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Ten Shows and Movies to Watch on Netflix in December 2021

The streamer wraps 2021 with more award season heavyweights and returning favorites Emily in Paris, Cobra Kai, and The Witcher.
  • Photos: Netflix
    Photos: Netflix

    December tends to be when it all comes together for Netflix. Not only do we get new seasons from some of the streamer's most popular original shows, we also get a seasonally-appropriate dose of festive family fare, and more than a couple orginal films that already have Oscar prognosticators buzzing. Here are the new releases and returning series we're most looking forward to seeing this month:

    The Power of the Dog (NEW film)

    It's been over a decade since Jane Campion’s last movie Bright Star came out, and the excitement around The Power of the Dog has been building since the western debuted at the Venice Film Festival in September. Based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name, Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the charismatic and terrifying rancher Phil Burbank. When his brother George (Jesse Plemons) returns with a new wife and her teenage son, Phil torments his new relatives. Kirsten Dunst teams up with real-life fiance Plemons for the first time since Fargo and if pre-release buzz is to believed, this could be the year the veteran actress finally gets nominated. Available December 1

    Single All the Way (NEW film)

    Netflix’s first gay holiday rom-com has it all: a best friend will-they-won’t-they, Jennifer Coolidge in leopard print, a ripped Luke Macfarlane playing a personal trainer, and plenty of yuletide shenanigans. Perpetually single Peter (Michael Urie) invites BFF Nick (Philemon Chambers) home for the holidays so his parents (played by Kathy Najimy and Barry Bostwick) will lay off his love life, but an unexpected spark makes his plans go awry. Available December 2

    Money Heist, Season 5 Vol. 2

    It s time to hang up the red coveralls and Salvador Dalì masks as the Spanish hit comes to a close. The first half of Season 5 left viewers with their jaws on the floor after fan-favorite Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó) sacrificed herself. Now that authorities have the upper hand, will the Professor (Álvaro Morte) find a way out of this mess before the series finale? Available December 3

    Voir (NEW series)

    Much to the chagrin of Mindhunter fans, Netflix's big David Fincher announcement last month wasn’t a third season of Mindhunter. Still, the Mank director's six-part visual essay series celebrating cinema should tick all the film buff boxes. Clips from Jaws, The Godfather Part II, and Bonnie and Clyde are featured in the trailer with ??film critics Walter Chaw and Drew McWeeny, and editor and writer Tony Zhou among the experts offering their observations about the personal impact of these cinematic triumphs. Available December 6

    The Unforgiveable (NEW film)

    Bird Box was a phenomenon when it was released in 2018, but Sandra Bullock’s new venture ditches post-apocalyptic scenarios for gritty drama. Bullock plays Ruth Slater, a woman who's recently been released from prison after serving a lengthy sentence for a violent crime. The past cannot be forgotten as she vows to find the little sister she hasn’t seen since that fateful day. In addition to Bullock, the film's cast also includes heavy-hitters like Viola Davis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, Linda Emond, and Rob Morgan. Available December 10

    The Hand of God (NEW film)

    Oscar-winning Italian director Paolo Sorrentino returns with what's being billed as his most personal film yet, about a boy growing up in tumuluous 1980s-era Naples. A favorite to win Best International Film at the 2022 Academy Awards, the film won four awards at this year's Venice Film Festival, including Best Film, Best Actress (Teresa Saponangelo) and Best Young Actor or Actress (Filippo Scotti). Available December 15

    The Witcher, Season 2

    Henry Cavill and his blonde wig are back for another season of The Witcher. In a world that has turned upside down, monsters that should be hibernating roam freely and the North and South are at war. Geralt of Rivia (Cavil) is fighting side by side with Ciri (Freya Allan), aka the Child of Surprise as he also scoffs at the notion that this is the end of days — he has already lived through three of those. Expect more sword fighting, beasts, and discussions about fate. Available December 17

    Emily in Paris, Season 2

    “Ever since I moved to Paris my life has just been chaotic, and dramatic, and complicated,” Emily (Lily Collins) observes in the Season 2 trailer for one of last year's most talked-about shows. The bucket hats and bold fashion choices are back (and dialed all the way up) as Emily’s love life continues to wreak havoc on her work life. Available December 22

    Don't Look Up (NEW film)

    Don’t Look Up is on-brand with director Adam McKay’s recent political output (see The Big Short and Vice), but with a twist as this movie is “based on real events that haven’t happened - yet.” A large planet-killing comet is headed to earth and no one seems to be worried by the news and the inevitable looming disaster. (Sound familiar?) The cast is an Oscar-winning who’s who that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet, and Don Cheadle. Plus, Jennifer Lawrence makes her return after a couple of years away from the big screen, playing one of the low-level astronomers trying to make their voice heard in a sea of bureaucrats. Available December 24

    Cobra Kai, Season 4

    Rivalries don’t last forever in the world of Cobra Kai. That seems to be the message Daniel (Ralph Macchio) delivers when the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang dojos decide to join forces to take down Cobra Kai at the forthcoming All Valley Under 18 tournament. The stakes are high as whoever loses must hang up their gi. Following a surprise nomination at this year's Emmys, the fate of the Valley rests on this alliance between former enemies Daniel and Johnny (William Zabka). Available December 31

    The Lost Daughter (NEW film)

    Ending 2021 with the release of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s feature directorial debut is a strong move from Netflix as this adaptation of the Elena Ferrante psychological thriller may be streamer's greatest award contender. The Lost Daughter has been taking the film festival circuit by storm with its depiction of a beach vacation that takes a dark turn after a middle-aged woman (Olivia Colman) becomes obsessed with a young mother (Dakota Johnson). Gyllenhaal’s real-life husband Peter Sarsgaard, Ed Harris, Paul Mescal, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen also star. Available December 31

    Emma Fraser has wanted to write about TV since she first watched My So-Called Life in the mid-90s, finally getting her wish over a decade later. Follow her on Twitter at @frazbelina

    TOPICS: Netflix, Emily in Paris, La Casa de Papel, Voir, The Witcher, Cobra Kai