50 Best Shows on Netflix to Watch This December

Don't worry—there's plenty of entertainment to keep you occupied this holiday season.

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The holiday season is upon us, which means you're probably going to need a solid watch list queue to get you by. But don't worry—it’s a month that promises a surplus of exciting Netflix show releases. If you're looking for a fresh crop of nostalgia titles, new seasons, and breakout shows to entertain, you've come to the the right place.

The streaming service is home to plenty of other things to watch—we've got lists of the best horror movies on Netflix if you're craving a good scare, best romantic movies on Netflix if you want to inject a bit of warmth from the cold, Black history movies on Netflix if you want to educate yourself, plus kids' movies on Netflix for the little ones on break—but movies can only take you so far (and fill so many hours). If you're really looking for an hours-long binge-watch opportunity, turn to one of these Netflix TV shows.

From tearjerker dramas to classic hits, this guide to the best shows to watch on Netflix right now is sure to offer a little inspiration for your December viewing. So grab a lover (or friend), curl up under a blanket, and settle into these Netflix December TV shows—there's plenty to keep you entertained all month long.

The Best Shows on Netflix in December 2022

1. Alice in Borderland

If you’re a fan of Squid Game, Alice in Borderland is by far the show most often compared to it. The premise: Arisu, a genius gamer who never lived up to his potential, suddenly finds himself in an abandoned version of Tokyo where he must compete in life-threatening games to avoid getting lasered in the head by a mysterious entity. If you survive, you get granted a several-day "visa," after which you have to willingly return to another game. Naturally, alliances are formed, friendships are tested, and betrayals are inevitable. Watch season 1 available now before season 2 comes out December 22.

2. The Recruit

Noah Centineo is returning to Netflix with a brand-new series, and it’s not another gooey rom-com you’d expect. This spy thriller features Centineo as a newbie CIA lawyer who gets involved in tricky international conflicts and dangerous parties when an asset tries to expose her relation to the agency. All eight episodes of the first season will drop December 16.

3. Emily in Paris

Chicago marketing exec Emily Cooper lands her dream job in Paris, only to find that the culture clash is far worse than she expected, especially when it comes to a critical boss and highly judgmental coworkers. In season two, the overwhelmingly American but likable Emily continues (read: struggles) to find her feet in the French capital. FYI, season 4 is coming to Netflix December 21.

4. Too Hot to Handle

You might be a bit skeptical of this one based on the trailer (so were we), but turns out that watching a bunch of people try to handle their libidos is more entertaining than we thought it would be. The steamy reality show forces 10 extremely attractive singles to live together, but with one caveat: a $100,000 celibacy challenge, with any violations docking the prize money. Mark your calendar for season 4 coming December 7.

5. Wednesday 

A new series from Tim Burton, Wednesday (yes, from the infamous Addams family) stars as a brooding high school student at Nevermore Academy, where she attempts to control her psychic powers and unpack a murder mystery connected to her family’s past.

6. The Watcher

A married couple goes through every suburban family’s nightmare when a stalker who dubs himself “The Watcher” starts sending them creepy, anonymous letters. Oh, and here’s the scariest part—the series is based on a true story in Westfield, New Jersey, in which the real-life “Watcher” was never identified. Take that bit of info as you will.

7. Blockbuster

Fans of The Office and Superstore will love this new office comedy—and this one takes place in the iconic Blockbuster store (RIP). Fun fact: The last Blockbuster standing is in Bend, Oregon, which is where the show takes place. Randall Park stars as the manager struggling to survive as a “small business”—I don’t know about you, but just the fact that Netflix (arguably the reason for Blockbuster’s demise) produced this is hilarious in itself.

8. Down to Earth

Zac Efron fans, get ready for eight whole episodes featuring this gorgeous man traveling around the world—alongside wellness expert Darin Olien—to find healthy, sustainable ways to live. If this is what healthy, sustainable living looks like, sign us up. 

9. Dead to Me

If you’re not familiar with the first two (in which case go catch up ASAP), the story revolves around the chaotic and unhinged friendship between Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini), two women who meet in a grief support group after Jen’s husband dies in a hit-and-run incident. Despite having polar opposite personalities, the two end up bonding into a relationship tinged with emotional turbulence and life-altering discoveries. 

10. Manifest

Looks like the trending hashtag #SaveManifest worked, because Netflix recently renewed the hit NBC mystery series for a fourth and final season (all seasons available now!). The story, which follows a group of passengers on a flight missing for five years that suddenly reappears, has made a huge splash on social media and sailed high in the Top 10 on Netflix for several weeks. A lot can happen in five years, which means most of their spouses have moved on, kids have grown up, and parents have passed away, making their return to society unimaginably difficult. To make matters worse, the passengers begin to experience voices and visions representing events yet to occur, sending them down a bumpy moral road that they can only navigate together.

