The Guys Behind the ‘Deck the Hallmark’ Podcast Reveal the Hallmark Christmas Movie They’re Most Excited for This Year

You may think you love Hallmark Christmas movies, but do you love them enough to watch them for 25 hours straight? The guys behind the Deck the Hallmark podcast do. The trio is marking the start of the 2019 Hallmark movie Christmas movie season with a day-long binge-watch. It starts Friday, October 25 at 9 p.m. and runs through Saturday, October 26 at 10 p.m. The whole thing will be live-streamed on Frndly TV, a new $5.99/month streaming service.  

“Basically, we’re starting with the first new movie of the year and we’re watching through the second new movie of the year,” host Brandon Gray told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “We’re broadcasting through a streaming service called Frndly, which Hallmark Channel is also on.”

Not only will Gray and co-hosts Dan Thompson and Daniel “Panda” Pandolph be providing their hilarious commentary on each movie they watch, but they’ll also be giving out free year-long subscriptions to Frndly TV to 10 lucky people who sign up for a free trial of the service. 

The Hallmark Christmas movie they’re most excited to see  

This year, 40 all-new holiday movies will air on Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. And just like last year, the Deck the Hallmark crew is going to watch every single one of them. (They’ll also be chatting with some very special Hallmark guests.) But there’s a particular movie both Gray and Thompson are looking forward to seeing. 

Dan and I actually agree. Our number one that we’re most looking forward to is a movie called Christmas at the Plaza,” said Gray. For one, it takes place at New York’s famed Plaza Hotel (which Christmas movie fans will recognize from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York). But that’s not all. 

“Our favorite Hallmark director is directing it,” Gray added. “His name is Ron Oliver. And he just kind of adds a little bit of extra jazz to the movies, if you will. And then an actor that we really like, Ryan Paevey, is the leading guy in the movie. So all of those elements combine to make a movie that we’re all looking forward to.”  

But they’re not all Hallmark superfans 

Ashley Newbrough in A Merry Christmas Match
Ashley Newbrough in A Merry Christmas Match | ©2019 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: The Ninth House/Tina Thorpe

While Gray is an unabashed lover of Hallmark movies, his two co-hosts aren’t quite as enthusiastic. While Pandolph is more neutral on the films, Thompson — who also hosts the new History or His Story? podcast, where he challenges listeners to identify which of three stories from history is fake — doesn’t hide that he is not a fan of the channel’s signature sweet fare. 

I’ve given one movie out of 100 a rating that transcends Hallmark into bad romantic comedy,” he said. (That was 2013’s Snow Bride, for the record.) But he still enjoys taking part in the podcast. 

Brandon has such a sincere, endearing love of these movies for what they are,” he explained. “We put them under a microscope. These movies are not made to be picked apart. But as long as we can do it lovingly and with joy, even though I hate the movies, I love the two guys I get to hang with.”  

Gray on the other hand, who came up with the idea for the podcast in 2018, says Hallmark Christmas movies just have a special magic. 

There’s something about the way that Hallmark makes their movies and also the Christmas scenery behind it that makes it so great,” he explains. “There’s something about it where you can just watch it. You can zone out if you need to. You can just forget about the worries of the world. You can get those Christmas feels that we all love and that kind of make you feel like a kid again.”

“There’s nothing like a Hallmark Christmas movie,” he says.