Here we are again: another year coming to a close and another long, cold winter settling in. Despite how you choose to view the year – whether your found love or lost it, whether you succeeded or failed in your previous New Year’s Resolutions – the one thing we can agree on is that Netflix was there for us all in 2016. Through excitement and hardship, we found Lady Dynamite to keep us (in)sane. Through endless celebrity deaths, Stranger Things dulled the pain. Through countless months of election coverage we had boundary-pushing episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, BoJack Horseman, and Luke Cage to comfort and entertain us into the quiet hours of the night.
2016 is coming to a close now, but before the depression of January and February 2017 consumes us, December is here to bring holiday cheer and time off school or work to spend with our families and loved ones. Or, you know, time to spend in front of our screens and binge everything that Netflix can throw at us before the calendar turns over. So get ready, ignore your responsibilities and preconceived notions of “Holiday Spirit,” and sit in a dark room somewhere so you can shove all this incredible content down your throat before it’s too late!
Here’s 15 Things You Need To Watch On Netflix This December.
15 Chill with Bob Ross: Collection (1990) - Dec 1
If you’ve seen even a second of Bob Ross on YouTube then you know that the man was a miracle worker. With a few flicks of a broad brush and some soothing, soft-spoken words about “little trees” or “quiet waves,” Bob Ross and his trademark perm have the power to put you under a spell. And – being human – you’d be unable to wake up from that spell until an entire landscape has magically emerged in front of you. And you’d be relaxed as hell, damnit!
This December, chill with Bob Ross and watch Chill with Bob Ross: Collection. It may not be something that you think you need in your life, but trust us, every episode is pure magic. Get the inner peace you need to deal with your family during the holidays, or simply veg out and watch landscape paintings come to live in front of your eyes. No matter how or why you watch Bob Ross, there’s literally no way you can come out of the experience feeling anything less than total bliss.
14 David Blaine: Street Magic (1997) - Dec 1
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Bob Ross we have David Blaine, whose various specials serve one purpose; to stress you out. Whether he’s shoving animals down his throat or defying death in all sorts of ways, it’s tough to watch a David Blaine magic special and not shout at the TV “Why, David Blaine, why must you do this for our entertainment!?”
Although it’s far from relaxing viewing, David Blaine: Street Magic is the one exception to Blaine’s usual rule of upsetting everyone. Filled with some of the most impressive magic you’ll ever see, David Blaine’s perfection of the art of street magic is on full display here, and it’s magnificent to watch the reactions of people from all walks of life as they get seriously freaked out. Whether it’s with cards, everyday objects, or his own body, Blaine manages to create magic out in the open where it’s accessible to everyone, and there’s something so, well, magical about that concept that the entire special shines because of it.
13 Beverly Hills Cop (1984) - Dec 1
Get your fix of classic '80s comedies in the span of one film, because Beverly Hills Cop is everything you need to know about the genre and nothing you don’t. Still pitch perfect and hilarious over 30 years later, Beverly Hills Cop is best known for launching Eddie Murphy into super-stardom and writing the book on how to do an R-Rated comedy right.
Initially set to star Sylvester Stallone and be a straight-up action movie, the script – written by Stallone – was ultimately deemed too expensive to shoot and the film was put on hold two weeks before cameras were to roll. Eventually Murphy was cast and it was re-written as a comedy, but that doesn’t mean that Beverly Hills Cop isn’t still an awesome cop movie with some incredible action and meaningful writing. The film is perfect for a night in front of the TV with the (grown-up) family, as millennials that haven’t seen the film can laugh like it’s the first time they’ve seen it (because it will be), and everyone else can laugh like it’s the first time as well (because that’s how funny it is).
12 Animal House (1978) - Dec 1
John Landis’ Animal House is a movie you’ll hear mentioned all the time in film geek circles for many reasons. One, the film – made for only $2.8 million dollars – went on to become one of the most profitable of all time when it grossed over $140 million. Two, it established John Belushi as a massive star and it spawned a wave of similar gross-out films to follow in its footsteps. Three, the film is hilarious. Four, watch it already.
Often considered one of the classic comedies of all time, not to mention one of the best films ever made, Animal House is the hilarious look at fraternity life that would make even the most serious person laugh out loud. Although it’s not technically Landis’ first film – that would be the $5,000 feature called Cannibal Girls – it proves why Landis would go on to become one of the great directors of the 1980s and is the perfect explosion to Belushi’s bright yet tragically short burst of genius.
11 Pacific Heat (Season 1, Netflix Original) - Dec 2
If you’re a fan of FX’s Archer, then get your eyes ready for the stateside debut of Netflix’s new original animated comedy series Pacific Heat. This Australian series has the type of jarring animation that would scare you as a child, but make you laugh as an adult. It’s bold and sexualized – well, the girls have big breasts and the guys have scary cheekbones – but its animation brilliantly leads into its writing, which is as sharp and clever as any recent animated series.
