Winter’s here, nights are longer, Covid-19 just won’t go away and many folks are back living under some kind of lockdown or restriction measures. The good news is that Netflix is one way of forgetting about the woes of the outside world and it’s clear the streaming giant intends to ramp up its Christmas feel good content in a big way.
But before we get snowed under with all the seasonal movies and shows coming early in November, it’s worth noting there is plenty of non festive choice too.
Leading off with a couple films, there’s the dazzling Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse which will certainly lift any viewers in low spirits, while the Oscar baiting Netflix Original, Hillbilly Elegy might just bring them down again!
As far as shows are concerned, Netflix big hitter, The Crown, returns with Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in season four, which moves into the 80s and sees the introduction of Lady Di and Maggie Thatcher. Meanwhile, Undercover, is a Belgian cop series now in its second season.
However, the snowball is starting to gather momentum down the hill for Christmas and, since Netflix itself says, “Some people may say it’s too early to get excited for Christmas films. We simply do not care”, it's a safe bet that the scrooges among us are not going to be happy with the flourish of festive fare that includes movies The Christmas Chronicles 2 and Jingle Jangle, plus season one of Dash & Lily, an original Netflix series that charts a holiday romance.
So let’s light the blue touch paper on a few streaming fireworks as we look at what’s in store during November. As always, bear in mind that although we’ve tried to be as UK specific as possible, streaming dates can change, content can sometimes be territory specific and shows can even get pulled by Netflix itself. And remember to keep checking back for updates as Netflix continues to add to its lineup.
Pick of the Shows
Undercover (2020, S2, Netflix Original Series, International: Belgium)
A year after the events of season one Kim’s research into an illegal arms trade in Syria leads her to El Dorado Ranch, a country and western estate in the Belgium flatlands. With the help of ex-colleague Bob, the pair go undercover as a couple that frequent the venue in order to inveigle themselves into the drug boss’s operations. Meanwhile, from behind bars, Ferry continues his search for the true identity of the undercover agents that arrested him.
Dash & Lily (2020, S1, Netflix Original Series)
A budding holiday romance blossoms between two teen strangers as cynical Dash and optimistic Lily trade messages, dares, dreams and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City over the Christmas period. But as the pair start to fall in love with each other’s on-page identity, will that still be the case when/if they ever meet?
Based on the New York Times bestseller Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, the series is produced by Nick Jonas of the Jonas brothers and Shawn (Night at The Museum) Levy with Fred Savage directing four of the eight episodes.
A second series is rumoured to be in development based on book two of the author’s twin book series, after that, should there be a third series, we’ll be in Game of Thrones territory… and we all know how that went!
The Crown (2020, S4, Netflix Original Series)
Olivia Colman continues her role as Queen Elizabeth II in season four of Netflix’s flagship drama which heralds the end of the 1970s and sees the introduction of a new British Prime Minister in Margaret Thatcher (played by Gillian Anderson). Meanwhile Prince Charles enters a tumultuous marriage with Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin).
From Peter Morgan, writer of The Queen, Frost/Nixon and Rush, The Crown is a dramatisation of Queen Elizabeth II’s life from her wedding in 1947 to the present day. Netflix bought it as six seasons, each of ten episodes covering periods of historical and political significance over her decades long reign.
Pick of the Movies
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (2020, Animation, Adventure, Family. Voices: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown, Awkwafina, Matt Berry, Dir. Tim Hill)
SpongeBob and best bud Patrick Star embark on a rescue mission to save SpongeBob's pet snail Gary, who has been "snailnapped" by King Poseidon. The pair navigate delights and dangers on a daring rescue mission, travelling to the Lost City of Atlantic City. Along the way, the origin of SpongeBob and Gary's meeting for the first time as children is revealed.
This first-ever CGI SpongeBob motion picture is his third full length feature and is dedicated to creator Stephen Hillenburg, who died in 2018.
Sponge on the Run had its cinema release plans changed due to the coronavirus outbreak and ended up with a theatrical run in Canada in August 2020. It will make its US debut in early 2021 on CBS All Access. Lucky international territories will get to see Bikini Bottom’s denizens much earlier on Netflix - licensing deals, dontcha just love ‘em?!
