Top Ten Peanuts Specials
Peanuts specials have been a television staple for half a century with 45 of them being released up to this point. I personally disliked quite a couple of them and at least half are not great, but those that are good are really worth seeing and there are enough truly great specials to fill one list with honorable mentions. So without further ado, here are the ten best Peanuts specials in my opinion.
10. You’re in Love, Charlie Brown
This 1967 Peanuts special has been adapted for ‘The Peanuts Movie’ in 2015 and is a quintessential Little Red-Haired girl episode. I loved how it ended on such a sweet note and Charlie Brown is so endearing here. But the special also benefits from a couple of terrific scenes with Lucy and Sally and both are very funny here. It isn’t the most polished special, but it is good enough that it deserves the tenth spot.
9. Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown
I just really enjoyed this one which is the newest and so far the last Peanuts entry, being released in 2011. It surely is overstuffed with too many plot points and uneven, but it works more often than not with a good couple of subplots. Naturally the standout aspect is the major storyline with Linus losing his security blanket and trying to get it back. This is his defining moment and it features him giving a heartwarming speech about insecurities.
8. A Charlie Brown Valentine
Another Little-Red Haired girl entry on the list, Charlie Brown accidentally invites both Peppermint Patty and Marcie to his party where he wants to talks to his crush. This special is convoluted, but frequently very funny and works great as a Valentine Peanuts story. I also found its ending to be wonderfully ambiguous and certainly one of the most memorable in the series.
7. Why, Charlie Brown, Why?
This is probably the most depressing that the series ever got. And although it was too dark at times, its honest treatment of cancer was groundbreaking at the time for the animation medium and certainly admirable. Linus is an excellent protagonist here as he falls in love with Janice, who suffers from cancer. The final moment where she throws her hat away and it turns out that she has hair meaning that she is treated was just beautiful to witness and so powerful.
6. Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!
Charlie Brown has to read a book for homework while all of the other kids celebrate the holiday. I found this story to be overly cruel to good old Chuck, but it was mostly very funny in this scenario and it features a great use of Sally, Linus and of course Charlie himself. They made use of this particular holiday really well here while also presenting a solid, relatable homework subplot.
5. Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?
Linus and Lucy are moving away and that naturally led to some poignant drama. However, it also led to a couple of important moments that we had never seen before it. The scene where Schroeder realizes that he cares for Lucy is just amazing and heartwarming. Sally is also hilarious with her Sweet Baboo obsession and the entire story ended in a typical manner, but was mostly very moving and wonderful.
4. It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown
This 1974 special features a terrific Easter theme and a great arc for Linus in one of his best storylines. He and Sally are so cute together and his obsession with the titular character was so well explored. But Peppermint Patty and Marcie also got a great subplot and it was funny watching their always infectious dynamic. This special only lacks in Charlie Brown himself, but all of the others are so great and memorable.
3. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Everything I said above also applies here as this one is also uneven with too little Charlie Brown and too many subplots, but it is great and better than the above entry because it features once again terrific Linus and a very good use of Snoopy who is here a World War I flying ace. His silent scenes were quite amusing and the overall special is overcrowded, but succeeds in most of its parts.
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas
Everyone loves this special and certainly it is very good. However, I myself do not find it to be the best Peanuts special and this second place indicates that. It was a bit too slow for me. But there is no denying the greatness in its plot which feels simplistic, but is an essential Christmas tale with a great holiday spirit to it. As the first entry, it also succeeds in getting us introduced with each and every character as all are very well utilized here.
1. Charlie Brown’s All Stars
Charlie Brown is a manager of a baseball team and is offered a help from the sponsor. He would get free uniforms, but if he gets rid of the girls and Snoopy because no girls or dogs are allowed to play in the team. He rejects that because he does not want to betray his friends and after the girls mock him for losing, they find out what he did for them and they make him a uniform out of Linus’s blanket. Needless to say, this storyline is just fantastic as it makes use of the sport and the protagonist’s losing nature really well. It also features such a wonderful ending, but is frequently hilarious and possibly the funniest the gang has ever been. Aggressive, funny and ultimately emotionally rewarding, this second Peanuts special has it all which is why it is without a doubt the best that the series has to offer.
Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown – A newer entry, but with a classic sports premise, it features such great Lucy while also being a funny vehicle for Marcie.
You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown – This one is certainly uneven in terms of the quality, but is overall quite eventful, also very funny and Snoopy is very memorable here.
She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown – In this peculiar special, Peppermint Patty is a great protagonist, but Woodstock and Snoopy have rarely been funnier than in here.