Spider-Man—“The Moon Knight Before Christmas” (S4E24, 2016)
A homicidal Christmas tree, hostile gingerbread men and other holiday horrors await when Spider-Man, house-sitting for Doctor Strange, battles criminal illusionist Mysterio and fanatical vigilante Moon Knight.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow—“Beebo the God of War” (S3E9–2017)
DC’s eclectic gang of time-traveling super-misfits intervene when a holiday temporal mishap results in super-popular talking cuddly plush toy Beebo being worshipped as a god by the Vikings.
Justice League Action—“Party Animal” (S1E46–2017)
The Justice League’s annual Christmas bash is interrupted by monstrous party crasher Solomon Grundy while festive host Green Arrow struggles desperately to impress a frosty Batman.
Avenging archer Hawkeye’s family Christmas plans are interrupted by murderous gangsters, his would-be sidekick Kate Bishop and the Black Widow’s vengeful successor Yelena Belova in this charming 6-episode Disney+ action dramedy.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)
It’s a gloriously weird, wildly funny holiday heart-warmer when Marvel’s interplanetary oddballs try to give their Earth-born leader Peter Quill the perfect Christmas gift by… abducting Kevin Bacon?
Most of these shows can be found via streaming. The Batman and Justice League picks are all on the Teletoon streaming service, and some of it on Netflix. Smallville is on Netflix and Prime, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is on Crave, and my Spider-Man, Hawkeye and Guardians picks are all on Disney+.