Originally titled, It’s a Wonderful Sponge - which is much better.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018, Animation, Action, Adventure. Voices: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman. Showing in 4K)
In a parallel New York City, young Miles Morales is the aspiring new Spider-Man after his world’s Peter Parker is KIA. Now, it’s up to an inexperienced Miles to save the multiverse when fellow Spider-heroes arrive in his world following Kingpin’s meddling with alternate dimensions.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, rejuvenated superhero movies in 2018 with a bravado approach to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, blending animation and art styles and techniques to help propel the narrative. The result is hilarious, thrilling and emotionally punchy, supported by a terrific voice cast and driving soundtrack.
The result of the production’s three years of passionate endeavour was critical and commercial acclaim (Spider-Verse passed Hotel Transylvania 2 as Sony’s highest-grossing film domestically, unadjusted for inflation) along with an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.
Knowing it’s onto a winner and, after Lord and Miller signed a 5 year deal , Sony is hedging its bets on a slew of spin off and TV adaptations, including a possible series of shorts starring Spider-Ham!
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020, Netflix Original Film, Family, Fantasy, Musical. Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad, Dir. David E. Talbot)
Set in the sparklingly vibrant town of Cobbleton, the film follows legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) whose fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. But when his trusted apprentice steals his most prized creation, it’s up to Jangle’s equally bright and inventive granddaughter — and a long-forgotten invention — to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within.
Co-produced by John Legend, who provides original songs, principal photography took place in Norwich from June 2019, just to make sure they captured that quintessential essence of Christmas!
Hillbilly Elegy (2020, Netflix Original Film, Drama. Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Gabriel Basso, Dir. Ron Howard)
J.D. Vance (Gabriel Basso) is a former Marine and current Yale Law student. He's on the verge of landing his dream job when a family crisis forces him to return to the southern Ohio home he’s tried to move on from. On his return, J.D. must navigate his volatile relationship with his mother Bev (Amy Adams), who’s struggling with addiction and the complex dynamics of his Appalachian family. Fueled by memories of his grandmother Mamaw (Glenn Close), the resilient and whip-smart woman who raised him, can J.D. embrace his family’s indelible imprint on his own personal journey?
Based on J.D. Vance’s #1 New York Times Bestseller, a personal memoir that follows three colourful generations of his relative’s personal journeys of survival and triumph, the story explores the highs and lows that define his family’s experience and its relationship with the American Dream.
Between them Close and Adams have 13 Oscar nominations but no wins. A qualifying theatrical run may help redress this come the delayed Academy Awards in April 2021.
The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (2020, Netflix Original Film, Family, Adventure, Comedy. Kurt Russell, Judah Lewis, Goldie Hawn, Dir. Chris Columbus)
After her previous Christmas Eve adventures Kate Pierce, now a cynical teenager, is unexpectedly reunited with Santa Claus when a mysterious troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas forever. However, now it could be Mrs. Claus taking centre stage to rescue Christmas.
Based on the staggering number of times Christmas has needed saving over the decades, is it any wonder that the only woman for the job is Mrs Snake Plissken herself?!
Netflix’s sequel to its 2018 smash-hit holiday adventure.
Rest of the TV Shows
Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Go Team Roberts (2018, S2)
Animated comedy fun from Mattel’s most popular doll, apparently in response to kids wanting to know more about the iconic character and her sisters - be careful what you wish for eh, kids!?
Can You Hear Me? aka M'entends-tu? (S2, Netflix Original Series, International: Canada/French language)
Comedy-drama set against the backdrop of a low-income neighbourhood in Montreal that plunges the viewer into the unusual daily exploits of Ada, Fabiola and Carolanne, three long-time friends.
Dawson’s Creek (1998-2003, S1-6)
Four friends in a sleepy coastal town rely on each other to cope with the growing pains of adolescence. The series launched the careers of its main stars, James van der Beek, Michelle Williams, Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson.
Transformers Rescue Bots Academy (2014, S2)
Animated adventure series featuring more benevolent Transformers called The Rescue Bots that work with a family of heroes to rescue humans from disasters. Aimed at pre-school viewers yet to discover the delights of Michael Bay.
Voice 2 (2018, S2, International: South Korea)
Second season of the South Korean crime-drama in which emergency call centre operatives use their audio skills to track crimes using the sounds that they hear during calls.
Felix Lobrecht: Hype (2020, Netflix Stand-up Comedy Special, International: Germany)
Featuring German comedian Felix Lobrecht.
