Lifestyle

A run down of shows and movies on streaming services over Christmas

Wondering what to binge watch but can't find TV shows you like this Christmas? Well if nothing satisfies you there, you'll surely find something to suit on the streaming services. Netflix has seen some serious contenders in the market in the past few years, with the arrival of Disney+, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime. We take a look at some movies and binge worthy series, old and new, that will keep you company on the couch.

Netflix

The Power of the Dog

With seven nominations in the Golden Globes, this movie is getting rave reviews. It tells the story of a  domineering rancher (Benedict Cumberbatch) who responds with mocking cruelty when his brother (Jesse Plemons) brings home a new wife (Kirsten Dunst) and her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee), until the unexpected comes to pass.

Don't look up 

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Arriving to Netflix on December 24th, Don't Look Up has box office favourites Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio. Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill and Cate Blanchett in its cast. It tells the story of a couple of low-level astronomers who discover a meteor is on a path to destroy the earth. But when they embark on a media tour to warn the world, they find an unreceptive and unbelieving audience.

This is being described as a dark comedy but with a serious side. It's currently showing in a limited number of cinemas and will be available to Irish Netflix subscribers from Christmas Eve.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbIxYm3mKzI

Emily in Paris Season 2

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Panned by some critics for stereotyping, this series was also loved by many as easy escapism. It's about a Chicago marketing executive Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) who's hired to provide an American perspective at a marketing firm in Paris.

So what can people expect from Season 2? Creator Darren Star told OprahMag.com, "she's going to be more of a part of the fabric of the world she's living in. She'll be more of a resident of the city, she'll have her feet on the ground a little more."

Maid

This went under the radar a little because it was released around the same time as Netflix record breaker Squid Game, but it's a real gem of a drama; well acted, gritty, sad and heartwarming.

Maid is about single mother Alex (Margaret Qualley) who turns to housecleaning to make ends meet as she escapes an abusive relationship and overcomes homelessness to create a better life for her daughter, Maddy. Her real-life mother Andie McDowell also plays her mother in the series; a free-spirited but volatile character who adds a worthwhile extra dimension to the show.

The Witcher Season 2

The Witcher made its much awaited return Friday 17 December, two years after it debuted on the streaming platform. Production was halted by the Covid 19 Pandemic and a leg injury picked up by its big star Henry Cavill.

Netflix dropped all eight episodes of Season 2 of the monster-hunting series, with the second season picking up where Season 1 left off continuing the story based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's short stories and novels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJFVV2L8GKs

Disney+ has plenty to binge watch for Christmas

All the Diehards

Fans are known to say "It isn't Christmas until I see Hans Gruber falling off the Nakatomi Plaza".

The complete collection of the Bruce Willis movies is now on Disney+, so if you haven't watched any of them, you can set aside plenty of time. Die Hard is an American action film series that originated with Roderick Thorp's novel Nothing Lasts Forever. All five films revolve around the main character of John McClane (Bruce Willis) a New York City/ LA  police detective who finds himself thrust into one crisis after another, where he is the only one who can sort it. However, only the first one is considered a Christmas movie.

Matt Damon - The Last Duel

Released to Disney+ on December 1st, and directed the highly lauded Ridley Scott (The Marian, Gladiator, Thelma and Louise), The Last Duel stars Oscar winner Matt Damon, two-time Academy Award nominee Adam Driver, Emmy winner Jodie Comer and two-time Oscar winner Ben Affleck.

The story is set in 14th century France, when the Norman knight Jean de Carrouges dueled squire Jacques Le Gris. There's a lot at stake (literally) -  If Jean de Carrouges had lost the duel, his wife would have been burned at the stake, as punishment for her false accusation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgygUwPJvYk

Malcolm in the Middle

An old favourite, this hilariously funny family drama, which stars Bryan Cranston in a very different role to his Walter White in Breaking Bad, is now available on Disney Plus. Whether you've seen it the first time around or not, it's worth dipping into. It's about Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) who is trying to survive in his dysfunctional family of male siblings and an overpowering mother. The series first aired in 2000.

The Mandalorian

This massively popular series, credited with having one of the best endings of all time, is one for Star Wars fans in particular but is not confined to people who watched the original movies. It's got a wider appeal than that.

The Mandalorian is an American space Western television series created by Jon Favreau especially for Disney+. It is the first live-action series in the Star Wars franchise, beginning five years after the events of  Return of the Jedi (1983). It stars Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian, as the a lone bounty hunter who goes on the run.

Amazon Prime

Parks and Recreation

Made by the same team that brought us the US version of The Office, this satirical mockumentary series has something of a cult following. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is a mid-level bureaucrat, who wishes to help a local nurse, Ann, convert a disused construction site into a community park. However she's met with bureacracy and self-important neighbours along the way.  The series is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Terror

If you like a bit of horror, then The Terror might be the one for you. The premise is that a series of strange deaths haunt a Japanese American community during World War II. Meanwhile Chester Nakayama and his friends and family face persecution from the American government in a Japanese internment camp. This comes highly rated on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. There's Irish interest too, with Ciarán Hinds playing Sr John Franklin.

 

Being the Ricardos 

New to Amazon Prime from December 21st, the film Being the Ricardos promises good things, with a cast that includes Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem. It's directed by Aaron Sorkin, who has brought us The West Wing, Molly's Game, and The Trial of the Chicago Seven, to name but a few.

Set in the early 1952s, it's about Hollywood power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who face a series of personal and professional crises that threaten their careers, their relationship and their hit TV show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvrjCdtB0zM

Apple TV+

The Morning Show Seasons 1 and 2. 

Starring heavy hitters like Jennifer Aniston, Reece Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup, The Morning Show Season 1 arrived with a bang and to much aplomb. Set against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement in Hollywood, we learn in the opening episode of Season 1 that Mitch Kessler (Carell), co-anchor of Alex Levy (Aniston) on a top-rated American TV breakfast programme, is accused of sexual misconduct.

Season 2 landed in the early Autumn of 2021 against the backdrop of Covid, and has not been as well received, with people feeling that that plotlines somewhat lost their way. However, from beginning to end, it's worth a binge, and you'll see some outstanding performances from the lead actors.

For all Mankind

One for space and sci-fi fans, this 2019 series explores the possibilities that might exist if the level of space exploration seen in the '60s had continuted. It looks at where humanity would be now in this scenario, with the show's teaser "Imagine a world where the global space race never ended."

 

Ted Lasso

Considered one of the best so far from Apple TV+, small-time American football coach Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) is hired to coach a professional football club in England, despite having no experience coaching football. Described as a comedy / drama, especially for sports fans, it might be just the ticket for people looking for something easy this Christmas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u7EIiohs6U

For all things Christmas, click here.

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