10 TV shows to watch this December
(Image credit: Jay Maidment/ Netflix)
From pitch-black comedy Landscapers to crime-drama Aranyak and Sex and The City reboot And Just Like That, Amy Charles lists this festive season’s unmissable TV.
And Just Like That
And just like that… some of the 90s and early-00s’ most beloved characters are making a return to the small screen. Sex and The City’s Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte are back, now in their 50s, and look to still be as glamorous, ambitious and hilarious as ever. “Life is full of surprises,” Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) says in the teaser trailer, as we see the ladies in New York City, working, brunching and concert-going. Very little information is available about the content of this high-profile reboot, but we know that Carrie is now a podcaster, and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) a full-time parent, while Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is still a high-powered attorney, and Kim Cattrall’s Samantha won’t be returning. “There’s so much misogynist chatter in response to us that would never. Happen. About. A. Man,” Sarah Jessica Parker told Vogue’s Naomi Fry, when asked about the personal comments her and her castmates get about being women in their 50s on screen. Chris Noth’s Mr Big is returning, as are Mario Cantone’s Anthony, David Eigenberg’s Steve, Evan Handler’s Harry and in one of his final performances, Willie Garson as Stanford. Meanwhile actors joining the cast include Nicole Ari Parker (Boogie Nights), Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy) and Sarita Choudhury (Homeland).
And Just Like That premieres on 9 December on HBO Max in the US, and on Sky Comedy and Now in the UK
A Very British Scandal
From the makers of 2018’s A Very English Scandal, starring Hugh Grant as disgraced politician Jeremy Thorpe, comes A Very British Scandal, telling the story of another cause célèbre: the divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, one of the 20th Century’s most notorious legal cases. Claire Foy (The Crown, First Man) and Paul Bettany (WandaVision) star as the warring couple, while the writer behind it is Sarah Phelps, best known for her hard-edged Agatha Christie adaptations. The three-parter takes place in 1963, when Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, was publicly accused of infidelity by her then-husband, after he discovered a set of explicit photographs of her with other men. Speaking when the series was announced, Phelps said: “I felt very strongly that she’d [Margaret] been punished for being a woman, for being visible, for refusing to back down, be a good girl and go quietly. This drama is my tribute to her.” Julia Davis and Phoebe Nicholls co-star.
A Very British Scandal will be released in December on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK, and will be available on Prime Video in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand at a later date
(Credit: Stefania Rosini/HBO)
In May 1998, Patricia and William Wycherley were shot dead at their home in Nottinghamshire, UK, and buried in their garden. Their killers – their daughter and her husband – Susan and Christopher Edwards spent the following 15 years stealing £245,000 of their money and spending it on Hollywood memorabilia. This is the true story of Landscapers, a new true-crime black comedy starring heavyweight British actors Oliva Colman (The Crown, The Favourite) and David Thewlis (Fargo, Harry Potter) as Susan and Christopher, and written by Colman’s husband Ed Sinclair. This four-part limited series tracks the couple on the run, as they are separated for the first time in their marriage and become the focus of an enormous police investigation. Watch the trailer here.
Landscapers premieres on 6 December on HBO and HBO Max in the US, and on 7 December on Sky Atlantic and Now in the UK
(Credit: Sarah Shatz/ Amazon Studios)
From Tracy Oliver – creator of hit movie Girls Trip – comes this new comedy, again about four best friends, this time all in their 30s and living in the titular New York neighbourhood. Meagan Good (Deception), Grace Byers (Empire), Shoniqua Shandai and Jerrie Johnson star as the four leads, a professor, a fashion designer, a singer and a tech entrepreneur, respectively, each trying to figure out love, life and their careers. Recently speaking to EW, Oliver said the impetus for the series was the general perception that when you hit your 30s, you have it all figured out: “I was like, ‘But I’m in my 30s and I don’t have everything together.’ And I have so many friends that are still figuring themselves out too, or even starting over… And so I was kind of like, ‘Well, let’s be truthful about how the thirties doesn’t necessarily mean that you have it all together’.” Other stars include Whoopi Goldberg, and Amy Poehler and Pharrell Williams serve as executive producers. Watch the trailer here.
Harlem premieres on 3 December on Prime Video
“I’ve kept my entire life on hold for one big case, and when did that big case arrive? When I left the post,” says police officer Kasturi Dogra, played by Bollywood megastar Raveena Tandon, in the trailer in this new Hindi crime thriller. Set in the fictional Sironah, an Indian hill station, or high-altitude town, it sees Kasturi – “a fiercely independent, super talented cop, who is waiting for an opportunity to excel in her life,” according to Tandon – suddenly faced with her biggest case yet: a missing tourist in the forest. But she’s being forced to work with Angad (Parambrata Chatterjee), an officer from the city, and quickly the case becomes much more serious, as the forest reveals a much more sinister truth.
