It’s impossible to believe that we’ve finally reached the end of 2020 while also, simultaneously, feeling like we should’ve done so ages ago. Time has behaved strangely this year, and through months of social distancing, more than ever as a byproduct of the times, many of us have turned to television for escapism. Easier to digest for some as opposed to film and offering seasons upon season to lose yourself in, it’s been, for the most part, a largely solid year for new releases, even as so many reach to Netflix and other streaming services to watch what they’ve missed in the past. While there aren’t many new releases this month, some are worth keeping an eye on, especially “Your Honor” and “The Stand.” There being a smaller amount of releases also means you’ll have time to binge all of the 2020 greats that you’ve looked over, such as “I May Destroy You” and “Lovecraft Country.”
What You Need To Know: The raunchy animated comedy returns this month with more puberty hijinks with the rambunctious teens of the Netflix original series. Series headliners Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Jordan Peele, Jessi Klein, and Jason Mantzoukas return for the fourth season, whereas Jenny Slate who voiced the show’s biracial character ‘Molly’ the past three seasons, stepped down from the role. Relative newcomer and comedian Ayo Edebiri will take the helm of the charmingly awkward Molly, having been previously seen on Comedy Central’s“Next Up.” Rudolf, who plays ‘Connie the Hormone Monstress’, recently won her first Emmy award for her outstanding work on the show. Guest stars this season are a who’s-who with appearances by Seth Rogen, Lena Waithe, John Oliver, Sterling K. Brown, and Paul Giamatti, to name a few. Netflix has renewed the show for seasons five and six already; the show is obviously a blockbuster hit for Netflix and definitely worth checking out.
Release Date: Season 4 premieres December 4 on Netflix – Martine Olivier
“The Hardy Boys”
What You Need to Know: The latest in a long string of classic stories getting the updated treatment, Hulu’s “The Hardy Boys” reimagines the famous book series for the modern age. Approaching the material with a distinctly more YA approach, this version is more in line with Hulu’s “The Runaways” or anything on The CW. Following two brothers who are looking to uncover the truth behind a tragedy they’ve faced, the series will track them as they uncover something even greater and more sinister than what they thought they were trying to find. Made up of largely an unknown cast, it will be interesting to see what audience this show appeals towards and if it succeeds in updating an older story to feel both fresh while not stripping it of what made it loved in the first place.
Release Date: Season 1 premieres December 4 on Hulu – Ally Johnson
“Selena: The Series”
What You Need To Know: The story of beloved Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla is one that lives on in the annals of popular culture. The mythology surrounding the Mexican-American superstar continues to thrive in the collective consciousness. While the 1997 film that made Jennifer Lopez a bonafide star captured Selena’s story from her career’s precipice to her tragic death, the series will instead follow her story from childhood. Her rise to fame was not without struggle or difficulty, so the series, in addition to the involvement of the Quintanilla family, will have the ability to paint a more comprehensive picture of who Selena was as a person adding complexity to her already enduring legacy. The series is produced by Moisés Zamora and will star Christian Serratos as Selena, Madison Taylor Baez, Ricardo Chavira, Seidy López, Gabriel Chavarria, Juan Martinez, Noemi Gonzalez, and Daniela Estrada. Even though, in some ways, we know her story, the series gives the audience a chance to see Selena in a way that’s never been seen before, through the eyes of those who loved and knew her best of all.
Release Date: ‘Part 1’ premieres on Netflix on December 4 – MO
What You Need To Know: Multiple Emmy winner Bryan Cranston continues to do what he does best with his latest thriller series on Showtime. Per the official synopsis, Cranston stars a respected New Orleans judge whose son is involved in a hit-and-run accident with an organized crime family. Faced with impossible choices, he inevitably discovers how far he is willing to go to save his son’s life. The 10-episode mini-series, based on the Israeli television series ‘Kvodo,’ created by Ron Ninio and Shlomo Mashiach, will be a different kind of legal drama series, one that is morally complex, intense, and compelling. Peter Moffat serves as showrunner and executive producer, with the remaining cast members including Michael Stuhlbarg, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Carmen Ejogo, and recent cast additions Maura Tierney and Blair Underwood. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if this new series garnered more Emmy nominations for Cranston, and it’s also worth noting that fans might be eager to get on board with the show considering the wild success of “Breaking Bad.” Regardless, Cranston is pretty marvelous at everything he’s in, so it’s safe to say his work on this series will be nothing short of riveting.
