Legion of Leia shares our favorite genre Thanksgiving episodes
Thanksgiving is one of those traditional family holidays that can be spent around a TV screen. Growing up, I remember blanket burritoing myself around the TV to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade with my family and reveling in the sheer joy of it all. The emphasis on family during this particular holiday was something that was never lost on me and hasn’t been lost to many of us here when dissecting our favorite Thanksgiving episodes.
The fun of science fiction, fantasy, and other genre TV is that when creating a holiday episode, it is interesting to see how the foundations of the holiday stay the same amidst all of the general genre chaos injected into the episode. For example, you can have a bunch of monsters roaming around trying to destroy a city but, at the end of the day, the heroes all come together as a family to celebrate the gift that is life and the gratitude they feel for one another.
Now, make sure to grab your stuffing and check out some of the Legion of Leia staff’s favorite Thanksgiving episodes.
What makes Arrow’s “Thanksgiving” a great Thanksgiving episode is it’s a classic Arrow story, with Team Arrow trying to stop a big bad, teammates arguing, secrets revealed, and of course, Oliver finding himself in serious trouble, both as Oliver Queen and as the Green Arrow. Because they’re usually trying to save Star City on Thanksgiving, we also learn Team Arrow has created a few non-traditional traditions of their own. One day, I’d like to try Rene’s version of mashed potatoes. It’s an episode with a decent story, good action, a few twists, a lot of heart, and a special surprise, all of which emphasize the importance of family and being there for each other. Other than Big Belly Burger, what more could you want?
– Andrea Levine
Yes, I’m old enough to have watched Quantum Leap, and I loved it. It was a wonderful show and I was little enough that the effects were super cool to me. It also routinely made me cry. One episode that stands out and one of the ones I always talk about is “The Leap Home.” This Thanksgiving episode has Sam (Scott Bakula, who is just delightful) leaping back into his own body when that body was in high school. It’s a two-parter, and it broke my heart. Have you ever lost anyone and wished for one more dinner or conversation with them? Sam gets to see his brother and father again before they’re killed in Vietnam and die of a heart attack respectively. He does get to save his brother for a time but realizes that Al (Dean Stockwell), who is helping him deal with changing the past (can’t explain…there is too much) actually gives up his freedom in the war to help Sam save his brother’s life.
Ugh, there is so much here, including what you’d tell your siblings if you had knowledge of the future. Would it be John Lennon’s future music? Would you tell them about his death? This show was so ahead of its time and so brutal to my feelings. If you can handle the old effects, it’s worth a re-watch.
– Jenna Busch
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
[In Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode titled “Pangs”]…It’s just a typical Thanksgiving. Existential arguments, goofy friends, and pea problems. There’s pumpkin pie and dinnertime neurosis. One person questions celebrating a genocidal, pillaging, shameful time in human history and another has a cold. Well, not a cold so much as syphilis. Caught in the buried mission he fell into, cursed by the Chumash Indian spirit who has been freed to seek rightful revenge. Also, there’s a bear and Spike is tied to a chair. Buffy just wants a nice holiday but Willow questions the ethics of tradition. When Giles chimes in to wrangle the argument, Buffy reminds him that it’s his fault we have to have Thanksgiving in the first place. Because family, am I right?
– Candi Bartlett
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
One of my favorite series so far this fall season has been the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It’s dark, but with that glorious 90s camp that I grew up with as a wee little lass. While many have focused on the spooktacular elements woven throughout the course of the series, I’m not entirely certain that much attention has been paid to what I consider to be the Thanksgiving episode titled “Feast of Feasts”. The Feast of Feasts is described as representative of a time in the coven’s history where the most powerful witch sacrificed herself in a period of starvation in order to keep the coven alive. Since then, the coven remembers that day by selecting a witch at random to become the Queen of the Feasts. Said Queen will be devoured by the coven, who will be undergoing their own fasting ritual, days later on the Feast of Feasts in remembrance.
What draws me to this episode of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is that it puts a magnifying glass (at least for me) on the Thanksgiving holiday using the Feast of Feasts as an analogy of sorts. One of the things that CAOS points out repeatedly throughout the series is the bucking of tradition and nothing is more traditional than problematic holidays that celebrate life and survival at the expense of others. Sabrina tries to get Prudence to buck the tradition and nearly succeeds at upending the traditional coven holiday. However, she is foiled by someone else sacrificing themselves in the name of tradition, thus continuing the tradition once more. This episode definitely gives a lot to think about with the longevity of Thanksgiving.
– Sarah Musnicky
There are many other Thanksgiving episodes out there in genre TV that we could further dissect. Did we manage to get your favorites? If not, let us know what is your favorite Thanksgiving episode by either commenting below or tweeting us at @LegionofLeia.