‘Tis the season to bingewatch: Originals out this December
‘Tis the season to bingewatch, and the streaming giants are doing their part by bringing you a wealth of new content to close out the year. Sure, you could rewatch Friends for the 8th time – Netflix itself thinks there are 100 million reasons why you should – but if you’re looking for something new, there’s no shortage of compelling content to assist you in your winter social hibernation this year.
Available December 22
This Netflix original, produced in partnership with the BBC, is a long-awaited adaptation of the classic 1972 novel by Richard Abrams, getting a fresh twist here in the form of CGI animation. The plot follows an intrepid group of rabbits – including one with ESP – seeking a new home after being displaced, and with an official synopsis that includes the word “harrowing”, we’re expecting this one to leave a mark.
Blue Planet 2
Available December 3
If you’ve seen BBC America’s widely acclaimed “Planet Earth” series, you know what to expect from this expansive spotlight on the priceless biosphere we call home. If not, you’re in for a treat. Blue Planet 2 takes a dive into the mysterious depths of our oceans, focusing on the untold stories and almost alien creatures that lurk beneath the waves.
Sit back and let the soothing tones of renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough take you on a journey to the bottom of the sea: transgender fish, amphibious animals, and the surprisingly interconnected nature of the ocean’s ecosystems are just a taste of what’s on tap for this spectacular series.
Available December 7
Ashton Kutcher and Elisha Cuthbert return for another slice of life at Iron River, continuing the breakout success of the series. This latest chapter of Sam Elliot’s surprisingly successful sitcom series has all the makings of a bingewatch essential: colorful characters, an engaging (if tragic) plot, and the scene-to-scene immersion that makes us watch “one more episode before bed”.
The tone may skew a bit crassly comical at times, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that this is an entertaining series with plenty of heart.
Available in the U.S. December 6
If you’re looking for by-the-numbers TV, start your search elsewhere – UK audiences have been raving about this imaginative black comedy since its debut on SyFy in April. Happy! puts TV cop character veteran Christopher Meloni in the unfamiliar shoes of a disgraced detective and adds a seriously compelling twist in the form of a hallucinogenic unicorn voiced by Patton Oswalt.
The Christmas backdrop is a delightfully subversive setting for the story to unfold – the occasional gore contrasts nicely with blankets of snow – and although the little girl probably gets saved in the end due to the Semi-Immutable Laws of Television, you’ll enjoy being along for the ride.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Available December 25
We’re still not over the loss of the chef-turned-global-ambassador, but the latest season of Parts Unknown at least gives us another chance to appreciate his work. Among the highlights are trips to Hong Kong, Berlin, and West Vir— wait, let us check that – yep, West Virginia.
Hey, if anybody can make the Appalachian backwoods into must-see TV, it’s Anthony Bourdain. The series even features a Mardi Gras episode that sees the host decked out in full festival flair– that one’s either worth watching first or saving for last.
Season 1 available December 26
After all the saccharine of the holiday season, we’re gonna be well in the mood for some dark humor. You follows an aspiring writer as he struggles with an attraction to / obsession with a brilliant bookstore owner played by the beautiful Elizabeth Lail. (Seems like Penn Badgley got plenty of practice being a weirdo on Gossip Girl.)
Available on Netflix after a run on Lifetime (yes, that Lifetime), You paints an uncomfortable portrait of social media as the stalker’s dream tool it can be, but fortunately it’s played for laughs so it doesn’t creep you right back outside.
Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale
Available December 14
If you already binged The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina during spooky season and are hungry for more, has Netflix got the holiday gift for you: a Christmas special for our favorite teenage witch is slated for streaming by the middle of the month.
Fine, it’s not specifically a Christmas special – it revolves around the Winter Solstice, which those who have been in a coven know is of significant import in the witching world. Still, you might want to keep an eye on the chimney just in case . . . who knows what could come down for a visit. The streaming giant also wishes you a happy new year with a second season of Sabrina set for early 2019.
Into the Dark
The first Friday of the month has become a day horror fans circle on their calendars in the last few months of the year thanks to this Blumhouse Productions anthology. Each episode of this intriguingly themed series is inspired by the month in which it was released, starting with a slick & stylish debut set in Los Angeles on Halloween night.
We think the anthology format is ideal for the horror genre since stars almost never have to be saved for a sequel, although Sasha Grey’s turn as an LA DJ is worth a look for dedicated fans of her work.
Normally when you discover your parents have lied to you, it’s about something fairly benign like sitting too close to the the television. The Runaways are working through more serious issues: villainous parents, nefarious plots, cult indoctrination, things like that.
A brain, an athlete, and a basketcase join new teenage archetypes, like a social activist and a human-alien hybrid uncovering their parents’ plans . . . and a possible mole in the group. Sounds like something worth staying in bed for (at a responsible distance from the screen, of course).
Available December 5
To imagine even being a housewife in the 1950s is enough of a challenge. Now picture all of a sudden – after years of quiet domestic servitude – deciding to become a standup comedienne.
Season 1 covered the rocky terrain between the kitchen and the comedy club, and now Season 2 follows Rachel Brosnahan’s (House of Cards, Manhattan) titular character as she takes the next step in her budding new career. See the performance that netted the actress both an Emmy and Golden Globe in this inspiring (and at times, infuriating) Amazon Originals series.