Christmas TV: The best shows and movies to stream on Amazon Prime, Netflix and NowTV

From the Oscar-nominated Roma to the Kurt Russell-starring The Christmas Chronicles

Jack Shepherd
Wednesday 26 December 2018 08:09
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Clockwise from top right: ‘Roma’, ‘The Christmas Chronicles’, ‘Bird Box’ and ‘My Brilliant Friend’
Clockwise from top right: ‘Roma’, ‘The Christmas Chronicles’, ‘Bird Box’ and ‘My Brilliant Friend’

While there’s plenty of promising television heading to terrestrial channels this Christmas, the sheer quality of the content now available on streaming services means that turkey won’t be the only thing you’re bingeing on.

But – with so much choice – what should you be watching? Below, we group together the best new films and TV shows available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and NowTV this December (out now, unless otherwise specified).

The Christmas Chronicles (Netflix)

Kurt Russell plays a rock star Santa Claus – what more could you want? If you’re not one of the 20 million people who streamed the Chris Columbus-produced Christmas corker during its first week on Netflix, then The Christmas Chronicles could be the perfect post-stuffing-your-face-with-mince-pies watch.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (Netflix)

Mowgli - Trailer

Yes, Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book is playing on BBC One on Christmas Day. But should you fancy a darker take on Rudyard Kipling’s story then turn to Netflix, which released its star-studded adaptation earlier this month. Directed by Andy Serkis, the film features the voices of Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris and Tom Hollander.

The Marvellous Mrs Maisel – season 2 (Amazon Prime)

With three Golden Globe nominations, The Marvellous Mrs Maisel’s second season has been met with critical adoration across the board. The show sees Rachel Brosnahan play Midge Maisel, a Jewish housewife in the late 1950s who has a natural aptitude for standup comedy. While exploring the trials and tribulations faced by women at the time, The Marvellous Mrs Maisel has some wonderful moments of upbeat humour that make it incredibly moreish.

Roma (Netflix)

Roma Offical Trailer 2

Netflix has never been closer to winning the Oscar for Best Picture. Alfonso Cuaron’s latest film – which follows the travails of a Mexican maid who becomes pregnant – is a quite wonderful character study that’s already picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film. The movie of the year.

My Brilliant Friend (NowTV)

HBO’s first ever foreign language series is an adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s novel of the same name. My Brilliant Friend tells the story of two young girls growing up together in the 1950s through flashbacks. Set in a violent and tense neighbourhood, the Italian series (with English subtitles) makes for captivating viewing.

Succession (NowTV)

We’re cheating here. While everything else here was released either in late November or December, Succession was a summer baby. However, with The Independent naming the series the best TV show of 2018 – beating the brilliant Killing Eve and A Very English Scandal (both available on iPlayer) – it seems only right to include the Brian Cox-led drama, which was written by Peep Show co-creator Jesse Armstrong.

Bruce Springsteen on Broadway (Netflix)

Nabbing a ticket to see the Boss take to the Broadway stage was a dream come true for Springsteen fans. And while the vast majority were unable to land a seat at New York’s Walter Kerr Theatre, Netflix has released the New Jersey singer’s entire performance, which sees Springsteen bare his soul, discussing everything from his childhood to his struggles with fame. Patti Scialfa, Springsteen’s wife and member of the E Street Band, joins for a couple of songs, but the majority is the artist alone on stage with an acoustic guitar.

Bird Box (21 December, Netflix)

Sandra Bullock leads this post-apocalyptic horror that has a similar premise to A Quiet Place: where in the Emily Blunt-starring film people would be killed by aliens if they made a sound, here the characters cannot use their eyes for fear of an other-worldly presence driving them insane. Bird Box was described as an “exhilarating and viscerally tense film” by The Independent.

Black Mirror – season 5 (rumoured 28 December, Netflix)

Earlier this month, a tweet from the official Netflix account accidentally revealed that the Black Mirror episode “Bandersnatch” will be available on 28 December. Whether that means the entire fifth season will follow – or whether it’s the rumoured choose-your-own-adventure episode – remains unconfirmed. But, fingers crossed, the often unsettling series returns before the new year.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – season 3 (1 January)

What better way to get over a New Year’s Day hangover than to plonk yourself in front of a television and binge on a new series? Thankfully, Netflix are releasing the third and final part of their quirky adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s books to celebrate the start of 2019. With Neil Patrick Harris returning to the role of Count Olaf, the show has received considerable acclaim – and has helped banish all memory of the dismal Jim Carrey film.

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