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The 15 Best Shows to Watch With Your Family This Christmas

From The Mandalorian and Dark to Derry Girls and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Kaitlin Thomas

If you've been to Target recently, you know it's been Christmas since Halloween, so the holidays aren't just approaching, they're here. And accompanying that third glass of spiked eggnog and the general sense of merriment you're currently feeling (probably a result of the second glass of eggnog), is the realization this also means you'll soon be spending a lot of quality time with Uncle Ralph and his Political Opinions.

One of the easiest ways to log hours with your extended family and keep your sanity intact this holiday is to gather 'round the living room after dinner and watch some engrossing television. To make things easy for you, we've put together a wide-ranging list of shows that will fill the time nicely.

The Ultimate Holiday Viewing Guide for 2019

There's something for all tastes in the list below. Plus, we've even included "pairing" suggestions that will let you know which family member would make the best viewing companion for each show. So take a peek at the cheat sheet below and kick back, relax, and think about how much time you won't have to spend talking about your cousin Sarah's new baby.

(Disclosure: Links to retailers may earn money to support our work.)

1. Watchmen

​Jean Smart, Watchmen

Jean Smart, Watchmen

Mark Hill/HBO

Where to watch it: Season 1 is airing on HBO

Watch it with: Your younger brother who loved the graphic novel and can appreciate the show's humor and depth

Why you should watch it: Damon Lindelof's spectacular continuation of the story told in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' iconic Watchmengraphic novel is an alternate-universe reflection of America in 2019, doling out history lessons -- did you know about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre? Now you do! -- and spectacular social commentary through some of the year's best performances (shout-out to Regina King and Jean Smart!). It's smart and compelling storytelling bolstered by insightful direction. And as an added bonus, it's relatively easy to follow even if you've never read the original source material.

2. Fleabag

​Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Steve Schofield/Amazon

Where to watch it: Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Amazon Prime

Watch it with: Your sister who doesn't always know how to show her love or appreciation

Why you should watch it: Even if you didn't love the first season of Fleabag, you're almost guaranteed to love the second, which is somehow both completely satisfying and utterly heartbreaking. The brisk six-episode season follows Phoebe Waller-Bridge's recovering sex addict as she continues to work through her complicated relationships with her family while also opening herself up to be vulnerable enough to fall in love with a man who truly sees her (the effortlessly charming Andrew Scott), even if he's unattainable. If you were confused by all the hubbub surrounding the Hot Priest earlier this year, now is the perfect time to find out why the rest of us were so obsessed.

3. The Mandalorian

​The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian


Where to watch it: Season 1 is streaming on Disney+

Watch it with: Anyone and everyone because it's freaking Star Wars

Why you should watch it: The Mandalorian, which is releasing episodes weekly on Disney+, stars Pedro Pascal as a bounty hunter on the outer edges of the galaxy a few years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Influenced by samurai films and Westerns, the show is the first live-action Star Wars series ever made, and while that should be enough to draw viewers' attention, we understand if some folks need a little more convincing. So, if that's you, we have two words for you: Baby Yoda. Yep, that about sums it up. No one can resist the pull of that adorable little puppet. And no one should want to.

4. Stranger Things

Joey Keery and Maya Hawke, Stranger Things

Joey Keery and Maya Hawke, Stranger Things


Where to watch it: Seasons 1-3 are streaming on Netflix

Watch it with: Your cousins from Indiana, obviously

Why you should watch it: If you haven't watchedStranger Thingsyet, do you even exist? The period series about the strange, er, things happening in a small town in Indiana in the 1980s is the perfect series to binge, because just like grandma's delicious homemade cookies, you can keep going and never get full. The first season, heavily influenced by the works of Steven Spielberg, follows the search for the missing Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), a boy who's been taken to a creepy alternate world known as the Upside Down by a creature known as the Demogorgon. The show's second and third seasons build perfectly upon the first, further developing the show's mythology and delivering unexpected but heartwarming relationships alongside nostalgia-inducing trips to the mall. If you don't burn through multiple episodes in one sitting, you're doing it wrong.

