27 of the Best Shows on Netflix to Watch During Your December Downtime
Whether you’re wrapping gifts or just trying to stay cozy, these top Netflix shows will keep you entertained all month long.
December is typically peak season for watching Christmas movies on Netflix (and anywhere else you can find them), but trading some good shows on Netflix in for a holiday flick can help alleviate any Christmas overload. Some people don’t celebrate Christmas; others need a break from the near-constant holiday jingles and Santa sightings (real and on the screen). Whatever your reasoning, if you’re seeking great shows to watch on Netflix this month, we’ve got a list of nearly 30 worth your time.
Netflix has a practically endless collection of movies and TV shows of all genres, lengths, and qualities. Some are award-winning, some have cult followings, and some are just indulgent, but finding the right show to watch can be a daunting task. (The fact that Netflix’s collection is constantly growing with more new Netflix originals and Netflix suggestions from eager viewers just makes it trickier.) If you’re seeking a show to fill your time while you wrap presents (or avoid wrapping presents) or curl up on the couch, turn to this list.
Our picks for good Netflix shows to watch focus on the binge-watching potential of the streaming service: If you want to dive deep into a show, fall in love with the characters, and happily relax in front of your screen of choice for hours at a time, these series are your best options. All are three seasons or more, so they offer hours of viewing, and they’re sure to suck you in within the first few episodes.
Whatever your taste in entertainment, there’s sure to be a show here for you. Decide whether you want an intense show that will keep you glued to the screen or a show you can have on in the background while you tackle your holiday season to-dos, pick one from our list, and get streaming. If you’ve seen everything here, you’ve practically earned a degree in binge-watching: You’ll need to turn to the depths of Netflix’s collection (or check out the Disney+ assortment of shows and movies) to find your next show—or maybe a rewatch is in order.
The best shows on Netflix in December
1. The Crown
With the release of season three, The Crown—one of the top Netflix Original series—is officially binge-worthy. Each season follows several years in the life of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, stretching from her marriage in 1947 to the 1960s and 70s, when season three takes place. More seasons are yet to come, but the first three are worth watching as soon as possible, if only to have heated discussions of the antics of the royals at your next holiday party.
Get your fill of superhero rescues and feats of strength with the four seasons of this show currently available. Superman’s cousin is the titular hero, who is spunky and passionate, even as she struggles to figure out her purpose. With occasional appearances from Superman, the Flash, and other DC heroes, it’s a playful, spirit-boosting watch—and it’s good for families with older kids, too.
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling show was a hit in the 80s, and the GLOW Netflix series is a fictional retelling of how the show came to be. It follows an eclectic group of women as they go from out-of-work actresses and struggling artists to media sensations, with plenty of 80s glamour, behind-the-scenes drama, and more.
4. The Originals
For fans of The Vampire Diaries—or just fans of New Orleans—this spin-off follows an ancient family of vampires making their way (and rebuilding their empire) in The Big Easy. Expect supernatural intrigue, family drama, and romance over the five seasons of this easy watch.
5. Gilmore Girls
Netflix is home to all seven seasons of this mother-daughter series—and the Netflix-exclusive follow-up, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life—which offers the perfect balance of humor and drama that any light-hearted show needs. Come for the sweet storyline, stay for the witty banter and charming setting.
6. Criminal Minds
With a whopping 12 seasons available, this intense series about FBI profilers is gritty and suspenseful—a great pick for anyone who loves procedural dramas and police shows. And with more than 300 episodes to watch, it’ll last a good while, too.
7. American Horror Story
What better way to break up holiday cheer than with a collection of horror stories? Each season follows a new plot and set of characters, so watching the eight currently available seasons of this series is like watching eight terrifying, lengthy movies—the perfect alternative if you’re striking a gloomier note this December.
8. Arrested Development
More than a few familiar faces star in this family comedy, which follows a wealthy clan suddenly thrown into financial turmoil. Watch its five seasons to see the source of plenty of popular idioms and allusions and get plenty of laughs along the way, too.
9. Once Upon a Time
All the fairy tales are true in this long-running fantasy series, which has all the characters from your favorite stories transported to a modern New England town (and trapped there) by the Evil Queen. They don’t know who they are, and the show’s seven seasons follow them all as they recover their identities and face classic storybook villains. (It’s PG, too, so the kids can join in the binge-watching.)