11. The Crown

Since the release of seasons three and four, The Crown—one of the best Netflix Original Series, and the winner of many awards over the years—is officially binge-worthy for those who think the best shows on Netflix are the long-running ones. Follow four decades (so far) in the life of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, with plenty of royal intrigue and familial conflict to keep you hooked. With the much-anticipated season five (featuring Princess Diana!) ready to stream now, there’s plenty for fans new and old to watch.

12. Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

In this making of a monster series, Evan Peters (from American Horror Story) stars as the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The show revolves around the many necrophilic and cannibalistic murders he committed between 1978 and 1991, but also dives into his upbringing, and consequently, the motives he may have had for committing them. 

13. The Midnight Club

Attention, Mike Flanagan fans: The genius behind Midnight Mass and The Haunting of Hill House is back with another spooky series—and this one is all about a killer friendship pact (quite literally) between a group of terminally ill teens. Joining a rather sick (in more ways than one) exclusive club inside a hospice, they vow that the first one to die must send the rest a sign from the other side.

14. The Mole

This high-stakes reality competition series deals with 12 players working together in various challenges to add money to a pot. Sounds like a typical team activity, but there’s a catch: Only one of them will win all that money, and a mole has been planted in the group tasked with sabotaging the group’s money-making efforts.

15. 28 Days Haunted 

You know all those haunted sites that Ed and Lorraine Warren’s files are about (i.e. The Conjuring series)? Well, now you can get a direct dose of them through the eyes of three teams who will spend 28 days in some of America’s most haunted locations—all for the sake of paranormal research and quality American entertainment. 

16. Love Is Blind

You usually like to, you know, see your date before you start dating them, which is what makes this Netflix reality hit series so interesting. Nick and Vanessa Lachey host this social experiment where single men and women look for love and even get engaged, all before meeting in person. If a person was perfect in personality, would that override your physical preferences? Make sure to catch up on the first two seasons before watching season three.

17. Partner Track

Do toxic workplace micro-aggressions and white, male-dominated workplaces sound all too painfully familiar? Featuring Arden Cho, this romantic dramedy series touches upon topics of racism and sexism in the workplace through the career of a first-generation Korean American woman.

18. Cobra Kai

The spin-off series of The Karate Kid (season five is out now!) takes place decades after the original film trilogy. Die-hard fans will be thrilled to know that the martial arts comedy-drama stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, who reprise their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. This time around, they reignite their rivalry when Johnny seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai dojo.

19. Never Have I Ever

The third season of Netflix's quirky coming-of-age drama is finally here. If you're not familiar with the first season, the story takes the viewpoint of Devi, a first-generation, Indian-American teen growing up in Southern California. As Devi tries to navigate high school, a juicy love triangle that rivals the renowned Edward versus Jacob battle in Twilight, and friendships with her two BFFs, she also has to grapple with the loss of her father and pitfalls of high school hierarchy.

20. Sandman

Based on the famous comic book series, a TV show rendition of The Sandman is making its official television debut. In the 10-episode season, a cosmic being named Dream (aka Lord Morpheus, the King of Dreams) embarks on an otherworldly journey to reclaim his power after being held captive for a century.

21. Echoes

This mystery thriller revolves around identical twins who have secretly swapped lives since they were children, culminating in a double life as adults where they share two homes, two husbands, and a child. However, their secret is at risk when one of the twins goes missing.

22. Locke & Key

Based on the bestselling graphic novel series, Locke & Key revolve around three siblings who discover that their family's ancestral estate has some hidden secrets. When their dad is murdered and they move into his family home, they soon find a number of mysterious keys throughout the house that can be used to unlock various doors in magical ways. But where there's good, there's evil—and a demonic entity with bad intentions is also looking to take ownership of the keys.

23. Stranger Things

One of the top shows on Netflix since its launch, Stranger Things is now on its fourth season, with the second part out now. It follows a crew of adorable pre-teens as they face unexpected supernatural activity in their unassuming Indiana hometown. With nostalgia, mystery, horror, and strong friendships, it's got something for everyone. Season four picks up six months after the Battle of Starcourt, as the gang struggles with the aftermath.

24. The Umbrella Academy

Brellies, get excited—season three of The Umbrella Academy is out now. This Emmy-nominated series revolves around a family of adopted sibling superheroes (including powers like super-strength, mind control, telekinesis, etc.) who were trained by an eccentric billionaire to fight crime. The newest season picks up after the gang stopped 1963's doomsday, only to realize they have created an alternate reality in which a mysterious new crew called The Sparrows are in charge.

