The best movies and shows coming to Netflix in December

Check out Craig Mathieson’s highlights of what’s coming to Netflix New Zealand soon, followed by the full release schedule.

Top Picks: TV

Irreverent: Season one (December 4)

Faith plainly takes many forms in this eccentric comic-drama about a Chicago criminal, Paulo (Colin Donnell), who gets in over his head and has to run for his life, ending up in the far north of Queensland posing as a priest facing an unholy task in a remote town. Creator Paddy Macrae based the locale and the locals on his childhood experiences, and there’s a fish out of water feel that should allow for mishaps and the odd miracle if the tone holds true throughout.

The Recruit: Season one (December 16)

They grow up so fast. For the last few years American actor Noah Centineo has been the dreamy hunk providing square-jawed gravity in Netflix’s romantic-comedy franchise, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. After three instalments of the hit teen movies, the 26-year-old is rewarded with his own drama franchise, where Centineo plays a newly hired lawyer for the CIA dealing with a vengeful agency asset.

The creator is Alexi Hawley (Castle), but it remains to be seen what form the CIA takes in the show, and what tasks Centineo’s Owen Hendricks will undertake. Didn’t Jack Ryan start as a desk-bound analyst?

Emily in Paris: Season three (December 21)

Be honest: can you remember how season two of Emily in Paris concluded? For the record, Lily Collins’ budding American fashionista had to make decisions at the office, where the French colleagues who’d slowly come around to her were launching their own company—and in her heart, where former boyfriend Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) was slipping away as current London beau Alfie (Lucien Laviscount) drew closer. But the plot in Darren Star’s daft romantic-comedy is always pliable and the outfits are ludicrously over the top. This show does nothing by half.

The Witcher: Blood Origin (December 25)

Four words: Michelle Yeoh, sword-elf. Set 1200 years prior to the events of Netflix’s fantasy hit—which has just changed leading men from Henry Cavill to Liam Hemsworth—the Blood Origin prequel is a four-part limited series that will explain how the first Witcher came to be. Witcher creator Lauren Schmidt Hissrich is in charge, and hopefully the show will make the most of its clean slate.

The supporting cast in a story of warriors, elves, and quests includes Lenny Henry and Dylan Moran, which is promising. But this is the Yeoh show—the star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Everything Everywhere All at Once should dominate this story.

Top Picks: Movies + Specials

Lady Chatterley’s Lover (December 2)

Banned in numerous countries and then heavily edited for decades, often until landmark obscenity trials were fought, D.H. Lawrence’s 1932 novel about the affair between the upper-class wife of an aristocrat and their working-class gamekeeper was a 20th century media sensation.

There have been more than a dozen screen adaptations—Ken Russell for the BBC in 1993 with Sean Bean and Joely Richardson was notable—and now Netflix takes the plunge with French filmmaker Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre (The Mustang) directing Emma Corrin (The Crown) and Jack O’Connell (Unbroken). The usual caveat applies: how do you film sexually intimate scenes that were groundbreaking in print 70 years ago?

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (December 23)

Writer-director Rian Johnson and star Daniel Craig hit the absolute cinematic sweet spot with 2019’s Knives Out, a terrific update of the classic murder mystery complete with a brilliant but eccentric detective and a single shared location.

Netflix have paid roughly $700 million for two sequels, the first of which is set on a Greek island owned by Edward Norton’s billionaire, who invites Craig’s Benoit Blanc and a group of friends for a murder mystery game where the murder part proves a little too authentic. The supporting cast is juicily good: Kate Hudson, Janelle Monae, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr, and Dave Bautista as a men’s rights activist. Done right, this should sing.

Matilda the Musical (December 25)

Critically acclaimed and a commercial hit internationally since its British debut in 2011, the musical stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel about a special young child trying to make do with oafish parents and then a monstrous school headmistress has been an ebullient delight.

Central to that success has been the songs of Australian composer and actor Tim Minchin, who returns for the film adaptation alongside writer Dennis Kelly and director Matthew Warchus. Young Alisha Weir plays Matilda, with Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough as her parents, Bond badass Lashana Lynch as her nurturing teacher Miss Honey, and Emma Thompson as deranged villain Miss Trunchbull.

White Noise (December 30)

What did you do during pandemic lockdown? Filmmaker Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story) adapted Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel, an inscrutably precise evocation of existential dread and inexplicable malaise that overcome a college professor, his wife, and their children, following a chemical spill. The book is a modern masterpiece, masterfully off-kilter, and deeply prescient: it wryly foresaw everything from academic boundary pushing to consumer crises and disaster anxiety.

Baumbach has frequent collaborator Adam Driver as his leading man, Jack Gladney, with Baumbach’s wife, Greta Gerwig, as Jack’s wife Babette. White Noise has long been considered an unfilmable book. We’ll soon know whether that’s true.

All titles arriving on Netflix New Zealand in December

December 1

Dead End: Season 1
Fred Claus
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean Finale
The Masked Scammer

December 2

Firefly Lane: Season 2
Hot Skull: Season 2
My Unorthodox Life: Season 2
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Warriors of Future

December 4

Irreverent: Season 1

December 5

Mighty Express: Mighty Trains Race
Rick and Morty: Season 6

December 6

Delivery by Christmas
Sebastian Maniscalco: Is It Me?
The Boss Baby: Christmas Bonus

December 7

The Most Beautiful Flower
The Marriage App
Burning Patience
I Hate Christmas
Too Hot to Handle: Season 4

December 8

Copenhagen Cowboy: Season 1
In Broad Daylight: The Narvarte Case
The Elephant Whisperers

December 9

How to Ruin Christmas: The Baby Shower
Dragon Age: Absolution
Dream Home Makeover: Season 4
Money Heist: Joint Economic Area: Part 2
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

December 10

Alchemy of Souls: Season 1

December 13

Gudetama: An Eggcellent Adventure
Single’s Inferno: Season 2
Last Chance U: Basketball: Season 2
Tom Papa: What A Day!

December 14

Don’t Pick Up The Phone
I Believe in Santa
Glitter: Season 1
Kangaroo Valley

December 15

The Big 4
Sonic Prime
Violet Evergarden: Recollections
Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery

December 16

BARDO, Falso Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
The Recruit: Season 1
Paradise PD: Part 4
Private Lesson
A Storm for Christmas
Far From Home
Cook at all Costs
How To Ruin Christmas
Summer Job
Dance Monsters
The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari

December 19


December 20

A Not So Merry Christmas
The Seven Deadly Sins: Grudge of Edinburgh: Part 1

December 21

Disconnect: The Wedding Planner
Emily in Paris: Season 3
I AM A KILLER: Season 4

December 22

Alice in Borderland: Season 2
Mathieu Dufour at Bell Centre

December 23

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Piñata Masters!

December 25

Time Hustler
The Witcher: Blood Origin
Daughter from Another Mother: Season 3
Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical
Vir Das: Landing

December 26


December 27

Chelsea Handler: Revolution

December 28

The Circle: Season 5
A Night at the Kindergarten
Stuck with You
7 Women and a Murder

December 29

Brown and Friends
Rise of Empires: Ottoman: Season 2

December 30

Chicago Party Aunt: Part 2
Alpha Males
La Reina del Sur: Season 3
Secrets of Summer: Season 3
The Glory: Season 1
They Cloned Tyrone
White Noise

Coming Soon

My Next Guest with David Letterman and Volodymyr Zelenskyy
The Glory
The Interest of Love
God’s Crooked Lines
Too Hot To Handle: Love is a Game
Scriptic: Crime Stories
Puzzle Gods