5. Derry Girls

​Derry Girls

Derry Girls


Where to watch it: Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix

Watch it with: Your best friends from school who are all back home visiting family

Why you should watch it: Netflix's coming-of-age series Derry Girls is, to put it simply, a riot. Putting a humorous spin on life in Northern Ireland during the 1990s, amidst the decades-long period of unrest known as the Troubles, the series follows four teenage Irish girls and their English friend James at an (almost) all-girls Catholic school. Telling stories about family, relationships, and friendship, Derry Girls captures the wild and familiar spirit of youth with a well-placed sense of humor and a surprisingly big heart.

6. Dark



Stefan Erhard/Netflix

Where to watch it: Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix

Watch it with: A big group of extended adult family

Why you should watch it: The first Netflix original series created, produced, and filmed in Germany, Dark is a complex family drama with a sci-fi twist. The time-traveling series kicks off with the disappearance of a young boy, which brings back memories of when another young boy went missing 33 years previously. The series, which is best viewed with German audio and English subtitles (Netflix automatically defaults to English dubbing), tells the stories of four interconnected families in a small German town. To say anything more would spoil the captivating, if sometimes confusing, story, so we'll just leave you with this handy map of how everyone is connected, which will come in handy after you've finished the two seasons currently available.

7. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

_The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel_

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel


Where it watch it: Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Amazon Prime

Watch it with: Your spritely grandmother who definitely has some stories of her own

Why you should watch it: Set in 1950s New York, The Marvelous Mrs. Maiselis an ambitious series from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. This time her signature rapid-fire dialogue is delivered via the mesmerizing Rachel Brosnahan as Midge Maisel, a traditional 1950s housewife who turns to stand-up comedy in an attempt to figure out who she is when her personal life falls apart. Clever and stylish and with a true underdog viewers can root for, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an easy binge-watch that will quickly capture everyone's attention.

Discover your new favorite show: Watch This Now!

8. Wynonna Earp

​Melanie Scrofano and Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Wynonna Earp

Melanie Scrofano and Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Wynonna Earp

Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./Syfy

Where it watch it: Seasons 1-3 are streaming on Netflix

Watch it with: Your younger sister who loves Supernatural but thinks it needs some estrogen

Why you should watch it: At first glance, Wynonna Earpsounds a bit nuts, but so did Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the day. Based on a comic book, the Syfy series is a supernatural-Western that follows Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), the great-great-grandaughter of the legendary gunslinger Wyatt Earp, as she uses his gun Peacemaker to send demons back to hell in order to break a family curse. The witty series is a surprisingly grounded, incredibly funny, and captivating show about family, motherhood, and friendship. Plus, there's an immortal Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) sporting a really great mustache. What more could you want?

9. The Boys

The Boys

The Boys

Jan Thijs

Where to watch it: Season 1 is streaming on Amazon Prime

Watch it with: Anyone who's burnt out on traditional superhero fare

Why you should watch it: An adaptation of Garth Ennis' 2006 graphic novel, Eric Kripke's The Boys follows a group of vigilantes who fight against the nation's superheroes who abuse their powers and celebrity status, operating with little actual regard for the men and women they're supposed to be protecting. At a time when superhero saturation is at an all-time high, this hilariously violent and devilishly funny satire will likely appeal to superhero fans and non-fans alike.

10. Better Things

Pamela Adlon, Better Things​

Pamela Adlon, Better Things


Where to watch it: Seasons 1 and 2 are on Hulu; Season 3 is available for purchase on Amazon

Watch it with: Your mom, duh

Why you should watch it: Although most of the shows on this list are included as a means of avoiding your family, Better Things is the one show that you should watch because you're with your family. Created by and starring Pamela Adlon, the FX comedyis a beautiful story about single parenting and motherhood that dives deep into the often complicated relationship that exists between mothers and daughters. The series and the relationships portrayed within each half-hour episode are not always pretty, but they are familiar. And if you don't get to spend much time with your mom except during the holidays, it's a good series for the two of you to watch together.