Aranyak is released on 10 December on Netflix
(Credit: Carole Bethuel/ Netflix)
Emily in Paris
The American expat marketeer and inexplicable social media sensation is back for a second season, just in time for Christmas. The first season came under fire from the French, who called it ridiculous, with BBC Culture’s Addison Nugent writing that it was “a parade of every Hollywood cliché about life in the French capital imaginable… how is Hollywood still getting Paris so wrong?” But despite derision from many, this gentle and bingeable fish-out-of-water rom-com was a sensation. It was watched by 58 million households in its first 28 days, nominated for Emmys and Golden Globes and was renewed for a second season within five weeks of release. Lily Collins’ Emily was getting into the swing of Parisian life by the end of season one, getting on well at work and making friends and lovers (though with some complexities attached, naturally). But the teaser trailer for the new series shows Emily travelling down south, holidaying in an idyllic Saint Tropez with friend Mindy (Ashley Park). Fan-favourites including Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), Camille (Camille Razat) and Julien (Samuel Arnold) are also set to return, while among those joining the cast, hotshot playwright Jeremy O Harris is perhaps the most intriguing addition.
Emily in Paris season two is released on 22 December on Netflix
(Credit: Walt Disney Studios)
The Book of Boba Fett
“Jabba ruled with fear, I intend to rule with respect,” says Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) in the trailer for Disney+’s The Mandalorian spin-off series, which shows the bounty hunter returning to the desert planet of Tatooine with fellow assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and taking the throne that Jabba once occupied. The result promises to be a hopefully-compelling study of leadership – in an interview with Empire, co-creator Jon Favreau noted that “although Boba Fett is a very experienced bounty hunter, he’s not experienced at running a criminal syndicate or managing forces”, so expect to see him grappling with everything that comes with power. Fett is a fan-favourite from the original Star Wars trilogy, and with the overwhelming success of The Mandalorian – the first live-action Star Wars TV series – Disney will be banking that this spin-off will perform just as spectacularly.
The Book of Boba Fett is released on 29 December on Disney+
(Credit: Jay Maidment/ Netflix)
Geralt of Rivia – a witcher, or freelance monster slayer – returns for series two of this smash-hit Netflix fantasy series. At the end of season one, Henry Cavill’s Geralt finally met Princess Ciri, a prophecy foretold in the first episode. Now, he must keep her safe, not only from those who could cause her harm, but from herself, while war rages across the Continent. Based on the books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, it is one of Netflix’s biggest successes internationally, despite the first series’ lukewarm reception from critics. With an enormous audience that have already bought into this epic, complex fantasy saga, Netflix has already renewed this adaptation for a third season. Mranwhile, in an interview with EW, Cavill teased the upcoming series, and the paternal relationship which unfolds between Geralt and Ciri, saying: “while he hasn’t necessarily been someone who craved children, he does take quite naturally to being a protector.” Watch the trailer here.
The Witcher season two is released on 17 December on Netflix
(Credit: Kevin Estrada/ Amazon Studios)
Gloria Calderón Kellett, who created Netflix’s much-loved but prematurely-cancelled remake of sitcom One Day At a Time, is serving up more warm-hearted family-centred fare with this new series focused on a pair of siblings, Lily and Jorge Diaz, who are on a quest to find the right people for them; Lily has just broken up with her boyfriend and is looking for true love, and Jorge has finally found a man good enough to introduce to the family. Each of the five hour-long episodes is set on a different public holiday throughout the year, as the Mexican-American duo cross paths with different people. The cast is led by Emeraude Toubia (Shadowhunters) and Mark Indelicato (Ugly Betty, Hacks) as Lily and Jorge, with Benito Martinez (Sons of Anarchy, How to Get Away with Murder) and Constance Marie (George Lopwz) playing their parents.
With Love is released on 17 December Prime Video
The Girl Before
Beautiful interiors meet chilling twists and turns in this adaptation of JP Delaney’s bestselling psychological thriller done by the writer himself. It stars David Oyelowo (Selma, Les Misérables) as Edward Monkford, owner and designer of an ultra-sleek and minimalist home in London. When Jane, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Loki, Misbehaviour), is looking for somewhere to live, Edward’s offer is too good to resist. But not all is as it seems, and she comes across the truth about Emma (Jessica Plummer) – the titular “girl before”.
The Girl Before is released on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in December in the UK
Love film and TV? Join BBC Culture Film and TV Club on Facebook, a community for cinephiles all over the world.
And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called The Essential List. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.