As the holiday season hits high gear, gather with the family or give yourself a little “me time” to watch new shows and movies this Christmas weekend on Netflix, Disney Plus and other streaming services.
The Doctor Who Christmas special marks the beginning of Ncuti Gatwa's stint as the Fifteenth Doctor, following David Tennant's return for three 60th anniversary specials. Plus, Percy Jackson and the Olympians reboots that franchise as a TV series and Dr. Death season 2 spins out a new true crime story in the medical field.
In the movie realm, one of the 2024 Oscar contenders, the Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, premieres on streaming. For more epic fare, try the sci-fi actioner The Creator or the space fantasy Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire.
Check out our guide on what to watch this weekend.
Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road (Disney Plus)
The third and final Doctor Who 60th anniversary special “The Giggle” debuted Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor and ushered out the returning David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor. This Christmas special kicks off Gatwa’s official tenure and introduces him to his new companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson).
Long ago, Ruby was a baby abandoned in the snow on Christmas Eve. Now, she joins the doctor on a magical adventure involving stolen babies, monstrous goblins and possibly the secret of her own birth — all with a dose of holiday cheer.
Starts streaming Dec. 25 at 12:55 p.m. ET on Disney Plus (U.S. and Australia)
Airing on BBC One (U.K.)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Disney Plus)
Rick Riordan’s bestselling book series, which has already been adapted into two films, is coming to television. This is essentially a total reboot that more closely follows the novels.
Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell) is a 12-year-old boy who discovers he’s the son of Poseidon and, thus, a modern demigod. As he’s coming to terms with his newly awakened divine power, Zeus (the late Lance Reddick) accuses Percy of stealing the master lightning bolt. Percy and his friends — Athena’s daughter Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries) and the satyr Grover (Aryan Simhadri) — embark on a quest to find it and restore order to Olympus.
Streaming now on Disney Plus
Dr. Death season 2 (Peacock)
The true crime anthology based on the podcast of the same name adapts the latter’s third season, which chronicles the terrible acts of charismatic surgeon Paolo Macchiarini aka "Miracle Man." Renowned for his innovative operations, Macchiarini (Edgar Ramírez) draws the attention of investigative journalist Benita Alexander (Mandy Moore). As she produces a news special spotlighting his work, Alexander begins to suspect that the doctor is hiding dark secrets about how far he’s willing to go in the name of research.
Streaming now on Peacock
What If …? season 2 (Disney Plus)
The animated anthology might be one of Marvel’s more successful shows, fascinating fans by exploring alternate timelines in the multiverse that stem from major moments in the MCU films occurring differently. In the spirit of the holiday season, the second installment delivers a new episode every night for nine nights.
The Watcher is back to guide viewers and introduce new and familiar faces from the MCU. Several MCU stars reprise their iconic roles — look out for tales like “What If... Nebula Joined the Nova Corps?” and “What If... Happy Hogan Saved Christmas?”
Streaming now on Disney Plus
Ricky Gervais: Armageddon (Netflix)
If you’re not in the mood for holiday cheer, comfort and joy, then here’s Ricky Gervais with his latest provocative, profanity-laden, often-offensive comedy special. As usual, he’s getting criticized for some of the things he says in Armageddon, in which he riffs about the end of humanity, artificial intelligence, family weddings and funerals. Gervais is a well-known quantity at this point; take him or leave him at your own preference.
Starts streaming Dec. 25 at 3:01 a.m. ET on Netflix
The big story about this movie is the controversy surrounding the prosthetic nose that director/star Bradley Cooper wears to portray composer Leonard Bernstein. If that doesn’t bother you, then you can enjoy the acclaimed performances put on by Cooper and Carey Mulligan as Bernstein’s wife, Felicia Montealegre.
As much as this is a biopic about one of the most celebrated composers in history, it’s also a love story and a love letter to art. In addition to the leads, the stacked cast includes Matt Bomer, Sarah Silverman, Michael Urie and Maya Hawke. Maestro is sure to be an Oscar frontrunner, nose aside.
Streaming now on Netflix
Saltburn (Prime Video)
Emerald Fennell’s calling card is a darkly comedic psychological thriller (see: Killing Eve, Promising Young Woman). Her latest invokes The Talented Mr. Ripley, with Barry Keoghan starring as Oliver Quick, a scholarship student struggling at Oxford University, and Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton, a charming aristocratic classmate.
They become friends and when Oliver receives some terrible news, Felix invites him to spend the summer at his family’s sprawling estate, Saltburn. There, Oliver quickly wins over the Cattons, including father Sir James (Richard E. Grant), mother Lady Elspeth (Rosamund Pike) and sister Venetia (Alison Oliver). But soon, things take a turn and a shocking event shatters the peaceful summer.
Streaming now on Prime Video
Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire (Netflix)
Zack Snyder pitched his new space opera as a more mature Star Wars movie just after the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012. It wasn’t meant to be then, but his dream has finally come to the screen via Netflix. The space fantasy epic follows a mysterious figure named Kora (Sofia Boutella) who begins a new life in a peaceful village on the outer edge of the galaxy far from the Motherworld.
After unwittingly selling their crops to the insurgent group Bloodaxes, the villagers are targeted by the tyrannical Regent Balisarius (Fra Fee). Kora and local farmer Gunnar (Michiel Huisman) recruit trained fighters, including pilot Kai (Charlie Hunnam) and the legendary General Titus (Djimon Hounsou). They must learn to trust each other and fight together before the Motherworld destroys them all.
Streaming now on Netflix
The Creator (Hulu)
Our robot overlords are the villains in this sci-fi action epic from filmmaker Gareth Edwards (Rogue One, Godzilla). Set during a future war between humans and artificial intelligence, the story follows Joshua (John David Washington, an ex-special forces agent grieving his missing wife (Gemma Chan. He’s tasked with hunting down and killing the Creator, the elusive architect of the AI who has developed a weapon that could end the war by obliterating humanity.
Joshua and his team of operatives journey across enemy lines to destroy the weapon, only to discover it is an AI in the form of a young child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles).
Streaming now on Hulu
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Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.