Peanuts fans will be disappointed to learn that the Charlie Brown holiday specials are not streaming for free in 2021 like they did last year. Although the specials like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown are available on Apple TV+ once again, unlike in 2020, they are not available for free. Last year, in an effort to entice new subscribers, Apple TV+ offered the Peanuts specials for free, but this year, you'll have to pay the $4.99 monthly subscription fee to see the gang.
The Charlie Brown holiday specials are one of the biggest intellectual property acquisitions Apple TV+ managed to pull off in the so-called streaming wars. In 2020, some fans were confused and even outraged when the specials did not air on broadcast TV as usual, but Apple offered free streaming access as a consolation. In 2021, the streaming giant is reversing that arrangement so that the specials are airing on PBS at select times, but if you want to watch them on your own schedule, you'll need to pay for Apple TV+.
Do you believe in the #GreatPumpkin? 🎃 👻— PBS (@PBS) October 12, 2021
Join @Snoopy and the Peanuts gang for the family classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” This special one-night event airs on PBS and @PBSKIDS Sun, Oct 24 at 7:30/6:30c. pic.twitter.com/1V4SH3Loye
To kick off the season, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown aired on PBS Kids at 7:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 24. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving aired at 7:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 21, and A Charlie Brown Christmas will air at 7:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 19. If you can't catch these classics at their designated times or set a recording device to the task, then you can try Apple TV+ with a free trial for first-time users, or pay $5 per month. You can also save some money by subscribing yearly for $49.99.
For fans of the old Peanuts productions, this will be enough, but for those interested in what's coming next, Apple TV+ is the only option. The streaming service will debut a brand new holiday special this year, according to a report by Variety, called For Auld Lang Syne. It will be a New Year's Eve special premiering on Dec. 10 on Apple TV+ and streaming there afterward.
For Auld Lang Syne will reportedly be a story about Lucy throwing a New Year's Eve party herself after learning that her and Charlie Brown's grandmother can't visit them. This is technically the second New Year's Eve special produced in the Peanuts franchise; the first was released in 1986, though it is counted among the more obscure Peanuts holiday specials.
While the older Peanuts specials are typically held in the highest esteem, Apple hopes to expand the catalog with many new productions in the franchise. It is already the exclusive home of the two original series Snoopy in Space and The Snoopy Show. More is expected from Apple and WildBrain Productions in the years to come.