Home Is Where The Tree Is
Sausages and Potato Salad
The Most Wonderful Christmas Of The Year
Christmas is the only holiday in the entire year that can get away with producing cliched shows touching on the importance of family and friendship without ever losing its effectiveness. In fact, it’s almost a requirement at this point in order to create something heartwarming that stands the test of time.
Fresh out of Germany, Over Christmas is a simple but effective comedic drama that touches on very familiar topics we’ve seen explored a number of times before. Split across 3 episodes, this drama explores the life of Bastian, a struggling musician who’s embarrassed by a bad audition and a failed busking venture outside.
With things looking bleak and the holiday season approaching, Basti heads back to his home town of Eifel for Christmas. Only, it turns out his ex-girlfriend Fine is now dating his brother Niklas, while his parents are holding a big secret from them all.
At the end of episode 1, a twist with Basti looks set to disrupt the entire family dynamic and potentially ruin Christmas.
In fact, this ruination happens to be a slow and steady decline across all 3 episodes, as Basti clashes with everyone around him while remaining ashamed of his failed music career back home.
All of this leads up to the final act where home truths are revealed and everything looks lost. Without giving too much away, things do end on a satisfying note but it’s the supporting characters that hold this one up and keep things engaging.
The biggest problem with Over Christmas comes from Bastian himself. Despite being graced with some of the best jokes in the series, thanks in part to his surreal, imaginative daydreams, he’s just not that likable.
Bastian is the reason the family almost collapse around Christmas and he’s the one who drives a larger wedge between him and his estranged brother. While he does go out of his way to fix the problems he himself created, it almost feels like it arrives a little too late.
Thankfully, the humour from most of the other characters does well to keep things entertaining. You’ve got Grandmother nonchalantly discussing Tinder and pornography while Basti’s friends all have their own tropes and quirks. Speaking of which, Over Christmas includes some representation for same-sex relationships (no spoilers here over who’s involved) and it’s handled incredibly well.
Breaking up the action are a variety of different musical montages and these crop up across the 3 episodes continuously. Although early on they work to show off the town of Eifel, later on it almost becomes a bit of a distraction as the jokes pave way for more of a melodramatic tone – especially when the truth about Basti’s Father is revealed.
Over Christmas is not perfect, nor does it ignite the genre with anything groundbreaking or profound we haven’t seen before. Instead, the show unashamedly sticks to a very simple archetypal story and layers that in with some surrealist humour and a few nice reveals.
Basti’s character is a little rough around the edges though, making it difficult to warm to him, but thankfully the supporting players do well to make up for any shortfalls here.
As far as Christmas series go, Over Christmas just about passes the mediocre mark but it’s unlikely to stand out next to so many other options in this competitive genre in the long run.