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TV Movie Goodness Preview: The Nine Lives of Christmas [PHOTOS and VIDEO]

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

Arrow‘s Brandon Routh comes to Hallmark Channel Saturday night in a charming new Christmas movie that’s an unlikely pairing of cats and firemen (no Dalmatians here). Based on the book of the same name by Sheila Roberts, the film follows confirmed bachelor (and fireman), Zach, who takes in a newly orphaned orange tabby, Ambrose, at Christmas, and soon after, strikes up a friendship with veterinary student Marilee (A Bride for Christmas‘s Kimberley Sustad, who’s also appeared on Supernatural and Motive).

Through a series of circumstances that Zach feels badly about, Marilee ends up unemployed and she and her kitty, Queenie, need a place to stay, so they crash with Zach and Ambrose, and you can guess the rest. A lot of the joy in the movie comes from watching Zach carry on conversations with Ambrose (as you do) while hilariously negotiating terms of new their relationship (and losing).

Photo Credit: Katie Yu/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: Katie Yu/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Routh and Sustad have a really nice chemistry with each other and it’s fun to watch him play the handsome guy with a good heart who has to show her character that she’s far superior to any token random girl he’s dated. Gregory Harrison plays Zach’s firehouse sergeant and he’s perfect in a good guy role, which we haven’t seen him do in a while, and I love that.

Mark Jean, who directed last spring’s Mom’s Day Away, and last year’s holiday film, The Christmas Ornament (which airs next week) helms the film. The novel was adapted by Nancey Silver, who adapted The Color of Rain this past summer, and wrote one of my absolute favorite TV movies, Lying to Be Perfect, which cycles through on Lifetime regularly.

This is Hallmark’s third firehouse-centric film, behind For the Love of Grace and A Taste of Romance, and the settings works for them. They have another winner here.

If you’re an animal person, that’s a bonus, because the kitties appear throughout the movie (and thankfully there is no plot point that involves an animal crisis). The film also ties in to Hallmark Channel’s Pet Project adoption initiative, so it’s a win-win.

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Photo Credit: David Owen Strongman/Crown Media United States, LLC

The Nine Lives of Christmas premieres Saturday night at 8/7c on Hallmark Channel and repeats through the holidays. Here’s a sneak peek.

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