Saturday 21 September 2019

Your Christmas season streaming schedule sorted - what's new to Netflix in December

Plus a few festive offerings from Amazon Prime and Sky/Now TV

Jennifer Aniston stars as an ex-beauty queen in Dumplin’ on Netflix. Photo: Bob Mahoney / Netflix
Jennifer Aniston stars as an ex-beauty queen in Dumplin’ on Netflix. Photo: Bob Mahoney / Netflix
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

With the festive break looming what better time to plan a streaming schedule of festive TV treats to be enjoyed at your leisure? While there are a couple of predictable, but nonetheless enjoyable, offerings (we’re looking at you, The Holiday), there is also an array of intriguing original films and series courtesy of Amazon Prime Video, Sky/Now TV, and Netflix.

Here are some of the streaming highlights for December:

December 1

The Greatest Showman, Sky Cinema and NOW TV

While it received a lukewarm (at best) reception from critics, this dazzling musical, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya, has been lovingly embraced by audiences.  Inspired by the story of PT Barnum’s life, it also spawned the smash hit This Is Me, which won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song and was nominated for the Oscar.

Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager, Netflix

A heartfelt profile of the late Bobby Robson charting the former England manager’s life through the early days at Ipswich in the 70s and 80s through the infamous ‘hand of God’ incident with Maradona to his stint at Barcelona and battle with melanoma. Pep Guardiola, Alex Ferguson, and Jose Mourinho are among the talking heads paying tribute to a legend.

Syriana, Netflix

Multiple storylines from various parts of the world relating to a CIA op (George Clooney, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance), DC lawyer (Jeffrey Wright), and a Pakistani migrant worker (Mazhar Munir) converge to explore the politics of the oil industry.  The cast also includes Amanda Peet, Tim Blake Nelson, Mark Strong, Alexander Siddig, Amr Waked, Christopher Plummer, Chris Cooper and William Hurt.

Training Day, Netflix

Antoine Fuqua's crime thriller sees rookie cop Ethan Hawke partnered with LAPD narcotics cop Denzel Washington and follows their relationship over 12 hours in gangland.  Washington bagged the Best Actor Oscar for his performance while Hawke was nominated for Supporting.

Crossroads: One Two Jaga, Netflix

Set in Kuala Lumpur, this crime thriller explores the worlds of seven people including immigrant laborers and corrupt police. In a world of desperation, doing the right thing isn't just hard. It's dangerous.


December 5

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, season 2, Amazon Prime Video

Rachel Brosnahan was a tonic in season one of Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s series in which she played a 1958 New York housewife who suddenly discovers a talent for stand-up.  In season 2 she struggles with coming clean to her family, especially as her choices have a ripple effect on those around her.

December 6

Fortitude, season 3, Sky Atlantic and Now TV

After two ten episode series, the concluding chapter comes in the form of a four-part miniseries with Richard Dormer and Dennis Quaid reprising their roles as two new officers are despatched from Oslo in the wake of corrupt mayor Erling Munk’s murder.


December 7

The Holiday, Netflix

Stock up on some unashamed schmaltz with this festive offering from the queen of romcom, Nancy Meyers.  Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet play two unlucky-in-love thirtysomethings who house swap over Christmas and find romance with Jude Law and Jack Black respectively.

Dumplin’, Netflix

Based on the YA novel of the same name by Julie Murphy, this musical comedy stars Jennifer Aniston as Rosie Dickson, the former beauty queen mother of plus size student Willowdean ‘Dumplin’ Dickson.  The forthright Texas teen enters a local beauty pageant to honour her late aunt and spite her mother, revolutionizing the pageant and their small town in the process.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, Netflix

If you’re in the market for yet another big screen adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale you could do worse than this live action offering, helmed by Andy Serkis, and featuring a stellar voice cast including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Freida Pinto, Matthew Rhys and Naomie Harris.  Newcomer Rohan Chand, meanwhile, is mesmerizing as Mowgli.

About a Boy, Netflix

The 2002 big screen adaptation of Nick Hornby's best-seller is utterly charming and heartbreaking and heartwarming, boasting riveting performances across the board from Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz, Toni Collette (especially Toni  Collette) and a very young Nicholas Hoult.  Parents the nation over will break their hearts over the first few minutes of that school concert scene.

The 40-Year Old Virgin, Netflix

Steve Carrell is the virgin of the title, trying to pop his cherry with Catherine Keener in Judd Apatow's hilarious, but really rather affecting comedy.

The Big Lebowski, Netflix

It's been 20 years since the Coens gifted us The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges, and a cast boasting John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman, and John Turturro.  One you can watch again and again and again...

ReMastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay?, Netflix

As a groundbreaking '80s rap act, Run-D.M.C. brought hip-hop to the mainstream, but the murder of the group’s DJ, Jam Master Jay remains unsolved.  This original Netflix documentary series investigates.

Dogs of Berlin, Netflix

Netflix Original series in which cops investigate the murder of a famous Turkish-German soccer player, but their ethnic and underworld connections mire the case in controversy.

Bad Blood, Netflix

Netflix Original sprawling crime drama follows the true story of the Rizzuto family and its associates, who presided over organized crime in Montreal for decades.

Nailed It! Holiday!, Netflix

This Netflix Original series is like Great British Bake Off's worst disasters on steroids so you can imagine how the Christmas special will roll. 

5 Star Christmas, Netflix

Netflix's blurb says, "Away from their spouses. Away from the paparazzi and nosy reporters. It's a foolproof, Christmastime tryst -- what could go wrong?" which sounds utterly wonderful.

The American Meme, Netflix

This Netflix doc follows four 'social media disruptors' - Paris Hilton, Josh Ostrovsky, Brittany Furlan and Kirill Bichutsky - as they hustle to create online empires, which sounds so trashy and terrible it might make for compulsive viewing.

Free Rein: The Twelve Neighs of Christmas, Netflix

If you need a festive family flick this will do the trick - As Bright Fields preps for its Mistletoe Ball, a broken ornament leads Zoe to a family secret, while Gaby finds herself at the mercy of new boss Mia.

Super Monsters and the Wish Star, Netflix

Deck the halls with holiday magic and get ready for a fun, festive time. More family fun from Netflix.

Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas, Netflix

In this Netflix Original anime, the holidays take a hit as Kaz juggles the Secret Santa competition, his Aunt Angelique's visit and his nemesis Arcangelo's Christmas plotting.


December 12

The Fix, Netflix

Series in which comedians Jimmy Carr, D.L. Hughley and Katherine Ryan tackle the world's woes with help from a rotating crew of guests and experts.

The Protector, Netflix

Discovering his ties to a secret ancient order, a young man living in modern Istanbul embarks on a quest to save the city from an immortal enemy.

Out of Many, One, Netflix

Netflix Original documentary - As they prepare for their naturalization tests, several legal immigrants discuss what drove them to seek better opportunities in America.

Back Street Girls: Gokudols, Netflix

More Netflix Original anime - To pay for an epic blunder, three yakuza brothers are forced to alter their bodies, form a girl group and break into the underground J-Pop idol scene.


December 14

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale, Netflix

Netflix’s dark update of the cheery ‘90s sitcom has garnered rave reviews and this is effectively its Christmas special.  However, things are unlikely to be too warm and fuzzy as Sabrina orchestrates an emotional séance which has serious consequences.

Roma, Netflix

Written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, the Mexican mind behind Gravity (for which he won a Best Director Oscar) and Children of Men, this semi-biographical film chronicles a tumultuous year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s.  It won the Golden Loin at the Venice Film Festival this year.

The Innocent Man, Netflix

Following Making a Murderer and The Stairs, Netflix is offering up another crime docuseries based on the John Grisham’s best selling non-fiction book, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town.  It features interviews with victims’ friends and families, residents, lawyers, journalists and more about two horrific ‘80s murders in Oklahoma which resulted in a still controversial chain of events.

Fuller House: Season 4, Netflix

The Tanner-Fuller-Gibblers are back. DJ and Steve rekindle their flame - and a new member of the family is on the way.

Inside the World’s Toughest Prison: Season 3, Netflix

Investigative journalist Raphael Rowe, who was once wrongfully convicted of murder, visits prisons in Colombia, Costa Rica, Romania and Norway.

Sunderland Til I Die, Netflix

This docuseries follows English soccer club Sunderland through the 2017-18 season as they try to bounce back after relegation from the Premier League.

Prince of Peoria: A Christmas Moose Miracle, Netflix

Family viewing - Teddy's never missed the Festival of Lights, but the bowling alley’s been snowed in! Not to worry - Emil insists the Christmas moose will save the day.


December 16

Springsteen on Broadway, Netflix

Fans of The Boss can enjoy a rare insight into his life and career from the man himself through this acclaimed show, based on his best-selling autobiography, in which he performs acoustic versions of his music and shares personal stories.


December 17

Romesh's Look Back to the Future, Sky One and NOW TV

Twelve months ago, Danny Dyer, Katherine Ryan and Richard Osman  looked into their crystal balls and made some big predictions about 2018. But did their prophecies come true? Theyjoin Romesh Ranganathan in this panel show to find out.