25. The Circle

As if social media isn't stressful enough, let's put $100,000 on the line. In The Circle, contestants are isolated in their own apartments, and can only communicate to the other contestants via a social media app. Everyone is periodically asked to rate their fellow contestants, with top vote-getters becoming "influencers" and the low-rankers being eliminated (and the most popular contestant winning the cash prize). But here's the catch: People can choose to be whoever they want to be in the competition, meaning that sweet girl next door you've been flirting with might be a middle-aged man.

26. The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On

From the hosts of Love Is Blind, Nick and Vanessa Lachey, comes another reality dating show that would never happen in any reality, unless you were on a dating show. Here's the gist: Currently committed couples (on the verge of marriage) are encouraged to put their love to the test by mingling, going on dates, and even sleeping with other potential matches for a "trial marriage." They can then choose to either go back to their original partner or leave the show with someone new.

27. Russian Doll

The long-awaited second season of this cult-favorite series is back. In the first season, a game developer Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) finds herself trapped in a time loop in which she eventually dies (over and over in different ways). In the second season, Nadia's attempt to find meaning in her existence shoots her back in time to occupy the bodies of family members.

28. Bridgerton

Season two of Shondaland's romantic regency series has finally waltzed its way back into our hearts. If you've managed to wait to watch the show, resist no further: Bridgerton is a must-watch. The series follows London's elite in the early 19th century as they seek love and marriage (not always together), political alliances, and gossip during the glittering social season. Think of it as an indulgent, escapist blend of Gossip Girl and Pride & Prejudice with something to appeal to everyone—and a delightful reimagining of how people of color operate in the era.

29. Ozark

The final half of the final season of Ozark is going out with a bang. The series follows a financial adviser-turned-money launderer who is forced to pack up his family and move to the Ozarks, where he has to clean a huge sum of money for a dangerous cartel leader. Dark, gritty, and full of surprisingly likable characters, it's a great distraction.

30. Inventing Anna

Based (loosely) on the true story of Anna Delvey (aka Anna Sorokin), this Netflix series created by Shonda Rhimes takes the perspective of the reporter who wrote the story of how Delvey convinced New York's elite that she was a German heiress. The ritzy (read: iconic) life of Delvey involved lying her way onto the New York social scene and scamming banks, hotels, and friends in the process.

31. Good Girls

It's the final season, y'all. Come for the big-name stars—Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman as the titular good girls—and stay for the drama, action, and comedy, which seem to come in equal measure through all four seasons. You'll laugh, you'll feel the pain of being a middle-class mom with a pinched income, and you'll be shocked at the criminal antics these women get into.

32. All of Us Are Dead

If you've seen Train to Busan, Kingdom, or #Alive, you know South Korea does zombie entertainment right. This new Netflix series featuring a high school that becomes ground zero for a zombie virus outbreak already hit the top spot worldwide and in the U.S.—and it's not hard to see why. Filled with emotional scenes, grisly zombie gore, and turning scenes that will make your jaw drop, you'll find it hard not to binge all 12 episodes in one sitting.

33. Queer Eye

A reboot of the '90s series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, this emotional, insightful reality series follows five (newly Emmy-nominated) queer men as they help people of all genders improve their lives. The five stars have become personalities in their own right and watching them on-screen together is one of the best parts of the show, but seeing how they help and encourage the people they work with is sure to warm even the coolest of hearts.

34. Maid

Warning: If you've experienced domestic abuse, this show may be triggering. This show aims to depict the agonizing reality those who have experienced emotional abuse face, and the lack of support that exists for vulnerable people who have left abusive environments.

35. Riverdale

Getting hooked on this dark take on the Archie comics is easy: The first season has enough surprises from its familiar high-school characters to pull you in, and the next few seasons will keep you watching as the show gets darker and darker. Even if the plot gets a little confusing, the cast and melodrama will keep any casual binge-watcher satisfied. Now that the newest season—season five—is now available on Netflix, too, you can get all caught up on this must-watch series as season six gets rolling.

36. Squid Game

If you're a fan of Hunger Games, Battle Royale, or Belko Experiment-style stories, this Korean series that's been making Netflix history (it's their number one show of all time) is a must-watch. Hundreds of cash-strapped players accept a strange invitation to compete in seemingly innocent games with a tempting prize at the end. Just a small catch: Elimination or forfeiture means death.

37. You

This psychological thriller series dives into the mind of Joe Goldberg, a hopelessly romantic psychopath—two things that definitely aren't compatible. All three seasons about his twisted pursuits for love is on Netflix, along with his inner monologues that almost make his rationalization of murder make sense. After all, all is fair in love and war, right?

38. Midnight Mass

Horror fans get psyched—this new series directed by Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, Doctor Sleep) is perfect for your late night binge-watching. When the arrival of a charismatic priest brings mysterious miracles to an isolated island community, things seem too good to be true. And if you know anything about horror shows and/or Mike Flanagan, if something is too good to be true, it definitely is. Long story short, the newly religious residents soon learn that these miracles come at a price.

39. In the Dark

The show's protagonist is a pessimistic blind woman who mainly drifts through life in a drunken haze. The first three seasons revolve around the murder mystery of one of her closest friends, which in turn leads her to get involved with one of the biggest drug rings in the biz.

40. Sex Education

This hilarious comedy-drama will have you both cringing and rolling around on the floor in laughter. The protagonist is an awkward, insecure boy named Otis who is sexually inexperienced and has trouble navigating his sexuality. The fact that his mom is a sex therapist complicates matters, and things start really escalating when a rebellious girl named Maeve proposes they start a school sex-therapy clinic together.

41. Clickbait

As a mystery lover who prides herself on guessing the ending of murder mysteries, I'll say this: If you say you saw the ending of Clickbait coming, you're a liar. The new limited Netflix series begins with the kidnapping of family man Nick Brewer. But what starts off as an apparent kidnapping case becomes more complicated when videos are released with him holding a series of signs. One says he abuses women and another claims he killed a woman. As his family tries to find the people who kidnapped Nick, they're also forced to contemplate what Nick could have done to prompt this strange hostage situation.

42. Dear White People

Set at a progressive, supposedly post-racial Ivy League–esque college, this show—part comedy, part drama—follows a group of students of color as they navigate the everyday slights and microaggressions on a campus filled with white students who claim not to be racist. From a blackface party to campus security aggression, the series examines many different situations and how they affect Black people—a great watch for anyone seeking to better understand their own unconscious biases and harmful stereotypes they hold.

43. Lucifer

For a bit of suave, dark humor, turn to Lucifer, which follows the fallen angel as he starts fresh in L.A. The devil himself becomes a consultant for the police, and the balance of good-versus-evil morality concerns and procedural drama (plus a little romantic tension for good measure) will keep you hooked through every episode.

44. Sex Life

Sex Life has been generating plenty of buzz—and let's just say it's not for the stellar scriptwriting. It follows a suburban stay-at-home mother who starts to yearn for the wild, sex-filled party days of her youth. When she starts daydreaming about her time with bad boy record exec Brad, she starts writing, erm, stories about her experiences on her laptop. When her husband finds her fantasy writing, instead of getting angry, he decides to use it as an instruction manual to spice up their sex life. As you've probably guessed, it's rated R, so maybe don't watch it with your mom.

45. The Walking Dead

Like its titular zombies, this dark series may never die. Serving up horror, tears, laughs, and more with each episode, the show follows a group of survivors fighting their way through the treacherous, zombie-infested remains of what was once the United States.

46. Sweet Tooth

This fantasy series based on the DC Comic is set in a post-apocalyptic fairytale world where "nature made everyone sick." That first part sounds all too familiar, but that's where the relatability ends: This pandemic led to the mysterious emergence of hybrid babies born part human, part animal. Unsure if hybrids are the cause or result of the virus, many humans fear and hunt them, making post-pandemic life for these kids a whole lot harder.

47. Black Mirror

Turn to Black Mirror for some serious psychological horror. It only has 22 episodes (plus the Bandersnatch interactive film), but each is essentially a standalone movie, with most episodes ranging from 45 minutes to more than an hour in length. Reality is frighteningly similar to the scenarios presented in this dark, twisted show, which makes this the perfect binge-watch if you want to lean into psychological terror.

48. Kim's Convenience

Looking to expand your Asian culture awareness past AAPI month? Try Kim's Convenience, a funny, heart-filled sitcom that depicts the Korean-Canadian Kim family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. The show is decorated with awards and it's not hard to see why: From Mr. and Mrs. Kim (stern but well-meaning parents) to Janet and Jung (their Korean-Canadian kids trying to balance the two cultures), it's impossible not to root for the genuine, lovable characters.

49. Ginny and Georgia

Ginny and Georgia are two women who you would never peg as having the same Myers Briggs personality type, but after moving to small-town Wellsbury, Mass., they find out that they're more alike than they originally imagined. Their double lives are filled with sex scandals, petty social cliques, and murder. In short, it's the perfect mix of Gilmore Girls wholesomeness sprinkled with a dark, criminal undertone.

50. Schitt's Creek

A heartfelt (and now Emmy-winning) riches-to-rags story, this comedy follows the Rose family as they're forced out of their lives as the rich and famous and into a middle-of-nowhere (and unfortunately named) town filled with unusual characters. They try to rebuild their old lives and find themselves building new ones instead. Schitt's Creek made history in 2020 by sweeping comedy categories at the Emmys. If you haven't watched this wonderfully funny show yet, now is the time to binge-watch all six seasons.

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