Series to Watch: December 2023

Series to Watch: December 2023

November 30, 2023

Ones to Watch

DQ checks out the upcoming schedules to pick 10 new series to watch this December, from an Australian pop group drama and a dark Italian comedy to a slew of book adaptations including a reimagining of Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five.

The Doll Factory
From: UK
Original broadcaster: Paramount+
Producer: Buccaneer
Starring: Esmé Creed-Miles, Mirren Mack, Pippa Haywood, Éanna Hardwicke and George Webster
Launch date: December 1
Based on the novel by Elizabeth Macneal, The Doll Factory stars Creed-Miles as Iris, a frustrated artist who spends her days creating mourning dolls alongside her twin sister Rose (Mack). By night, Iris secretly paints herself naked in the cellar, displaying a fantastical creativity that she is forced to subdue during the day while living under the watchful eyes of Mrs Salter (Haywood). Hardwicke is Silas, a taxidermist who hopes to one day find an item so unique he will be catapulted to fame, while Webster is Louis, a painter and member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, searching for his next muse. When Iris is offered an opportunity to escape and start a new life, she must abandon her sister and sacrifice her reputation. As Iris’s world expands, she finds herself challenging patriarchal beliefs, exploring her sexuality and starting to experience the things she has always dreamed of. But alongside her newfound independence, a story of dark obsession begins to unfold.
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Paper Dolls
From: Australia
Original broadcaster: Paramount+
Producer: Helium Pictures
Distributor: Entertainment One
Starring: Emma Booth, Emalia, Naomi Sequeira, Miah Madden, Courtney Clarke and Courtney Monsma
Launch date: December 3
On the cusp of the new millennium, five aspiring singers are thrust into the spotlight in pursuit of pop-stardom and fame. Never far from the watchful eye of the cameras, fans and critics, girl group Harlow are born out of music reality television show Pop Rush, redefining pop culture in the process. However, the five young women must navigate the dark side of a glamorous industry determined to commodify them.
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Platform 7
From: UK
Original broadcaster: ITVX
Producer: Dancing Ledge Productions
Distributor: Fremantle
Starring: Jasmine Jobson, Toby Regbo, Yaamin Chowdhury and Phil Davis
Launch date: December 7
Based on Louise Doughty’s novel of the same name, this drama blends supernatural elements with contemporary realism. After witnessing a cataclysmic event on platform 7 of a railway station, Lisa (Jobson) finds her fragmented memory jogged to reveal a connection between her own life and the event she has just seen.

The Bad Guy
From: Italy
Original broadcaster: Prime Video
Producer: Indigo Film
Starring: Luigi Lo Cascio, Claudia Pandolfi, Vincenzo Pirrotta, Selene Caramazza, Giulia Maenza, Antonio Catania and Fabrizio Ferracane
Launch date: December 8
Mixing crime with dark comedy, The Bad Guy revolves around Nino Scotellaro (Lo Cascio), a Sicilian public prosecutor who has devoted his entire life to fighting against the mafia until he is suddenly accused of being one of the very men he has always fought against: a mafioso. After being condemned, and with nothing left to lose, Nino decides to pull off a Machiavellian revenge plan, becoming the ‘bad guy’ he has been unjustly turned into.
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The Famous Five
From: UK
Original broadcasters: BBC (UK), ZDF (Germany)
Producers: Moonage Pictures, byNWR
Distributor: BBC Studios
Starring: Diaana Babnicova, Elliott Rose, Kit Rakusen, Flora Jacoby Richardson and Kip the dog
Launch date: December 9 (UK)
Set across three feature-length episodes, this series is inspired by Enid Blyton’s classic children’s novels, reimagined by executive producers Nicholas Winding Refn and Matthew Read. It follows five daring young explorers as they embark on treacherous and action-packed adventures, featuring remarkable mysteries, unparalleled danger and astounding secrets.

The Serial Killer’s Wife
From: UK
Original broadcaster: Paramount+
Producers: Clapperboard Studio, BlackBox Multimedia
Distributor: Newen Connect
Starring: Annabel Scholey, Jack Farthing and Luke Treadaway
Launch date: December 15
This thriller, based on the book by Alice Hunter, is set in a family home nestled in an idyllic English town, where Beth Fairchild (Scholey) has prepared a surprise birthday party for her husband Tom (Farthing). With most of the village present, as Tom is the beloved local doctor, Beth’s world is turned upside down when the party is interrupted by the police and Tom is arrested for the murder of his former assistant. Beth believes her husband has been wrongly accused, but she soon makes some shocking discoveries that cast doubt on his innocence. As she confides her worries to Adam (Treadaway), Tom’s best friend from childhood, further developments see Beth begin to realise not everything in her supposedly idyllic life is as it seems.
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Percy Jackson & the Olympians
From: US
Original broadcaster: Disney+
Producers: Disney Branded Television, 20th Television
Starring: Walker Scobell, Leah Sava Jeffries and Aryan Simhadri
Launch date: December 20
Based on the book series by Rick Riordan, this series finds Percy Jackson on a dangerous quest. Outrunning monsters and outwitting gods, he must journey across America to return Zeus’s master bolt and stop an all-out war. After losing his mother, Percy is sheltered at Camp Half-Blood, a sanctuary for demigod children. He must prove himself and confront his origins once he discovers he too is a demigod, and will take off into the perils of pursuing enemies in search of the Underworld. With the help of his quest mates Annabeth and Grover, Percy’s journey will lead him closer to the answers he seeks: how to fit into a world where he feels out of place, if he’ll ever see his mother again, and if he can ever find out who he’s destined to be.
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The Castaways
From: UK
Original broadcaster: Paramount+
Producers: Clapperboard Studios, BlackBox Multimedia
Starring: Sheridan Smith and Céline Buckens
Launch date: December 26
Smith and Buckens star as sisters Lori and Erin, who embark on the holiday of a lifetime in Fiji. After a huge fight, however, Erin never boards the island-hopping flight to their resort – and the plane, with Lori on board, never arrives at its destination. Months later, with no plane or survivors having been found, Lori’s credit card is used in a corner shop in a remote village in Fiji, and Erin recognises the plane’s pilot on CCTV. She sets out on a journey to find him and solve the mystery of what happened to her sister. The show is based on the novel by Lucy Clarke.

Los Farad (The Farads)
From: Spain
Original broadcaster: Prime Video
Producers: MOD, Espotlight
Starring: Miguel Herrán, Susana Abaitua, Pedro Casablanc, Adam Jezierski, Nora Navas, Amparo Piñero, Fernando Tejero, Igal Naor, Makram Khoury
Launch date: December 12
This eight-episode series introduces Marbella in the 80s through Oskar, a boy who dreams of setting up a gym and who, with the help of Sara Farad, ends up entering the fascinating world of the Costa del Sol, with all its its eccentricities and its geopolitics. It’s all thanks to Los Farad, a family that offers him a future, but with the most unexpected of jobs: that of arms dealer.
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From: Spain
Original broadcaster: Netflix
Producer: Vancouver Media
Starring: Pedro Alonso, Michelle Jenner, Tristán Ulloa, Begoña Vargas, Julio Peña Fernández and Joel Sanchez
Launch date: December 29
A prequel to Spanish phenomenon La Casa de Papel (Money Heist), this series follows Alonso’s character Berlin, long before he finds out about his terminal diagnosis and holds hostages in the Royal Mint of Spain (in the original series). The new show now finds him in his golden age as he attempts one of his most extraordinary heists.
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