During the holiday season—a.k.a. the “holy days”—network television programming tends to get pretty lackluster. Unless you happen to stream, there’s not much to be entertained by.
For instance, 40 years after it premiered on CBS, in 1976, “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year,” is still telecast every year in and around the time of Christmas. And that’s how I happened to catch it on Boxing Day, last year.
And I’m glad I did.
A sequel to 1964’s “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” it’s about a newborn New Year named Happy. Sad at being mocked at for his oversize ears (a homonym of “years,”) he runs away from the castle of Time and hides out in the “Archipelago of Past Years,” which is, well, a chain of islands, where Older Years retire.
Its treatment of time—that the past is never lost, but is simply, away from the present—is one that’d make sense to a string theorist.
If Happy doesn’t return home before midnight on New Year’s Eve, the hands of the clock will be stuck forever on December 31. Time will stop. Father Time contacts Santa Claus and seeks his help in locating Happy. Santa Claus dispatches Rudolph, who’s joined in this expedition by agents of Father Time as well.
Fortunately, he’s found. And time goes on.