What to watch in December 2022: 11 top new movies and shows on Netflix, HBO Max, Apple and more

(L - R) Kate Hudson as Birdie, Jessica Henwick as Peg, Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc, and Leslie Odom Jr. as Lionel in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
(Image credit: Netflix)

2022 is going out with a bang when it comes to new movies and shows to watch. Netflix, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus and all the best streaming services are unveiling some of the most high-profile tiles of the year just as it comes to an end. There's no shortage of great stuff to watch in December. 

At the top of the list is Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, the second installment of Rian Johnson's sleuthing film franchise. Daniel Craig is back as detective Benoit Blanc, but the rest of the cast is completely new. It's a lock for our best Netflix movies list.

Other big movies premiering this month are Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, Will Smith's slavery drama Emancipation and the adaptation of the novel White Noise. 

Several fan-favorite series are returning, including Emily in Paris season 3 (one of the best Netflix shows) and Firefly Lane season 2. New shows are on deck, including ones that expand on previous hits like The Witcher: Blood Origin and The Best Man: The Final Chapters. 

In terms of movies coming to streaming from theaters, Paramount Plus gets Top Gun: Maverick and we think there's a chance Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits Disney Plus in late Dec. (though an early January release is possible).

Here’s our guide on what to watch in December 2022.

Gossip Girl season 2 (HBO Max)

The Upper East Side's drama kings and queens are back, as Constance Billard starts  another school year. The big news of this new season? Well, Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg) returns to the scene, and she's making a big B&E-style entrance. Also this season, we'll see more of the polyamorous relationship between Aki (Evan Mock), Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind), and Max (Thomas Doherty), who are trying to keep their truth away from GG's missives. 

Then, there's the rise of Monet (Savannah Lee Smith), who seeks to outsmart the rest of her peers, with the help of Pippa (Ella Rubin) and Bianca (Katherine Reis), making this high school game of chess all the more dangerous. — Henry T. Casey

Streaming on HBO Max (opens in new tab) starting Thursday (Dec. 1)

Slow Horses season 2 (Apple TV Plus)

This year, a murder mystery entangles the misfit agents who work in their own facility off-campus away from MI5. Gary Oldman returns as Jackson Lamb, the leader of these bumblers, and he's poked around the death of a former colleague to figure out that not everything is what it seems. And in diving into what happened, Lamb and his lambs discover a rot at the top that's responsible for the death. – HTC

Streaming on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab) starting Dec. 2

Firefly Lane season 2 (Netflix) 

Friendship breakups can be even more bitter and miserable than romantic splits, so we expect whatever goes down to end the 30-year bond between Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate (Sarah Chalke) is epic. 

The source of the friends' fracture will be revealed when Firefly Lane returns with the first nine episodes of a second, final, super-sized season. Also on deck, story-wise, Kate must deal with the painful aftermath of Johnny’s journey to Iraq to cover the war. Meanwhile, Tully faces a lawsuit after quitting her talk show and finds herself starting her career over from the bottom. She also wants answers about her long-lost birth father. - Kelly Woo

Streaming on Netflix (opens in new tab) starting Dec. 2

George & Tammy (Showtime) 

Jessica Chastain is playing her second Tammy in a biopic. After winning an Oscar for portraying the titular televangelist in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, she’s stepping into the boots of country icon Tammy Wynette in this limited series. Chastain is paired with Michael Shannon as the equally legendary George Jones. 

The series chronicles their wildly successful individual careers, which yielded hits like Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” and Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” as well as their many collaborations. Along the way, they engage in a tumultuous romantic relationship that sees them get married, have a daughter and divorce — the stuff country songs are made of. - KW

Airing on Showtime (opens in new tab) starting Dec. 4

Emancipation (Apple TV Plus) 

The Slap seen and heard around the world has cast a dark shadow over Will Smith’s career — past, present and future. It certainly took away from his winning the Best Actor Oscar for King Richard. Now, it threatens to take away from his next project, though it is a worthy one that in any other time would’ve landed him a nomination. 

Inspired by a true story, Antoine Fuqua’s film follows Peter (Will Smith) as he fights for freedom from slavery. After experiencing brutal treatment at the hands of plantation owners, Peter makes a harrowing escape through the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana. Later, photos of his back, heavily scarred from whipping, help stir public opposition to slavery. - KW

Streaming on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab) starting Dec. 9

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)

Yes, another Pinocchio movie. And no: This is not your dad's Pinocchio. Horror maestro Guillermo del Toro’s take on the long-nosed puppet who thinks he's a real boy is an amazing-looking stop-motion animation project that isn't willing to look a little jarring. 