Release Date: Premieres on December 6 on Showtime. – MO
What You Need To Know: While HBO certainly had high hopes, “Euphoria,” a teen drama following a group of high school students as they navigate love and friendships in a world of drugs, sex, trauma, and social media, probably exceeded all expectations after the first season was complete. Ratings for the finale, as the show picked up steam on social media, were high, the critical consensus is strong and it’s a much-discussed show online and in media. Everything HBO wants. Created by Sam Levinson and starring Zendaya, Hunter Schaefer, Angus Cloud, Maude Apatow, Alexa Demie, Jacob Elordi, Storm Reid, and Eric Dane, was riding high and renewed for season two, but then COVID happened and delayed its momentum. Season two won’t even go before cameras until early 2021. But HBO and Levinson were able to create a compromise to give fans something: a two-part special shot during the pandemic under extreme COVID safety protocols. They haven’t said what that means, but one episode seems centered on Rue (Zendaya) and one on Hunter (Vaughn), and both seem isolated and socially distanced, literally and figuratively. We’ll see, very soon, but one thing’s for sure, Rue has relapsed and there is surely some high stakes personal drama in this setback.
Release Date: The Special Episode premieres on December 6 on HBO. – Rodrigo Perez
What You Need To Know: Steven King’s apocalyptic novel gets the miniseries treatment with this brand new CBS All Access show. With huge names including Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgård, Amber Heard, James Marsden, Ezra Miller, and more announced as cast members, it’s more than enough to spark anyone’s interest. Written by King in 1978, the series examines a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by plague (this is getting too real already), which triggers a battle for the fate of all humanity. The story deepens when the survivors’ worst nightmares are realized in the ultra-mysterious and powerful Randall Flagg (personified by Skarsgård), also known as the Dark Man, with only 108-year-old Mother Abagail (brought to life by Goldberg) to stand in his way. Interestingly the series is slated to be produced by Stephen King’s son Owen King, a successful writer in his own right, who will undoubtedly adapt his father’s work to television in the best possible way.
Release Date: Premieres on CBS All Access on December 17 – MO
What You Need to Know: As one of the most consistently strong science fiction shows out there, aside from a dedicated and passionate fanbase, “The Expanse” hasn’t quite built the following one might expect. Perhaps it’s due to originally airing on SyFy, but ever since it’s cancellation than pick up at Amazon, it’s continued to prove why it’s built the group of loyal fans that it has. Renewed for a sixth and final season following its upcoming latest, season five put the characters in increasingly life-threatening situations as humans desperately search for a home outside of the solar system to pursue great fortune beyond the alien Ring. Good sci-fi is tough to come by (and waiting a week to week for “The Mandalorian” can only satisfy so much), so right now might be the time to binge this underrated series.
Release Date: Season 5 premieres December 16 on Amazon – AJ
“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”
What You Need to Know: At this point, you’re either a fan of Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” or you’re not, and I doubt the fourth and final season will do much to sway either side. Campy and stylish and led by the perfectly cast Kiernan Shipka, the show has continually upped the stakes with each new season. The final season will show the cast facing greater dangers than ever before as a new war brew. The show also stars Chance Perdomo, Miranda Otto, and Lucy Davis. If you’re looking for something in the “Riverdale” vein but with more solid and consistent storytelling, this update on a beloved character is worth the time and offers necessary escapism.
Release Date: ‘Part 4’ premieres December 31 on Netflix – AJ