Much like Archer, Pacific Heat focuses on a gang of misfits that fights crime while dealing with their own incredible shortcomings. Set in its own retro-throwback world that looks like an '80s cop-show spoof, the series utilizes that incredibly dry sense of Australian humor that we all came to love with shows like Summer Heights High. And while Pacific Heights is very much its own thing, like Summer Heights High and Archer before it, the series looks primed to be the next immensely bingeable comedy series that not enough people watch but we’ll continue raving about until the end of time.
10 Reggie Watts: Special (2016, Netflix Original) - Dec 6
The term “Original Comedic Mind” is thrown around a lot these days, but there’s no better use for it than in the following sentence: Reggie Watts is one of the most original comedic minds of our generation. Simply put, Watts has the ability to make you laugh out loud without it ever being clear why anything he does is funny. With just a look or a wiggle of his mesmerizing hair, Watts can bring out the giggling little child in you; and that’s before he breaks out his seriously cool musical chops.
In a special that looks to be as meta and weird as anything he’s ever been a part of, Reggie Watts: Special is sure to be what you’re recommending to your friends all holiday season long. Filled with strange synth sounds and the most intellectual sentences you’ll ever hear come out of a comedian, Watts has the capacity to stun and amaze with talent, smarts, and a gift for purely silly comedy.
9 Captive (Season 1, Netflix Original) - Dec 9
As we say every month in these Netflix lists, something magical happens when Netflix and a great documentary come together. Finally, Netflix is catching on and starting to churn out one spectacular documentary series after the next. Following in the footsteps of last Christmas season’s addictive Making A Murderer, Captive is set to tell the gripping stories of real life and present it all in a deeply addictive Netflix package.
The series presents the tales of history’s most high stakes kidnappings as the victims tell their harrowing stories. Filled with archival footage and horrifying re-enactments, the series takes a look at eight stories from all corners of the globe. While the episodes are disconnected and verge from story to story, we have no doubts that this series will keep us enthralled and binging from one episode to the next. And when we’ve watched the whole first season in one day we’ll have wished we spaced them out better, but then when season 2 comes along we’ll do it all over again.
8 Fuller House (Season 2, Netflix Original) – Dec 9
If you’re like many people then you were obsessed with the idea of Full House coming back to our TV screens. You grew up on the original and you have cherished memories of it. The Tanner’s couldn’t come back into your lives soon enough. And then Fuller House hit.
From there life was a deep dark spiral as you remembered that Full House wasn’t good after all, it was just nostalgic. Matters became even worse when you forced yourself to watch all of Fuller House, because, you thought, it must get better at some point. But then it didn’t get better. It got worse. All throughout its first season that loud and obnoxious laugh track mocked you as Bob Saget waded through episodes just to collect his hefty pay cheque. And once you finished the episodes you promised to yourself that you’d never go through that torture again.
But hey, everywhere you look, everywhere you go, people are talking about Fuller House again. And that’s because Season 2 has arrived. You’ve been warned.
7 Spectral (2016, Netflix Original) - Dec 9
For those of us craving a heavy sci-fi action movie this holiday season, well, there’s always Rogue One to satisfy our tastes. But to those of us that aren’t into Star Wars or going to movie theaters, Netflix has us covered with the release of their newest original film Spectral.
Starring James Badge Dale and Emily Mortimer, the film follows a scientist on a deadly mission in a war-torn European city, that's been taken over by a mysterious, villainous force code-named Spectral. Even if the storyline can’t keep up from there, us viewers get the spectacular thrill of watching a sci-fi film with effects by Weta Digital. Not to mention that our ears will be treated to what’s sure to be a fantastic score by Junkie XL. Hopefully what it all amounts to is another grand entry in Netflix’s original film catalogue that we can enjoy on demand for years to come.
6 White Rabbit Project (Season 1, Netflix Original) - Dec 9
If you’re missing Mythbusters in a very real way, Netflix – as always – has your back. But instead of just straight up reviving Mythbusters and bringing back everyone’s favorite bromance (but also they were menemies (men-enemies)), Netflix has given us something we didn’t even know we needed; Mythbusters Build Team: The Show!
Okay, so it’s actually called White Rabbit Project, but it stars Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara as they build tons of cool stuff and test all sorts of weird theories. They may not be busting myths, but—actually, we’re not quite sure what they’re doing. All we know based on trailers is that their amazing chemistry (friendship) is back and so is their amazing chemistry (science). Explosions will be made, technology will be destroyed, and laughs will be had at Grant’s expense. It’ll all be super exciting and filmed in glorious 4K. It’s going to be amazing.
