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Better watch your back, Hallmark: Netflix is muscling in hard on the Yuletide-originals territory. And one of its first offerings of the season, Holiday in the Wild, presents a sweetly different take on the traditional made-for-TV romantic comedies.
Davis, whom producer Brad Krevoy calls "a truly incredible activist for endangered elephants," stars as Kate, a New Yorker who winds up alone at the holidays in Zambia after her husband bails on their second honeymoon — and their marriage. There, she meets Lowe's Derek, a handsome and charming bush pilot with a heart of gold…when it comes to pachyderms, at least.
While their characters care for a baby elephant whose mother was killed by poachers, Lowe and Davis (above) spark onscreen. But it's the animals that give Holiday its real heart. "Focusing on conservation efforts was a key part of our emotional and visual storytelling," says executive producer Amanda Phillips Atkins.
And the theme of protecting and taking care of the planet helps the film stand out within the holiday genre that so many viewers are, well, wild about. "No other movie, especially a rom-com, has tackled these kinds of social issues before," says Krevoy. "This movie has plenty of romance and comedy, but it also has real heart and something meaningful to say."
Holiday in the Wild, Streaming Now, Netflix
More Xmas Originals
The Knight Before Christmas
A teacher (Vanessa Hudgens) is swept off her feet — and maybe out of her era — by a charmer (Josh Whitehouse) in need of her help to return to his medieval life. Available Nov. 21
Let It Snow
Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men)and a strong ensemble star in a twentysomething Love Actually–esque movie featuring a series of romantic tales that unfold during a small town's Christmas Eve snowstorm. Available now
Santa gets a clever new origin story in this animated treat about an Arctic Circle postal worker who teams with a toy maker to spread joy. Featuring the voices of J.K. Simmons and Jason Schwartzman. Available Nov. 15