11 New Documentaries to Watch in December 2021

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The new documentaries and docuseries debuting in December 2021 deal with a host of heavy topics, such as true crime, murder, police corruption and prisoner abuse.

Streaming services like HBO Max, Netflix, Discovery+ and Disney+ are expanding their documentary offerings this month, with offerings like HBO Max’s “The Forever Prisoner,” which tells the story of Abu Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee subjected to the CIA’s program of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, and Discovery+’s “The Hunt for the Chicago Strangler,” which looks at the serial killer’s crimes in the context of the city’s decades-long racism.

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On the lighter side, Disney+ is releasing “Welcome to Earth,” which follows Will Smith on a journey to the world’s greatest wonders. Netflix is releasing “Voir,” which is a celebration of the art of cinema.

Here, WWD looks at 11 new documentaries and docuseries to watch in December 2021. Read on for more.

“Adrienne”
Stream on HBO Max on Dec. 1

A still from “Adrienne.” - Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max
A still from “Adrienne.” - Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max

Courtesy of HBO Max

Actress Adrienne Shelly’s husband, Andy Ostroy, directs the documentary that tells the story about his wife’s life story and legacy, as well as her tragic murder in 2006. The film includes conversations with family, friends and colleagues that knew Shelly.

“Fruitcake Fraud”
Stream on Discovery+ on Dec. 1

A still from “Fruitcake Fraud.” - Credit: ITV
A still from “Fruitcake Fraud.” - Credit: ITV

ITV

The documentary tells the story of Colin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas — the home to the country’s best fruitcakes — which was extorted millions of dollars. The film shows how the culprits acted out the crime and how it was ultimately solved.

“Coming Out Colton”
Stream on Netflix on Dec. 3

A still from “Coming Out Colton.” - Credit: CALEB ALVARADO/NETFLIX
A still from “Coming Out Colton.” - Credit: CALEB ALVARADO/NETFLIX

CALEB ALVARADO/NETFLIX

Former NFL player and star of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” Colton Underwood documents his journey of coming out as a gay man by addressing his past and the struggles that got him to where he is today.

“The Rescue”
Stream on Disney+ on Dec. 3

A still from “The Rescue.” - Credit: Courtesy of Disney+
A still from “The Rescue.” - Credit: Courtesy of Disney+

Courtesy of Disney+

“The Rescue” tells the story of the rescue mission of the 12 boys and their coach, who were trapped in a flooded cave in Northern Thailand in 2018.

“The Hunt for the Chicago Strangler”
Stream on Discovery+ on Dec. 3

A still “The Hunt for the Chicago Strangler.” - Credit: CS Productions Inc.
A still “The Hunt for the Chicago Strangler.” - Credit: CS Productions Inc.

CS Productions Inc.

The three-part docuseries tells the story of the Chicago Strangler, who attacked and killed 51 Black women since 1999. The series takes an in-depth look at the crimes in the context of decades-long racism in the city and examines the emotional toll the crimes took on the victims’ families.

“The Forever Prisoner”
Stream on HBO Max on Dec. 6

A still from “The Forever Prisoner.” - Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max
A still from “The Forever Prisoner.” - Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max

Courtesy of HBO Max

The documentary film tells the story of Abu Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee subjected to the CIA’s program of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, which was later identified as torture by people outside of the agency. Zubaydah was never charged with a crime, but remained imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay.

“Voir”
Stream on Netflix on Dec. 6

A still from “Voir.” - Credit: Netflix
A still from “Voir.” - Credit: Netflix

Netflix

From Oscar-nominated filmmakers David Fincher and David Prior, the six-part docuseries celebrates the art of cinema and the personal connections people make with movies.

“The Slow Hustle”
Stream on HBO Max on Dec. 7

A still from “The Slow Hustle.” - Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max
A still from “The Slow Hustle.” - Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max

Courtesy of HBO Max

The documentary film chronicles the death of Baltimore police detective Sean Suiter, who was fatally shot in 2017 while in the line of duty. The film explores the mysterious circumstances around the detective’s death and uncovers the corruption within the Baltimore police department.

“Welcome to Earth”
Stream on Disney+ on Dec. 8

A still from “Welcome to Earth.” - Credit: Courtesy of Disney+
A still from “Welcome to Earth.” - Credit: Courtesy of Disney+

Courtesy of Disney+

Will Smith stars in the docuseries, taking viewers to the world’s greatest wonders and uncovering hidden secrets with a group of experienced guides.

“Ken and Barbie Killers: The Lost Murder Tapes”
Stream on Discovery+ on Dec. 12

A still from “Ken and Barbie Killers: The Lost Tapes.” - Credit: Blink Films
A still from “Ken and Barbie Killers: The Lost Tapes.” - Credit: Blink Films

Blink Films

The four-part series documents the controversial trial of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, who became the most notorious killers in Canada.

“Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street”
Stream on HBO Max on Dec. 13

A still from “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street.” - Credit: Robert Fuhring
A still from “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street.” - Credit: Robert Fuhring

Robert Fuhring

The documentary film focuses on the creators and educators behind “Sesame Street” and gives an in-depth look at how they created one of the most beloved and long-lasting children’s franchises in history.

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