Some people love Charles Dickens' immortal holiday classic A Christmas Carol.
Some of us aim a little lower.
Every December, KQED, TCM, BBC and all the other dignified networks air the most beloved adaptations of the celebrated novel for the holidays, including the Joseph L. Mankiewicz scripted 1938 American adaptation, 1951's Scrooge (a film New York Times film critic A.O. Scott names as one of the best adaptations), the 1970 Albert Finney musical, not to mention Mickey's Christmas Carol from 1983 (with Scrooge McDuck, obviously) and the 1992 Muppet adaptation with Michael Caine.
And then there's the fare on Lifetime, WE, Hallmark, ABC Family and every other non-Masterpiece channel you can think of. An entire sub-industry in the made-for-TV-movie genre apparently exists solely to make updated versions of A Christmas Carol but, you know, starring a woman and entirely shot in Canada for under $100,000. For those of you that are tired of Victorian quaintness, overly-cherubic Tiny Tims and adaptations that stick too close to the source material, enjoy these not-so-traditional takes on Scrooge starring actresses of range and dramatic depth from Tori Spelling to Barbie.
A Diva's Christmas Carol (2000)
Starring Vanessa Williams as "Ebony" Scrooge, a demanding pop diva that seems to be a little based on Diana Ross. Ebony's story: she was once part of a girl trio back home (ahem) and abandoned the other two girls for fame and fortune. Insert plot of Dreamgirls as the fate of the other two. While climbing the show business ladder, Ebony becomes a cliche of a mean person, and holiday antics ensue. In a nice contemporary touch, Bob Cratchit is played as Ebony's much abused personal assistant because apparently PAs are the new go-to for representing class struggle. It's kind of fun to see Wilhelmina being exactly like she was on Ugly Betty but in a holiday context. Drawbacks? Anytime anyone else is on screen. Oh wait, strike that: Kathy Griffin is the Ghost of Christmas past. A Kathy Griffin made-for-TV-cameo is always a indicator that the gays behind the scenes at whatever family-friendly network this was made for were having some fun.