As we roll into December, it’s tradition to start planning your schedule around the huge amount of films and TV that are shown over Christmas. However, whilst it's difficult to ignore the allure the bumper Christmas edition of The Radio Times, streaming has become one of the most popular ways to watch TV. Amazon Prime Video has a wealth of brand new content coming in December, with some of its biggest and most-anticipated original shows being featured. Plus, you don’t even have to wait for Eastenders to finish before getting stuck in.
The Grand Tour (Every Friday)
After Jeremy Clarkson and co’s controversial exit from the hugely popular Top Gear, Amazon was quick to snap them up for a new - and much more expensive - motoring show. The Grand Tour started in November and has been critically acclaimed by fans of Top Gear, with the show providing the similar atmosphere of 3 pals larking about with expensive vehicles.
The Grand Tour’s budget obviously outweighs that of Top Gear, giving the show more options of what it can do. Just three episodes in, we’ve seen Aston Martin's race through Johannesburg and hypercars tested in the California desert. Surely a must for Top Gear fans, a new episode of The Grand Tour is released every Friday, with the first 3 available to stream now.
The Man in the High Castle (12th December)
Following a successful first season, The Man in the High Castle is returning for the much-anticipated second outing on December 12th. An adaption of the sci-fi classic from Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle imagines a Nazi-occupied America post WW2, where Germany has allied with Japan.
Whilst the show has been somewhat of a slow burn so far, the second season promises to up the ante, with the characters getting closer to discovering just who The Man is and tensions between the Nazis and Japan getting increasingly high. This, combined with the authentic-looking set and costume design make for an intriguing series to get stuck into during the Christmas break. You can catch the entire first season right now on Amazon Prime Video.
Westworld, 1973 (8th December)
If you’re interested in the latest big-budget TV shows, you’ll almost certainly be familiar with HBO’s recent Westworld series. This slick and well-written thriller series has already captivated audiences, and Amazon Prime Video is giving viewers a chance to see where it all came from.
From December 8th you’ll be able to stream the original 1973 film, written and directed by Michael Crichton and starring Yul Brynner as the villainous Man in Black. Whilst the film obviously lacks the huge production values and episodic complexity of the TV series, it’s still great fun in its own right and ideal for a lazy Christmas afternoon. If you’re looking for a Jurassic Park-style thrill ride over the holidays, Westworld is well worth it.
Argo (20th December)
Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning thriller about the true story of a CIA operative staging a fake film shoot to rescue US hostages was hugely acclaimed when it was released in 2012, and Amazon Prime members can see it for themselves on December 20th.
Whilst not being as recent as some of Amazon Prime's other on-demand movies, Argo is still well worth watch due to an interesting central performance and directorial turn from Affleck and a strong supporting cast of Bryan Cranston and John Goodman. Argo is a tense and taut thriller that is sure to get pluses racing this Christmas.
Mozart in the Jungle (9th December)
This comedy about a symphony orchestra is another quality Amazon Original series, with the show winning both Golden Globes and Emmy awards. Following new maestro Rodrigo as he attempts to make a success of the New York Symphony, Mozart in the Jungle might initially seem like a strange subject for a comedy, but it works due to strong performances and a witty script.
The third season of Mozart in the Jungle debuts on December 9th and continues Amazon’s streak of producing quality dramas and comedies that you can’t watch anywhere else. Mozart in the Jungle sits alongside shows such as Preacher, Man in the High Castle and Transparent as the best the platform has to offer.
If the recent sci-fi drama Arrival has whet your appetite for more extraterrestrial-based movies, the 1997 film Contact is available to stream on Amazon right now. Starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey, this thoughtful sci-fi drama explores the subject of contact with aliens in a similar way to Arrival.
Written by legendary astronomer Carl Sagan and directed by Robert Zemeckis (of Forrest Gump fame), Contact is an underrated classic that has stood the test of time in the wake of films like Arrival. If you’re looking for a slice of science fiction that revolves around science rather than the White House blowing up, Contact is a perfect candidate.
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