An epic month of content awaits
Streaming services are gearing up for a big month of holiday releases: cold dark weather, fewer outings because of virus panic, new screens from Santa and lots of downtime means it’s the most wonderful time of the year to binge new content and beloved classics, hotly-anticipated sequels and blockbuster franchises. And with theaters still recovering from lockdowns, there’s a veritable Festivus feast of straight-to-streaming flicks. Here’s what’s coming to screens in December:
Lost in Space: Season 3 (Dec. 1)
The action-packed sci-fi reboot starring Molly Parker and Toby Stephens is wrapping up a three-season run with ten episodes of interstellar drama. The final season finds the Robinson family separated and fighting harrowing odds to face their biggest alien threat yet.
The Power of the Dog (Dec. 1)
Benedict Cumberbatch is a cranky rancher who finds his emotions in the sweeping prairie opera based on the Thomas Savage novel. Director Jane Campion lassos themes of tradition, betrayal and manhood with psychodramatic deftness, her stark panoramas a powerful stage for the tangled darkness of humanity.
Nicole Byer: BBW (Big Beautiful Weirdo) (Dec 7)
The Emmy-nominated host of baking fail show Nailed It! gets her very own Netflix stand-up comedy special, filmed at the Gramercy Theater in New York. Byer, whose G-rated TV persona should not be confused with her live act, pole-dances in a cheeseburger bikini in the Netflix trailer for her first hour-long special. The podcast host and author will take the stage to skewer cat funerals, Karens gone wild, and the perils of hooking up during lockdown.
The Unforgivable (Dec 10)
Sandra Bullock is an ex-con trying to get past her past after serving 20 years in prison for homicide; the camera follows her depressing misadventures as she seeks absolution and wonders if her “debt to society” will ever really be paid. Bullock borrows the jutting underbite and gruff voice of Charlize Theron in Monster, works in construction, and gets beat up while Viola Davis drops FIRE lines like “She killed somebody in cold blood! If that were any of your black sons who had been in the system they would be dead!”
Don’t Look Up (Dec 10)
The new dark comedy written and directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman, The Big Short) is getting a publicity boost thanks to his recent comments about his creative split with production partner Will Ferrell in 2019. The rift hasn’t put a dent in McKay’s ability to cast a red-carpetful of big names for his latest wacky project that looks and feels like a millennial rewrite of Mars Attacks: Leonardo Dicaprio and Jennifer Lawrence are lowly astronomers who go on a media tour to break the very bad news that the world is ending. Timothee Chalamet, Ariana Grande (playing a popstar), Jonah Hill, Ron Perlman, Cate Blanchett, Tyler Perry and Meryl Streep also star in the apocalyptic satire.
The Witcher: Season 2 (Dec 17)
The new trailer for season 2 of the lush fantasy series sees monster hunter Geralt (Henry Cavill) battling new hellbeasts on a journey to protect the mysteriously powerful Princess Ciri (Freya Allan). Complicated sorceress Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), thought to be dead at the end of season one, is still in the game as larger political conflicts on the Continent heat up.
The Lost Daughter ( Dec 17)
Maggie Gyllenhaal directs Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson in Gyllenhaal’s adaptation of the Elena Ferrante novel about a college professor on vacation who becomes obsessed with a young mother. The sunny Italian coast becomes a haunting dreamscape as Colman revisits the fear and tension of motherhood, the unreliability of memory, and the anxiety of loss. Also Stars Ed Harris and Peter Sarsgaard.
Cobra Kai: Season 4 ( Dec 31)
The retro gem starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka is crane-kicking into a brand new season, where fans will see more cast favorites from the original movie like villain Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith). Season 4 finds Daniel and Johnny forming an unlikely partnership to defeat a common enemy, and all the action comes to a boil when the dojos fight for supremacy at a karate showdown. Co-creator Hayden Schlossberg wrote on Twitter of the battle royale: “It’s like every Rocky fight rolled into one.” No mercy!
