Well, here we are, folks — it’s too cold to do stuff outside anymore, so we’re back inside our homes for the immediate future, thanks to rising COVID numbers. When there’s nothing left to clean, bake or create in the house, you know what you’ll be doing: turning on the TV and re-establishing the outline of your butt on the couch that you worked so hard to make back in March and April.
Here are our recommendations for the TV series and movies worth checking out this month on various platforms. There’s a lot to choose from, as it turns out — from ridiculous comedies, to major miniseries, to big Hollywood movies.
On Friday, season four of “Big Mouth,” the raunchiest animated series ever (move over, “South Park”) premiered on Netflix. Don’t let that fool you, though: the show is also intelligent and sweet, amid the crass sex jokes made by middle-schoolers voiced by the likes of Nick Kroll, John Mulaney and Jason Mantzoukas.
On Sunday, Showtime serves up a double dose of great TV. First, there’s the season premiere of the final season of “Shameless,” the long-running, William H. Macy-starring comedic saga of the Gallagher family. Then, there’s the premiere of “Your Honor,” a limited series starring Bryan Cranston as a judge who tries to cover up his son’s hit-and-run accident involving the child of a powerful mobster.
Music lovers should definitely check out “Song Exploder,” of which the second batch of episodes starts on Dec. 15 on Netflix. This fascinating series digs deep into iconic songs from beloved artists — this season features songs from Nine Inch Nails, Dua Lipa, The Killers and Mexican folk singer Natalia Lafourcade, while the previous season showcased songs from R.E.M., Alicia Keys, Ty Dolla Sign and a song from “Hamilton.”
One of the most anticipated series of the year starts on CBS All Access on Dec. 17 — a new miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Stand.” Starring Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abagail, James Marsden as Stu Redman and Alexander Skarsgard as Randall Flagg, it’s got big shoes to fill after the cult favorite early-90s TV miniseries.
Finally, on Dec. 25, Hulu premieres season nine of “Letterkenny,” the outrageous, hilarious and delightful Canadian series about hicks, skids, Natives and hockey players in rural Ontario. Netflix also offers up a new series on Christmas Day — “Bridgerton,” the first offering from Shonda Rhimes on the streaming platform, a romantic drama set in early 19th-century England.
One of the few pleasant surprises of 2020 is the fact that, because movie theaters aren’t exactly the safest places to be due to the pandemic, many high-profile films that would take months to come to streaming are now available to watch the day they come out. Two of those premiered Friday, starting with Netflix’s “Mank,” David Fincher’s stylish biopic of Herman J. Mankiewicz, the screenwriter of “Citizen Kane,” starring Gary Oldman in the title role. The other, Amazon’s critically acclaimed “Sound of Metal,” stars Riz Ahmed as a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing.
Later on in December, on Dec. 11 Amazon premieres “I’m Your Woman,” a drama starring Rachel Brosnahan as a woman on the run from her husband’s betrayed partners in crime. The following weekend, on Dec. 18, Netflix offers up “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” an adaptation of August Wilson’s play about the legendary blues singer, starring an electrifying Viola Davis in the title role and, heartbreakingly, Chadwick Boseman in his final film role as Levee, an ambitious trumpet player.
Finally, right around Christmas Day there are three films that you’d normally call blockbusters that are premiering — this year, let’s call them couchbusters, eh? On Dec. 23, Netflix offers up “The Midnight Sky,” a sci-fi epic directed by and starring George Clooney as a man trying to keep a crew of astronauts from landing on a post-apocalyptic Earth.
On Dec. 25, Pixar’s “Soul,” another sweet addition to the Disney stable about a jazz musician whose soul gets separated from his body, comes to Disney+. Also on Dec. 25, on HBO Max, we finally get to see the long-delayed “Wonder Woman 1984,” once again featuring Gal Gadot as the goddess herself, and Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig as her adversaries. That is, if you’re able to get HBO Max, since it’s still not available on either Roku or Amazon devices due to ongoing negotiations between all the companies involved.
Get it together, corporations! We need our TV, now!