Wintertime in Chicago means a lot of time spent indoors. Luckily, there is no shortage of things to watch – whether a cable channel or a streaming platform. Especially with the introduction of Disney+ in the pool, I’ve been a very busy girl. Though, I’ve been tasking myself with being better at watching new series rather than replaying old ones – I’ve rewatched Buffy the Vampire Slayer too much, I know! So I’m really happy to share all the shiny new things I’ve been watching in December.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Video)
If you’ve been living under a rock, you may have missed this critically acclaimed series from Amazon. The series stars Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam, aka Mrs. Maisel, who finds that she has a knack for stand-up comedy. Set in 1950’s Manhattan, Mrs. Maisel is an incredibly progressive show which challenges social norms and societal expectations for stay-at-home mothers. While the themes seem like things of the past, a lot of what the series tackles are still relevant today. Making it such a compelling piece to watch.
I binged the first two seasons over the Summer and absolutely fell in love with it. The third season just dropped on Amazon this month and I promptly burned through all eight episodes. It truly is must-see TV and one of my favorite shows.
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Disney+ struck gold upon launch with this Star Wars series starring Pedro Pascal as the titular character. While you’ve likely heard everyone gushing over Baby Yoda (I know, I know – that’s not really his name), who has become an internet meme darling, the series itself is a great expansion to the SW universe. It has a very different tone than what you’re used to with the films, finding a bit more opportunity for humor along the way, which I think offers something different for people who may not fans of Star Wars.
With just eight episodes at 30 minutes each (episode 7 begins streaming on Wednesday), The Mandalorian is one series that is a fantastic weekend binge.
The Imagineering Story (Disney+)
Another Disney+ gem is The Imagineering Story, a series that dives into the development and continued expansion of Disney theme parks. It’s a fascinating docu-series that explores the ideas of Walt Disney and how his vision has been continued past his death. If you’re at all interested in the behind-the-scenes look at ride design and planning, take a peak behind the curtain with 6 hour-long episodes, available for streaming now.
The Crown (Netflix)
I slept on this series at first, which premiered in 2016, and I regret that so much. The first two seasons star Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, with Matt Smith portraying her husband Prince Philip, as the drama series looks into the lives of the royal family. The third season, which premiered just last month, saw a switch in the two main actors, as the series jumps to older versions of the real-life figures. I decided to give the show a shot and I have to say, I’m a lot more into it than I thought I would be.
I’ve just begun the second season, so I am curious to see if the new actors will change my opinion going into the next season or not. However, Foy and Smith are such incredible actors and the rich history of the British royal family, although dramatized, is a fascinating premise and I am hooked.
Jack Whitehall: Christmas with My Father (Netflix)
If you haven’t watched Jack Whitehall: Travels with my Father on Netflix yet, you definitely should. In the series, Whitehall is joined by his father Michael, a grumpy old Englishman, to explore the world and naturally place his stiff dad in some uncomfortable situations. Netflix has just released a special for the holidays titled Christmas with my Father, where they hang with the cast of Queer Eye and reminisce over some hilarious family moments from holidays past.
It’s a fun watch, but I highly recommend watching the series first, so you totally understand this dynamic duo.
The comic is brought in series form by Lost creator Damon Lindelof and stars Regina King, Don Johnson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Jeremy Irons, among many others. The stellar cast is definitely a huge draw for the series, which dubs itself as a sequel to the comic series, setting itself in present day and tackles present day issues.
At three episodes in, I’m not crazy about the show as a whole. It has kept me intrigued with the plot, but I’m also not completely knocked off my feet by the pacing, which I’m struggling with right now. However, the season (possibly series) finale just aired last night and many are singing its praises, so I’m still curious to see how it progresses. Perhaps I’ll come around to it.
His Darkest Materials (HBO)
Based on a book series of the same name, His Dark Materials takes place in another world where humans are accompanied by animal manifestations of their own soul. James McAvoy portrays a scholar who is looking into a mysterious Dust, while his daughter, played by Dafne Keen, uncovers some sinister events within their community.
Honestly, this show is beautiful and there are so many wonderful actors in it, including my favorite human Lin-Manuel Miranda, but it is a very loaded series that you really need to pay close attention to. I found the first episode fails to really offer enough information on the series, so I dug into the books a bit to gain some insight. Though it does seem to be a great fantasy drama that I will likely continue.
The Witcher (Netflix)
Henry Cavill stars in this fantasy drama, an adaptation of the popular book series and video game. The series follows Geralt of Rivia (Cavill), who hunts monsters in this medieval-inspired world, while dealing with his own struggles with his inhuman identity.
While I’m not familiar with the game or novels, I’ve been sucked into the show. Five episodes in, I’ve felt the series balances the dark mystical elements, with medieval period drama, as well as a little humor. It’s action-packed with some great creature designs and some jaw-dropping sequences. My big complaint, though, is it is slightly confusing at times as they jump around the timeline without letting the viewer know that.