• The Literary Film & TV You Need to Stream in December

    The End of the Year Approaches

    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.

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    Slow Horses (Season 3)
    Apple TV+, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on Mick Herron’s Real Tigers (2016)

    If you haven’t gotten into this refreshing spy series, fronted by one Gary Oldman (in a very different role than his turn as George Smiley), consider this your sign to start: the first season was good, the second season was better, and I have high hopes for the third.

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    Leave the World Behind
    Netflix, December 8

    Literary bona fides: based on Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind (2020)

    The marquee literary adaptation of the month is the star-studded adaptation of Rumaan Alam’s bestselling Leave the World Behind, one of the quietest—and best—apocalypse novels you’ll ever read. Settle in for a less-than-perfect vacation with Julia Roberts (also a producer on the film), Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, and Myha’la.

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    Hulu, December 8

    Literary bona fides: based on Culprits: The Heist Was Just the Beginning, edited by Richard Brewer and Gary Phillips (2018)

    This is an interesting one—a series adaptation of a literary anthology in which a host of writers imagined the stories of criminals after a (successful) heist. The trailer looks good; I’m really looking forward to seeing what they’ve done with this.

    Percy Jackson and the Olympians
    Disney+, December 20

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    Literary bona fides: based on Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (2005-present)

    Rick Riordan’s beloved series gets another shot at adaptation (the movies were…not beloved) in the form of a Disney+ series. We’ll see!


    The Shining (1980)
    Paramount+, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on The Shining by Stephen King (1977)

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    Kubrick’s film is a stone cold classic, but if you really want to experience the greatest haunted house story ever told, you’ll have to read the book.

    The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
    Paramount+, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King (1982)

    For extra bona fides, remember that this is basically a film about the power of libraries.

    Jumanji (1995)
    Peacock, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg (1981)

    It still boggles my mind that they made not one but two ridiculous movies based on Chris Van Allsburg’s mysterious, restrained, and frankly lovely picture book—but this one, the original, is the less ridiculous of the two. (Yes, that would be the Robin Williams version.)

    Emma (1996)
    Paramount+, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on Emma by Jane Austen (1815)

    The second-best adaptation of Jane Austen’s actual best novel is always worth a rewatch, especially during cozy season.

    Trainspotting (1996)
    Paramount+, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh (1993)

    Danny Boyle’s legendary film is a ’90s cultural touchstone—which means it’s back in fashion right now, right?

    L.A. Confidential (1997)
    Netflix, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on James Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential (1990)

    A neo-noir masterpiece that is even better than its source material.

    The Virgin Suicides (1999)
    Paramount+, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (1993)

    Much like the novel it’s based on, Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides holds up.

    Notes on a Scandal (2006)
    Max, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller (2003)

    To prepare you to see Todd Haynes’s May December, why not watch the other great film inspired by the Mary Kay Letourneau story?

    Stardust (2007)
    Prime Video, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on Stardust by Neil Gaiman (1998)

    Whimsical, warm-hearted, and winking, this is a family film perfect for warming up a cold day.

    The Meg (2018)
    Netflix, December 1

    Literary bona fides: based on Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten (1997)

    That’s right, The Meg is technically a literary adaptation. Bring on the Jason Statham (underwater).

    Emily Temple
    Emily Temple
    Emily Temple is the managing editor at Lit Hub. Her first novel, The Lightness, was published by William Morrow/HarperCollins in June 2020. You can buy it here.

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