It’s winter again, the nights are getting colder, and December’s upcoming TV is reflecting that in forms of escapism of all stripes. Setting something in a tropical resort is an evergreen kind of escapism, even if this time around it doesn’t have the bonus of taking the cast and crew to that same tropical resort for the duration – but with one of this month’s upcoming shows literally called ‘Leave The World Behind’, it does seem like they’re trying to tell us something.
If you’re trying to fill up your watchlist over the coming month, here are the biggest new TV shows of December 2023.
New TV In December 2023
1. Leave The World Behind | December 8th, 2023
Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, Myha’la Herrold, and Kevin Bacon star in Leave The World Behind, where a white family go on holiday up the Hamptons, and rent a vacation house from a – record scratch – black family? It’s a regular ebony and ivory scenario – what’s going to happen?
All being well, Leave The World Behind’s treatment of race relations will hopefully be less clunky than I’ve just made it sound. Plus, that’s not the only thing going on here, this odd couple living situation coincidences with all technology finally falling apart, so there are at least reasons and motive for differences to come to the fore.
Written and directed by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, the trailer makes much of highways crammed with what are clearly abandoned Teslas. I’m never a fan of product placement, but it does tickle me that the companies involved will have paid a lot of money to show all their fancy devices going wrong.
2. Carol & The End Of The World | December 15th, 2023
There are no traffic lights in space, and another planet coming out of nowhere to t-bone ours has naturally always been one of the worst-case-scenarios. And the real sting is, thanks to our level of technology, we’ll know it’s coming but have little to no chance of doing anything about it.
So the question is, how is Martha Kelly’s Carol going to deal with the upcoming end of the world? Will it be a rapid-fire, frantic checking off of as many items from the bucket list as possible? Perhaps she’ll turn to religion for the spiritual comforts – perhaps she’ll throw all her chips down on one final genuinely apocalyptic party.
Created by former Community writer Dan Guterman, Carol & The End of the World sounds as if it may go down the irreverent, sci-fi, nothing-matters route favoured by certain other Community alums. But when you’re dealing with the end of the world and of the human race, it wouldn’t hurt to have a little of Community’s lighter qualities to it.
3. Percy Jackson And The Olympians | December 20th, 2023
One of the better-remembered YA franchises, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books came along at that awkward cusp time when even the best-selling teen lit titles couldn’t get a decent screen adaptation for love nor money. But with the industry cash-rich and frantically scraping the barrel for anything with any sort of name recognition, it could well be Percy Jackson’s time to shine.
Like many of its YA peers, this is a matter of an ordinary tween’s life having something supernatural injected in to shake things up, in this case the Ancient Greek pantheon, who were robust enough as characters to be shamelessly ripped off by the Romans.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians boasts a fairly robust cast: among its number are Walker Scobell, Leah Sava Jeffries, and Aryan Simhadri, Megan Mullally, Glynn Turman, Jason Mantzoukas, Timm Sharp, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jay Duplass, Toby Stephens, and Lance Reddick in what was sadly his final role.
4. Gyeongseong Creature | December 22nd, 2023
Gyeongseong (now Seoul) in early 1945 wasn’t high on the list of anyone’s places to be – apart, of course, from the occupying Japanese army. For the locals, about the only thing that could have made things worse would be if there was (spoiler alert) some kind of horrible creature loose in the city.
The setup is that one of Gyeonseong’s richest people (Park Seo-jun) crosses paths with a common street sleuth (Han So-hee). Before the inevitable buddy-comedy antics such a pairing would usually bring inexorably to the surface, they find themselves confronted by a monster literally made of human greed, in a development I’m hesitant about even calling a metaphor.
For all the horrors of Japanese colonial rule in Korea, the trailer makes ‘40s-era Seoul look lovely, all stylised pastel colours and sumptuous decorations, like Wes Anderson without the addiction to right angles. Granted the scenery is rarely the main draw of anything with ‘creature’ in the name, but still, even the downtime here is likely to be a treat for the eyes.
5. Pokémon Concierge | December 3rd, 2023
Another instalment in he unstoppable juggernaut-franchise that’s kept Nintendo afloat through thick and thin, Pokémon Concierge is good-natured fluff revolving around the fundamentally good-natured and fluffy idea of a holiday resort for Pokémon. Be honest, you’d buy a ticket if you could, especially now we’re into the winter months.
Possibly the biggest draw here, other than the dangerous fighting animals that keep enchanting new generations, is the left-field choice to render it all in stop-motion animation. Admittedly, not many people go for this style because they already know they cannot possibly compete with medium kingfish Aardman, but for a holiday camp full of adorable action figures, it just seems right.
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