Review: 'Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin'

When it comes to kid-oriented programming, it can be a bit difficult to separate a parent's nostalgia-driven love of a show from the interest an actual six or eight-year-old might have in the series.

That's especially the case with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Charles M. Schulz animated cinematic universe. Thanks to several decades of exposure on broadcast television, the many animated TV specials hold a special place in the hearts of parents (and more likely, grandparents) everywhere.

But do those shows still resonate with younger audiences? It was a big deal inside the television industry when the rights to the classic animated specials were licensed to Apple TV+ and that certainly resulted in a smaller number of viewers having access to the shows.

The upside of the deal is that Apple TV+ has been very supportive of the legacy and continued strength of the characters. There have been a regular stream of new shows and specials and they have all fit quite comfortably into the fan's expectations of what a Charles M. Schulz animated series should look and sound like in a perfect world.

Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin is the latest special from Apple TV+ and while I can't predict what your six-year-old will think of the episode, I am pretty sure the adults will feel warm and cozy after watching it.

While the special features all of the familiar Schulz characters, it's basically an origin story for Franklin, who was notably the first black child in the original comic strip and TV specials.

Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin tells the story of how Franklin came to town and the twists and turns of events that led to him becoming a member of the "gang." It's a heartwarming tale and it's nice to see Franklin get a bit of attention for once. 

While Charlie Brown gets plenty of attention in most Charles M. Schulz TV productions, I don't know that he's ever felt more human and believable than he does in this special. Watching him and Franklin navigate their way into a friendship despite the fear of being rejected or made fun of is really sweet. And it reminded me what I loved about these characters and this world.

It's also a nice nod to longtime fans that Franklin's first introduction to Charlie Brown in this special matches the way they were first introduced in the original comic strip.

There is plenty of nostalgia, as Franklin uses his grandfather's old notebook to try and figure out how to make friends in yet another new town. There are nice little moments with Franklin's first introduction to Lucy and Linus and Snoopy. All of which is reminder that while these characters are beloved, if you ran across them without context, they would all seem a bit insane.

The animation style of the special is also especially refreshing. It's not some weird modern CGI-animation hybrid. It looks and sounds just the way you remember, with a style that doesn't feel old, but also manages to feel very familiar.

I have no idea what your kid will think of Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin. But if you want them to fall in love with these characters, this special is a great place to start

Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin premieres Friday, February 16th on Apple TV+.