What else is coming:
Money Heist: Season 5 (Dec 3)
Mixtape (Dec 3)
The Hand of God ( Dec 15th)
Shaun the Sheep: the Flight Before Christmas (Dec 3)
Back to the Outback (Dec 10)
Decoupled: Season 1 (Dec 17)
Emily in Paris: Season 2 (Dec 22)
Harlan Coban’s Stay Close (Dec 31)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 15 (Dec 2)
The Paddy’s Pub gang is back to their boozy shenanigans in the show’s 15th season, kicking off after a 2-year hiatus. The trailer reveals our five sloppy humans wreaking general havoc in Ireland while roasting the strange new COVID era, Catholicism and recent sex scandals: “I was in business with Jeffrey Epstein,” Frank admits. “I was on the sex island, but only for the snorkeling!” It’s Always Sunny is now the longest running live-action comedy in television history.
Pen15: Season 2 (Dec 3)
The wait is over for the last half of the groundbreaking series second season, which was rudely interrupted by Covid. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play 13-year-old versions of themselves as they navigate middle school awkwardness, crushes, and adolescent angst in the year 2000. When one of the pair gets an older boyfriend, will the romance affect the girl’s friendship?
Swan Song (Dec 9)
Udo Kier gives a breathtaking performance as a retired hairdresser and beloved “Liberace of Sandusky Ohio” Pat Pittsenbarger, who escapes his nursing home to take up his shears one last time– and rediscovers his flamboyant roots. Writer-director Todd Stephens based the character on an actual “Mr. Pat” from his hometown, in a bittersweet tribute to the glory days and hard-won legacies of LGBTQ+ trailblazers.
Mother/Android (Dec 17)
The sci-fi thriller stars Chloe Grace Moretz and Algee Smith as a young couple who discovers they’re pregnant– just before an android revolution turns the world upside down. Writer-director Matson Tomlin, an adoptee of the 1990 Romanian revolution, drew from his own origin story to tell the plight of refugees trapped by danger and the sacrifices they make to protect their family in hostile circumstances.
Letterkenny: Season 10 (Dec 26)
Letterkenny is just the thing for your holiday hangover, buddy. The hit Canadian comedy is back on Boxing Day to deliver a 10th season of deadpan wit from the frozen north, with its rural Ontario residents getting in feuds, glugging Puppers beer, and debating how to cook a steak. Creator Jared Keeso has plenty of new content for fans since seasons 10 and 11 were filmed back-to-back, and there’s a new spin-off in the works: Shoresy, a faceless hockey bro played by Keeso in a wig, moves away to join a struggling AAA-level hockey team. It’s slated for release on Crave next year – pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.
What else is coming:
Candified: Home for the Holidays Season 1 (Dec 1)
Annie Live! (Dec 3)
Trolls: Holiday in Harmony (Dec 3)
Bloods: Season 1 (Dec 9)
Dead Asleep (Hulu original documentary) (Dec 16)
Dragons Nine Realms: Season 1 (Dec 23)
Harlem (Dec 3)
Tracy Oliver’s vibrant new comedy series is a “love story” between four college friends in their 30s who pursue their dreams in New York City: a professor struggling with her love life (Meagan Good), a tech entrepreneur who plays the field (Jerrie Johnson), a confident, ambitious singer Shoniqua Shandai), and a hopeless romantic fashion designer (Grace Byers). Oliver (Girls Trip) says she was inspired to write the show after realizing “there just wasn’t a lot of Black female friendship stories on the air,” and the trailer is a vivid ode to Black joy, connection and agency. The ten-episode series is executive produced by Pharrell Williams and Amy Poehler.
Alex Rider: Season 2 (Dec 3)
The teen spy drama enters its sophomore season drafting off the first season’s buzz, with more extreme action scenes and kids outwitting adults– think Kingsman meets Spy Kids meets Baby Driver. When regular school boy Alex discovers his uncle was killed as a secret agent, he becomes a spy to solve the murder and complete his mission. The show is gaining serious traction, with its trailer racking up more than 9 million views on IMDb.
The Expanse: Season 6 (Dec 10)
The sixth and final installment of the space epic promises to be its most intense, with storylines tangling and political tensions coming to a boil as the Rocinante crew makes a final stand to save humanity. As governments battle over alien technology and extremism grows, bold moves and surprise twists could change the course of the galactic war.