Love & Anarchy (2020, Netflix Original Series, International: Sweden)
Romantic comedy series, Netflix’s second Swedish language commission after Quicksand.
The End of the F***ing World (2019, S2)
British crime-comedy about two 17 year olds, James and Alyssa, who embark on a road trip in search of Alyss’s real father.
Carmel: Who Killed Maria Marta? (2020, S1, Netflix Original Docuseries)
True-crime series based on the circumstances surrounding the death of María Marta García Belsunce in one of the most controversial criminal cases in Argentina.
Paranormal (2020, S1, Netflix Original Series, International: Egypt)
The first ever Egyptian series produced by Netflix is a 1960s period-fantasy horror that pits Dr. Refaat Ismail, a hematologist, against a series of supernatural events. Based on best-selling books by late author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, one of the most popular writers in Egypt.
A Lion in the House (2006, Docuseries)
American documentary series examining the plight of five different families in Ohio throughout the span of six years as they struggle with the impact of childhood cancer.
A Queen is Born (2020, Netflix Reality Series)
Drag Queen makeover series hosted by Gloria Groove and Alexia Twister.
What We Wanted (2020, Netflix Original Series, International: Germany)
A couple desperate to have children and facing fertility issues finds their marriage tested on a vacation to a Sardinian resort - and the family next door, who has everything they ever wished for, only adds to the tension.
The Minions of Midas (2020, S1, Netflix Original Series, International: Brazil)
Los Favoritos de Midas (the original title) is based on the 1901 short story by Jack (The Call of the Wild) London. The six-part series follows Victor, a rich businessman, who is blackmailed in a strange way by a mysterious organisation.
Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas (2020, S1, Netflix Reality Series)
Reality series in which Benjamin Bradley, also known as Mr. Christmas, takes you behind the scenes as he decorates for the holidays.
Shawn Mendes: In Wonder (2020, Documentary)
A portrait of singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes' life, chronicling the past few years of his rise and journey.
Dragons: Rescue Riders: Huttsgalor Holiday (2020, Netflix Animated Special)
Set in the world of How to Train Your Dragon, when a musical dragon with a beautiful voice hypnotizes the dragons and people of Huttsgalor, the Rescue Riders have to find a way to break the spell.
A Go! Go! Cory Carson Christmas (2020, Netflix Animated Special)
Family holiday animated special starring Cory Carson, a friendly little orange car who learns to make his way through the childhood struggles of starting school, making friends, and learning responsibility. Known as Toot-Toot Cory Carson in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Dance Dreams aka: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker (2020, Netflix Docuseries)
Behind-the-scenes docuseries centered on the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and its award-winning version of The Nutcracker, which blends a variety of dance traditions. Debbie Allen first came to prominence as the choreographer and star of Alan Parker’s Fame in 1980.
Sugar Rush Christmas (2020, S2, Netflix Reality Series)
Four new sets of bakers whip up a batch of delicious Christmas themed cupcake, confection and cake challenges over three rounds. After each challenge, one group is eliminated and the winner of the final challenge gets $10,000 - and a trip to the orthodontist.
Wonderoos: Holiday Holiday! (2020, Netflix Animated Special)
Family holiday animated special in which an adventurous and lovable team of clever young creatures play, grow, laugh, learn and sing together in colourful Zoo York City.
There’re plenty of other brand new and older movies arriving on or returning to the service too:
Rest of the Movies
Assassination Nation (2018, Action, Comedy, Crime. Odessa Young, Joel McHale. Maude Apatow, Bill Skarsgård, Dir. Sam Levinson)
The residents of all-American town Salem become the victims of a malicious data hack which reveals the town’s secrets. Chaos ensues, leaving four girls struggling in the fight to survive.
Helmed by Sam Levinson son of famed director Barry (Rain Man) Levison, Assassination Nation has been described as "the demon spawn of Heathers and The Purge."
Blended (2014, Comedy, Romance. Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler)
Following a blind date that goes badly wrong, a man and woman find themselves stuck together at a resort for families, where their attraction grows and their respective kids benefit from the burgeoning relationship.
After the successes of the much loved The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore reunite for another love struck tale in their third rom-com together.
