Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

One Starry Christmas airs tomorrow night (11/1) @ 8:00 PM ET on Hallmark Channel.

Synopsis (from the Hallmark Channel website): Aspiring astronomy professor and Christmas enthusiast Holly (Sarah Carter) is crushed when her longtime boyfriend Adam (Paul Popowich) schedules a business trip and leaves her alone over the holidays. When she decides to surprise both Adam and her parents with a Christmas visit, however, fate, or perhaps the Christmas spirit, intervenes. Holly’s bumpy holiday travel makes a turn onto the road to romance when she and her bus companion, Luke (Damon Runyan), forge an instant connection over their love of constellations and Christmas. In the spirit of the season, Holly invites Luke and his brother Bull (George Canyon) to join her family and Adam for Christmas, which instantly creates a competition between Luke and Adam for Holly’s attention. As sparks fly like shooting stars between Holly and Luke, will Holly decide to play it safe and stay with Adam or to thank her lucky stars for the Christmas gift of romance with Luke?

Review: This is the first of 12 original films airing this season as part of Hallmark Channel’s annual Countdown to Christmas programming slate (which all told includes over 1000 hours of holiday-themed programming).  While I’m an old-fashioned sort of guy who kinda thinks TV Christmas specials should start no sooner than around Thanksgiving, there’s no denying Hallmark’s success with its yearly yuletide countdown. And, I must say, I’ll take Hallmark’s jump-starting of the holiday celebration over what the broadcast networks these days seems, at best, a grudging acknowledgement of it.

And, as its first original film of the season, Hallmark has picked a real charmer with One Starry Christmas. First of all, Sarah Carter is absolutely winning (and beautiful) as the aptly-named Christmas-loving astronomer Holly. Carter as Holly the astronomer shares genuine chemistry with  Damon Runyan as Luke, the rodeo rider she meets on a bus that kismetically breaks down while on her way to meet up with her ambition lawyer boyfriend Adam (Paul Popowich) and her parents in New York.  Runyan, BTW, looks right at home playing a cowboy learning the ropes in NYC. If anyone is considering remaking the iconic seventies series McCloud, they should give his performance here a look. The bottom line for this film though is that you can believe that these two would actually fall for each other.

Besides the central relationship, the relationships between Holly and her parents and Luke and his brother are also sweet in a way that comes off as real and believable. Also believable is that, once upon a time, Holly might have seen something in Adam but, upon closer inspection, might reconsider.

All in all, One Starry Christmas is a nice and pleasant diversion about people you’ll root for and a story told with timeless insight and an attitude of kindness. I liked it.

One Starry Night is recommended.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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