Encounter (Dec 10)
Academy-Award nominated Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) is riveting as decorated Marine Malik Khan, who takes his kids on the run from the military under the threat of alien invasion. Ahmed crackles as the crunchy yet tender vet who uses his training to protect his children; only a father’s fierce love can get them through their dangerous journey.
Being the Ricardos (Dec 21)
I’ve said my piece about Nicole Kidman’s face, so let’s just see where this thing goes.
What else is coming:
Bonanza: Season 1 (Dec 1)
A Lot Like Christmas (Dec 5)
Christmas is Cancelled (Dec 7)
Yearly Departed – Amazon Original Comedy Special (Dec 23)
HBO Max is continuing to offer subscribers same-day streaming access to Warner Brothers theatrical releases, and carry them for 30 days. The jewel in their crown this month is Lana Wachowski’s Matrix Resurrections, out December 22. Set 20 years after the last Matrix film, Keanu Reeves finds himself living back in the “real” world, the events of the previous films written off as a crazy dream. Carrie-Ann Moss is returning as Trinity, but will they reignite their reality-bending romance and find their way back to the Matrix? Laurence Fishburne won’t be reprising his role as Morpheus, but Jada Pinkett-Smith will return as leather-clad powerhouse Niobe; Priyanka Chopra, Christina Ricci and Neil Patrick Harris also star.
Santa Inc (Dec 2)
Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman team up for an R-rated cartoon series about an elf who dreams of becoming the first female Santa Claus. Rogan, who never believed in Santa as a child, plays Father Christmas– who leaves a power vacuum when he ditches the North Pole to work for Amazon. The voice cast for the stop-motion animated project includes Craig Robinson, Maria Bamford and Gabourey Sidibe.
The Slow Hustle (Dec 7)
What happens when the public can no longer trust its police department? Sandra Sohn’s new documentary asks some hard questions about the unsolved 2017 murder of Baltimore detective Sean Suiter, killed in the line of duty the day before he was to testify against eight fellow officers. Sohn (The Wire) delves into the chilling effect of police corruption in a community already beleaguered by longstanding civil rights abuses, and how the lack of transparency ultimately affected Suiter’s case.
And Just Like That… (Dec 9)
Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is back in a 10-episode Sex and the City spin-off series, joined by Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristen Davis) as the fashion-forward girl squad navigates urban life in their 50s. (Kim Cattrall passed on playing sultry Samantha thanks to a longstanding feud with Parker). It’s a splashy, feel-good number refitted for new audiences: Carrie does her classic voiceover, but now she records saucy one-liners and wry reflections in a podcast studio; she discusses dating apps instead of hookups. Big rides a Peloton!
Station Eleven (Dec 16)
A troupe of actors and musicians travel the U.S. after a disease wipes out most of the population, aiming to rebuild and reimagine the world. Star Mackenzie Davis says the time-shuffling show is “not The Road and it’s not a fairy tale, but it’s kind of the two put together.” Production on the sci-fi series was briefly halted by the Covid-19 shutdown; Davis says the danger of the real pandemic deepened Station Eleven’s themes of rebirth and creativity after trauma.
What else is coming:
Jackie Brown (Dec 1)
The Muppets Take Manhattan (Dec 1)
Space Jam: a New Legacy (Dec 2)
DC’s Stargirl: Season 2 (Dec 10)
The Murders at Starved Rock (Dec 14)
Young Justice: Season 4 (Dec 30)
The Last Duel (Dec 1)
Ridley Scott’s medieval #metoo film throws down The gauntlet against misogyny: Matt Damon and Adam Driver are former friends who clash in the ultimate duel after a rape allegation. Based on actual events, the film is a dramatic indictment of truth’s relationship to power, and the upheaval of social norms in pursuit of justice. Matt Damon’s mullet is pretty sweet and Ben Affleck is there too for some reason.
The Rescue (Dec 3)
National Geographic presents a new documentary about the 2018 story that transfixed the world when twelve Thai boys and their soccer coach became trapped deep in a flooding cave. It sparked one of the biggest international rescue efforts in human history, bringing military experts, divers, families and the community together in a race against all odds. The film stitches together rescue camera footage, newsreels and interviews to tell the harrowing story of survival.
Welcome to Earth (Dec 8)
In this new six-part series produced by Darren Aronofsky, and a hilarious callback to his iconic line in Independence Day, Will Smith visits the Earth’s most brain-melting spectacles from volcanoes to animal swarms. The actor keeps his sense of humor and his sense of wonder as explorers, scientists and guides take him on a spectacular trip to the edge of human understanding of our world.
Foodtastic (Dec 15)
The flour is flying on Foodtastic, a global competition where artists transform foods like butter and fruit into dazzling displays of Disney-themed art. The colorful contest is hosted by Emmy winner Keke Palmer (The Proud Family) with food art experts Amirah Kassem and Chef Benny Rivera.
Star Wars: the Book of Boba Fett (Dec 29)
The Mandalorian story isn’t quite over, as the spin-off series sees Boba Fett (Temeura Morrison) and mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) returning to Tattooine to make their fortune in the wildlands once ruled by deceased crimelord Jabba the Hutt. Fett has overthrown Hutt’s palace and aims to be the new boss, but he’ll have to battle his way through the galaxy’s baddest criminals to reach the top.
What else is coming:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Dec 3)
Christmas Again (Dec 10)
Encanto (Dec 24)
Mariah’s Christmas: the Magic Continues (Dec 3)
The Queen of Christmas is throwing another glitzy holiday bash with sequins, spanx, whistle-singing, and lots of celebrity guests. The show marks the first performance of her new pumpkin-spicy single “Fall in Love at Christmas,” featuring Khalid and Kirk Franklin. It wouldn’t be Christmas without you Queen Mimi!
For Auld Lang Syne (Dec 10)
Apple is debuting its first original Peanuts holiday special. It’s no secret that the Snoopy franchise was largely built on its holiday movies (A Charlie Brown Christmas is also on Apple TV this month). The latest tale dodges sectarian holidays altogether as Lucy’s grandparents disappoint the gang by skipping Christmas, so Lucy decides to throw the best New Year’s Eve party ever. And Charlie Brown is on a mission to accomplish just one of his New Year’s resolutions before the clock strikes midnight.
Swan Song (Dec 17)
Double Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Green Book) is loving husband and father Cameron, diagnosed with a terminal illness and offered a reality-shifting choice: replace himself with a clone, with his family none the wiser. The delicate meditation on legacy, existence, love and fate was written and directed by Academy Award winner Benjamin Cleary and also stars Awkwafina, Glenn Close and Naomi Harris as wife Poppy.
What else is coming:
Stillwater: Holiday Episode (Dec 3)
Get Rolling with Otis: Holiday Episode (Dec 3)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Dec 12)
Queen of the Universe (Dec 2)
The fiery international singing competition executive produced by RuPaul (Drag Race) and hosted by Graham Norton has drag performers battling it out in a no-holds-barred, no lipsyncing stage battle: “You literally sang your wig off!” says admiring judge Leona Lewis. Also wielding the gavel are Trixie Mattel, Michelle Visage, and Vanessa Williams.
1883 (Dec 19)
Follow the Dutton family back through history as they settle their homestead in the buzzy prequel to the smash-hit Western series Yellowstone. Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and Sam Elliott star in the tale of the clan’s stark beginnings, the rugged journey to Montana, and founding the cattle empire that would come to complicate the lives of their descendants.
Reno 911! The Hunt for QAnon (Dec 23)
The reunion special finds the entire original cast back in uniform to hunt down Q, the mysterious figure behind the conspiracy cult. The hapless officers find themselves stranded on a QAnon cruise, then escape… to Jeffrey Epstein’s island. The show’s Emmy-nominated seventh season revival bounced from Quibi to Roku after the platform collapsed; here’s hoping the brilliant show finally gets its due.
What else is coming:
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (Dec 1)
The Warriors (Dec 1)
Cujo (Dec 1)
Rugrats Holiday Special (Dec 2)
New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash (Dec 31)