Featuring a star-studded cast, including Ewan McGregor as Sebastian J. Cricket (with Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz and Ron Perlman also on board), this retelling of Pinocchio is all about the relationship between Gepetto (David Bradley) and Pinocchio (Gregory Mann), as the former is grieving over his son Carlo who passed away at a young age. Much like every version you've ever seen, this Pinocchio runs away from home, but his adventure looks far trippier than any you've ever experienced. – HTC

Streaming on Netflix (opens in new tab) starting Dec. 9

Emily in Paris season 3 (Netflix)

The fizzy, fluffy rom-com returns with more romantic and work dilemmas for the titular Emily, played by Lilly Collins. She may be a little more settled in Paris (with a slightly better grasp on the French language), but season 3 brings new complications into her life. For one, she’s two-timing her bosses — still working at Savoir for Madeline (Kate Walsh), while also jumping on board the new firm started by Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu).

And she’s still caught up in a love triangle between hot chef Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) and dashing British boyfriend Alfie (Lucien Laviscount). Emily will have some difficult decisions to make. And of course, ludicrous fashions to wear. - KW

Streaming on Netflix (opens in new tab) starting Dec. 21.

The Best Man: The Final Chapters (Peacock)

In 1999, The Best Man proved that there was a significant audience for funny, engaging movies about Black people. The hit was followed by the 2013 sequel The Best Man Holiday. Now, a limited series continuation wraps up the story of Harper (Taye Diggs), Candy (Regina Hall), Quentin (Terrence Howard), Jordan (Nia Long), Lance (Morris Chestnut), Shelby (Melissa De Sousa), Robyn (Sanaa Lathan) and Murch (Harold Perrineau). 

Longtime bachelor Quentin is finally tying the knot, so the friends are gathering for the occasion. Meanwhile, Harper’s book Unfinished Business is getting made into a movie, which may cause as much drama as it did when first published. - KW

Streaming on Peacock (opens in new tab) starting Dec. 22

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix) 

Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) rides again, as his Southern drawl is back on the scene of a crime, but he didn't go there expecting one. Whisked away to a private island in Greece by an uber-rich tech bro (Edward Norton), Blanc is one of many guests told their host will be "murdered." Yes, this so-called-genius' idea of a good time is pretending he's dead and having his friends — who call themselves "disruptors" — solve puzzles. 

Those comrades, played by the likes of Katherine Hahn, Dave Bautista, Janelle Monae, Leslie Odom, Jr. and Kate Hudson, all have their own quirks, but things get very dicey when an unexpected murder goes down. I've already seen Glass Onion, and can say you should 1) feel excited, as Rian Johnson's done it again, and 2) don't worry that you missed it in theaters. Glass Onion is perfect for movie night at home. – HTC

Streaming on Netflix (opens in new tab) starting Dec. 23

The Witcher: Blood Origin (Netflix) 

How, in fact, did we get to a point where Witchers were … you know … a thing? Those who have read the books or played the games may have an idea, but The Witcher: Blood Origin explains it all for the Netflix crowd. Long before Geralt of Rivia met Yennefer of Vengerberg and Ciri, a series of events led to the "conjunction of the spheres" — merging the worlds of monsters, men and elves. 

Three major characters have been announced: Scían (MIchelle Yeoh) knows her way around a blade, Éile (Sophia Brown) wants to sing and left the Queen's side to do so, while Fjall (Laurence O'Fuarain) is still mourning a loved one who sacrificed themselves in battle to save him. – HTC

Streaming on Netflix (opens in new tab) starting Dec. 25

White Noise (Netflix)

Long believed impossible to adapt to the screen, Don DeLillo's classic novel White Noise heads to Netflix (after a short theatrical run). And with Noah Baumbach at the wheel and a cast featuring Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver, this movie definitely has a chance to prove the doubters wrong. 

Both ordinary and absurdist in equal amounts, White Noise shows a family trying to deal with living, all while the apocalypse is taking place. One might call that too-on-the-nose for modern times. Oh, and it features a new song from the once-retired Brooklyn band LCD Soundsystem. – HTC

Streaming on Netflix (opens in new tab) starting Dec. 30

Other notable premieres to watch in December 2022

  • His Dark Materials season 3 (Dec. 5, HBO)
  • Doom Patrol season 4 (Dec. 8, HBO Max)
  • Kindred (Dec. 13, FX on Hulu)
  • National Treasure: Edge of History (Dec. 14, Disney Plus)
  • 1923 (Dec. 18, Paramount Plus)
  • Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan season 3 (Dec. 21, Prime Video)
  • Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical (Dec. 25, Netflix)
Kelly Woo
Senior Writer

Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media 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.

With contributions from