Christmas Break-In (2018, Family. Denise Richards, Danny Glover)
Izzy is an energetic 9-year-old but her overscheduled and late-running parents can't pick her up on time on the last day of school before Christmas break. A blizzard complicates the matter, but not as much as a pair of bad guys who kidnap the school janitor. It's up to Izzy to save the day.
Fatal Deceit aka Is My Daughter Really Dead? (2019, Thriller. Stephanie Charles, Matthew Pohlkamp)
Olivia struggles to sort out truth from fiction after her daughter mysteriously vanishes during a camping trip with the new neighbours.
Human Nature (2001, Comedy, Drama. Tim Robbins, Patricia Arquette, Rhys Ifans, Dir. Michael Gondry, Scr. Charlie Kaufman)
In Michael Gondry’s directorial debut, a woman is in love with a man whos's in love with another woman, and all three have designs on a young man raised as an ape. Hey, it’s written by Charlie Kaufman, so you kind of know what to expect.
The project was originally shepherded by Steven Soderbergh before he left for Out of Sight, it then took another three years to get off the ground.
Kindred Spirits (2019, Horror, Mystery, Thriller. Caitlin Stasey, Sasha Frolova, Thora Birch)
A successful single mother's carefree sister reappears out of the blue one day to stay with her and her teenage daughter.
Lineage of Lies (2019, Thriller. Robin Riker, Brooke Newton)
After Samantha's mother passes away, her spirits are lifted with the sudden appearance of her long lost grandmother, Colleen. All is well until Colleen's dark past reveals itself and Sam is forced to fight for her life.
Also known by the completely awesome alternative title Psycho Granny.
Music and Lyrics (2007, Comedy, Romance, Music. Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Dir. Marc Lawrence)
A washed-up singer only has a few days to compose a chart-topping hit for a teen idol. He struggles with the lyrics until he sparks with an offbeat, younger woman with a flair for words.
Drew Barrymore’s second rom-com hitting Netflix today after Blended.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983, Comedy, Adventure. Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Dir. Harold Ramis, Scr. John Hughes)
Wanting to spend more time with his wife and kids, Clark Griswold organises a classic cross-country road trip to Walley World theme park for a family vacation. Things don’t go exactly as planned.
New York Minute (2004, Comedy, Crime, Family. Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Eugene Levy)
The Olsen sisters star as twins with opposing personalities who have a series of adventures around New York City as they try and accomplish different goals on the same day.
Scarlet Witch does not appear in this film.
Ninja Assassin (2009, Action, Thriller. Rain, Rick Yune, Naomie Harris, Dir. James Teague)
A young ninja turns his back on the orphanage that raised him, leading to a confrontation with a fellow ninja from the clan.
Produced by the Wachowski sisters who were impressed by Rain’s stunt fighting on their 2008 Speed Racer movie, and directed by V for Vendetta’s James Teague.
Police Academy (1984, Comedy. Steve Guttenberg, G.W. Bailey, Kim Cattrall)
Due to a shortage of police officers, recruitment criteria for rookies is lowered which allows a group of misfits to enter Police Academy training. Chancer Mahoney joins up and is determined to have fun while bettering himself. The police instructors, however, are not prepared to put up with the cadet’s hijinks bringing down the good name of the Academy.
A comedy fave 35 years ago, this spawned 6 sequels of varying degrees of terribleness and none matched their progenitor. However, it’s just possible that even this best one may have aged… poorly.
Richie Rich (1994, Comedy, Family. Macaulay Culkin)
Ritche Rich is the world’s richest boy but lacks friends and social skills. When his family targeted in an inside job, he must grow up quickly and use his cunning to save them.
So Undercover (2012, Action, Comedy, Crime. Miley Cyrus, Jeremy Piven)
A tough, street-smart private eye is hired by the FBI to go undercover in a college sorority.
White Boy Rick (2018, Crime, Drama, True Life. Matthew McConaughey, Richie Merritt)
The true story (here told with fictional elements) of teenager Richard Wershe Jr., who, at 14, became the FBI’s youngest ever undercover informant during the 1980s before being abandoned by his handlers.
Citation (2020, Netflix Original Film, International: Nigeria, Drama, Thriller)
A bright student in Nigeria takes on the academic establishment when she reports a popular professor who tried to rape her. Based on real events.
