If you’re wondering how to fill those cold winter evenings, you’ll be pleased to know that Netflix has some decent options. Here’s our guide to what’s coming up over Christmas and January:
The Midnight Sky, 23 December
It’s blockbuster time as George Clooney directs himself in post-apocalyptic outing The Midnight Sky. Sporting an unkempt beard and bleary eyes, Clooney plays Augustine, a reclusive scientist trying to make contact with a space-bound exploration vessel to warn it against returning back home to an earth blighted by a global catastrophe. A cheery slice of Christmas escapism it certainly won’t be; but hopefully it will go some way to show why the streaming giant is paying old George the big bucks.
Bridgerton, 25 December
Novelist Julia Quinn’s historical romance saga Bridgerton is another one of those huge cultural phenomena you might not have heard of. Unless, of course, you happen to be one of the millions of readers who have already devoured the Bridgerton novels, which have now been translated into 29 languages. Arriving on Netflix on Christmas day, the first season will adopt Quinn’s first novel, The Duke and I, first published back at the turn of the millennium. The legendary Dame Julie Andrews will voice Lady Whistledown, the pseudonymous chronicler of Regency London’s high society.
Cobra Kai, 8 January
YouTube’s decision to resurrect the Karate Kid universe after 30 years proved a shrewd bet, as the comedy-drama quickly acquired a large following. After two series, Cobra Kai has now been acquired by Netflix where it will likely get even bigger. For those who haven’t caught the nostalgia fest yet, both Ralph Macchio and William Zabka step back into their iconic roles from the original films – namely Johnny Lawrence and his longstanding rival Daniel LaRusso.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, 18 December
An adaptation of an acclaimed stage play (last seen at the National Theatre in 2016), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom follows a recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await the appearance of Ma Rainey – regarded in music history as the ‘Mother of the Blues’. Produced by Denzel Washington, the film looks set to make quite the splash when it lands on Netflix after a limited theatrical release. To add to the occasion, it marks the last film appearance from its late star, the acclaimed Chadwick Boseman, who died from colon cancer at the age of 43.
The Prom, 11 December
As the biggest name in the television landscape, it falls upon Netflix to serve up a decent slab of Christmas camp – which it’s done in spades with The Prom. Meryl Streep and James Corden star as two jaded stage actors who come to the aid of a bookish teen barred from attending her high school prom with her same sex partner. Expect cheesy tunes, clichés galore, and probably a decent chunk of schmaltzy virtue-signalling to boot.
The Ripper, 16 December
With viewers’ appetites for true crime showing no signs of slowing down, Netflix brings its superbly-timed latest offering: a deep dive into the horrific story of recently-departed scumbag Peter Sutcliffe. Comprising candid interviews with investigators, journalists and survivors – including Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones who recently spoke about his trauma in finding one of Sutcliffe’s victims – the documentary sets out to be the definitive account of how the Yorkshire Ripper got away with it for so long.
Pieces of a Woman, 7 January
The ever wonderful Ellen Burstyn returns to the screen in this hotly anticipated adaptation of a Polish play about a midwife who faces charges of criminal negligence following a death during a home birth. Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf are Martha and Sean Carson, the couple affected by the tragedy, while Burstyn, now 87 years old, plays Martha’s elderly mother whose difficult behaviour only serves to pour petrol on an already raging fire.
Mank, 4 December
David Fincher’s latest effort, based on a screenplay left unfinished by his late father, had been penciled in for a release earlier this year before being delayed. Mank is a biopic of Herman Mankiewicz, a legendary screenwriter once described as the funniest man in 1920s New York. The film focuses in particular on Mankiewicz’s legendary feud with Orson Welles, over which of the two men deserved the credit for writing Citizen Kane. Gary Oldman plays the hard-drinking writer, while Lily Collins, Tuppence Middleton and Charles Dance all make appearances.