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The Ultimate Guide to What to Watch on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Max, and More in December 2023

Get dolled up with the streaming debut of Barbie

Kelly Connolly

May we interest you in some Oscar buzz this December? A pair of exciting new films, Todd Haynes' May December and Bradley Cooper's Maestro, are making their debut on Netflix, so you can close out this year by prepping for the best season of next year: awards. And if you need a refresher on a box-office blast that will likely also make a lot of noise at the Oscars, Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig's Barbie comes to Max in the middle of the month. December's TV lineup is a little quieter, but it's no slouch either; highlights include the return of the Prime Video detective series Reacher, the end of Netflix's royal drama The Crown, the final season of the Hulu comedy Letterkenny, and the new Disney+ fantasy series Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Our guide to the best TV in December is divided into three sections: the best shows and movies to watch this month, the best shows to watch by streaming service, and a calendar of TV highlights. Whatever you're looking for, you'll find it below. 

Next month's guide: The Ultimate Guide to What to Watch on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Max, and More in January
Last month's guide: The Ultimate Guide to What to Watch on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Max, and More in November

The best shows and movies to watch in December

Julianne Moore and Charles Melton, May December

Julianne Moore and Charles Melton, May December


May December (Dec. 1, Netflix)

One of this winter's buzziest films — and a sure contender for the 2024 awards season — is coming to Netflix on Dec. 1. In May December, Gracie (Julianne Moore) and Joe's (Charles Melton) marriage threatens to crumble when an actor shows up on their porch one day. To prepare for a film, Elizabeth (Natalie Portman) has made it her goal to learn about their relationship beyond the tabloid headlines from two decades ago. But what happens when the actor takes her research a little too far? -Kat Moon [Trailer]

The Crown (Dec. 14, Netflix)

The queen's reign is ending. After the first half of Season 6 premiered in November, The Crown returns for its final six episodes, which pick up in the aftermath of Princess Diana's (Elizabeth Debicki) untimely death and follow the royals as they try to put their lives back together. Ed McVey and Luther Ford take over the roles of Prince William and Prince Harry, respectively, and Meg Bellamy will debut her take on Kate Middleton, infamous sheer dress and all. What will Queen Elizabeth (Imelda Staunton) think of this? -Kelly Connolly [Part 1 Trailer]

Reacher Season 2 (Dec. 15, Prime Video)

Amazon's free-range detective series follows a few simple rules that have turned it into one of the streamer's biggest hits: An ex-military police officer with tree trunks for biceps travels the country beating up bad guys, solving crimes, and making wisecracks. In Season 2, Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) meets up with his old military police group after one of them is murdered, and they suspect someone is picking them off one by one. Someone's bones are about to get broken. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Barbie (Dec. 15, Max)

Greta Gerwig's satirical comedy about gender roles and plastic dolls finally comes home to streaming after accumulating $1.44 billion from the worldwide box office. By now, you know what it's about and you know who's in it, and if you somehow still haven't watched it, let me be the latest person to convince you to join the rest of us. It's outstanding. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Leo Reich: Literally Who Cares?! (Dec. 16, HBO)

Gen Z! Your leader has arrived. British comedian Leo Reich brings his one-man show Literally Who Cares?! to your house, where he'll make sure you know that being young is literally so hard, guys. Through jokes and song, Reich takes aim at his generation of loafing, victimized phone zombies as well as the decrepit, apocalypse-creating, election-rigging oldies who made his life so hard. (His words, mostly.) It's a good time! -Tim Surette

Maestro (Dec. 20, Netflix)

Another Netflix film expected to gain significant Oscar recognition in the upcoming awards season is Bradley Cooper's Maestro. In addition to directing and writing the biopic, Cooper stars as acclaimed composer Leonard Bernstein, while Carey Mulligan plays Bernstein's wife, Felicia Montealegre. It's hardly surprising that critics are already praising both lead performances. -Kat Moon [Trailer]

Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Dec. 20, Disney+)

They say lightning isn't supposed to strike the same place twice, but since the first two Percy Jackson adaptations (the 2010 and 2013 films) weren't exactly faithful, fans of the fantasy books are still waiting for lightning to strike once. It seems like this could be it. The Disney+ series, which author Rick Riordan executive produces and has voiced his enthusiastic approval for, stars Walker Scobell as the titular demigod, who's framed for stealing Zeus' lightning bolt and sets out with his friends on a journey to find the real thief. Leah Jeffries and Aryan Simhadri play Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood, respectively, alongside an ensemble that also includes Virginia Kull, Glynn Turman, Jason Mantzoukas, Megan Mullally, and the late Lance Reddick. Here's everything to know about the series. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

Letterkenny Season 12 (Dec. 26)

