The Literary Film and TV You Need to Stream in December

Every month, all the major streaming services add a host of newly acquired (or just plain new) shows, movies, and documentaries into their ever-rotating libraries. So what’s a dedicated reader to watch? Well, whatever you want, of course, but the name of this website is Literary Hub, so we sort of have an angle. To that end, here’s a selection of the best (and most enjoyably bad) literary film and TV coming to streaming services this month. Have fun.


Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Stream it on: Netflix, December 2
Literary bona fides: based on Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence (1928)

A very sexy new adaptation of Lawrence’s famously sexy classic novel, once banned for being obscene—specifically due to thirteen “episodes of sexual intercourse” in the book, “described in the greatest detail. . . leaving nothing to the imagination,” not to mention, among other things, 30 instances of the word “fuck,” 13 of “balls,” six of “shit” and six of “arse”! (The trailer has some arse in it, so make sure to gather the whole family before you watch it for the first time.)

Three Pines

Stream it on: Prime Video, December 2
Literary bona fides: based on Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries (2005 – present)

Amazon’s new mystery series stars Alfred Molina as Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, investigating a series of murders in the French Canadian town of Three Pines. One can only hope they will do the beloved series justice.

Slow Horses (Season 2)

Stream it on: Apple TV+, December 2
Literary bona fides: based on Mick Herron’s Slough House series (2010 – present)

Gary Oldman and his gang of disgraced and dysfunctional MI5 agents are back for a second season. (Also an excuse to read or re-read the books by Mick Herron, who may or may not be the best spy novelist of his generation.)

His Dark Materials (Season 3)

Stream it on: HBO Max, December 5
Literary bona fides: based on Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass (2000)

The epic conclusion to the latest, weirdly under-the-radar adaptation of Philip Pullman’s beloved fantasy series.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Stream it on: Netflix, December 9
Literary bona fides: based on The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi (1883)

Guillermo del Toro’s take on the classic tale is a dark and beautiful stop-motion confection featuring the voices of Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Burn Gorman, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson, Christoph Waltz, and Tilda Swinton. Worth a watch no matter how long its been since you were a fan of the Disney version.

The Adventures of Saul Bellow

Stream it on: PBS American Masters, December 12
Literary bona fides
: the first ever documentary about Saul Bellow!

The first documentary about the novelist uses archival footage and interviews—from the likes of Charles Johnson, Salman Rushdie, Stanley Crouch, Martin Amis, and even Philip Roth—to tell the story of his life and work.


Stream it on: Hulu, December 13
Literary bona fides: based on Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (1979)

FX’s long-awaited adaptation of Octavia Butler’s most famous novel, executive produced by Darren Aronofsky and Janicza Bravo and written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Watchmen), looks fantastic—here’s hoping it will do the book justice.

Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge

Stream it on: Prime Video, December 13
Literary bona fides: just what it says on the tin

Listen, this is technically literary. Or at least literature-adjacent. And it might be fun?

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (Season 3)

Stream it on: Prime Video, December 21
Literary bona fides: based on the Ryanverse

Three whole years after the release of season two, John Krasinski’s Jack Ryan is back.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical

Stream it on: Netflix, December 25
Literary bona fides: based on Roald Dahl’s Matilda (1988)

It’s Christmas, so . . . sure, why not?

The Witcher: Blood Origin

Stream it on: Netflix, December 25
Literary bona fides: based on The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski (1986 – 1999)

This four-episode prequel to the popular Witcher series has no Henry Cavill—but it does star Michelle Yeoh, so we’ll take it.

White Noise 

Stream it on: Netflix, December 30
Literary bona fides:
 based on White Noise by Don DeLillo (1985)

Who else to bring DeLillo’s brilliant postmodern classic and literary hipster bible to the big screen other than Noah Baumbach? But still, there are questions: Will it be any good? Is the production cursed? Why so green? We’ll just have to wait to find out. (At least it’s not called Wheat Germ.)


3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Stream it on: HBO Max, December 1
Literary bona fides: based on “Three-Ten to Yuma” by Elmore Leonard (1953)

The first of two Westerns to heat up your December evenings is the Delmer Daves classic, starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, in which a rancher must escort a stagecoach robber to the eponymous train.

True Grit (1969)

True Grit (1969)

Stream it on: Prime Video, December 1
Literary bona fides: based on True Grit by Charles Portis (1968)

The first film adaptation of one of the low key best American novels ever written was a nostalgia piece even when it was released, but is absolutely worth your time—fun fact, John Wayne won his only Oscar for his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn, but just like the 2010 adaptation, and the novel, it’s really Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) who makes it all sing.

Hook (1991)

Stream it on: HBO Max, December 1
Literary bona fides: based (sorta) on Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, by J.M. Barrie (1904)

If you missed it on Hulu in September, catch it this month on HBO Max—a delightful ’90s romp that, just like Peter himself, never gets old.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

Stream it on: Prime Video, December 1
Literary bona fides: like it says on the tin!

This movie, directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as Victor Frankenstein alongside ROBERT DE NIRO as the monster, is deliciously overwrought and entirely bad. Take it from the original screenwriter Steph Lady, who called it “a shocking disappointment; a misshapen monster born of Kenneth Branagh’s runaway ego. He took a poignant, thought-provoking tragedy and turned it into a heavy metal monster movie.” Doesn’t that make you want to see it?

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Stream it on: Hulu, December 1
Literary bona fides: it’s not an adaptation, but this movie is full of books

What can I say? Still Wes Anderson’s finest, most iconic film—and even if it’s not technically a literary adaptation, the vibes simply speak for themselves.

Gone Girl (2014)

Stream it on: HBO Max, December 1
Literary bona fides: based on Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012)

David Fincher’s take on Flynn’s runaway bestseller was one of the best adaptations of the last decade and remains perfectly thrilling and popcornable holiday fare.