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8 new Netflix TV shows and movies you must stream in December 2020

Netflix December 2020
(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

Netflix has a big December coming up – and not just for those who want to watch bad Christmas movies into the New Year. A couple of its Oscar contenders, Mank and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, are rolling out this month, along with a new sci-fi movie directed by George Clooney. 

Now that Netflix has announced everything new in TV and movies coming this December, we've rounded up eight of the highlights below that you can add to your Watch List. We've focused this list on the broad spectrum of Netflix originals, too – so no matter where you are reading this, as long as you've got a Netflix subscription, you can check these out.

Here's what's new on Netflix in December 2020. 

Mank

Release date: December 4

Probably the most anticipated movie of the year among film critics, director David Fincher (The Social Network, Gone Girl) explores the fraught making of the film Citizen Kane – focusing on the tension between alcoholic screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz (played by Gary Oldman) and director/star Orson Welles. If a black-and-white movie based around that idea sounds a bit Inside Baseball to you, well, you're right – but Fincher doesn't make bad films. 

It's worth watching Citizen Kane beforehand if possible, so you've got a stylistic touchstone for some of the film's choices. Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins and Charles Dance are part of the ensemble cast, and the music is provided by Fincher's frequent collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Don't miss it.

The Midnight Sky

Release date: December 23

George Clooney directs and stars in this new sci-fi movie, which is about a scientist based in the Arctic who tries to stop a group of astronauts returning to a post-apocalyptic Earth. Sounds like a good acting showcase for Clooney, who's sort of been in this territory before with Solaris – but the ensemble cast is just as impressive, featuring Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir and Tiffany Boone. Well worth adding to your watch list. 

Song Exploder season 2

song exploder

(Image credit: Netflix)

Release date: December 15

Go inside the making of four more classic songs with host Hrishikesh Hirway, in this continuation of the TV adaptation of the popular podcast. Episodes this season focus on a number of modern classics – The Killers break down the story 'When We Were Young' (even though 'Mr Brightside' is surely the more iconic song). You'll also hear the story behind 'Hurt' by Nine Inch Nails.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Release date: December 18

With 100% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, this adaptation of the 1982 play marks the final appearance on film of actor Chadwick Boseman. The film explores the tensions between legendary 'mother of the blues' performer Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), ambitious, innovative trumpet player Levee (Boseman) and the white management trying to pull the strings behind the scenes. Likely a big Oscar contender.

Big Mouth season 4

Release date: December 4

The gross-out but acclaimed animated series returns in December, with the show's group of friends facing summer camp nightmares and more awkward make-out situations. Netflix's push into animation continues – there's even a special podcast releasing on December 7 about the behind-the-scenes of shows like Big Mouth, Castlevania, Disenchantment and more if this is your sort of thing. 

Bridgerton

Release date: December 31

If you want to watch a new Netflix costume drama that's filmed a few minutes from TechRadar UK's offices in Bath, your dream has come true! Producer Shonda Rimes (Grey's Anatomy) is behind this costume drama, which is about the drama that goes on in London high society. The cast is mostly made up of relative unknowns, but Julie Andrews features as the show's narrator, which balances that out somewhat. 

The Prom

Release date: December 11

Director Ryan Murphy, the mind behind this year's Ratched, The Politician and Hollywood on Netflix, completes a busy year with this star-studded and inclusive – but slightly irritating-looking – musical. It's about a couple of big-time Broadway stars (played by Meryl Streep and James Corden) whose latest show is a flop, leading them to help a high-school student who's been banned from taking her girlfriend to the local Indiana prom. It basically looks like a Glee episode made with all the money in the universe (hence it looking slightly irritating). 

The Holiday Movies That Made Us

Release date: December 1

If you like breezy documentary series on Netflix rather than grisly true crime stuff, you've likely enjoyed The Toys That Made Us and The Movies That Made Us, which go behind-the-scenes on pop culture we've enjoyed in the past. This seasonal release will cover two movies: The Nightmare Before Christmas and Elf, with talking heads explaining the stories behind both. Worth a watch, based on the preceding seasons.

Samuel Roberts

Formerly of PC Gamer, Samuel is TechRadar's senior entertainment editor, and writes about everything to do with TV and movies. He enhances TechRadar's entertainment output, focusing on the biggest TV shows and movies that are relevant to this enormous site's audience. His publishing expertise is a great fit as we define this new direction for the site. Within months, Samuel added millions more sessions per month to the site, made enormous strides in ecommerce revenue and applied his expertise in SEO and passion for media to this fast-growing tech brand.