This cozy tale is a soothing choice for quiet nights with the family. In 1971, during a time of unrest among differing generations and the political divide, CBS released the TV movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story. Against a similar societal backdrop, The Waltons' Homecoming is a remake of the movie that launched the popular television series The Waltons, about a Depression-era family from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The show was about, among other positives, kindness, according to Richard Thomas, who played the original John-Boy on the show, and provides voice-overs for this movie, and it almost goes without saying now is the perfect time to bring back this kindhearted, hardworking family from a simpler but no less difficult time.
And maybe it is. If Ted Lasso is any indication, perhaps audiences have grown weary of the cynicism and amorality of the antiheroes who so dominated the Golden Age of Television these past 20-plus years, no matter how truly groundbreaking and excellent these shows have been. As a remake, The Waltons' Homecoming is all about the reminder of the kindness and decency in us, and while it steers clear of issues of race in a way that modern audiences are likely to find a bit much to accept, it still manages to be a feel-good story that doesn't sugarcoat most of the Depression-era realities. The real question, then, is whether or not audiences are now seeking entertainment less for confronting ugly realities lurking in the individual and society as expressed by the likes of Tony Soprano, Walter White, Omar Little, and so many others, and more as a way to take a break from all the discord long enough to hear, once again, the comfortably familiar "Good night, John-Boy."