Just because "Toy Story 4" isn't coming out until the summer of 2017, that doesn't mean that your favorite childhood playthings are going to be absent until then. Just this week ABC will premiere "Toy Story That Time Forgot," a new half-hour Christmas special that features the toys in a brand new adventure. When you think of a Christmas special built around the "Toy Story" characters, you probably think that it's going to be something centered around the holiday and the introduction of new toys that come along with it...

But you'd be wrong.

"Toy Story That Time Forgot" is a distinct, wholly original half-hour film, written and directed by animation and comic book vet Steve Purcell that contributes wonderfully to the mythology while taking it in a wholly new direction. It throws preexisting "Toy Story" characters up against a bunch of new toys called the Battlesaurs, an eighties-style brand of gladiatorial combatants. (Just go with it.) But if you need more reasons to tune in, just read our list below.

1. All Of Your Favorites Are Back
All of your favorite "Toy Story" characters are back for "Toy Story That Time Forgot," voiced by their respective movie stars. That means that Tim Allen and Tom Hanks are back to essay Buzz and Woody, along with Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, Timothy Dalton and Don Rickles. And while some of these characters don't get as much screen time as you'd want (honestly, can you ever get enough of Mr. Pricklepants?) They're all back and just like the old friends they've become, it's very good to see them again.

2. Trixie Gets the Spotlight
And while everybody is back, one toy gets the spotlight, and that toy is Trixie, the lovably neurotic triceratops voiced by Kristen Schaal. Trixie was one of Bonnie's toys introduced in "Toy Story 3," and she has been featured in a few of the subsequent "Toy Story" shorts and seeing an entire special devoted almost exclusively to her, you get the sensation that she could even carry her own movie. She is an absolute delight, and forced with the crisis of never being cast as a dinosaur in Bonnie's playtime fantasies. And it's also wonderful to see a Pixar project devoted to a female character. It's a lot of win.

3. There Are Tons of Brand New Characters
In addition to our old favorites, there are a bunch of wonderful new characters, as well. All of the Battlesaurs are incredible, especially their heroic leader, Reptillus Maximus. Kevin McKidd (who previously starred in Pixar's "Brave") plays Maximus, and is a winning mixture of arrogance and earnest bravery (the Battlesaurs, it should be noted, like Buzz in the first "Toy Story" movie, do not know that they're toys). He also serves as a romantic interest for Trixie and, with any luck, will make an appearance in further "Toy Story" adventures. Also, for those of you who prefer cuteness over violent monsters, there's a character named Angel Kitty, a cherubic ornament who speaks in wise, somewhat existential, soliloquies... in a childlike voice. It's pretty much the most adorable thing ever. If there aren't Angel Kitty ornaments being sold in every Disney store across the land this holiday season, then somebody screwed up.

4. It's Really Weird
"Toy Story That Time Forgot" is genuinely strange, in the best way possible. It's a wild new departure into a more action-oriented genre that owes a considerable debt to science fiction movies from the seventies and eighties. It's also inspired by action figures of the eighties that were usually based on an accompanying cartoon series (that existed exclusively to sell the toys). There's nothing outwardly cute about it and it goes into places are pretty unexpected. We don't want to ruin everything. But this is the strangest "Toy Story" experience yet, in the best possible way.

5. You'll Laugh Until You Burst
It's really, really funny. There's one zinger that Buzz gets off that harkens back to the first film that made us cry with laughter.

6. It's Very Sweet
But all of the weirdness and fun doesn't overwhelm what is, ultimately, a very sweet movie. The underlying message of the movie is that toys really come to life when their kid plays with them; that what they might have been made to do aren't necessarily what they should do. Also, the burgeoning romance between Trixie and Maximus is really special. It's all very sweet and, by the time the credits roll, you might wipe a tear or two from your face.

7. The Music Is Incredible
Speaking of what makes the movie so amazing (and heart-tugging), Michael Giacchino contributes an absolutely wonderful score. It goes from being adventurous and militaristic (he actually used the same horns from the original "Planet of the Apes") to being very sweet and cuddly, and there isn't a false note in the entire score. Giacchino has become an all-star member of the Pixar team and his work here is some of the very best.

8. You Will Want All of the Toys
There are toys being produced for all of the new characters, plus your old favorites in their new battle attire. Be prepared to search high and low for these bad boys.

9. It's Proof That the Franchise Still Has A Bunch of Places to Go
One of the very best things about "Toy Story That Time Forgot" is that it opens up the "Toy Story" universe to a fairly considerable degree. All of those people who, when "Toy Story 4" was announced, bemoaned the fact that there were no more "Toy Story" tales to tell will be put in their place. There are many, many more stories to tell, in all sorts of genres. And "Toy Story That Time Forgot" is proof of that.

10. You'll Be Super Pumped for 'Toy Story 4'
And with that... You'll be super excited for "Toy Story 4." When "Toy Story That Time Forgot" wraps, it will seem like a very long time until 2017.

"Toy Story That Time Forgot" airs Tuesday, December 2 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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