An inexplicably successful revival series, a galactic bounty hunter, mockumentary cop action, and a no-longer-loner monster hunter. December overfloweth with must-see TV shows, both of the brand new and returning varieties. We’re working through the month by consecutive date in this list, but there’s no way to postpone acknowledging how successful the Cobra Kai series is while invigorating the Karate Kid franchise for new generations. As well, Star Wars universe follows up on a character who debuted in The Empire Strikes Back and, these days, has turned into a crime lord. Then Reno 911! updates itself past “New Boot Goofin'” territory to skewer the hell out of 2021, and The Witcher‘s Geralt of Rivia tackles more creatures of The Continent.
Elsewhere, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia somehow churns into its fifteenth season, Hulu brings us Olivia Colman as a murderess, HBO Max has male strippers and that new Sex and the City show, AMC+ launches a feminist period drama, and Netflix has returning shows of the frivolous and all-too-serious varieties. Whew, that’s almost too much TV, but we’re not complaining at all.
Here are the biggest shows worth noticing in December:
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 15 (FXX series returning 12/1)
Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, and the rest of the gang are raising hell in Ireland, and for some reason, someone is clad as the QAnon Shaman while not even It’s Always Sunny can escape the fresh hell that is 2021. So, expect to see COVID-19 acknowledged, along with the rest of 2020, in the special way that only this show can do. Uh, even a Jeffrey Epstein reference happens as the group bounces across the pond, and it’s good to have this crew back.
Pen15: Season 2, Part 2 (Hulu series streaming 12/3)
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle continue to play pre-teens as 30-something actresses, and expect even more cringeworthy vibes along with more unmistakably heartwarming moments. Relationships, both good and bad, rear their heads and test this show’s central friendship. Underneath it all, though, this show remains unyieldingly funny and more than a litte bit dark when it comes to what that dog’s doing in the above trailer.
Landscapers (HBO limited series streaming 12/6)
The dream pairing of Olivia Colman (The Crown, The Favorite) and David Thewlis (Fargo, I’m Thinking Of Ending Things) leads this inspired-by-real-life story about a couple that apparently murders one of their sets of parents. This ghastly turn of events launches a high-profile investigation, but don’t expect this to be a straight-up retelling in any sense of the word. Rather, director Will Sharpe (The Electrical Life of Louis Wain) isn’t afraid to explore fantasy along with the unusual love story of this couple.
Voir (Netflix docuseries streaming 12/6)
This documentary series serves as David Fincher’s love letter to cinema. Expect a swath of “visual essays” from Fincher in collaboration with his fellow cinephiles, who will dive deep into iconic movies to discover the true “purpose of filmmaking.” You’ll see some Jaws and Citizen Kane but also The Karate Kid, Mad Max: Fury Road, Kill Bill, Goodfellas, Lawrence of Arabia, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and more. It’s a master class in not only the art of filmmaking but the art of watching movies.
Welcome to Earth (Nat Geo and Disney+ limited series streaming 12/8)
Darren Aronofsky produces and Will Smith stars in this extraordinary global adventure that will remind everyone that there’s plenty of surfaces on Earth that humans have barely noticed as of yet. The show takes adventures to silently roaring volcanoes and journeys into morphing deserts and highlights all of the breathtaking moments that nature has to offer. Maybe, just maybe, Will’s sense of awe and palpable enthusiasm will take your mind away from all of those horror stories that he’s been relaying on the promotional trail. One can only hope.
And Just Like That… (HBO Max limited series streaming 12/9)
Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) are back, along with the Big Apple, y’all. No Samantha will be found, given that Kim Cattrall declined to return, but there will be returning dudes, including Chris Noth’s Mr. Big, who will hopefully be far less of an insufferable cad. Yet there’s going to be a bittersweet aspect to this revival, given that Willie Garson (Carrie’s BFF, Stanford Blatch) recently passed away. All of those swirling moods will possibly disappear in a whirl of overwrought flower hats or something, but the show professes to be more inclusive this time around. It’s also still about friendship and the complications of life.
Anne Boleyn (AMC+ limited series streaming 12/9)
Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen & Slim) stars in this reimagining of Tutor England’s era of King Henry VIII, and history will tell us that Anne, his second wife, did not fare well, given that no male heir surfaced from the marriage. The story leans toward psychological thriller rather than period drama, and the patriarchal society gets a feminist twist here. One mayor bonus here will be Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You), who portrays George Boleyn, brother of Anne. Expect a visionary take on a snapshot of time that people only thought that they understood.
MacGruber: Season 1 (Peacock series streaming 12/16)
This past spring, Will Forte told us that he was patiently waiting for Peacock to officially greenlight the MacGruber TV show, and it’s happening, approximately 11 years after the MacGruber film, which was (of course) based upon Forte’s recurring SNL sketch. The raunchiness of the film, co-starring Kristen Wiig as MacGruber’s sidekick (Vicki St. Elmo), surpassed the network incarnation of the sketch, but sadly, the title character’s sitting in prison these days, and that’s where this jailhouse interview picks up with an “eat my sh*t” moment. It’s no wonder that Forte once promised fans that that this series (written by Forte) was too “filthy” for network TV.
