Make your list, check it twice: shows and movies for literally everybody on Showmax

By Gen Terblanche7 December 2023

Make your list, check it twice: shows and movies for literally everybody on Showmax

This December, the Showmax elves have gift wrapped the perfect treats for everyone – even that person who went out and bought everything they wanted back in November (seriously, why do you do this to us?). So from Friday, 1 December, you can kick back and relax.

Whether you’re “shopping” for gamers, little kids, the Cozy Christmas obsessed, the person whose hobby equipment costs more than your rent, we have you covered. Scan, scroll down, and check them off your list, naughty or nice.  

For the gamers: The Super Mario Bros. Movie

The Super Mario Bros. Movie on Showmax

Since the first Super Mario game came out in 1985 and the most recent game came out in October, 2023, this is a perfect movie to unite all the gamers in the family for pure, unadulterated fun! The cheerful, colourful animated film closely follows the setup of the game, with plumbers Mario (Chris Pratt, The Lego Movie) and Luigi (Charlie Day, Horrible Bosses), and Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy, Playmobil, the Movie) defending their kingdom from the evil Koopa king, Bowser (Jack Black, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle).  

PS: This animated adventure was neck-and-neck with Barbie as 2023’s top box office hit. 

For the bookworms: The Winter King S1 from Monday, 4 December 

Arthur Pendragon (Iain De Caestecker), the outcast son of a king, unites the tribes of Britain against the Anglo Saxon invaders during 500 CE (the Romans left Britain around 400 CE). With Nathaniel Martello-White as Merlin, and former Cape Town model Jordan Alexandra as Guinevere, this historical action series is loosely based on The Warlord Chronicles trilogy by Bernard Cornwell, and should please fans of movies like The Northman. Binge it first on Showmax. 

For the history buffs: World On Fire S2 from Wednesday, 20 December 

World on Fire S2 on Showmax

Back after a four-year break and ready to binge, this moving WW2 period drama puts a human face on war on all fronts, from the home to the battlefield. This season is set between 1940 and 1941, and touches on the beginning of the The Blitz in Manchester, the North African campaign (including Operation Compass and the Siege of Tobruk), resistance in occupied France and Nazi Germany, and the Nazi’s Lebensborn progamme – a The Handmaid’s Tale-like breeding initiative. Watch with the grandparents and great grandparents. 

For the sexy singles: Magic Mike’s Last Dance from Monday, 25 December 

Magic Mike's Last Dance on Showmax

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh (the Ocean’s films) brings Channing Tatum back as “Magic Mike” Lane in his biggest stage show ever – in London – after his dancing inspires rich socialite Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard) to show the rest of the world’s women the Magic and passion that they’re missing out on. The twist? Maxandra will be joining him on stage, and possibly becoming his dance partner for life. 

(Dom Toretto voice) For the family: Fast X

Fast X on Showmax

Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa, Game of Thrones) sets his sights on destroying Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel, XXX) by destroying his family, the way that Dom destroyed his dad Herman (played by Joaquim de Almeida in Fast Five). Better men have tried and failed, and soon every Toretto who can spin a steering wheel is hellbent on giving Dante the runaround. Physics takes a holiday, and the cast goes pedal to the metal, with Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road), Helen Mirren (1923), John Cena (Peacemaker), Michelle Rodriguez (Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves), Jason Statham (The Italian Job), and Tyrese Gibson (Death Race). 

For the fantasy fans: The Amazing Maurice

Amazing Maurice on Showmax

This animated family adventure, which will delight anyone from ages eight to 80, is based on Discworld author Terry Pratchett’s Carnegie Medal-winning novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. Maurice (Hugh Laurie, Avenue 5) is a swindling cat with a master plan involving his posse of rats and their human friend, Keith (Himesh Patel, Avenue 5) the piper. But when they arrive at a town in the grip of an evil mastermind, Boss Man (David Thewlis, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Maurice and the rats must figure out how to set a new kind of trap.  

For the scream squad: Shining Vale S2  

Shining S2 Vale on Showmax

Four months after Pat (Courteney Cox, Scream VI) got dragged away screaming, she’s back home from the lunatic asylum. But while her husband Terry (Greg Kinnear, As Good as it Gets) has no memory of her attacking him – or anything else – their kids Jake and Gaynor (Gus Birney and Dylan Gage) do, and they don’t want mom around … until all of them start seeing Pat’s ghosts in their creepy old mansion, and the new neighbour, Rosemary (Mira Sorvino, The Last Job) looks eerily familiar. Meanwhile, Pat’s scandalous book has been published, and the book tour is playing up her reputation as an absolute maniac.  

For the party animals: House Party

House Party on Showmax

The side hustle and the main gig collide when house cleaners Damon (Tosin Cole) and Kevin (Jacob Latimore, Ride Along) decide to host a pay-to-party event at the mega-mansion belonging to their latest client, basketball star LeBron James (The Shop). Guests on the VIP list for this remix of the 1990s comedy classic include a host of celebs playing themselves and going wild, like Kid Kudi, Mya, Lil Wayne, Tristan Thompson, Tinashe, Snoop Dogg, Karrueche Tran, and Lena Waithe (Westworld). And look out for the original film’s stars, Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin. It’s going to be shameless chaos but the soundtrack is worth it. Directed by Calmatic, the guy who gave us the Lil Nas X Old Town Road video.  

For the crime club: Blue Lights and Poker Face 

Blue Lights S1

Annie Conlon (KATHERINE DEVLIN), Grace Ellis (SIÂN BROOKE), (Tommy Foster (NATHAN BRANIFF) in Blue Lights S1 on Showmax

This Brit crime drama follows three rookie cops – Grace (Siân Brooke, House of the Dragon), who’s in her 40s but changing careers, and Annie (Katherine Devlin) and Tommy (Nathan Braniff), who’re in their 20s – as they complete the final two months of their probationary period before joining the police in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With all the crosscurrents in Belfast, such as the shadow of sectarian violence, corruption within the force and the shadowy presence of MI5, this is a real nail-biter. All the other cop shows have been served an order to try harder next time! Too intense to binge all at once, but you can try. 

Poker Face S1

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale in Poker Face S1 on Showmax

Knives Out creator Rian Johnson breathes new life into the mystery-of-the-week series with Natasha Lyonne (The United States vs Billie Holiday) as casino worker and human lie detector Charlie Cale. Charlie’s on the run after a close friend of hers is murdered, but wherever she goes, she uncovers more crimes to solve as she meets a host of quirky characters played by Adrien Brody (Chapelwaite), Chloë Sevigny (Big Love), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Knives Out), and Ellen Barkin (Breaking News in Yuba County). Think of Charlie as a roving Sherlock Holmes or House – picking up on those little tics and cues that instantly alert her to when people are bending the truth.  

For the fitspo crowd: Special Forces: The World’s Toughest Test S1 Wednesday, 20 December 

Special Forces: The World’s Toughest Test S1 on Showmax

In this adaptation of the gruelling British reality show SAS: Who Dares Wins, former United States Recon Marine Rudy Reyes, former SBS operator Jason Fox, ex-SAS Sergeant Major Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham, and Nigeria-born veteran Navy SEAL Senior Chief-turned-actor, Remi Adeleke (Plane) put 16 celebrities through the United States Special Forces selection course. The only way any of them get to leave is by completing the course, quitting, or in an ambulance. This season’s celebs include singer Mel B (aka Scary Spice), Britney’s sister Jamie Lynn Spears, Kenya Moore (The Real Housewives of Atlanta), supermom Kate Gosselin, Hannah Brown (The Bachelorette S15), a handful of Olympians and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Binge and cringe! 

For the know-it-all: How To With John Wilson S3 from Wednesday, 20 December 

How to with John Wilson S3 on Showmax

In this HBO Original docu-comedy series, filmmaker John Wilson is back on his mission of self-discovery, exploration, and observation. John films the lives of his fellow New Yorkers while attempting to give everyday advice on six wildly random topics, from how to find a public restroom and how to work out, to how to clean your ears or track a package. It swings from being funny to profound, to gloriously silly and human. An uplifting binge but best for older teens and grown-ups. 

For the trash TV connoisseur: Temptation Island USA S5 from Wednesday, 20 December 

Temptation Island USA S4 on Showmax

Four couples at a crossroads fly off to an island paradise where their relationship will be put to the test by sexy singles, under the eye of the camera and host Mark L Walberg (not Wahlberg). There are two new twists this season: the Temptation Light, which will flash red when anyone gives in to temptation and couples up, and the fact that the singles are now also allowed to send messages to the people they’re interested in. This one is ripe and ready for grown-up drinking games. Binge it and freeze-frame on people’s faces every time the red light shines!  

For the one wearing a NASA shirt: Margaux and 65 

Margaux from Thursday, 28 December 

Margaux on Showmax

A group of college friends rent a smart house for a party weekend. But the house super-advanced AI system, Margaux (voiced by Susan Bennett, the original voice of Siri), has “her” own agenda. The house is filled with surprises, including the fact that it can operate as a “giant 3D printer”, and Margaux has access to every move her guests have ever made online, along with full body and retinal scans. We can’t foresee this leading to any trouble whatsoever. Have a fun time, guys, and read the manual. 


Adam Driver stars in 65

A surprise asteroid encounter strands astronaut Pilot Mills (Adam Driver, House of Gucci, The Dead Don’t Die) and the only surviving passenger from their spaceship, a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), on an unknown planet where they find themselves surrounded by creatures who look an awful lot like Earth’s dinosaurs would have 65 million years ago. This sci-fi film was written, directed, and produced by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (who also collaborated on A Quiet Place). 

For the one whose Christmas tree went up in November: Genie, A Christmas Story Christmas, Christmas in the Caribbean, Santa’s Got Style, Christmas Down Under, Christmas Unfiltered and The First Noelle


(from left) Flora (Melissa McCarthy) and Bernard (Paapa Essiedu) in Genie, directed by Sam Boyd.

A new Christmas fantasy movie from British writer-creator Richard Curtis (Notting Hill). When Bernard (Paapa Essiedu, I May Destroy You) stumbles across a genie named Flora (Melissa McCarthy, Identity Thief) who can grant unlimited wishes, his dreams of winning back his family and pleasing his exacting boss (Alan Cumming, The Good Fight) suddenly seem within reach – but Bernard wants to put some of his crazier wishes to the test first, and along the way he introduces Flora, who’s been trapped in her jewellery box for roughly 2 000 years, to the modern world. 

A Christmas Story Christmas from Thursday, 21 December 

This straight-up comedy is a sequel to the American classic A Christmas Story (1983) and stars the original Ralphie, Peter Billingsley (Elf), as the grown-up version of his character. Ralphie is taking his wife Sandy (Erinn Hayes, Gaslit) and kids back to his family home in Indiana to write his dad’s obituary and, at his mother’s (Julie Hargerty) orders, to take over his dad’s job of making the holidays magical. Even if you haven’t watched A Christmas Story every year as a national tradition, there’s plenty to enjoy here.  

The Great Holiday Bake War

The Great Holiday Bake War on Showmax

Looking for a sweet holiday treat? Take a bite of this delight from the Oprah Winfrey Network. Things get hot in the kitchen when former pastry school rivals Julian (Finesse Mitchell) and Brianna (LeToya Luckett, Power Book III: Raising Kanan) become competitors in a high-stakes baking reality show. The secret ingredient to spice things up is a secret one night stand, back in the day. 

Christmas in the Caribbean

When theatre critic Rachel (Elizabeth Hurley) is ditched at the altar, she takes her two bridesmaids, Rebecca (Nathalie Cox, who co-starred with Elizabeth and Caroline in Father Christmas is Back) and Amanda (Caroline Quentin), off to the Caribbean to get the most out of the honeymoon venue she paid for. While neither Rachel nor grieving widower and father of two Alessandro (Edoardo Costa) are looking for love, it looks like love has other plans. This tropical island romantic comedy was filmed on location in Saint Kitts and Nevis.  

Santa’s Got Style

When shopping mall exec Madison (Kathryn Davis) is told to do something new and exciting for the holidays, she decides what they really need is a Santa with swag! Enter stylish, handsome young Ethan (Franco Lo Presti), Madison’s BFF. And maybe it’s just the white beard that’s making her see him differently, but Madison finds herself wanting to sit on Santa’s knee. Ho ho ho. 

Christmas Down Under from Thursday, 21 December 

This madcap road movie comedy was shot in more than 20 locations during the pandemic localdown of 2020-2021. Ellie (Justine Kacir) lands in Australia with no idea how to find the place where her husband Aaron (Paul O’Brien) and his family are staying for Christmas, so she gets a YouTube-famous Uber driver and an aboriginal tour guide to show her the way.  

Christmas Unfiltered from Thursday, 21 December 

People pleaser Becky (Alison Fernandez) is her family’s “invisible” middle child until she makes a Christmas wish that her family could truly hear her. Alas, her wish is granted and she finds herself blabbing out every rude and demented thought that crosses her mind. That’s more terrifying than a visit from three ghosts! It’s great family viewing for the tweens and up, with animated moments and voiceovers keeping things lively. 

The First Noelle from Thursday, 21 December 

Long-time BFFs Terrance (Todd Anthony) and Noelle (Novi Brown, Alone in the Dark) have just decided to try dating when Terrance lands a swanky job in London and they decide to break up again. When Terrance returns to Atlanta, Noelle thinks they’ll start things up again – until Terrance introduces her to his fiancée, Noelle (Lala Milan, A Black Lady Sketch Show). And to make things worse, the first Noelle’s promotion at work hinges on her landing Noelle number two as a client. It’s a Christmas calamity! 

The kids’ table 

For the tots and tinies (ages 2 to 4): Paw Patrol 

Paw Patrol S9 (date TBC) 

Paw Patrol: The Movie is on Showmax

Adventure Bay’s Paw Patrol pups are ready to race to the rescue, whether you have a runaway rocket, a tooth fairy in distress, a lonely ghost, a giant squid, a floating castle, a reef in trouble and baby space rocks. It’s comfort viewing for little kids that celebrates teamwork, and the fact that everyone has something special they can bring to problem solving. 

For the juniors (ages 5 to 8): Dino Pops, Epic Tails and Katak: The Brave Beluga

Dino Pops S1 

Brand new, first on Showmax and ready to binge, this is a dream series for dino-loving kids! A quirky narrator delivers fascinating facts and jokes about real-life dinosaurs, brought to life (against hyper realistic backdrops) in a slightly cartoony animation style that still gets the important physical details correct. Well worth watching with your kids even if your first word wasn’t Micropachycephalosaurus.  

Epic Tails from Thursday, 21 December  

Get to grips with the Ancient Greek myths through the eyes of some unusual heroes – cat and mouse adventurers Sam and Pattie – who enlist the help of Jason (Michel Tureau) and his Argonauts, who’re now pensioners, to help save the village of Yolcos from the wrath of the sea god, Poseidon (Paul Borne), in this animated movie. At the younger end of the audience, they might need an adult to explain some of the more involved plot details.  

Katak: The Brave Beluga from Monday, 25 December 

Katak the brave young beluga whale is lagging behind his peers physically, so he embarks on a dangerous journey (made even more dangerous by humans’ impact on the environment) to the Great North to prove that he’s more grown-up than he seems. NB! Watch the sequence just before the end to check this one before you show it to your kids, as there’s a nature doccie-style battle that could spoil the experience for the more sensitive viewers. 

For the Scooby gang (ages eight and up): Fright Krewe and Mummies 

Fright Krewe S1

A group of misfit teens in New Orleans find themselves with superhero powers and a quest to fulfil an ancient prophecy and save the city from a demon menace. Their lives are overturned as they find out that voodoo queens, vampires, rougarous, ghosts, monsters and demons are as real as they are, and real trouble. This Dreamworks animated adventure series was co-created by Eli Roth and James Frey. For horror loving parents, it could be a great starter to introduce your kids to the genre. Best watch the first episode together.  


This animated adventure movie looks fun for tweens, with a fascinating original setup and all sorts of details that might spark an obsession with history. Three ancient Egyptian mummies (voiced by Joe Thomas, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Santiago Winder), who live in a secret underground city, must brave modern London to get back a royal ring after archaeologist Lord Carnaby (voiced by Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville) pinches it. 

For the tweens (ages 10 and up): Take Note and Guardians of Time 

Take Note S1

Take Note is on Showmax

Binge it first on Showmax! This family friendly musical comedy series follows 14-year-old Calvin Richards (Braelyn Rankins) and his family as they navigate the spotlight when Calvin gets a chance to compete in the reality singing show Take Note. Thrust into Hollywood’s world of monster egos, desperation, sabotage, stage parents and cruel judgement, Calvin leans on his family’s values of faith, kindness and love, and their belief in him, to keep his light shining. We dare you not to get invested.  

Guardians of Time

Watch this fantasy adventure movie first on Showmax! Cousins Sybil (Samantha Ryan), Alex (Ava Torres), Theo (Neo Sallam) and Zoey (Carley Coleman) find a magical book in their grandfather’s manor that transports them into the fantasy world of Keoherus. To get back home, they have to become warriors, collect the time crystals and confront the Guardian of Time. 

And remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg, there’s loads more to explore on Showmax