Increased diversity has become much more of a real priority for film and TV productions lately. While many would likely say that it seems to be coming very late, and to be very reactionary as opposed to producers / network bosses wanting to do the right thing, hope still remains that the recent push will lead to permanent moves for on camera and behind the scenes diversity. And, there's no better area to keep this ball rolling than the many made for TV Christmas movies we see each year. With that, Lifetime has now set its casts for the network's first holiday films starring LGBTQ and Asian American leads.
Over the years, Lifetime has produced dozens upon dozens of movies made to help us usher in Christmas cheer once the holiday season comes around, and 2020 will now see two important firsts for the network when it comes to showing that all people can unexpectedly fall in love during the holidays. While the network is set to debut a whopping 30 new Christmas movies this year, two of them are set to focus on romances between leads who come from some underrepresented groups, especially when we talk about made for TV yuletide films.
According to Deadline, Lifetime has now cast The Christmas Setup, which will star real life marrieds Blake Lee (Fam, Mixology) and Ben Lewis (Arrow, The Handmaid’s Tale), and A Sugar & Spice Holiday, starring Jacky Lai (V-Wars, Shadowhunters) and Tony Giroux (Motherland: Fort Salem, Descendants 3). The rest of the cast for the movies will include Fran Drescher (The Nanny, Indebted), Ellen Wong (Glow, Dark Matter), and Tzi Ma (Mulan, The Farewell).
So, what will these lovely new movies be about? The Christmas Setup will follow Hugo (Lewis), a New York attorney, as he goes to Milwaukee with his best friend Madelyn (Wong) in tow so that he can spend some quality time with his mother, Kate (Drescher), during the holidays. Kate also heads up some local Christmas celebrations, so she sets her single son up to run into his high school buddy (and secret crush), Patrick (Lee), who's also newly returned to the city after a successful run in Silicon Valley.
Do I need to tell you that Hugo and Patrick will get along like gangbusters? Of course not. Do I also need to say that there will be a big complication which could throw their new found love into the garbage with all of that used Christmas wrapping paper? No, y'all are way too smart for that kind of note.
Meanwhile, A Sugar & Spice Holiday will focus its attentions on young Suzi (Lai), an architect with her career on the rise, who goes home for Christmas (Anyone else sensing a theme, here?) to the small Maine town where her Chinese American family runs the local lobster bar. With the death of her beloved grandmother, Suzi is then guilted by her family into taking her place in the town's gingerbread house contest, where she has to join forces with her old high school friend Billy (Giroux), who grew up to be a serious Hotty McHotpants. Now, Suzi will have to use her Chinese heritage to spice up the competition and, you know, find love and stuff.
I don't know about you, dear reader, but I would like to have both of these movies liquefied, put into an IV drip and inserted directly into my veins right now. If this is how Lifetime is going to up their game for the holiday season, can we start a campaign to get them to make some Christmas movies all year round?
I mean, I have to give the people at Lifetime some props for being way more willing to make their holiday movies look more like the real world in previous years (especially compared to their most noted competitor in this field), anyway. But this is another level of holiday happiness which I sincerely hope signals bigger and better things to come for future Christmas seasons.
We don't know just yet when The Christmas Setup and A Sugar & Spice Holiday will debut, but Lifetime's new Christmas movies will begin airing on October 23 and keep on rolling through the main event, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest!