TV Review: A Moody Christmas

TV Review: A Moody Christmas

A clever dose of Aussie TV

By Mark HadleyThursday 20 Dec 2012TV and StreamingReading Time: 3 minutes

Aussie television brings Christmas to true life in 'A Moody Christmas'.

Rating: M
Distributor: ABC1
Release Date: DVD

A Moody Christmas
is another excellent case for catch-up television during a dry summer: a comic look at an Australian family through the Christmases they share together, and an interesting consideration of the regrets that can build with time.


A Moody Christmas is the story of the Moodys, a Sydney family who gather together in their parent’s home every year to take stock of each other’s lives. Each of the series’ six episodes is set at Christmas time, a year on from the debacles that enveloped last year’s celebrations. Ian Meadows stars as Dan Moody, the youngest of three adult children and the focal point for much of the drama. Each year Dan arrives home from London where he works as a photographer to observe the progress of several long-running family plot lines. His father Kevin is slowly constructing a family pool; his sister Bridget is trying to adopt a child from Burma; his grandmother Gwen is edging ever closer to the grave; and his brother Sean is launching ever more bizarre business ventures. Together they present viewers with a hilarious insight into our inability to see where our decisions are taking us. 

A Moody Christmas was first broadcast on the ABC in October and has now finished its free to air run. However its readily availability online and its release to DVD on December 5 make it an excellent way to fill in a bland broadcast schedule or solve a forgotten Christmas present. It’s one of the best comedies Australia has produced in years, reflecting our well-known national traits without sliding into kitsch. In particular it highlights the sort of events that can colour an entire year: the day dad had a heart attack; the Christmas Roger declared he was gay; the time Sean featured on A Current Affair. They may be small-scale crises in the scheme of things but every family has them, and often takes the rest of the year to recover.

One of the most interesting things to observe is how a bird’s eye view of six Christmas’s helps the viewer chart the characters’ chief regrets. Clearly if Kevin had known what his son was going to do with the family air-conditioning business he would never have handed it over. Likewise Dan would have proposed to his friend Cora long ago if he had realized just how painful it would be seeing her engaged to someone else. A Moody Christmas suggests that family will always be there to help you weather the storm, but also underlines that we would often had steered a different courst if we’d only known where our decisions were taking us. 

In A Moody Christmas the key characters are able to rise above their regrets, but that’s seldom true in real life. The older we get, the more moments we collect in which we wish we’d acted or spoken differently. And though we often have the opportunity to revisit those decisions, we rarely do. What stops us taking those necessary steps to happiness? From my point of view it’s pride. It’s why it gets progressively harder for us to apologise, forgive or repent the longer we stick to our guns, no matter how much regret we accumulate. Few people become Christians in their old age because the older they get, the more years they have to admit they were mistaken. It’s just easier in the end to face forward and forget about the past. But memory-rich occasions like Christmas have a way of helping those regrets resurface. My hope is that A Moody Christmas will give you some good laughs this holiday season, but most of all that it will help you consider what you’d change between you and God if you had the chance to do the last few years over.