Fresh off a surprise history-making Emmy win, Euphoria star Zendaya is back with a holiday special for the hit HBO series this month — and that’s not all that’s in store. With new outings from Pennyworth, Big Mouth, a final season for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and more, it’s time to buckle up for a binge-tastic holiday season.
What it is: Co-created by Nick Kroll and featuring the voice talents of comedy heavy-hitters like John Mulaney, Fred Armisen, 2020 Emmy winner Maya Rudolph, and Andrew Rannells, Big Mouth is a coming-of-age series about awkward teens discovering their sexuality through the raging hormones of puberty.
Why you should watch it: We’ve seen plenty of naughty comedies in the past, but none of them excavate the triumphs and traumas of pubescent adolescence quite as fearlessly or uproariously as Big Mouth, and that’s in part thanks to its animated treatment, where the limit is quite literally the writers’ imagination. Season 4 premieres Dec. 4 on Netflix.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 16 hours (for the first three seasons, plus a Valentine’s Day special)
What it is: Euphoria charts the lives of a group of diverse, troubled high schoolers and their rainbow of experiences living in the digital age — experiences befitting of the series title, yes, but others all the more tragic.
Why you should watch it: This dark, gritty, hallucinatory hit from creator Sam Levinson not only marks a career-best, attention-grabbing turn from its Emmy winning star Zendaya, but it introduces us to a whole new class of Young Hollywood along the way. Mining real-world ailments of drug addiction, sexual abuse, online harassment, and more, it’s not always an easy watch, but it’s a worthwhile one. The long-awaited Season 2 teases its premiere with a Christmas special on Dec. 6.
Commitment: Approx. 8 hours (for the first season)
What it is: This Showtime series has been around for so long that it’s hard to define here in all its glory. But at its core, it’s an hour-long dysfunctional family comedy-drama about six children (led through the first nine seasons by an excellent Emmy Rossum as Fiona) who are forced to grow up too fast while under the watch of their single, alcoholic father, Frank (William H. Macy).
Why you should watch it: It’s tricky to strike the balance between broad comedy and aching drama, but it’s a skill that Shameless has perfected since its 2011 debut. Credit where it’s due: Rossum is an absolutely fearless knockout who bested herself season to season. Sadly, Season 9 was her last with the Gallagher family, but the remaining ensemble more than made up for her absence last season, and they’re sure to do it again this round. You can’t help but love them – even when they don’t make it easy. Season 11 premieres Dec. 6 on Showtime.
Commitment: Approx. 107 hours (for the first 10 seasons)
What it is: Alfred Pennyworth is just a former British SAS soldier trying to make a living as a London bouncer when he becomes the target of the evil Raven Society, forcing him into an alliance with the super rich Wayne family and pitting them against a common enemy. If you ever wondered how Alfred first came to the Waynes and eventually Batman, this is a story for you.
Why you should watch it: We can all agree that the world has enough origin stories of the Dark Knight, but what about Bruce Wayne’s trusted right-hand butler Alfred Pennyworth? Creator Bruno Heller and star Jack Bannon give the iconic character his due treatment with Pennyworth, one of the sleekest and best-acted entries to the espionage thriller genre in some time. Season 2 premieres Dec. 13 on Epix.
Commitment: Approx. Approx. 10 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Based on the series of novels by James S. A. Corey (the pen name of collaborators Daniel Abraham and T Franck), this space-hopping science-fiction series follows Earth-bound United Nations executive Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), asteroid belt-dwelling police detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane), and officer of an ice freighter Jim Holden (Steven Strait) as they uncover a conspiracy that risks disrupting the intergalactic peace within disparate colonies and the survival of humanity as they know it.
Why you should watch it: If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we have enough social and political turmoil here on Earth to know that if and when we expand our humanly horizons to other planets in the solar system, tension is likely to continue. Fortunately in the case of The Expanse, it just makes for great, cult-favorite TV with timely allegorical themes to spare. Season 5 premieres Dec. 16 on Amazon Prime.
Commitment: Approx. 46 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: Based on the beloved Archie comic and from creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, this iteration of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has a dark and spooky twist, charting the titular witch’s (Kiernan Shipka) coming of age as she’s forced to choose between human normalcy and her magic’s haunting lore.
Why you should watch it: If we didn’t already love her for her stellar child actor work on Mad Men, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is an absolutely star-making vehicle for Shipka, and we’re here for it. Gruesome and ghoulish adventures await, all brought to life by a talented ensemble that includes next-gen heartthrobs Ross Lynch, Chance Perdomo, and Gavin Leatherwood, leading ladies-to-be like Abigail Cowen, scene-stealing character actors like Michelle Gomez, and others. Its fourth and final season premieres Dec. 31 on Netflix.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 28 hours (for the first three seasons)
Thumbnail images by Netflix, HBO, EPIX