5 Barry (2016, Netflix Original) - Dec 16
In the wake of 2016’s presidential election you may have forgotten the optimism that followed the 2008 election of Barack Obama. So, since Netflix has algorithms to sense that you’re feeling disillusioned, the streaming platform is here to give you the inspiring presidential biopic of a president that hasn’t even left office yet.
Netflix’s newest original film Barry tracks Obama’s life as a young man starting in 1981 when he arrives at Columbia University. Packed with a breakout performance from Devon Terrell as a young Obama, the film shows off deft direction and a story that doesn’t try to do too much. By focusing on the story that no one knows about a man that the whole world knows, Barry is able to be entertaining viewing without being particularly divisive. Though the film covers important topics and doesn’t skirt around big issues, this Netflix original film is the type of award-season fodder that any movie lover can enjoy.
4 Travelers (Season 1, Netflix Original) Dec 23
Over the past decade Canadian television has quietly established itself as the home of daring and original sci-fi, and the new Netflix Original Travelers is no exception. A co-production between a Canadian cable channel and Netflix, the series starring Eric McCormack is an endlessly smart and wildly fun look at time travel all wrapped up in a uniquely serialized package.
The series takes a look at the end of civilization as the last surviving humans find a way to send their consciousness back to the 21st century. As the Travelers occupy the lives of everyday people, they must work together to save the Earth from its eventual demise. But if that sounds a little too sci-fi for you, have no fear, because Travelers packs immensely entertaining characters into every episode and no matter your stance on sci-fi, if you start one episode of the series you’ll find yourself polishing off the whole first season before you even get a bathroom break.
3 Trollhunters (Season 1, Netflix Original) Dec 23
This next release – a wild experiment by Netflix if we’ve ever seen one – looks so spectacular on paper that we’re just going to list everything it has going for it. It’s based on a book by, and created by, Guillermo del Toro. It’s a uniquely animated CGI series for kids and adults alike. The voice cast includes golden-vocal-cord-magician Kelsey Grammar, along with Ron Perlman, Steven Yeun, and Anton Yelchin. It’s funny, it’s scary, it’s made by Dreamworks, and it’s got trolls in it. Sign us up.
With everything it’s got going for it on paper, the only thing that we worry about is whether Trollhunters can strike the right tone between Adventure Time or something more childish, like for example Netflix’s own Beat Bugs. While the story has tons of potential and the voice cast can’t disappoint, we’re all holding our breaths for a bingeable computer animated show that we can obsess over for years to come. We’ll find out if Trollhunters lives up to the expectations when it hits Netflix on December 23.
2 Captain America: Civil War (2016) - Dec 25
We all know the plot of Captain America: Civil War, and what’s more, almost all of us have seen the film. Sure, we may still not be totally positive why Daniel Bruhl’s Baron Zemo forced Cap and Iron Man to fight just so he can show them a video tape, but that’s beside the point. The main point is that the film has come to Netflix, and it’s now ours to watch in all its Marvel Hero Versus Hero Fighting HD glory.
Actually, no, that’s not the main point.
The main point is that we get to watch all the scenes with the new Spider-Man over and over again until our face turns red and webs start shooting out of our wrists. Whether he’s fighting Giant-Man, throwing quips in the way of Falcon, or apologizing to Captain America for getting in the way, every single minute spent with Marvel’s first version of Spider-Man is a minute in heaven. Watching the film again on Netflix will give us a chance to look past the film’s other flaws, and really revel in the fact that, yes, finally, after all these years, we have a perfectly Marvel version of Spider-Man to call our own!
1 Comedy Bang! Bang! (Season 5) - Dec 28
Ring in the new year with absurdism and Weird Al, because Comedy Bang! Bang! has tragically wrapped up its magical television run and it’s up to us to shout about its final season from the rooftops. Filled with stoner comedy and complex plots about time travel all at once, Comedy Bang! Bang! truly had it all. From incredible A-list guests to our favorite B-list cameos, Scott Aukerman’s fake talk show was the most unique and inspiring thing on television for the past five years.
Now, you can finally binge it all in a night of sad desperation and drug-addled confusion. Actually, maybe don’t binge it all at once. Although the episodes each stand out on their own in the most incredible ways, the show is one that becomes almost too much to handle in large doses. With such cheap (incredible) puns and such strange (perfect) characters such as talking stuffed animals and couches, Comedy Bang! Bang! is the one show that dared to do it all. The least we could do to reward its bravery is watch it, tell all our friends about it, and send it off with a Bang! Bang!
Which of these shows are you most looking forward to? Are there any shows you’re dying for Netflix to add? Let us know in the comments!
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