Streaming platforms’ fees have been rising, which means it costs even more to maintain multiple subscriptions that collectively give you more TV series and movies than you could possibly watch in a month. (You may never visit some that you’re paying for!) Considering how easy it is to toggle subscriptions on and off, a budget-conscious consumer could pick one streamer each month, wring the most out of it, and then move on to another platform the next month. If you are looking to cut your media budget: Which platform should you keep for December 2022 to get the most value for your streaming dollar? After carefully perusing the offerings from all the major subscription platforms, our pick for December is: Netflix.
A quick note on our criteria: Since you may well pivot to different platforms each month, we prioritize series that you can watch in their entirety in the current month. For example, Hulu’s Welcome to Chippendales (which debuts November 22) is worth watching, but it does not conclude until January 10, making January 2023 a better time to subscribe and binge.
Oh, and if your grandma sent you a twenty with your holiday card and you want to treat yourself to not one streamer but two? We’ve got you covered for that, too.
Here’s what you can look forward to this month on Netflix:
Noteworthy Original Movies
Dec. 2 “Sr.”
Freed from the demands of the MCU, Robert Downey Jr. teamed up with Chris Smith (Fyre) to create a documentary feature about his filmmaker father, Robert Downey Sr., in the last months of his life.
Dec. 2 Lady Chatterley’s Lover
D.H. Lawrence’s infamously erotic novel gets a new feature-film adaptation from director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre (The Mustang). Unbroken star Jack O’Connell stars as the titular Lover opposite Emma Corrin (The Crown’s first Princess Diana) as the scandalous Lady.
Dec. 7 Burning Patience
Antonio Skármeta’s 1985 novel, Ardiente Paciencia, has already been adapted as a feature film: Michael Radford’s Oscar-winning The Postman/Il Postino. Presumably director Rodrigo Sepulveda—who, like Skármeta, is Chilean—will have a different take on the material. (If you want to stream Sepulveda’s last feature, 2020’s My Tender Matador, you’ll have to subscribe to yet another platform: it’s on Showtime.)
Dec. 9 Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
The Oscar-winning director del Toro partners with Mark Gustafson on this stop-motion-animated take on the novel about a wooden marionette who comes to life, transporting the action to fascist Italy in the 1930s; the voice talent includes Ewan McGregor, Christoph Waltz, Ron Perlman, and Tilda Swinton. Early reviews have been far more glowing than those for Robert Zemeckis’s live-action Disney+ remake.
Dec. 16 Bardo, False Chronicle Of A Handful Of Truths
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant, Birdman) directed and co-wrote this black comedy about an acclaimed filmmaker whose return from Los Angeles to his native Mexico sends him into an emotional crisis in which he experiences hallucinogenic visions. Its Netflix premiere closely follows its theatrical release on November 18, so if you’re not sure you want to spend 159 minutes among strangers, now you have an option.
Dec. 23 Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Rian Johnson’s Knives Out topped critics’ lists after its release in 2019, and Glass Onion is the first of two sequels he’s making for Netflix: Daniel Craig reprises his role as private detective Benoit Blanc, and this time he’s joined by Edward Norton, Ethan Hawke, Janelle Monáe, Dave Bautista, and Kate Hudson, among many others. And if you like this, you might want to keep Netflix for another month: Johnson’s Poker Face, a mystery dramedy series starring Natasha Lyonne, arrives January 26.
Dec. 25 Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical
Dahl’s beloved novel Matilda previously inspired a feature film by Danny DeVito in 1996; the stage musical—with songs by comedian Tim Minchin—first premiered in the UK in 2010, and upon its move to Broadway, was nominated for 13 Tonys and won five. Netflix’s new movie, a film adaptation of the show, stars Alisha Weir as the extraordinary titular character; Emma Thompson as the pigtail-tossing boarding-school headmistress determined to break her; and The Woman King’s Lashana Lynch as Matilda’s beloved teacher, Miss Honey.
Noteworthy Original TV Series
Dec. 02 Hot Skull, season 1
Afşin Kum’s novel is the basis for this dystopic Turkish-language sci-fi series. Strictly for viewers who don’t have pandemic fatigue, Hot Skull dramatizes the effects of a worldwide plague transmitted via language and speech.
