11 new movies and shows to watch in December 2023 on Netflix, Prime Video, Apple and more

Alan Ritchson in Reacher season 2
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

The end of the year is fast approaching, but fortunately, it doesn't mean an end to streaming entertainment. Far from it! If you're looking for what to watch in December 2023, you won't be short of options among the new movies and shows premiering on Netflix, Prime Video, Peacock and other major streaming services.

Of course, the holidays are a busy time and nobody can watch everything (nor pay for every service). So, we've plucked out the best arrivals, the ones not to miss. They include the series finale of The Crown, Reacher season 2, Mark Wahlberg's latest action comedy The Family Plan, a TV reboot of Percy Jackson and the Oscar buzz-earning biopic Maestro. 

Here's our guide on what to watch this month.

Candy Cane Lane (Prime Video, Dec. 1)

Here's a surprise: Eddie Murphy hasn’t made a holiday comedy until now. He plays Chris, a man on a mission to win his neighborhood’s annual Christmas home decoration contest. To better his chances of winning, he makes a deal with mischievous elf Pepper (Jillian Bell) — without knowing the zaniness that will follow. She casts a magic spell that brings the 12 Days of Christmas to life, wreaking havoc on the entire town. In danger of ruining the holidays for everyone, Chris, his wife Carol (Tracee Ellis Ross) and their three kids must race against the clock to break Pepper’s spell.

Premieres Dec. 1 on Prime Video

May December (Netflix, Dec. 1)

Remember Mary Kay Letourneau, the sixth-grade teacher who had sex with her 12-year-old student, was convicted of rape and had his child in prison? Todd Haynes’ latest melodrama is loosely based on that true crime. Twenty years after their notorious romance, Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore) and her 23-years-younger husband Joe (Charles Melton) are facing their twins’ high school graduation. Hollywood actress Elizabeth Berry (Natalie Portman) visits to better understand the controversial woman she is portraying in a film. As she gets to know them, the family’s dynamics begin to unravel under an outsider’s gaze. 

Premieres Dec. 1 on Netflix

Sweet Home season 2 (Netflix, Dec. 1)

When the Korean horror series debuted in 2020, it made for apt, if very dark, pandemic viewing. Now, it’s back for a second season, and though real-world circumstances are very different, the story still hits hard. Whereas season 1 focused on Hyun-soo (Song Kang) and other survivors barricaded in their apartment building Green Home, season 2 will follow them into the outside world. There, they will have to contend with more monsters. But equally terrifying are the other humans they encounter.

Premieres Dec. 1 on Netflix

Leave the World Behind (Netflix, Dec. 8)

This apocalyptic thriller film from Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot, Homecoming) features a star-studded cast including Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali and Ethan Hawke. Married couple Amanda (Roberts) and Clay (Hawke) rent a luxurious home for a weekend with their kids Archie (Charlie Evans) and Rose (Farrah Mackenzie). But their vacation is soon upended by the arrival of two strangers, G.H. (Ali) and daughter Ruth (Myha’la). They bring news of a cyberattack that has led them to seek refuge in the house they claim to be their own. The two families must co-exist as they face a disaster that could destroy life as they know it.

Premieres Dec. 8 on Netflix

Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie (Peacock, Dec. 8)

Shows from the USA network are experiencing quite an upsurge of interest recently. Suits dominated streaming over the summer; now Monk is back on the scene again. Tony Shalhoub already reprised his Emmy-winning role as the multi-phobic detective with obsessive-compulsive disorder in a variety special during the pandemic. He’s on board for a “last case” (we’ll see about that), which involves Adrian Monk taking on a mystery involving his beloved step-daughter, journalist Molly (Caitlin McGee), as she prepares for her wedding.

Premieres Dec. 8 on Peacock

The Crown season 6 part 2 (Netflix, Dec. 14)

Meg Bellamy as Kate Middleton and Ed McVey as Prince William in The Crown season 6 part 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

Long live the Queen … in our memories. As we all know, Queen Elizabeth II died last year after reigning for seven decades. And with her passing comes the final chapter of Peter Morgan’s fictionalized version of her story. Part 1 of season 6 dealt with Diana’s tragic death; in part 2, Prince William (Ed McVey) and Prince Harry (Luther Ford) will grapple with their loss. We’ll also witness romance blossom between Wills and Kate Middleton (Meg Bellamy) when they meet at St. Andrews University. While Morgan hasn’t stated how he’ll close out the series, our guess is that it’ll run up to 2002, which saw the deaths of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret and the celebration of Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee. 

Premieres Dec. 14 on Netflix

The Family Plan (Apple TV Plus, Dec. 15)

Mark Wahlberg’s new action comedy sees him playing a devoted husband, father of three and successful car salesman in quiet suburbia. But decades earlier, he was an elite government assassin who took out the world’s deadliest threats. Now, enemies from his past have tracked him down, so Dan takes his unsuspecting wife (Michelle Monaghan) and kids on an impromptu cross-country road trip to Las Vegas. He’s determined to protect them while giving them the vacation of a lifetime, all while hiding his identity and fending off the bad guys. 

Premieres Dec. 15 on Apple TV Plus

Reacher season 2 (Prime Video, Dec. 15)

Jack Reacher, the hulking former military policeman turned vigilante, is hitting the road again to apply his very particular set of skills to a new crime in a new location involving new people. Lee Childs' books are essentially an anthology, and the series creator Nick Santora has indicated he will keep to that structure. Season 2 will adapt Bad Luck and Trouble, the 11th book, which plunges Reacher into a conspiracy that is killing old friends. Robert Patrick (Terminator 2) joins the cast as Langston, an ex-NYPD officer now working for a defense contractor.

Premieres Dec. 15 on Prime Video

Maestro (Netflix, Dec. 20)

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. 

Premieres Dec. 20 on Netflix

Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Disney Plus, Dec. 20)

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.

Premieres Dec. 20 on Disney Plus

Dr. Death season 2 (Peacock, Dec. 21)

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.

Premieres Dec. 21 on Peacock

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Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

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.