One of the most exciting things to look forward to around the holiday season is all the special Christmas episodes that come out for TV series. Most shows have a basic feel-good Christmas episode in which characters exchange gifts, go to Christmas parties, and kiss under the mistletoe. Some have the characters meet Santa Claus despite magic never existing in the show otherwise.
Then there are the series that go the extra mile for their Christmas episodes and create something truly bizarre. Here are just some absolutely bonkers Christmas episodes that the world of television has given us.
X-Men: The Animated Series
In the Christmas episode “Have Yourself a Morlock Little X-Mas” in the classic X-Men: the Animated Series, there’s a lot that goes on, and almost none of it feels like something you’d see in a superhero cartoon. Instead of battling against Magneto and the Brotherhood of Mutants or any other villain to save Christmas, the X-Men have a shockingly calm holiday. Jean Grey and Gambit bicker about how spicy to make dinner. Wolverine complains about hating Christmas all while still going present shopping and ice skating with the others. He also never really gives a reason to hate the day.
It all comes to the riveting final act in which Wolverine has to give a blood transfusion to the Morlock known as Leech since he’s the one with the power of regeneration, which wouldn’t make sense since being near Leech would remove Wolverine’s regeneration powers. Everything in this one just feels odd and out of place.
Big Bad Beetleborgs
Big Bad Beetleborgs had a holiday special titled “Christmas Bells and Phasm’s Spells” that made an already crazy show even crazier. The evil Magnavores, Jara, Noxic, and Typhus, set their sites on literally stealing Christmas like they’re the Grinch. Instead of trying to take over the world, they rob presents and festive decorations from houses. The Beetleborgs battle them using Christmas lawn ornaments like giant plastic candy canes rather than using their high-tech weaponry.
The Beetleborgs are finally victorious when they give stockings full of toys and candy to the evildoers to give them a sense of Christmas cheer, and it surprisingly works. Even odder is that the Hillhurst monsters attempt to decorate for Christmas for the first, which ends up feeling like an awkward version of The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Danny Phantom was an incredibly fun animated series featuring a half-ghost half-human superhero who fought against a colorful array of creative villains. Its Christmas episode, “The Fright Before Christmas,” featured a villain named the Ghost Writer who we only see that one time outside of a background cameo in the series finale. The Ghost Writer, who seems insanely powerful for a one-and-done baddie, turns Danny’s life into a Christmas poem where everything needs to rhyme, and anything written in said poem happens in real life. The Ghost Writer uses this power to transform Christmas trees, presents, and decorations into monsters to try and take Danny down all because he was grumpy during the holiday.
“The Christmas Invasion” was the first episode of Doctor Who to fully feature David Tennant as the Doctor and was the first specially produced Christmas special in the series. It’s also the most unhinged. Doctor Who has a surprisingly long list of truly chaotic Christmas episodes, but this one takes the cake. This episode features a band of evil plastic Santas (that are pure nightmare fuel) and killer Christmas trees that spin like saw blades. That’s only the tip of the iceberg, though.
An alien known as the Sycorax uses blood control to to hypnotize a third of the world’s population and threatens to make them commit suicide if half of Earth don’t allow themselves to become enslaved. It all ends in an epic sword fight in which the Doctor loses one of his hands (which he later regenerates). It’s not the merriest of Christmases.
Codename: Kids Next Door
For one of the most random and over-the-top Christmas episodes in TV history, we don’t need to look further than Codename: Kids Next Door. The episode titled “Operation: N.A.U.G.H.T.Y.” is every bit exciting and action-packed as it is absolutely bonkers. The story begins with Santa’s elves being tranquilized. An elite team of elves, known as Elfa Strike, believe it to be the series’ primary heroes who are being framed. Elfa Strike are Christmas-themed X-Men parodies with Wintergreen (Wolverine with candy cane claws), Nutcracker (like Nightcrawler), Snow Angel (who’s basically Storm but can only manipulate snow), and Coniferous (Colossus if he covered his body in pine needles instead of steel).
It turns out the true culprits behind the attack on the North Pole are the Faculty 4, a parody of the Fantastic 4 made up of substitute teachers who want Substitute Teacher Day (which doesn’t exist in real life) put on the calendar and Christmas taken off since it hogs all the holiday glory. The Faculty 4 includes a gym teacher named Mr. Physically Fitastic, a speech tutor named the Unintelligible Tutor, Thesaurus Rex who is a t-rex made out of thesauruses, and the Human Text who is a man made out of paper. They’re led by a grumpy old lady named Edna Jucation. The episode leads to an epic showdown between a Christmas themed X-Men and an education themed Fantastic Four. It’s like the Kids Next Door didn’t even need to be a part of the plot at all. Also, the Delightful Children From Down the Lane get turned into the Grinch, so there’s that.