Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+: 10 of the best new shows to watch in December and over Christmas

A John Lennon documentary narrated by Kiefer Sutherland and Reacher is back for a second series

Slow Horses

From Wednesday, November 29th, Apple TV+

There was some confusion about the start date for this third series of Slow Horses – we originally thought it was December 1st, so we left it out of our November round-up. Thus corrected, we nevertheless can’t let this superb spy thriller series starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott-Thomas go by without a huge recommendation. Fans of the books by Mick Herron won’t be disappointed when they see Oldman own the character of Jackson Lamb, the slovenly, bad-tempered and fiendishly clever boss of Slough House, a branch of MI5 stuffed with agents who have royally screwed up and must be kept away from the real espionage action. Of course, they still end up right in the thick of it. In this third series, the slow horses have to not only fight for their own survival, but to save MI5 itself.

John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial

From Wednesday, December 6th, Apple TV+

What happened on the night John Lennon was murdered? This one-off documentary, narrated by Kiefer Sutherland, brings us back to the night of December 8th, 1980, when the former Beatle was shot dead outside the Dakota Building in New York, sparking a worldwide display of shock and grief. Many of the main players in the unfolding drama – including friends, medical staff and crime investigators – recall the events of that fateful night and its aftermath. The trailer features a prescient quote from Lennon himself: “Nobody’s ever given peace a complete chance. Gandhi tried it, Martin Luther King tried it, but they were shot.”

Fresh Off the Boat

From Wednesday, December 6th, Disney+

Since we’re all so nostalgic for the 90s, binge-watching Friends and checking out the Frasier and Fresh Prince reboots, here’s a big US sitcom following the Huang family, who have moved to Orlando, Florida, and are finding real life in 1990s Florida is not quite Walt Disney World. Luckily they’ve got each other, a bundle of resourcefulness, sharp comedy timing and a love of hip-hop to help them navigate their new life. The series is based on the true story of Taiwanese-American chef Eddie Huang, and when it launched in the US in 2015, it was the first network sitcom in 20 years to feature an Asian-American family as the main characters.

My Life with the Walter Boys

From Thursday, December 7th, Netflix

You’ve seen Emily in Paris – now here’s Jackie in Colorado, and while there may not be all that much fashion, there’s still plenty of passion. Teenage New Yorker Jackie Howard has her life upended when she loses her family in a tragic accident, and has to leave her privileged life in Manhattan and move to the boondocks to live with her mom’s best friend Katherine and her eight boisterous boys. The thing keeping her going in this alien rural landscape is her dream of getting accepted into Princeton University, but soon she finds herself caught in a love triangle with two of the brothers, the introverted Alex and the charismatic Cole.


I Hate Christmas

From Thursday, December 7th, Netflix

Gianna only wants one thing for Christmas: to find love ... Two things: love and happiness ... Three things: love, happiness and the perfect Hallmark card Christmas. Can Santa make it happen? Alas, no, if Gianna wants to fix her love life and her social life, she’s going to have to create the festive magic herself in Netflix’s first-ever Italian Christmas series. This is actually the second series, so maybe they should have called it I Really Hate Christmas. It’s been a year since a mystery caller rang Gianna’s doorbell at Christmas Eve, and finally she may get to find out who the stranger is – and whether love will be waiting for her under the tree.

Under Pressure: The US Women’s World Cup Team

From Tuesday, December 12th, Netflix

The Republic of Ireland women’s soccer team didn’t make it past the group stage at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, but one team who were expected to at least make it to the quarterfinals were defending champions the US, the most successful team in the history of the women’s game. This documentary series follows the team as they prepare for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand and focus on winning their Third World Cup in a row (spoiler alert: they didn’t even make the quarterfinals, a first for a World Cup-winning side). The series captures the injury worries facing the team, and the equal pay controversy that engulfed the sport.


From Friday, December 15th, Prime Video

Quick, hide all furniture, faces and other smashable objects – Reacher’s back for a second series, and woe betide anything that gets in his way – rednecks, tanks, glaciers. Alan Ritchson returns as the muscle-bound military police investigator, and in this second series he’s faced with a mystery foe who is picking off members of his former army unit one by one. Reacher is determined to protect his colleagues, who are like family to him, and bring the killer to justice, and he joins forces with three of his former team-mates, including forensic accountant Karla, who he’s still carrying a torch for. Expect the foley artists to be extra busy making bone-breaking and butt-kicking sounds.

BTS Monuments: Beyond the Stars

From Tuesday, December 19th, Disney+

Here’s a Christmas treat for fans of the K-Pop phenomenon known as BTS. This documentary series features looks back on the Korean boy band stellar career at the toppermost of the poppermost, and contains so many stocking fillers, including interviews, performances and behind the scenes footage, that your tweens will be kept amused for hours while you get on with listening to the Led Zep vinyl you got from Santa. The series spans 10-years of global pop success, as BTS took the boy band baton from One Direction, and comes just as band member Jung Kook – the Harry Styles of BTS – is about to break big as a solo artist.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

From Wednesday, December 20th, Disney+

Harry Potter was pretty shocked when he found out he was a wizard, but imagine how 12-year-old Percy Jackson felt when he discovered he was a demigod. In this new series based on the best-selling children’s novels, Percy is trying to process his new semi-divine status, but before he can get his head around his awesome powers, Zeus only goes and loses his master lightning bolt – and accuses Percy of pilfering the celestial zapper. Now Percy has to find the bolt in lightning quick time and put things right in Olympus before it all goes to hell. Luckily he’s got a couple of magical friends, satyr Grover and Annabeth, daughter of Athena, to help him on his quest.

Money Heist: Berlin

From Friday, December 29th, Netflix

Fans of Money Heist will know that Berlin refers not to the city but to the nickname of the smooth criminal character played by Pedro Alonso in the hit Spanish crime caper series. In this spin-off series, we go back in time to when Berlin was a young gun, and putting together a crack crew to pull off a daring $44 million jewel robbery. But once again, Berlin may be faced with a choice between love and money – and of course he’s going to go for both. Money Heist creator Álex Pina says he’s playing this one for laughs, adding: “It’s a trip through the golden age of the character, when he robbed around Europe crazy in love.”

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist