December is a great month if you love the holidays and spreading Yuletide joy, but it can be a cold and desolate time for television. Most shows have just aired their fall finales and are enjoying their time off while networks put out silly animated holiday specials and ultra-cheesy Christmas romantic comedies about couples stuck in snow globes. But don’t worry: TV isn’t completely dead. Here are 10 events to watch this month, including whole series debuts on Netflix and Amazon, season premieres, and that Peter Pan Live! special everyone will be talking about.
December 4: NBC premieres Peter Pan Live!
After the questionable success of The Sound of Music, NBC decided to go full speed ahead with other live musicals, starting with Pete Pan Live! on Wednesday, December 4. Starring Allison Williams (Girls) as Peter Pan, Christopher Walken as Captain Hook, and Minnie Driver as (adult) Wendy, Peter Pan Live! might be great. Or it might be the most fun disaster of the year. Either way, you don’t want to miss it.
December 7: TNT premieres The Librarians series spin-off
The popular made-for-TV movie franchise has been spun off into a series after three successful films. Noah Wyle reprises his role as Flynn Carsen, a librarian who recovers and protects mysterious, powerful artifacts. The series will have a two-hour premiere on December 7 and a ten-episode season in which Wyle and a group of helpers fight the supernatural and recover items such as the Ark of the Covenant.
December 9: Ground Floor Season 2 Premieres on TBS
TBS’ recent original programs have mostly been flops — Wedding Band and Sullivan and Son — but Ground Floor, from Bill Lawrence, is a notable exception. The romantic comedy made a surprisingly strong first season by crafting an actual enjoyable romance between its two leads with a little musical comedy thrown in. It’s funny, warm, and sweet — making it a nice antidote to the cold weather outside.
December 12: Marco Polo premieres on Netflix
Originally conceived for Starz, Marco Polo has jumped ship to Netflix with a ten-episode season that will be released all at once on December 12. The historical drama follows Marco Polo as he “travels the exotic Silk Road to the great Kublai Khan’s court.” It’s certainly different from Netflix’s previous offerings but interesting enough to binge on all night.
December 12: Nick Offerman’s American Ham premieres on Netflix
Nick Offerman, the American hero we all fell in love with on Parks and Recreation, becomes an American ham in his new stand-up special. Filmed in New York City in 2013, the special later premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and will now get its Netflix debut. It features Offerman’s comedy, music, and “woodworking/oral-sex techniques.” It will probably be the best thing in the world.
December 15: Ascension six-hour miniseries debuts on Syfy
This Syfy miniseries (which could potentially become a full series, depending on its reception) is a science-fiction mystery that is based on Project Orion but takes place in an alternate universe, one in which JFK launched a covert space mission to populate a new world because of Cold War fears. The three-night television event focuses on the 600 adults and children aboard the USS Ascension and the mysterious murder that occurs there.
December 16: Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas premieres on NBC
Because NBC just can’t leave good things alone, we’re getting a stop-motion special spin-off of the 2003 movie Elf (and the subsequent Broadway musical). Unfortunately, neither Will Ferrell nor Zooey Deschanel will reprise their roles, and we’ll have to settle for their replacements, Jim Parsons and Kate Micucci. I’m sure someone in the movie will learn the true meaning of Christmas as NBC learns the true meaning of cash-grab spin-offs.
December 16: Season 30 of The Real World premieres on MTV
If you want the opposite of holiday cheer, may I suggest the 30th season of The Real World? Yep: 30 seasons. Much like last season’s twist that brought back the exes (with mixed results), The Real World: Skeletons will attempt to mix it up by having various people from the cast members’ pasts (the skeletons in their closest) randomly show up at the house to surprise them. It’s desperate, but it’ll be entertaining.
December 18: The series finale of The Colbert Report airs on Comedy Central
After ten seasons and nearly 1500 episodes (and lots of book championing), The Colbert Report will end its run on Thursday, December 18. It’s not all bad — Stephen Colbert will be taking over The Late Show in 2015, and Larry Wilmore will be taking over the Comedy Central time slot with The Nightly Show — but Colbert will definitely be missed. There are no details about what the finale will entail, but you can count on something hilarious, likely filled with numerous cameos from your favorite comedians and culture figures.
December 23: The full first season of Mozart in the Jungle premieres on Amazon Prime
It seems like forever since Amazon’s second pilot season appeared on the site, back in February, but Mozart in the Jungle has stayed fresh in my mind. Written by Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, and Alex Timbers, the show manages to go behind the scenes in the orchestra world in a raunchy, gritty, and funny way. Despite a possibly alienating premise and low audience interest, the show got picked up for ten episodes that will all premiere at once on Amazon. With Gael García Bernal in the lead and some beautiful storytelling, it could possibly be as good as Transparent.