December is the slightest TV month of the year as holiday specials, family time and travel dominate. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still some fresh content, though!
Let’s bitch it out…
Top Pick: New
If you’re missing Kit Harington, Gunpowder (Dec 18-20) is the best that you can do until the final season of Game of Thrones debuts. Not unlike Richard Madden’s post-GoT period drama, this looks like it’s built primarily around the popularity of the fantasy actor’s persona. As far as holiday commitments go, however, a three episode, six hour commitment isn’t too much to ask.
- German import Dark (Dec 1) looks intriguing
Top Pick: Returning
While The Crown (Dec 8) wasn’t as much appointment TV for me as it was for others, there’s still reason to be excited about the return of one of Netflix’s most expensive series. The production values and cast remain top notch, plus this is Claire Foy’s last series as Elizabeth before Broadchurch‘s Olivia Colman takes over the role in S3.
- Travelers (Dec 26) was a surprisingly confident sci-fi yarn that’s already aired in Canada, but debuts all at once on Netflix just in time for New Years.
Top Pick: Wildcard
Without a doubt the most bizarre looking series of the month is this Syfy adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. Chris Meloni stars as a disgraced police officer turned hitman who suffers a kind of psychotic break and begins seeing a helpful flying blue horse who encourages him to help save a kidnapped little girl. It’s the kind of high concept “not for everyone” series that Syfy has been leaning into lately (see: Blood Drive, Ghost Wars) though their success has been middling. Still, this could be a schlocky action drama that goes down perfectly for the holidays when everything else is saccharine and feel good, so…counter programming FTW?
- Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a spy version of himself in Amazon’s Jean-Claude Van Johnson (Dec 15)
Complete list of December premieres (I will be watching shows marked with an asterix *):
Friday, Dec 1
- Dark S1* (Netflix – 3am EST): Netflix’s first German original series is a 10-episode supernatural drama about a town where two children go missing in the present day—a crisis that has its origins in a 1986 event. All episodes available today
- Easy S2* (Netflix – 3am EST): Joe Swanberg’s Netflix anthology series returns for a second season of Chicago-set stories featuring a mix of new (Aubrey Plaza, Joe Lo Truglio, Kate Berlant, Judy Greer) and returning (Aya Cash, Marc Maron, Kate Micucci, Jane Adams, Dave Franco, Elizabeth Reaser) faces. All episodes available today
- Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD S5 (ABC – 8pm EST)
Wednesday, Dec 6
- Happy S1* (Syfy – 10pm EST): An adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. Christopher Meloni stars as a corrupt cop turned intoxicated hit man and Patton Oswalt as the voice of the imaginary tiny blue winged horse who talks to him after he suffers a heart attack.
- Knightfall S1 (History – 10pm EST): The closer they are to the grail, the further they are from God.
- Shut Eye S2 (Hulu – 3am EST): Aasif Mandvi recurs
Thursday, Dec 7
- Psych: The Movie (USA – 8pm EST): New film picks up several years after the long-running series left off—with everyone now in San Francisco—and features the original cast joined by Zachary Levi and John Cena.
Friday, Dec 8
- The Crown S2* (Netflix – 3am EST): With the world undergoing great changes, a damaged British monarchy must confront its past in order to have a future. All episodes available today.
Wednesday, Dec 13
- The Librarians S4 (TNT – 8pm EST)
Friday, Dec 15
- El Chapo S2 (Netflix – 3am EST): The Mexican government thought it could work together and control El Chapo, but ended up starting the biggest drug war in the country. All episodes available today.
- Erased S1 (Netflix – 3am EST): Following the 12-episode TV anime series by A-1 Pictures and the Tatsuya Fujiwara-starring live-action film in 2016, this is the first live-action drama adaptation of Kei Sanbe’s mystery manga series Bokudake ga Inai Machi/Erased. All episodes available today.
- Jean-Claude Van Johnson S1 (Amazon – 12am EST): Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a global action movie star (named, yes, Jean-Claude Van Johnson) who lives a secret double life as an undercover operative.
- The Ranch Part 4 (Netflix – 3am EST)
Sunday, Dec 17
- Last Tango in Halifax Christmas Special (PBS – 8pm EST): Part 1 of 2. Concludes Dec 24
Monday, Dec 18
- Gunpowder Miniseries (HBO – 10pm EST): Three-part, BBC-produced historical miniseries about the 17th century events that led to Guy Fawkes Day stars Kit Harington, Mark Gatiss, Peter Mullan, and Liv Tyler. Airs nightly – concludes Wednesday.
- Hello, My Twenties! / Age of Youth S2 (Netflix – 3am EST): With different personalities, life goals and taste in men, five female college students become housemates in a shared residence called Belle Epoque. All episodes available today.
Tuesday, Dec 19
- The Indian Detective S1 (Netflix – 3am EST): Doug D’Mello (Russell Peters) is a Toronto cop who unexpectedly finds himself investigating a murder in his parents’ Indian homeland. The investigation leads Doug to uncover a dangerous conspiracy involving David Marlowe (William Shatner), a billionaire property developer, while dealing with his own ambivalence toward a country where, despite his heritage, he is an outsider. All episodes available today.
Thursday, Dec 21
- Peaky Blinders S4 (Netflix – 3am EST): All episodes available today.
Friday, Dec 22
- Fuller House S3B (Netflix – 3am EST): All episodes available today.
- The Last Post (Amazon – 12am EST): Centers on a UK military police unit stationed in Yemen in the 1960s where life and love struggle to continue on. Six part series
Monday, Dec 25
- Cable Girls S2 (Netflix – 3am EST): All episodes available today.
- Call The Midwife Christmas Special (PBS – 9pm EST)
- Doctor Who: Twice Upon A Time (BBCA – 9pm EST): The Twelfth Doctor comes face to face with his past in his final adventure. Last episode with Peter Capaldi before Jodi Whittaker takes over the role as The Doctor.
Tuesday, Dec 26
- Travelers S2* (Netflix – 3am EST): All episodes available today.
Friday, Dec 29
- La Mante / The Mantis S1 (Netflix – 3am EST): All episodes available today.
That’s a wrap on 2017. Here’s what you can look forward to in the new year:
- Returning series The X-Files S11, High Maintenance S2, The Path S2
- New network series, including LA->Vegas, 9-1-1, The Resident and Black Lightning
- Cable series The Chi, a series from Master of None‘s Lena Waithe, Counterpart and American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace
- Streaming series Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams