The month of December is always hectic with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. TV is just as busy as ever too, with the long-awaited premiere of Disney+’s The Book of Boba Fett on December 29 and the second season of Netflix’s The Witcher on December 17. Amazon’s new series With Love makes its debut that same day as well. To help you while you take a break from shopping, wrapping presents, and writing cards, we’ve made a list—and checked it twice!—to come up with the five new under-the-radar shows you can’t miss this month.
1. Baking It
Executive Producers: Amy Poehler, Nicolle Yaron, Pip Wells, Kate Arend, Dave Becky, Andy Samberg, Maya Rudolph
Stars: Andy Samberg and Maya Rudolph
Premiere Date: December 2 on Peacock
I know what you’re thinking: Do we really need another holiday baking show? Well, when it’s hosted by Andy Samberg and Maya Rudolph, we absolutely do. Eight teams of two have their baked goods evaluated by four take-no-prisoners grandmas who judge the contestants because they love them and think they can do better. Samberg and Rudolph are naturals as they sing, joke, and banter with the contestants and with each other. The show is diverse in its contestants, their backgrounds, and the holidays they celebrate. Baking It is a sheer delight.
2. Under the Vines
Executive Producers: Rebecca Gibney, Richard Fletcher, Brendan Dahill
Stars: Rebecca Gibney, Charles Edwards, Dean O’Gorman, Sara Wiseman, John Bach, Matt Whelan, Simon Mead, Sarah Peirse, Cohen Holloway, Carrie Green, Catherine Wilkin, Robbie Magasiva, Trae Te Wiki
Premiere Date: December 6 on Acorn TV
Take a break from all the holiday hubbub with this cozy drama from across the pond (and watch an exclusive clip from it above!) Under the Vines finds Daisy (Rebecca Gibney), an Australian socialite with some financial problems, and Louis (Charles Edwards), a London lawyer whose life is in shambles, traveling to New Zealand. Daisy thinks she’s about to sell the winery she inherited from her step-father, while Louis thinks he’s going to make the winery he co-owns profitable. Neither of them know a thing about wine or working hard. The first two episodes premiere December 6, with weekly outings following every Monday until the finale on January 3.
3. Abbott Elementary
Executive Producers: Quinta Brunson, Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker
Stars: Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Chris Perfetti, Lisa Ann Walter, Sheryl Lee Ralph
Premiere Date: December 7 at 9:30 p.m. on ABC
The best new network show of the season gets a sneak preview after the Live in Front of a Studio Audience broadcast of The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes. Quinta Brunson writes, executive produces, and stars in this comedy inspired by her mother’s experience as a teacher in the Philadelphia public school system. The show is hilarious but poignant as it lays bare the inequities in our public education system. Keep an eye out for Tyler James Williams as a substitute and Sheryl Lee Ralph as the veteran teacher who has seen it all. After this airing, the show will return January 4.
4. American Auto
Executive Producers: Justin Spitzer, Jeff Blitz, Aaron Kaplan, Dana Honor
Stars: Ana Gasteyer, Harriet Dyer, Jon Barinholtz, Humphrey Ker, Michael B. Washington, Tye White, X Mayo
Premiere Date: December 13 at 10 p.m. on NBC
From Justin Spitzer, the creator of Superstore, comes another comedy winner. Ana Gasteyer stars as Katherine, a corporate CEO who has come from the pharmaceutical world to oversee Payne Motors, which has been a family-run business for more than 100 years. The only problem? Katherine doesn’t know anything about cars. She doesn’t even particularly like them. The pilot had me laughing so hard I had to pause the episode. And don’t we all need a reason to laugh right about now? After a special two-episode preview on December 13, the series returns on January 4 in its regular time slot.
Executive Producers: Keke Palmer, Josh Silberman, Sarah Happel Jackson, Sharon Levy, DJ Nurre, Michael Heyerman
Stars: Keke Palmer, Amirah Kassem, Benny Rivera
Premiere Date: December 15 on Disney+
Okay, this show is totally wild. Three teams compete to create larger-than-life displays of beloved Disney properties out of food. Think Armoire from Beauty & the Beast made of bread. Other episodes take on The Lion King, Star Wars, Toy Story, and Cars. Food like Rice Krispies treats and broccoli become construction tools. Host Keke Palmer, who will soon be heard on Disney+’s The Prouder Family: Louder and Prouder, puts her own spin on classic Disney tales as the contestants push the limits of food.
Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal®, is a Boston-based freelance writer and a member of the Television Critics Association. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter (@AmyTVGal).
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