Ah, the julekalender. A vital tradition of the Danish festive holiday, which depending on who you ask can either make your Christmas or break your family.
Starting on 1 December, both DR1 and TV2 will each offer up 24 (or 25 … or even 30 … see below) episodes of a holiday-themed show containing Danish humour, sentimental pathos, silliness and enough bad acting to send Metacritic’s needle forever into the red zone.
Although some would regard the internet age's ability to pretty much catch up on every episode at will as an improvement, some of the charm of gathering the whole brood around the TV to watch either a well-loved classic or a new offering has been lost.
Youngsters, especially, used to plan their evenings around the airings, and the wise mom knew to keep the Christmas duck on hold until that final 24 December episode was broadcast.
No Danglish this year
Sadly, ‘The Julekalender’, beloved by expats for its somewhat sketchy humour and pastiche of Danglish, is not in the mix this year. Og that is en skam.
DR1 is offering up a brand new julekalender this year: 'Tidsrejsen'. It's a 'Back to the Future'-type adventure that includes young Sofie – whose greatest wish is that her parents reunite in time for Christmas – her wacky inventor grandfather and a kid that seems to know way more about Sofie’s life than he should. DR claims this holiday sci-fi stalker tale is perfect for the whole family.
TV2 is bringing back Pyrus, the world’s biggest, and perhaps most irritating, nisse. A “visting princess from the Far East” has be taught about Santa Claus, and Pyrus and his elfin pals (including That Theatre regular Christiane Bjørg Nielsen) are up to the task.
Although DR was for many years the only outlet that had a julekalender, these days you can't swing a dead elf without hitting one.
I’m dreaming of a sex-filled, hash-influenced Christmas
Kid’s channel Ramasjang has a few on offer and DR2 is bringing back Ali, Hassan and 'Yallahrup Færgeby’ – a series that originally aired in 2007.
The controversial show features sex, gambling, hash smoking, terrorist recruitment integration and other Christmas-y topics. Originally conceived as a Ramadan calendar, 'Yallahrup Færgeby’ features 30 episodes and runs until 30 December.
DR3 is running the charmingly titled ‘fuckr with dn jul’ – five-minute episodes that, according to the program guide, feature famous people and “psychological manipulation and unknown facts about Christmas”.