Pitter patter, let's get at 'er — one last time. Season 12 will be the end of the road for Jared Keeso's cult hit Canadian comedy, set in a rural community full of hicks, hockey players, and other eccentrics who are as happy making bawdy jokes as they are rattling off lightning-fast wordplay. Its spin-off, Shoresy, lives on, but for now, let's make this last trip to Letterkenny count. -Kelly Connolly

What's on Netflix, Max, Hulu, Amazon, and more in December

Bradley Cooper, Maestro

Bradley Cooper, Maestro

Jason McDonald/Netflix

Netflix's best new shows and movies in December

If you're looking to watch as many awards season contenders as possible before the new year, Netflix has two buzzy new films for you. Todd Haynes' May December and Bradley Cooper's Maestro are both arriving in December, which should give you plenty of time to savor the performances before filling out your 2024 Oscar ballot. No need to save space on your Oscar ballot for Zack Snyder's sci-fi epic Rebel Moon, which is probably purely a popcorn flick and out on Dec. 22. December is also an exciting month on Netflix for fans of Korean content. One of the most anticipated K-dramas of the year, Gyeongseong Creature starring Park Seo-joon and Han So-hee, is finally arriving. And after nearly three years, the apocalyptic series Sweet Home returns for a second season. Here's our list of the best shows and movies on Netflix in December, plus everything coming to and leaving Netflix in December.

More on Netflix:

Leo Reich, Leo Reich: Literally Who Cares?!

Leo Reich, Leo Reich: Literally Who Cares?!


HBO and Max's best new shows and movies in December

Max is very light on new things to watch in December, while also removing a ton of options from its library. There are a few things of interest, though. Leo Reich's one-man show Literally Who Cares?! comes to Max in the middle of the month, and the young comedian's insight into the current generation wars provides ammo for both Boomers and Gen Z (while Gen X sits on the sideline eating delicious popcorn). The three-part documentary Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning looks back at a 1989 murder case that spurred racial tension in one of the country's most historically racist cities. The documentary film Time Bomb Y2K looks back at the technological panic of the turn of the century, all told through archival footage. But the biggest premiere might be the streaming debut of Barbie, which comes to Max on Dec. 15. Here's our list of the best shows and movies on HBO and Max in December, plus everything coming to HBO and Max in December.

More on HBO and Max:

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and Gemma Arterton, Culprits

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and Gemma Arterton, Culprits

Des Willie/Disney

Hulu's best new shows and movies in December

It's a busy time of year, but Hulu is making it a little bit easier on everyone by not releasing a lot of new originals in December. The 12th — and final — season of cult hit Canadian comedy Letterkenny is the highlight of the month; if you're not spending the rest of your time watching the first 11 seasons, you could also check out the British heist thriller Culprits, the queer documentary We Live Here: The Midwest, or the compelling docuseries Science Fair: The Series. Beyond that, Hulu is apparently granting you the gift of chilling out. Enjoy Paddington 2 with your family. Here's our list of the best shows and movies on Hulu in December, plus everything coming to Hulu in December.

More on Hulu

Alan Ritchson, Reacher

Alan Ritchson, Reacher

Brooke Palmer/Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video's best new shows and movies in December

December is the biggest month of the year for Amazon Prime Video, in terms of size of its action heroes, at least. Reacher, the adaptation of Lee Child's dad-famous crime novels about an oversized ex-military policeman who solves cases around America using brain and brawn, returns for its second season on Dec. 15. It's the biggest highlight of new releases coming to Prime Video in December, along with Season 2 of Coach Prime and Eddie Murphy's holiday film Candy Cane Lane. Here's our list of the best shows and movies on Amazon Prime Video in December, plus everything coming to Prime Video in December.

More on Amazon:

Walker Scobell, Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Walker Scobell, Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Disney/David Bukach

The best new shows and movies everywhere else in December

It's a great month for fans of fantasy and sci-fi on Disney+. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, based on the hit book series, premieres on the streamer on Dec. 20. Three new Doctor Who specials are also dropping on Disney+ throughout the month of December, including two more featuring David Tennant and Catherine Tate, who returned to the series in honor of its 60th anniversary, and a holiday special that officially kicks off Ncuti Gatwa's era as the Fifteenth Doctor. For something different, Paramount+ has documentaries The Billion Dollar Goal (Dec. 11) and Born in Synanon (Dec. 12), followed by the crime drama Finestkind (Dec. 15), starring Ben Foster, Toby Wallace, Jenna Ortega, and Tommy Lee Jones. Over on Peacock, Tony Shalhoub's Monk is back to clean things up in the new movie Mr. Monk's Last Case (Dec. 8), and Dr. Death returns for Season 2 (Dec. 21). And on Starz, Power Book III: Raising Kanan is back for Season 3 on Dec. 1.