December 18

The Undiscovered, Sky Arts and NOW TV

The celebrated work and sometimes controversial lives of comedy greats Ptere Sellers, Kenneth Williams and Tony Hancock are explored in three fascinating new films which feature interviews with friends and family and previously unseen diary entries, letters and photos.

Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable, Netflix

In her first comedy special since 2003, Ellen revisits her road to stardom and details the heartfelt - and hilarious - lessons she's learned along the way.


December 19

Peaky Blinders season 4, Netflix

With series five of the critically acclaimed BBC series due to land in 2019 (creator Steven Knight is being coy about dates), the Christmas break is the perfect time refresh your memory on the explosive fourth season which saw the Shelby clan, headed up by Tommy (Cillian Murphy), facing off against mob boss Luca Changretta (Adrien Brody).


December 20

A League of Their Own: Christmas Party, Sky One and Now TV

Christmas means cricket for James and the boys and they're joined by Ben Foden, Amy Williams, Danny Jones, Helen Skelton and AP McCoy to face a Shenley side featuring Jimmy Anderson, Steve Harmison and David Seaman in a festive fixture for charity.  Apparently there's also a Christmas sing-song.


December 21

Bird Box, Netflix

Susanne Bier directs this post-apocalyptic thriller about a woman (Sandra Bullock) who desperately seeks sanctuary with her two children in a world decimated by a wave of mass suicides.  The twist? Creatures kill them by sight so they must navigate blind-folded.

Legally Blonde, Netflix

The perfect flick to get you in the mood for frivolity, it's Reese Witherspoon as the legendary ditsy blonde Elle who goes to law school and surprises everyone.

Micky Flanagan Thinking Aloud: Christmas, Sky One and NOW TV

A time of big spending, big drinking and even bigger family bust-ups, everyone goes a bit mad at Christmas.  Micky searches his mind and the nation for everything he loves and loathes about Christmas.

Back With The Ex, Netflix

Netflix series which reunites four singles with the exes they couldn't forget after four years.  But will their past loves feel the same way about them?

The Casketeers, Netflix

A docuseries about the wife-and-husband team at Waitakere Funeral Services, as they work with grieving families in an insightful and emotional way.

Tales By Light: Season 3, Netflix

Season 3 follows a trio of image-makers on voyages of discovery into neighborhoods of India, the reefs of Indonesia, and the backcountry of Australia.

Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski, Netflix

Underground artists in L.A. discover the work of a forgotten Polish sculptor, a mad genius whose true story unfolds chapter by astounding chapter.

3Below: Tales of Arcadia, Netflix

Teenager adventure from the mind of Guillermo del Toro - After crash-landing in Arcadia, two royal teen aliens struggle to blend in as they evade intergalactic bounty hunters.


December 22

T2: Trainspotting, Netflix

Danny Boyle's follow-up to his game-changing classic from 1996 reunites the four stars - Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, and Robert Carlyle - in Edinburgh 20 years later. 


December 23

Passions: Judy Garland by Marc Almond, Sky Arts and NOW TV

Born in Minnesota in 1922, Judy Garland signed a movie contract with MGM at the age of 13 and starred in The Wizard of Oz at 17. But, as this film presented by singer Marc Almond reveals, she had a troubled home life. He takes a look at her poignant last days.


December 26

Avengers: Age of Ultron, Netflix

Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are all tasked with saving the world from the villainous Ultron. More of the satisfying same from the Avengers.

You, Netflix

Obsessed with an aspiring writer, a brilliant bookstore manager begins quietly and strategically removing all obstacles that keep her from him.


December 28

La noche de 12 anos, Netflix

Three political prisoners, including future president of Uruguay José Mujica, are held in clandestine captivity by Uruguay’s military dictatorship.

When Angels Sleep, Netflix

A businessman falls asleep at the wheel and hits a woman with his car. His interactions with her frightened friend unleash a string of dark events in this feature film.


December 31

Silence of the Lambs, Netflix

For those who prefer to shun the New Year’s Eve celebrations, Jonathan Demme’s 1991 psychological horror classic lands on Netflix.  Jodie Foster is riveting as fledgling FBI agent Clarice Starling opposite Anthony Hopkins as one of the most menacing serial killers ever to inhabit the big screen.

Dirty Grandpa, Netflix

If you fancy some lighter fare on New Year's Eve you can kill a few brain cells with this brainless comedy which sees lawyer Zac Efron take his grandad, Robert De Niro, away for spring break.

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