Finding Magic Mike: Season 1 (HBO Max series streaming 12/16)
Producers Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum bring their Magic Mike-themed reality series to life while zeroing in on a bunch of dudes who want to recapture their own mojo, so they go to a stripper bootcamp and let it all hang out. No word whether Ginuwine’s “Pony” will make an appearance or if we will see Tatum, but guest hosts will include Whitney Cummings, Nikki Glaser, and Nicole Scherzinger. Lighten up and enjoy this one from afar as these guys compete for a cash prize and notoriety aplenty.
The Witcher: Season 2 (Netflix series streaming 12/17)
It’s time to go on a swashbuckling rampage through destiny as Geralt of Rivia returns for more monster hunting on The Continent. Ciri and Geralt have finally found each other (in a paternal way), and she’s clearly now in training mode. The show’s got a lot to live up to, given that it defied expectations during its debut, and Henry Cavill has also revealed that his character will somehow be less grumpy this time around. Geralt will talk more, and maybe he’ll tell humble bard Jaskier to shove off again, but he will have to enlist the guy for help, so get ready for another banger in the process. Meanwhile, Yennifer’s out on her own, and not doing so well after the Battle of Sodden, as she’s apparently working her way back toward Geralt’s neck of the woods. Killing Eve‘s Kim Bodnia will portray Vesimir, Geralt’s mentor, and Game Of Thrones‘ Kristofer Hivju will wear highly unflattering prosthetics. Good times!
Emily In Paris: Season 2 (Netflix series streaming 12/22)
God help us all, this show will once again be binged into oblivion. Lily Collins returns as the stereotypically clueless and culturally offensive American who’s taking Par-ee by storm, one Instagram post at a time. The twist here is that Emily actually attempts to learn French this season, but of course, expect a ton of other drama because she slept with that hot chef and is still very good friends with the hot chef’s girlfriend. Please let the gross, unwashed skillet make a comeback and have some terrible karaoke tunes to accompany the Carrie Bradshaw of today, courtesy of primetime TV king Darren Star.
Dragons: The Nine Realms: Season 1 (Hulu series streaming 12/23)
Who didn’t love the How To Train Your Dragon movies? Only a monster, that’s who. This series takes place in the same world and approximately 1,300 years later when dragons no longer exist, other than legends. However, an enormous fissure appears in the Earth’s surface, and this allows room for official scientific research into exactly what’s going on here. If you guessed that a group of kids would be the ones who figure this thing out, you’d be correct. Long live the dragons.
Reno 911!: The Hunt for QAnon (Paramount+ special streaming 12/23)
Is it time for some more New Boot Goofin’? Probably not, but Lieutenant Dangle is back for the third incarnation of this show after the Quibi adventure and the Comedy Central storied history. In this special adventure, the Reno Sheriff’s deputies will somehow land on Jeffrey Epstein’s island and attempt to hunt for Q of QAnon fame. The gang will largely be back, so expect to see Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney-Silver, McLendon-Covey, Niecy Nash, Mary Birdsong, Ian Roberts, and many more to return to one of the most beloved mockumentaries of all time.
The Book of Boba Fett: Season 1 (Disney+ series streaming 12/29)
The iconic bounty hunter turns into a crime lord following his surfacing in The Mandalorian‘s second season. The very dead Jabba the Hutt has left a void in the galactic organized-crime realm, and Boba Fett is all too happy to fill it, but not by ruling by fear. Rather, he’s asking for respect, so we’ll see how that goes. Expect to see mercenary Fennec Shand along the way as these two head into underworld adventures that take them to Tatooine. It’s doubtful that we’ll see any Baby Yoda here, but one can hope for a miracle.
Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer (Netflix series streaming 12/29)
Alright, so the above trailer happens to be for the first installment (The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel) in this series, which arrived through the game changing ways of director Joe Berlinger, who’s navigating from within the true crime genre. In this new installment, the Times Square Killer gets the spotlight, along with the the social and systemic forces that facilitated this serial murderer. In the process, all the danger and depravity of 1970s and early 1980s midtown Manhattan will make those few blocks a character of their own.
Cobra Kai: Season 4 (Netflix series streaming 12/31)
The O.G. All Valley Karate Tournament confrontation took place 30 years ago, and Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence can’t get over it. Likewise, their respective dojos, Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang, attempt to join forces against John Kreese’s ownership of Cobra Kai, but of course, getting along will prove to be a bumpy road. Kreese has called in reinforcements in the form of his old Vietnam War buddy and co-founder of the Cobra Kai dojo, Terry Silver, who returns to the franchise. Who will win the spirit of karate in the Valley, and can Hawk and Tory keep their bully spirits alive while Johnny’s messing around with a crane kick? Most of the grown-ups are a-holes in their own way here, so hopefully, the kids can talk some sense into them.