What to watch on CBC Gem in December 2020

Including Deepa Mehta's film version of Funny Boy, the COVID anthology series Alone Together and Stephen Frears's miniseries Quiz


Here is everything new coming to CBC Gem in December 2020, including a few highlights by NOW critics.

Funny Boy

Deepa Mehta’s highest-profile film in several years – it’s Canada’s official submission for this year’s best international feature film Oscar – is an adaptation of Sri Lankan-Canadian author Shyam Selvadurai’s 1994 novel, starring Brandon Ingram as a young gay man whose coming of age occurs against a backdrop of ethnic violence that kills thousands and sparks a brutal civil war. The production sparked controversy earlier this month over the casting of non-Tamil actors in Tamil-speaking roles, though several of those performances have been redubbed to adjust the accents. Let’s see if that addresses the concerns. December 4

Alone Together: Personal Stories From The Pandemic

Earlier this year, the CBC Creative Relief Fund greenlit more than 100 projects “exploring perspectives across Canada during COVID-19.” Fifteen of them were the short documentaries that comprise this collection, offering a range of responses to the coronavirus crisis from directors across the country – like Diana Dai, Tiffany Hsiung, Lulu Keating, Sura Mallouh and Corey Stanton. Three of the shorts – Quiet Time, Pandemic Elementary and Rockin’ the Coffin – are already streaming on Gem. The rest will roll out over the first weeks of December. December 4

A still from the TV series Quiz

Quiz

In September 2001, military veteran Charles Ingram won one million pounds on the UK quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? – only to be accused of cheating in a scandal that shocked England.  James Graham wrote a stage play about it, and earlier this year adapted that play into a three-part ITV series directed by Stephen Frears and starring Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen as Ingram, Fleabag’s Sian Clifford as his wife Diana – who was also implicated in the scandal and subsequent criminal trial – and Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant, the show’s rather theatrical host. That combination of actors is enough to get us on board. But also: schadenfreude! December 4

Detectorists (season 2)

Gem added the first season of Mackenzie Crook’s gentle BBC comedy earlier this fall, so you have a few days to catch up to that before the second season arrives. If you haven’t already discovered the gentle, character-driven pleasures of this odd little show – which follows two friends who spend their free time looking for buried treasure in the fields of Essex – well, please do that, because things have been miserable this year and it’s nice to have something to enjoy. Crook and Toby Jones play the friends, withdrawn slacker Andy and cocky know-it-all Lance; others in their orbit include Rachael Stirling as Andy’s girlfriend Becky and Gerard Horan as Terry, the ebullient head of the local metal detectors’ club. Not much happens, but the more time we spend with these people, the richer they become – and Crook’s observant direction steers us towards truly lovely moments. December 4

The full list of new titles available on CBC Gem in December 2020 by date:

December 3

This Close (season 1)

December 4

Alone Together: Personal Stories From The Pandemic

The Detectorists (season 2)

Drive

Due South (season 2)

Funny Boy

Quiz

When Jews Were Funny

December 11

Call The Midwife (season 1)

Clydesdale: Saving The Greatest Horse

For The Record

The Great Barrier Reef

India’s Wild Karnataka

Shaun The Sheep movie

What’s With The Jews?

December 18

Escape To The Chateau: DIY (season 2)

Find Me In Paris (season 3, episodes released weekly)

December 19

Jamie’s Italian Christmas

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