Operation Christmas Drop (2020, Netflix Original Film, Comedy, Romance, Family. Alexander Ludwig, Virginia Madsen, Kat Graham)
A by-the-book congressional aide warms to the big-hearted captain of a tropical U.S. Air Force base as she gathers evidence to support its closure and stop its airborne Christmas tradition.
The Life Ahead (2020, Netflix Original Film, Drama. Sophia Loren, Abril Zamora, Babak Karimi)
Amazingly, at the age of 81, the legend that is Sophia Loren returns in a drama about an aging Holocaust survivor who forms a bond with a young Senegalese immigrant.
Sorry to Bother You (2018, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi. LaKeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Dir. Boots Riley)
In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success - using his ‘white voice'. Swept into a corporate conspiracy, he must choose between profit and joining his activist friends in a protest against corporate oppression.
The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020, Netflix Original Film, Comedy, Drama, Family. Vanessa Hudgens)
When Duchess Margaret unexpectedly inherits the throne to Montenaro and hits a rough patch with Kevin, it's up to her double Stacy to save the day before a new lookalike, party girl Fiona, foils their plans.
Alien Xmas (2020, Netflix Animated Film)
When extraterrestrials attempt to steal Earth's gravity, they find the spirit of Christmas - and a small Alien named X- standing in their way.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (2020, Netflix Original Film, Family, Musical. Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Treat Williams, Dir, Debbie Allen)
The residents of a small middle-America town must fight to save their homes when the local scrooge attempts to sell the land to a major corporation without a care for the consequence to the population.
Featuring new songs from Parton, the movie was directed by Debbie Allen - yup, that Debbie Allen. Already mentioned in the TV section above for the Dance Dreams docuseries, Debbie now makes a second appearance in this list. Not only that, Phylicia Rashad from Jingle Jangle (also above) is Debbie’s older sister. Running theme anyone!? We don’t just throw these lists together you know.
Movies (Date TBC)
As Good as It Gets (1997, Comedy, Drama, Romance. Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Dir. James L. Brooks)
A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author with OCD, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.
Daddy's Home (2015, Comedy, Family. Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini)
Brad Whitaker is a radio host trying to get his stepchildren to love him and call him Dad. But his plans turn upside down when their biological father, the epically masculine and cool Dusty Mayron, returns.
Jack Reacher (2012, Action, Crime, Thriller. Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Jai Courtney, Dir. Christopher McQuarrie)
An ex-army investigator gets drawn into a homicide case involving a trained military sniper who shot five seemingly random victims.
Based on One Shot, the ninth novel in Lee Child’s revered Jack Reacher series of books, Tom Cruise proved a divisive choice to portray the hulking protagonist. Nonetheless, both this film and its sequel, Never Go Back, were entertaining actioners with plenty of positive elements. However, the property is now back with Child who is involved in an Amazon Prime based reboot which has recently re-cast the central character with a 6’ 3” actor. Apparently Cruise said nothing.
Rango (2011, Animation, Adventure, Comedy. Voices: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Timothy Olyphant, Dir. Gore Verbinski)
Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.
There’s a definite skewed tone to the narrative and characters which imparts an unusual feel throughout but Rango never fails to impress with its quirky flair. It was the last non Disney/Pixar movie to win Best Animated Feature until 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Road Trip (2000, Comedy. Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Dir. Todd Phillips)
Four college buddies embark on a 1800-mile road trip to retrieve an illicit tape mistakenly mailed to a female friend.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010, Action, Comedy, Fantasy. Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin Dir. Edgar Wright)
Charming, jobless, bass playing Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to prove himself and win her heart. The trouble is they include Superman and Captain America!
Seven Pounds (2008, Drama. Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson)
A man with a fateful secret embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, Drama, Romance, Fantasy. Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Dir. David Fincher)
Loosely based on the 1922 short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the film stars Brad Pitt as a man born elderly who then ages in reverse, with Cate Blanchett as the love interest throughout his life.
The realisation of the ageing effects won Academy Awards for Best Makeup and Best Visual Effects.
We're the Millers (2013, Comedy, Crime. Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter)
A veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico.
Zombieland (2009, Adventure, Comedy, Horror. Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Beslin, Dir. Ruben Fleischer)
Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse… and each other.
So that's November's goodies for you. Leave a comment and let us know what you think of the line up. We'll keep adding to the list as new shows and movies are announced, so keep an eye out for updates to the article.