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Home Entertainment Perspective | 16 shows, movies and specials to watch this holiday season

Perspective | 16 shows, movies and specials to watch this holiday season

Perspective | 16 shows, movies and specials to watch this holiday season


Whether you live for the holidays or you’re more of a “bah, humbug” type, there are plenty of TV shows, movies and specials to help you get into the spirit — or avoid it completely.

Watch with the whole family

1. ‘Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical’

Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel about a brilliant, young girl with lousy, disengaged parents comes to vibrant life in this musical, based on an award-winning stage adaptation that took the West End and Broadway by storm. Alisha Weir plays the title role in the feature film version, currently in theaters, which also stars Lashana Lynch (“No Time to Die”) as Miss Honey. Gather the kiddos for the melodic spin on a beloved children’s tale; stay for the energetic dance numbers — at least one of which has already gone viral. (Streams on Netflix)

‘Matilda’ dances exuberantly onto the screen and into your heart

Jenna Ortega (“You”) plays the morbid and sardonic daughter of Morticia and Gomez Addams in this popular series from Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the duo that brought us “Smallville” and “The Shannara Chronicles.” In this Gen Z update, Wednesday is a Sartre-loving high school outcast who becomes determined to solve a string of murders; Christina Ricci has a recurring role in a nod to the O.G. live-action-film Wednesday. Teen gothdom has never looked cooler. (Note: This show might be scary for little kids; we recommend for preteens and up.) (Streams on Netflix)

3. ‘Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to All!’

The superstar singer leans into her unofficial reputation as the “Queen of Christmas” in this holiday special, which features footage from recent concerts and will be available to stream following its broadcast premiere this week on CBS. (Streams on Paramount Plus)

4. ‘José Andrés and Family in Spain’

The philanthropic chef, known for restaurants around D.C. and other U.S. cities, explores the cuisine of his native Spain with his American-born daughters, Carlota, Inés and Lucía. Perfect for the foodies at your table. (Streams on Discovery Plus starting Dec. 27)

5. ‘If These Walls Could Sing’

Director Mary McCartney, who spent hours of her childhood at Abbey Road Studios with her father Paul McCartney, takes a look at the iconic U.K. studio’s history across nine decades. (Streams on Disney Plus)

6. ‘Encanto at the Hollywood Bowl’

For families who want to end the year the way they started it — that is, playing “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” on a loop — this concert film transforms Los Angeles’s famed Hollywood Bowl into the magical casita Madrigal as the cast of the Disney film performs alongside a full orchestra. Lin Manuel-Miranda makes a special appearance. (Streams on Disney Plus starting Dec. 28)

Watch with friends or your cool cousins

Aisha (Anna Diop), a Senegalese woman, arrives in the United States to work as a nanny for the child of a wealthy couple (Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector) in this horror film. But her attempt at making a life for herself and the young son she was forced to leave behind is plagued by a menacing presence. Screen veteran Leslie Uggams also stars. (Streams on Prime Video)

Any family squabbles at the dinner table are sure to seem petty once you’ve taken in the second season of Mike White’s anthology about rich folks on vacation. This installment’s cast features Aubrey Plaza, Meghann Fahy, Theo James, Will Sharpe and — the only Season 1 actor to return as their (fan-favorite) character — Jennifer Coolidge. (Streams on HBO and HBO Max)

‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’

The second installment of Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” franchise had a brief but successful run at the box office, and now it’s coming directly to you and yours. Daniel Craig reprises his role as world-famous detective Benoit Blanc in this comedy about a murder mystery that unfolds at the whim of an enigmatic tech billionaire played by Edward Norton. The ensemble cast also features Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Kathryn Hahn. (Streams on Netflix starting Dec. 23)

The newest chapter of Taylor Sheridan’s “Yellowstone” franchise, which takes place before the events of the flagship series but after “1883,” features Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford as the matriarch and patriarch of the Dutton family. (Streams on Paramount Plus)

Noah Centineo, internet boyfriend of yore, steps into a new role in this thriller about a green CIA lawyer who finds himself embroiled in a dangerous morass of international politics. (Streams on Netflix)

Noah Centineo is leaving teen heartthrobs in the past

‘The Best Man: The Final Chapters’

The longtime friends at the heart of Malcolm D. Lee’s beloved directorial debut reunite once again as longtime bachelor Quentin (Terrence Howard) prepares to get married. Unlike “The Best Man” and its 2013 holiday-themed sequel, “The Final Chapters” unfolds on the small screen, giving more narrative space to the women in the friend group: Jordan (Nia Long), Candace (Regina Hall), Robyn (Sanaa Lathan) and the perpetually underdeveloped Shelby (Melissa De Sousa), who gets more than a villain arc this time around. (Streams on Peacock)

The third season of this guilty pleasure finds our obnoxiously American heroine (Lily Collins) navigating a classic love triangle with feelings for both Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), who is beautiful but spoken-for, and the dapper, overconfident Alfie (Lucien Laviscount). She faces a similarly vexing problem as she works up the nerve to tell her longtime boss and mentor (Kate Walsh) that she has been poached by the stylish and cynical Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) and plans to stay in Paris. (Streams on Netflix)

This documentary peers into the mysterious life of the late Youree Dell Harris, who became a household name as TV psychic Miss Cleo in the late ’90s and early aughts thanks to memorable late-night infomercials that implored viewers to call her for free readings. The 90-minute film unpacks Harris’s battle — for both profits and her identity — against the network that deceptively advertised her services. (Streams on HBO Max)

‘Lizzo: Live in Concert’

This New Year’s Eve concert spectacular features the twerking, flute-playing singer as she performs alongside her band and special guests including Cardi B, SZA and Missy Elliott. (Streams on HBO Max starting Dec. 31)

Netflix changed the way we watch TV, and now the streamer is attempting to do it again with this immersive limited series about a daring heist that will start at different points in the story for everyone who views it. The thriller’s eight episodes aren’t numbered, but rather identified by color. An all-star cast featuring Giancarlo Esposito, Rufus Sewell and Paz Vega inspires hope that this will be more than just a gimmick. (Streams on Netflix starting Jan. 1)

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