Put your jingle bells away — because there’s no Christmas spirit here. Netflix may be notorious for churning out tinsel-trimmed, shiny baubles around the festive season, but we’ve avoided any of the more jolly, merry movies and shows for something a little more serious.
It’s a good month for long-time fans, with three flagship series getting new seasons. There’s also a couple of Oscar-baiting performances from big-name actors. Add to that a handful of black comedies, and you’ve got just enough entertainment to see you through to 2022. Just, as we warned, expect no tidings of comfort and joy…
The Power of the Dog, December 1st
We start sufficiently bleakly. Jane Campion returns to the director’s chair after 11 years for this western, starring a beardy Benedict Cumberbatch. Set in 1925 Montana, the drama follows Cumberbatch’s volatile rancher, Phil Burbank, who becomes cruel and mocking when his brother brings home a new wife and her son. Expect Oscar nods.
The Hand of God, December 3rd
Paolo Sorrentino, he who created The Young Pope and the criminally underrated Youth with Michael Caine, has a new Italian-language offering with The Hand of God. Written, directed and produced by the auteur, the film is set in 1980s Naples, and sees a teenager experience an awakening after a chance encounter with footballing legend Diego Maradona.
Money Heist (Season 5, Part 2), December 3rd
It’s time to zip up those red jumpsuits one final time. The crime saga will come to an end this December, wrapping up loose ends and picking up after that heartbreaking sacrifice and unexpected death at the end of the last batch of episodes. Look forward to unstable alliances, those iconic Dali masks and an even darker direction for the show’s final run.
Seberg, December 10th
She may be picking up plaudits for her current performance as Princess Diana, but the royal is far from Kristen Stewart’s first real-life role. In this intriguing political thriller, Stewart plays Jean Seberg, an American actress who was targeted by the FBI in the late 1960s, after becoming involved with the Black Panther civil rights activists.
The Unforgivable, December 10th
Yet more melancholy. This Netflix original may not have the scope of Campion’s western above, but promises just as many moans and groans. Sandra Bullock stars as a woman released back into society from prison, where she served time for committing a violent crime. Based on a 2009 BBC miniseries, expect the star power to give it some serious emotional clout.
Bad Boys For Life, December 11th
If you’re looking for some respite from the drudge and drama, there may never have been a more silly film made than Bad Boys for Life (although Bad Boys II would give it a run for its slow-motion money). Picking up almost two decades after the first two films, we follow Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as they work to bring down the son of a ruthless cartel kingpin. It’s exactly what you’d expect.
The Witcher (Season 2), December 17th
The first season of The Witcher was met with reviews warmer than Henry Cavill’s bath (you know the scene). For its second outing, the book series adaptation returns to ‘the Continent’, and this season introduces characters with such tongue-twisting names as ‘Vilgefortz of Roggeveen’ and ‘Sigismund Dijkstra’.
Don’t Look Up, December 24th
December’s big-ticket blockbuster; the latest film from The Big Short and Vice’s Adam McKay. Following Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as low-level scientists on a global media tour, this pre-apocalyptic black comedy offers up a smorgasbord of Hollywood talent. Among the names on the roster: Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Chris Evans, Mark Rylance and Ariana Grande.
Cobra Kai (Season 4), December 31st
Karate Kid continuation Cobra Kai is a strange creature. After debuting in 2018 on ‘YouTube Red’ — the website’s short-lived streaming platform — it kicked and punched its way onto Netflix. In the seasons since, it has built up quite a following — and this run sees the return of even more familiar faces from the original franchise of films.
Stay Close, December 31st
A couple of years ago, crime writer Harlan Coben signed a five-year deal with Netflix; agreeing to 14 screen adaptations of his novels. The latest, following Safe and The Stranger among others, is Stay Close — which follows a photojournalist, homicide detective and housewife as they contend with a horrific event from the past.
Want more Netflix options? Here’s what to watch this November on the streaming service…
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