If you missed out on this dark take on the Archie comics when it premiered in 2017, you can catch up now: The first three seasons of high school misadventures and dramatic shenanigans are available on Netflix now, while the fourth season is currently on the CW. It’s practically impossible to not get hooked on the first season, so prepare to fly through the whole series.
Highly political and completely hilarious, the eight-season run of this sketch comedy features Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in various roles in the crunchy city of Portland. It’s great for a guaranteed pick-me-up, especially during a dreary December.
12. Designated Survivor
Kiefer Sutherland of 24 fame is the only U.S. cabinet member to survive a devastating attack on Washington, D.C.; as the designated survivor, he becomes president of the country. The three seasons of this suspenseful political drama follows him as he steps into the role of world leader; Maggie Q also stars as the FBI agent working to find out who attacked the capital.
13. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Who hasn’t done something crazy for love—or even a crush? The four seasons of this musical comedy follow a lovestruck lawyer as she chases after a guy, subtly critiquing and mocking the crazy ex-girlfriend trope along the way. The show offers a powerful exploration of mental illness and supportive relationships, broken up by tongue-in-cheek musical numbers and zany characters.
14. Peaky Blinders
A little gory and a lot dark, this British historical drama set in 1920s England follows a gang boss and his family across five acclaimed seasons. Come for the costumes and production quality (and, let’s be honest, the accents), stay for the fierce characters.
15. The Good Place
Regardless of your understanding of philosophy, you’ll love this thoughtful show, which offers a completely new take on life after death and enough approaches to comedy to make anyone smile.
16. The Walking Dead
Like its titular zombies, this dark series may never die. Nine seasons are currently on Netflix, serving up horror, tears, laughs, and more with each episode following a group of survivors fighting their way through treacherous territory.
17. Schitt’s Creek
Heartfelt, humorous, and a little out-there, this comedy follows a riches-to-rags family transplanted to an unfortunately named town filled with unusual characters. Five seasons are currently on Netflix, with one more to come next year, following the Rose family’s gradual adjustment to lives not of the rich and famous.
18. Grace and Frankie
Picture a classic buddy comedy, but starring two women of a certain age instead of bro-ish goons. Add two husbands (of said women) in love with each other, and you get Grace and Frankie, which has five seasons of unlikely friendship and shenanigans to enjoy.
19. New Girl
Fair warning: This good show on Netflix will give you unrealistic expectations of your own roommates, present and future. The titular girl moves in with three men, all of whom have their own quirks and odd habits. Their misadventures stretch on for seven silly seasons, all of which will have you laughing.
20. Breaking Bad
Having inspired a spin-off TV series and a Netflix Original Film (and countless Halloween costumes and party themes), this award-winning series is available in its entirety—all five seasons—for your viewing pleasure. For anyone unfamiliar with the concept of this top show on Netflix, a science teacher becomes a drug chemist and dealer; chaos ensues.
21. Parks and Recreation
An ambitious and naïve woman in a small town’s parks and recreation department is out to change the world, one playground at a time. You’ll start the show for Amy Poehler’s portrayal of Leslie Knope, then quickly have your own favorite characters to root for (the ensemble comedy has plenty of options).
Gasp along with each and every scandal in the seven seasons of this Kerry Washington–led political drama, which combines public relations faux pas, legal snafus, political mistakes, and more.
23. Stranger Things
With its adorable cast and passionate fanbase, Stranger Things has always been a top series, but with the release of its third season earlier this year, it’s now truly binge-worthy. It offers nostalgia, mystery, supernatural horror, and pre-teen friendship, all in one neat package.
If you’re not already familiar with Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey, now’s your chance to get acquainted: Netflix has all ten seasons of this iconic series about a group of friends living in New York.
25. The Office
You’ll wish your office was this out-there (or maybe not) after watching all nine seasons of this beloved comedy. With a huge, now-famous cast and fantastic guest spots, this show will keep you laughing all the way through the final season.
26. Grey’s Anatomy
This might be one of the most binge-worthy shows on Netflix, thanks to its fifteen seasons. You can expect medical drama, romantic intrigue, human vices, and more to keep you hooked for hours of watching.
27. Black Mirror
Turn to this atypical Netflix Original Series for some serious psychological horror. It only has 20 episodes, but each is essentially a standalone movie, with most episodes ranging from 45 minutes to more than an hour in length. Binge-watching more than a few episodes in a few might darken your mood considerably, but you’ll be thinking about each one for a long time to come.