TV Premiere Date Calendar: Find Out When Your Favorite Shows Are Back

11. The Good Place

D'Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil, The Good Place

D'Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil, The Good Place

NBC, Colleen Hayes/NBC

Where to watch it: Seasons 1-3 are on Netflix; Season 4 episodes are available on NBC.com with a cable login

Watch it with: Your dad who can appreciate ambitious, clever comedy

Why you should watch it: Because it's darn funny? Because Ted Danson is a national treasure? Because the high-concept comedy created by Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation) is clever, includes perfectly executed twists you probably won't see coming, and boasts one of the funniest supporting casts on TV? Because it offers a surprisingly deep exploration of morality from the afterlife? Honestly, we could list a thousand reasons for you to watch The Good Place over the holidays, but just one will do: its puns are actually better than anything you could buy from the Bad Place. And that's saying something.

12. Grantchester


Robson Green and James Norton, Grantchester

Colin Hutton and Kudos/ITV for MASTERPIECE

Where to watch it: Seasons 1-3 are streaming on Amazon Prime. Season 4 is available for purchase.

Watch it with: Your grandfather who's obsessed with old murder mysteries

Why you should watch it: Set in 1950s England, Grantchester's first three seasons star James Norton as a whiskey-loving, jazz-obsessed vicar (aren't they all like that?) who passes the time by helping a local detective (Robson Green) solve murders in the small town of Grantchester. After Norton departs early in Season 4, Tom Brittney takes his place at the vicarage as an amateur detective. Each season is only six episodes, which makes it the perfect series to watch over the holidays. Plus, there's an adorable dog named Dickens.

13. Bob's Burgers

Bob's Burgers​

Bob's Burgers


Where to watch it: Seasons 1-10 are streaming on Hulu

Who to watch it with: Your older brother who might be a Gene but wishes he was a Louise

Why you should watch it: Currently in its 10th season, the Emmy-winning animated comedy Bob's Burgers is always a reliable viewing option for the holidays. Following the hilarious antics of the Belchers, who own and operate a struggling hamburger restaurant, the pun-filled series is a wacky comedy served with a healthy helping of clever genius. Plus, you'll have fun trying to figure out which Belcher you're most like, whether it is the exasperated family patriarch Bob, his over-the-top wife Linda, or one of their three children: awkward eldest daughter Tina; goofy and carefree middle child Gene; or the mischievous youngest child Louise. Honestly, you really can't go wrong here.

14. Evil

Mike Colter, Katja Herbers, Evil

Mike Colter, Katja Herbers, Evil


Where to watch it: Season 1 is on CBS All Access and CBS's on-demand platform

Watch it with: Your aunt who still misses The X-Files

Why you should watch it: It's becoming more and more rare for a broadcast show to develop any real clout, let alone a procedural (and one on CBS to boot). But Evil, from Robert and Michelle King, is slowly solidifying its status as one of the most twisted and clever horror shows on any platform. Katja Herbers and Mike Colter deliver incredibly layered performances as the show's updated take on Scully and Mulder (one's a forensic psychologist, the other's a priest-in-training), the storylines consistently go darker than you'd expect them to on CBS, and the show has an off-kilter sense of humor that acts as the perfect counterbalance to the series' seriously messed-up mythology. You should probably just jump on the Evil bandwagon now so you can get ahead of the curve and later brag that you stanned from the start, because you deserve a little clout of your own.

15. The Lowe Files


Matthew, Rob, and John Owen Lowe, The Lowe Files

Richard Knapp/A&E

Where to watch it: Season 1is on Amazon Prime; it's also free on A&E's website with a cable provider login

Watch it with: Your sons and daughters you don't see very often

Why you should watch it: The Lowe Files follows actor Rob Lowe and his sons Matthew and John Owen as they embark on adventures together to seek out and explain the unexplainable, from the existence of ghosts to Bigfoot and even aliens. However, the point of the show isn't really to watch Rob Lowe potentially discover hard evidence that Bigfoot exists, but to explore and strengthen family bonds through weekend road trips. Each episode is a new adventure full of fast-food trips, jokes about Rob always knowing where the cameras are, and hilarious family shenanigans. But also, imagine if Rob Lowe had actually found Bigfoot. IMAGINE.