Christmas 2020 streaming guide: What to watch, from Little Women to The Mandalorian

All the Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and Now TV titles to have on your radar this festive season

Annabel Nugent
Thursday 24 December 2020 16:13 GMT
Midnight Sky trailer

For many households, Christmas television is as much something to look forward to as the turkey and roast potatoes.

As ever, BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are offering an array of options to choose from when it comes to sitting down for an hour (or five) of television amid the inevitable festive chaos – but the advent of streaming has given audiences an even wider selection of titles.

This year, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV and Disney Plus are putting on a noteworthy line-up for your consideration when compiling a Christmas watch list.

The final installations of fan-favourite series including Vikings, Oscar-nominated movies such as Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, and binge-worthy shows such as Netflix’s new period drama Bridgerton are all on the agenda.

Below, we run through the new films and TV shows that are arriving on streaming platforms during the festive period. Happy streaming!

Out now

The Holiday Movies That Made Us, Netflix

If you’re after something different to the usual Christmas line-up, Netflix’s documentary series The Holiday Movies That Made Us breaks down two of our favourite festive flicks. Take a behind-the-scenes look at Jon Favreau’s Elf and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas for a new appreciation of the old classics.

The Mandalorian
The Mandalorian (Lucasfilm Ltd)

The Mandalorian, Disney Plus

What better time to tuck into the Star Wars spin-off than the holidays. The franchise’s first live-action TV show, which costs a rumoured $15m (£11m) per half-hour episode, has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Whether or not you’re already a Star Wars fan doesn’t matter – the events of The Mandalorian require little to no prior knowledge of the franchise. Plus, you’ll finally understand what all the fuss about Baby Yoda is about.

Little Women, Now TV

Greta Gerwig’s beloved adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century novel is perfect festive viewing. The Oscar-nominated film – which stars Saoirse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet, Laura Dern and Florence Pugh – is not only wonderfully acted and gloriously heartwarming, but features a tear-jerking festive scene that will have you holding your loved ones close.  

The Prom
The Prom (Netflix)

The Prom, Netflix

If ever there was an occasion to watch Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and James Corden sing and dance, it’s got to be Christmas. The Netflix musical has been both praised and panned for being uber “cheesy”. The Independent’s critic Clarisse Loughrey gave the film four stars, writing: “It’s as diverting and satisfyingly self-indulgent as you’d expect from Murphy. It’s also smart and deeply heartfelt.” The film has received mixed reviews from critics and viewers – but make up your own mind.

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New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

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18 December

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Netflix

In the run-up to Christmas day, Netflix has a slew of offerings and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated. The late Chadwick Boseman gives his final performance in this new adaptation of August Wilson’s play, also starring Viola Davis and George C Wolfe. Set in late-1920s Chicago, the film follows blues singer Ma Rainey (Davis) and her band who gather in a recording studio when tensions rise between musicians, producers and managers. 

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

20 December

Mary Queen of Scots, Netflix

Despite a star-studded cast including Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots was only a modest success upon its release in 2018. Still, though, Josie Rourke’s movie about rival 16th-century queens is an intriguing watch. Now on Netflix, audiences have another shot at watching one of the decade’s most slept on films. 

Misbehaviour (Pathe)

Misbehaviour, Now TV

Like a ghost of a past era, Misbehaviour was one of few movies in cinemas when lockdown hit and as a result, the drama starring Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw got lost in the fray. Following the story of a group of women who plan to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London, the film boasts an impressive audience approval rating of 85 per cent on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. 

23 December

Clemency, Now TV

If you’re in the mood for something heavier, tune into Clemency on Now TV. The critically acclaimed death penalty drama saw its writer-director Chinonye Chukwu become the first black woman to win the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize last year. You can read the Independent’s four-star review of the film here.

Clemency (Neon)

Christmas Eve

Midnight Sky, Netflix

How better to celebrate Christmas Eve – and the impending end to 2020 – than with a dystopian sci-fi flick? George Clooney’s directorial debut sees the Hollywood star portray a scientist trying to warn astronauts returning to Earth of a mysterious global catastrophe. How fitting. 

Christmas Day

Bridgerton (Netflix)

Bridgerton, Netflix

After presents and feasting, next up on the Christmas itinerary is undoubtedly some downtime in front of the television. If you’re looking for a new series on which to binge, look no further than Netflix’s new period drama. The eight-part series based on Julia Quinn’s historical romance novels tells the stories of the high society young men and women entering the marriage market in search of love. There is also a special appearance from Julie Andrews as the voice of Lady Whistledown, an anonymous Gossip Girl-esque figure who produces pamphlets about the scandals emerging in the city. As with anything by Shonda Rhimes (the creator of shows including Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal), Bridgerton promises to be endlessly entertaining.

Sylvie’s Love, Amazon Prime

Marvel alumnus Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha portray star-crossed lovers in late-Fifties New York City. Thompson’s Sylvie is a record-store owner’s daughter from Harlem while Nnamdi Asomugha stars as a professional saxophonist. The film is a beautiful watch, featuring a technicolour palette that throws it back to Hollywood’s Golden Age and a soundtrack you’ll be listening to on Spotify long after the credits roll.

Soul (Disney)

Soul, Disney Plus

Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Graham Norton and Angela Bassett lend their voices to this heartwarming cartoon about Joe Gardner (Foxx) – a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. Ideal for an afternoon movie for the whole family to enjoy – parents included.

30 December

Vikings: Season 6, Part 2, Amazon Prime

It’s been more than a year since the first 10 episodes of Vikings’s sixth season dropped, but fans will finally be able to watch the second and final batch – which promises to be a dramatic conclusion to one of the decade’s most hyped shows. Following the unexpected death of one of the series’ main characters, anything could happen.

Vikings (LoveFilm/Vikings)

31 December

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Netflix

The fourth and final series of the young adult drama comes at the perfect time for some pre-party viewing. Spend the day catching up on the trials and tribulations of everyone’s favourite teenage witch before a night out on the town (or rather, amid the pandemic, in your living room).

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