More on Apple TV+, Peacock, Disney+, and Paramount+:

Eddie Murphy, Candy Cane Lane

Eddie Murphy, Candy Cane Lane

Claudette Barius

Christmas movies and holiday films

It's December, so you may as well act the part and watch a holiday film. Whether it's a classic Christmas flick for family night, a Hallmark Christmas movie to watch with your good pal "a bottle of wine," or a new holiday film to get you in the spirit, you'll find it below. 

December TV calendar highlights

Friday, Dec. 1
Candy Cane Lane (Film, Prime Video)
May December (Film, Netflix)
Power Book III: Raising Kanan (Season 3, Starz)
Sweet Home (Season 2, Netflix)
We Dare to Dream (Documentary, Peacock)

Saturday, Dec. 2
Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder (Special, Disney+)
Thriller 40 (Documentary, Showtime)

Monday, Dec. 4
Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage, and Reckoning (Docuseries, HBO)

Tuesday, Dec. 5
Great Photo, Lovely Life (Documentary, HBO)

Wednesday, Dec. 6
We Live Here: The Midwest (Documentary, Hulu)

Thursday, Dec. 7
Archie (Limited Series, BritBox)
The Archies (Film, Netflix)
Coach Prime (Season 2, Prime Video)
My Life With the Walter Boys (Season 1, Netflix)

Friday, Dec. 8
Culprits (Limited Series, Hulu)
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays (Season 6, Netflix)
Leave the World Behind (Film, Netflix)
Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie (Film, Peacock)
Your Christmas or Mine 2 (Film, Prime Video)

Saturday, Dec. 9
30 for 30: The Great Heisman Race of 1997 (Documentary, ESPN)
Doctor Who: The Giggle (Special, Disney+)

Sunday, Dec. 10
MasterChef Junior: Home for the Holidays (Special, Fox)
Science Fair: The Series (Season 1, Nat Geo)

Monday, Dec. 11
Big Brother: Reindeer Games (Season 1, CBS)
The Billion Dollar Goal (Docuseries, Paramount+)

Tuesday, Dec. 12
Born in Synanon (Docuseries, Paramount+)
Single's Inferno (Season 3, Netflix)
Under Pressure: The U.S. Women's World Cup Team (Docuseries, Netflix)

Thursday, Dec. 14
CMA Country Christmas (Special, ABC)
The Crown (Season 6 Part 2, Netflix)
The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip (Season 4, Peacock)
Yu Yu Hakusho (Season 1, Netflix)

Friday, Dec. 15
50th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (Special, CBS)
Barbie (Film, Max)
Carol & the End of the World (Season 1, Netflix)
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (Film, Netflix)
The Family Plan (Film, Apple TV+)
Finestkind (Film, Paramount+)
National Christmas Tree Lighting (Special, CBS)
Reacher (Season 2, Prime Video)
Such Brave Girls (Season 1, Hulu)

Saturday, Dec. 16
Leo Reich: Literally Who Cares?! (Comedy Special, HBO)

Sunday, Dec. 17
Archer: Into the Cold (Special, FX/FXX)
Willie Nelson's 90th Birthday Celebration (Special, CBS)

Monday, Dec. 18
Gwyneth vs Terry: The Ski Crash Trial (Docuseries, Max)

Tuesday, Dec. 19
Trevor Noah: Where Was I (Comedy Special, Netflix)

Wednesday, Dec. 20
BTS Monuments: Beyond the Star (Docuseries, Disney+)
Love Is Blind Brazil: After the Altar (Special, Netflix)
Maestro (Film, Netflix)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Season 1, Disney+)

Thursday, Dec. 21
Dick Van Dyke: 98 Years of Magic (Special, CBS)
Dr. Death (Season 2, Peacock)

Friday, Dec. 22
Gyeongseong Creature (Season 1, Netflix)
Marvel's What If...? (Season 2, Disney+)
Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire (Film, Netflix)

Saturday, Dec. 23
Extended Family (Season 1, NBC)
Night Court (Season 2, NBC)

Monday, Dec. 25
Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road (Special, Disney+)

Thursday, Dec. 26
Letterkenny (Season 12, Hulu)

Wednesday, Dec. 27
46th Annual Kennedy Center Honors (Special, CBS)

Thursday, Dec. 28
Pokémon Concierge (Season 1, Netflix)

Friday, Dec. 29
Berlin (Season 1, Netflix)

Saturday, Dec. 30
Time Bomb Y2K (Documentary, HBO)

Sunday, Dec. 31
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Even With Ryan Seacrest 2024 (Special, ABC)
New Year's Eve Live: Nashville's Big Bash (Special, CBS)