Dec. 07 Too Hot To Handle, season 4
Any old dating reality show can air episodes in which sexy singles can’t keep their hands off each other. Too Hot To Handle sets itself apart by requiring that its contestants practice abstinence, both with and without partners. The most diabolical part? These poor fools think they’ve signed up for a Mario Lopez-hosted show called Wild Love, only to find out during the premiere shoot that they’re going to have to keep it in their pants. (Released in two five-episode batches on December 7 and December 14.)
Dec. 09 Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area Part 2
When it ended its run last winter, the Spanish drama Money Heist was Netflix’s #1 show of all time, so giving it a remake in another location was just good business. The new season picks up where Part 1 (which dropped this June) left off: Inspired by the heist in Spain, a strategist known as “The Professor” (Yoo Ji-tae) has assembled a crew to rob the Korean mint, and must constantly tweak his elaborate plan in response to unexpected twists.
Dec. 13 Last Chance U: Basketball, season 2
The platform’s Last Chance U documented the challenges of junior college football players; this spinoff brings the same care and empathy to the stories of disadvantaged athletes trying to make it as basketball players. Season 2 picks back up at East Los Angeles College, and covers, among other issues the students face, the effects of the COVID pandemic.
Dec. 16 The Recruit, season 1
Noah Centineo has entranced teen and tween viewers with his role in Netflix’s To All The Boys series…and Netflix’s Sierra Burgess Is A Loser…and Netflix’s The Perfect Date. Now he’s pulling out of the cutie-pie lane for The Recruit. In this drama series from The Rookie creator Alexi Hawley, Centineo plays a lawyer whose new job at the CIA takes a treacherous turn when he meets a former agent with her own agenda.
Dec. 21 Emily In Paris, season 3
Last winter, season 2 left the titular Emily (Lily Collins) departing Savoir, the marketing agency that brought her to Paris in the first place, but Collins has promised “More love triangles, more drama, more laughs, more fashion, more locations, more France!” Darren Star’s sitcom macaron might be one of social media’s most divisive shows, but do you really want to be left out of the conversation?
Dec. 25 The Witcher: Blood Origin (limited series)
Take a break from worrying about what The Witcher will be like without Henry Cavill next season and step into this limited prequel series about the creation of the first Witcher. We’ve got a sword-elf, we’ve got royal guards — we’ve even got a traveling musician! The cast includes Everything Everywhere All At Once’s Michelle Yeoh, Oscar nominee Minnie Driver, and British comedy legends Lenny Henry and Dylan Moran, among many others.
Dec. 06 Sebastian Maniscalco: Is It Me?
One of the most successful comics working today returns to Netflix for his first special since 2019’s Stay Hungry. Per the teaser trailer, Is It Me? was filmed in Las Vegas, and promises Rat Pack glamor in keeping with the location.
Dec. 13 Tom Papa: What A Day!
After making his Netflix special début with You’re Doing Great! in 2020, Tom Papa brings his follow-up to the platform. What A Day, filmed earlier this fall at Boston’s Wilbur Theater, features some topics Papa fans will expect (marriage and parenting) and some that are brand-new (his rescue pug!).
Dec. 27 Chelsea Handler: Revolution
Chelsea Handler’s association with Netflix goes back, at this point, close to a decade. She hosted the platform’s first talk show, Chelsea, starting in 2016, and has headlined several documentary series since then. But she’s still only headlined one standup special on Netflix: Uganda Be Kidding Me: Live, in 2014. That will change this year with the release of Revolution, which will bring fans up to speed on her life now: her relationship with her family, dating during COVID, and “her choice to remain childless and alone (with the exception of her dogs).”
Want to take on a second platform in December? Our recommendation: HBO Max (dates below are for each season’s finale, when all episodes will be available)
- Dec. 01 Titans, season 4
- Dec. 07 Unveiled: Surviving La Luz Del Mundo, season 1
- Dec. 11 The White Lotus, season 2
- Dec. 14 Shaq: From Shaq To Shaquille, season 1
- Dec. 15 The Sex Lives Of College Girls, season 2
- Dec. 22 Sort Of ,season 2
- Dec. 22 Branson: Space, season 1
- Dec. 26 His Dark Materials, season 3 (and the entire series)
- Dec. 27 The Howard Stern Interview: Bruce Springsteen
- Dec. 27 Chainsaw Man, season 1
- Dec. 30 We’re Here, season 3
See you back here in a month, when we’ll pick January’s best streamer.