New on Apple TV Plus December 2023 — 9 new shows, movies and specials to watch

Mark Wahlberg and Iliana Norris in "The Family Plan," premiering December 15, 2023 on Apple TV+
(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Apple TV Plus is home to a variety of shows and movies, but it excels at choosing quality over quantity. So it may not surprise you that only eight new TV shows and movies are coming to the streaming service in December 2023.

This month, there is definitely a theme with most of Apple TV Plus' new offerings. Of the eight new shows and movies, six are holiday specials. You do at least get some variety there, but it is mostly family-friendly animated fare paired with the Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell movie Spirited, which is arriving as a sing-along version that previously debuted in theaters.

Still, if you're a Grinch like me and aren't feeling the holiday spirit, there are two options for you. First up is John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial, a three-part docuseries about the murder of John Lennon starting on December, 6. Then halfway through the month, you can stream The Family Plan, a light-hearted action romp about a former assassin on a family road trip starring Mark Wahlberg.

Sadly there's no Slow Horses: The Holiday Special, but there's still plenty to watch for your $10 a month. In fact, there may even be a major theatrical release coming to the streaming platform. Here are the top picks for what's new on Apple TV Plus in December 2023.

Frog and Toad Christmas Special

If you're like me, you remember the Frog and Toad books from your childhood. But you may not have realized that Apple turned the beloved children's books into an Apple TV Plus animated series. Starring Nat Faxon as Frog and Kevin Michael Richardson as Toad, the show has a loaded cast of hilarious recurring and guest voice actors and is getting its own Christmas Special. If you need something for the kids this December, this adaptation of the Frog and Toad short story Christmas Eve should be an excellent choice.

Premieres Dec. 1 on Apple TV Plus

The Snoopy Show Christmas Special

Remember, I warned you there'd be a lot of holiday specials this month. Like Frog and Toad, Apple took a beloved property — in this case Peanuts — and turned it into an animated children's show. One of two Peanuts holiday specials you'll get to watch on Apple TV Plus this month, The Snoopy Show Christmas Special (Happiness is Holiday Traditions) is a follow-up to last year's holiday special that aired at the end of season 2. 

Premieres Dec. 1 on Apple TV Plus

Shape Island Winter Special

Apple TV Plus' blizzard of holiday fun to kick off December continues with the Shape Island Winter Special: The Winter Blues. This stop-motion animated TV show is based on the popular trilogy of Shapes picture books written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen and this special will add another episode to the already well-received first season. So gather up the family and join Square, Circle and Triangle as they celebrate a new holiday: Yeti Night.

Premieres Dec. 1 on Apple TV Plus

Spirited 

Spirited debuted last holiday season but this musical comedy retelling of A Christmas Carol is arriving on Apple TV Plus as a sing-along version. Starring Will Ferrell as Ebenezer Scrooge — now the Ghost of Christmas Present — Ryan Reynolds as the "unredeemable" Clint Briggs and Octavia Spencer as Briggs' assistant Kimberly, Spirited's sing-along version is probably a good option for a holiday party if you need an activity. Or, you can always just opt for the theatrical release if you prefer to listen rather than sing.

Premieres Dec. 1 on Apple TV Plus

John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial

There's no way to appropriately transition from four holiday specials in a row to a docuseries about the shocking assassination of John Lennon, but I'm going to try anyway. On a cold winter night nearly 43 years ago, Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon outside The Dakota in New York. John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial sets out to investigate why Chapman killed Lennon that fateful day. The three-part docuseries is narrated by Keifer Sutherland.

Premieres Dec. 6 on Apple TV Plus

The Family Plan

Finally, a good, old-fashioned popcorn flick. Starring Mark Wahlberg as Dan Morgan, a former assassin now-turned husband and family man, The Family Plan looks a fun watch with plenty of laughs, hijinks and action sprinkled throughout as Morgan hunts down people from his past trying to kill him. If you need a break from the holiday specials or the family you're watching them with, The Family Plan should be a nice diversion.

Premieres Dec. 15 on Apple TV Plus

A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas may not be new — it's not even new to Apple TV Plus, where you can watch it right now — but you will be able to stream it for free from December 16-17. Christmas specials don't get more classic than this one, which is easily my favorite Christmas special of all time. So join Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang for free as an early Christmas present.

Available to stream for free Dec. 16-17 on Apple TV Plus

Sago Mini Friends New Year’s Eve Special

In case you run out of kid-friendly content as Christmas approaches, which would be impressive, Apple is giving you one last animated holiday special. Based on the popular children's app (now I feel old), this Apple TV Plus show stars Harvey the dog (Ian Ho), Jinja the cat (Claire Poon), Jack the rabbit (Liam McKenna) and Robin the bird (Christina Churchill). Join them in “New Year’s Steve,” where Harvey makes a wish to stay awake until midnight.

Premieres Dec. 22 on Apple TV Plus

Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon will come to Apple TV this month — but not Apple TV Plus. Apple announced on Twitter (X) that the film will (shockingly) be available via video-on-demand before arriving on the streaming service for subscribers.

Based on the true story of a series of murders in the Osage Nation, this movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, both of whom are out-acted by an incredible Lily Gladstone performance. If you want to watch it now, I do recommend the film, but I'd personally wait until it's available to stream for Apple TV Plus subscribers.

Available to rent Dec. 5 on Apple TV

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.


Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.