‘For Auld Lang Syne’ – Anticipation and angst for Peanuts gang

A Peanuts New Year special

“For Auld Lang Syne” begins streaming Friday on Apple TV+.

At their best, Peanuts television specials offer animated entertainment for kids while slipping in a theme that will keep adults in the room. And that’s what viewers will find in a holiday program upcoming on Apple TV+.

In “For Auld Lang Syne,” which begins streaming Friday, Dec. 10, it’s New Year’s and Lucy is having a crisis of confidence. Christmas has turned into a crashing disappointment because Grandma can’t visit so the gang tries to distract themselves in their own ways.

For Snoopy, that means a visit from his beagle siblings. For Lucy, it means throwing the best New Year’s Eve party ever but, of course, her bossiness gets in the way. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown has come to the realization that he hasn’t made good on any of his New Year’s resolutions of the past year, so he sets about trying to fulfill just one.

The 36-minute special comes from WildBrain Studios, and Craig Schulz, an executive producer for Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates and son of the late Peanuts creator, says that one of the goals of the new shows is to do a deeper dive into the characters’ emotions.

“This one obviously is based on New Year’s and Lucy’s emotion of dealing with her grandmother not showing up,” he explains. “And she has this introspective look which we don’t get out of Lucy, to question herself, you know, ‘Am I loved?’ … But we touch upon that and we’ll touch upon that in the future with other characters where we find out a lot more about them and what’s good about them and what they think their failings are.”

Of course, animation has also changed a lot in the decades since many of the classic Peanuts holiday specials first aired and Schulz thinks that will be a visible improvement here for viewers.

“The moves that (the animators) can do and the emotions they can create from these subtle movements they put in the characters is really on par or above whatever (original Peanuts producer) Bill Melendez did in the old days,” he explains. “And (with) the new technology and the young animators and the new vision, they add a … whole level of emotion that both parents and children can relate to.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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