America first met the Waltons in 1971 with Homecoming: A Christmas Story. Last Sunday, the CW honored the film that kicked off the celebrated series with a TV movie remake. While the show drew high ratings, how did this modern blast from the past measure up?
Based on viewership reports, The Waltons’ Homecoming was well received, drawing in 960,000 viewers to the network. The movie did not just sport the recognizable name, but also recruited Richard Thomas, the original John-Boy, to introduce and narrate. What does this mean for the franchise?
‘The Waltons’ Homecoming’ draws in thousands of viewers
Experience a heart-warming story of love, hope and family with the all-new holiday special THE WALTONS' HOMECOMING tonight at 7. pic.twitter.com/kRO5Rxw4ni
— CW18 Milwaukee (@CW18Milwaukee) November 29, 2021
Almost a million viewers tuned in to the CW for the 8 pm ET premiere of The Waltons Homecoming, just shy of the 50th anniversary of the original Homecoming Christmas tale, which aired on December 19. The 2021 remake follows the Walton family preparing for the holidays. According to the IMDb page, “John Boy and his family prepare for John Sr. homecoming to spend Christmas together, but after a storm comes in the way, John Boy has to find his father and the journey through it will change his life forever.”
While the remake attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers, opinions are mixed about the quality of the film. Outsider reports that some viewers took issue with the sound quality. Loyal show viewers also noted inconsistencies with the characters’ behavior, especially with how they would address one another. One user also called it “too contemporary,” with a tendency to ignore historical context; it took this viewer right out of the experience.
What does this mean for the future of ‘The Waltons’?
The 1971 plot for The Homecoming: A Christmas Story is nearly identical to this 2021 The Waltons’ Homecoming reboot. John Walton Sr. had to take work far from home but promised to make it back for Christmas, but more time passes without the patriarch returning. Today’s rendition made some alterations that one user deemed “fine,” but wished this holiday classic honored its roots more.
Producers seem intent on doing something like that. Executive producer Sam Haskell has stated he hopes this TV movie will kickstart a whole new series. Viewers of the film likely noticed the absence of Ben. Haskell cited time constraints, adding that if this were to become a series proper, he would bring back the whole Walton family. A new series would not only allow Haskell to bring back characters. Indeed, he shared, “I want to bring every original cast member in as a guest star to play a teacher or a nurse or a doctor, or I want to integrate the original cast into the series and future movie.”
Did you watch The Waltons’ Homecoming? Would you watch a new series?
Watch out for Marcelle LeBlanc, Gamma Delta–Auburn University, in the premiere of "The Waltons' Homecoming" tomorrow on @TheCW!
— Alpha Gamma Delta (@alphagammadelta) November 27, 2021