HBO and HBO Max are ending the year on a loud bang, with new shows, new movies, and a couple of pretty big finales that are sure to emotionally destroy us in very different ways. The Sex and the City revival And Just Like That..., which stars three out of four of the original women, premieres early in the month on Dec. 9, and the fourth installment in the Matrix franchise, The Matrix Resurrections, becomes the latest movie to be released on a streaming platform and in theaters on Dec. 22. Also, Succession airs its Season 3 finale on Dec. 12 and Insecure wraps up its five-season run on Dec. 26. In the middle of it all is Finding Magic Mike (Dec. 16), a competition show about finding the next star of the Magic Mike Las Vegas show! Never say there's a lack of variety on HBO Max.
Our list of suggestions for the best shows and movies on HBO and HBO Max in December is below.
Series premiere Dec. 6 on HBO, HBO Max
If you've recently found yourself looking around at all the TV shows airing right now and thought, "Needs more prestige miniseries based on real crime cases," I have some good news for you. Inspired by the actual story of Christopher and Susan Edwards, Landscapers stars Olivia Colman and David Thewlis as a married couple sentenced to life in prison for murdering Susan's parents and subsequently burying them in their backyard. Personally, I'd be captivated watching Olivia Colman read a really long CVS receipt, and you can rarely go wrong with an HBO crime series (The Undoing need not interact), so I'll be tuning in.
And Just Like That...
Series premiere Dec. 9 on HBO Max
The ladies of Sex and the City are back! Well, three of them are, anyway. Whether we like it or not, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) are coming back to TV with this revival series. The women are in their 50s now, and I don't really know what that's going to mean for them, but I expect we'll get a lot of jokes about the '90s, how much New York has changed, and plenty of voiceover musings from Carrie about the passing of time. I couldn't help but wonder... if this show will be any good, but I guess (I hope?) we can't get any worse than the monstrosity that was Sex and the City 2.
Season 3 finale Dec. 12 on HBO, HBO Max
It's been a wild, emotionally laborious season, and I can honestly say I have legitimately no idea what's going to happen in Succession's Season 3 finale. The Roy family is, to put it kindly, in shambles: After seemingly securing a deal to buy detached tech bro Lukas Mattson's (Alexander Skarsgård) streaming app, Roman (Kieran Culkin) is temporarily at the top of Logan's (Brian Cox) favorite child ranking, but at everyone else's expense. Shiv (Sarah Snook) is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Kendall's (Jeremy Strong) facade of manic hubris is finally collapsing around him, and, of course, there's Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), who couldn't be saved from his own unhappiness even after learning he won't be serving time in prison. All the major players will convene in Italy for Caroline's (Harriet Walker) wedding, but otherwise, there's no telling what's to come in the final hour. Succession is known for ending on incredibly dramatic highs, and the stakes feel higher than ever, so I'm on the edge of my seat to find out how this explosive season wraps up.
Series premiere Dec. 16 on HBO Max
For better or worse, many shows have already addressed the pandemic, but Station Eleven seems a little different than the rest, if only because the book it's based on was written years before COVID. It centers around a group of survivors in the wake of a global pandemic that has ravaged much of the world as they work to figure out how to go on in the face of so much devastation. The cheery-sounding series stars Gael García Bernal, Mackenzie Davis, and Himesh Patel, and is brought to the screen by Maniac and Made for Love's Patrick Somerville.
Finding Magic Mike
Series premiere Dec. 16 on HBO Max
Fact: The Magic Mike films are among the greatest gifts we as a society have been given. Another fact: It is indisputably delightful that the movies have spun off into an ongoing Las Vegas show. And now there's a reality show about the Vegas show! The series follows a bunch of men who feel that they have, for whatever reason, "lost their magic" competing to see which one of them can transform into the sexiest of them all. And what's sexier than having a positive outlook on yourself and the world around you? Finding Magic Mike is about guys learning how to most effectively rip their shirts off, yes, but it's also about developing self-confidence. I for one think that's beautiful.
The Matrix Resurrections
Dec. 22 on HBO Max (also in theaters)
The fourth movie in the Matrix franchise is set twelve years after Revolutions, and it catches us up with Neo (Keanu Reeves), now living a seemingly normal life as Thomas Anderson and seeing a very mysterious therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) who's "helping" him work through all the weird dreams he's been having. He and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) have no memory of each other, but they both appear to be back in the Matrix program, and things start to get much clearer when Neo stops taking the blue pills he's being prescribed. As is typical of these films, most of the plot details are being kept under wraps, but there's simply nothing better than knowing we'll soon be watching a new Keanu movie. Happy holidays indeed.
Series finale Dec. 26 on HBO, HBO Max
It's going to be so hard to say goodbye to Insecure for good. So far this season, we've seen Issa (Issa Rae) struggling in her relationship with Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) and with the fact that Lawrence (Jay Ellis) seems to be moving on as he prepares to become a dad, as well as the continued reinvention of Molly (Yvonne Orji) as she works on her family, friendships, career, and romantic life. My hope is to see all these characters end up happy, and also for Issa to simply choose herself, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.