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What to watch on Christmas Day: Wonder Woman 1984, Soul and more

What to watch on Christmas Day 2020
(Image credit: Warner Bros.; Pixar; Netflix)

‘Tis the damn season and we’re all looking for something to watch on Christmas Day. December 25 is traditionally a big theatrical movie release date, but you know [gestures broadly at everything] … so that's not the plan this year.

The best streaming services have really stepped it up this year, providing hours of entertainment for us at home, and Christmas is no different. Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max are dropping gifts for viewers to watch, right after you’ve opened all of Santa’s offerings and before you dig into the big holiday feast. 

Here are five things to stream on Christmas Day. 

Wonder Woman 1984

HBO Max has a big present for everyone (which Roku and Fire TV users earned with their patience): Wonder Woman 1984 drops on Christmas Day. We've been excited ever since trailers revealed Kristen Wiig (as Cheetah) and Pedro Pascal (Maxwell Lord) would be Wonder Woman's latest foes. But Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) has a lot more to take care of, as Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) is somehow back. Tune in for the tantalizing casting and stick around because we haven't gotten a major blockbuster without paying an extra $30 (and nobody knows how well that worked out for Disney Plus and Mulan). — Henry T. Casey

Watch Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max

Soul

Just when it looked like Pixar was going to just be a sequel and spinoff factory (we're as excited for Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear as the next folks, but come on), the studio's found a new way to surprise us. It starts by introducing us to Joe (Jamie Foxx), a band teacher who loves jazz but never hit it big. Life changes in a hurry for Joe, though, as a near-death experience sends him to a different plane of existence where things are really weird. We're trying to avoid spoilers, but Soul looks like the spiritual successor to Inside Out, in a very good way. Plus, Daveed Diggs and Tina Fey are in it. Looks like a great watch with the family, and it's free with Disney Plus membership. — Henry T. Casey

Watch Soul on Disney Plus

Bridgerton

Jane Austen meets Gossip Girl in Shonda Rhimes’ first project for Netflix. The Grey’s Anatomy super-producer teams up with Chris Van Dusen to adapt Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton romance novels. The story follows the eponymous family, whose eldest daughter Daphne enters the London season to make a match. She catches the eye of the smoldering, rakish Duke of Hastings, but things get complicated when they’re both named in a notorious gossip pamphlet by the mysterious Lady Whistledown. Bridgerton looks like a frothy, fantastic romp that sizzles with sexual tension — just the kind of escapist entertainment the world needs right now. XOXO to this holiday treat. — Kelly Woo

Watch Bridgerton on Netflix

Midnight Sky 

In the days leading up to Christmas, you've probably been so focused on last-minute gift shopping and finishing your work that you haven't noticed Netflix already left a present under the tree. The Midnight Sky, starring and directed by George Clooney, looks like the meditative sci-fi movie we've been waiting for while humanity lived out its own life-changing drama. Clooney plays Augustine, a scientist with a simple yet ominously sad mission: alert a crew of astronauts that they should not return to Earth.  — Henry T. Casey

Watch Midnight Sky on Netflix

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

However weird it is to talk about Oscar contenders this year, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom certainly belongs in that conversation. It would be a top contender in any year, with its pedigree — an adaptation of an August Wilson play starring an exceptional cast headlined by Viola Davis. The period piece (which was released last week) is set in 1927 Chicago, where a group of musicians gather for a studio recording session featuring the pioneering (real-life) blues singer, Ma Rainey. As the day wears on, tensions rise and boil over, leading to an explosive outcome. The film is powered by the crackling dynamic between Davis as Ma and Chadwick Boseman as trumpeter Levee. This is the late, great actor’s last on-screen performance and one that very well may net him a posthumous Oscar. And in this terrible year, that is a gift. — Kelly Woo

Watch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Kelly Woo

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.