You know how new DVDs and Blu-rays always come out on a Monday? Netflix laughs in the face of such regimented scheduling and instead releases all of its new TV shows and movies whenever the heck it feels like it.
That can make keeping track of all of the new stuff a first-world nightmare of epic proportions.
But help is at hand: here we highlight all of the best new stuff on Netflix. And yes, that does mean we've left out all of the rubbish, so you won't find the likes of Frontier, Santa Clarita Diet or Sharknado: The 4th Awakens here.
Instead, allow us to guide you, truffle pig-like, to the finest and freshest streaming fungus.
Note: the newest stuff is at the top of the list, with the shows and movies getting progressively less new as you scroll down and switch pages
Bill Burr: Walk Your Way Out
“Not afraid to tell it like it is” is usually code for “voted for Donald Trump”, but while Bill Burr will definitely rub some people up the wrong way during Walk Your Way Out, he can back (almost) all of it up. In fact, watching how he deals with a sometimes sceptical Nashville audience is part of the fun.
Even though the material here perhaps isn’t his best (I’m Sorry You Feel That Way, another Netflix Original, is probably our favourite) and he makes too much of certain bits, his unmistakeable delivery, his plans for people who go on cruises and the mental image of Adolf Hitler with a t-shirt gun make up for it.
Alex Garland’s directorial debut is a brilliantly realised slice of sci-fi about what makes us human. Oscar Isaac plays Nathan, the charismatic, billionaire CEO of a tech company who wrote the code for his Bluebook search engine as a child.
When one of his employees, super-nerd Caleb, wins a competition to spend a week at his boss’s high-security bunker home deep in the mountains, Nathan uses it as an opportunity to test his new invention: Eva, the physical incarnation of Nathan’s latest AI software. But can she pass the Turing Test even when the examiner knows full well she’s a robot?
While Caleb is something of an off-the-shelf geek, Nathan is a cross between Mark Zuckerberg and a Bond villain. One minute he’s sweating out a hangover and dancing with his live-in maid like a #LAD Steve Jobs, the next he’s intimidating Caleb from the darkness of his concrete-walled, warren-like lair.
The interactions between Eva and Caleb could easily have become tedious interviews but Garland infuses them with flirtatious humanity. Much like Joaquin Phoenix’s character in Her, Caleb finds a lot to like in his artificial companion, with some incredible make-up and special effects making her equally appealing and believable to the audience. And that’s what makes the denouement of Ex Machina all the more shocking.
Birdman isn't your standard superhero film. There's no tedious origin story, apocalypse porn or men dressed as animals expecting the world to take them seriously; there's a man dressed as a human being trying to convince the world to take him seriously instead. That's because Birdman isn't about a superhero; it's about a man who once pretended to be one on screen.
Riggan Thomson (played by Michael Keaton) is preparing to star in and direct his own Broadway show, but Birdman follows him everywhere. His name is shouted by strangers in the street, his picture hangs in Riggan's dressing room (a gift from the crew) and his gravelly voice still sometimes speaks to him from inside his head.
With the play’s cast seemingly intent on imploding and a drum-based soundtrack that recalls improvised jazz, the film is a bomb waiting to go off, kept on edge by its seamless, single-shot construction and Keaton’s pressure-cooker performance. Keaton’s past life as Batman can’t be a casting coincidence but this isn’t just a film about shaking off a reputation; it's about performance and the roles we play in life, right down to the ‘you’ that’s constructed on Facebook and Twitter.
All the world’s a stage, it’s just a case of working out which character you want to play.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
On first release, this stop-motion adaptation of a Roald Dahl children's novel was criticised by some for being a bit too grown-up. It's true that some of the humour will be wasted on the young, but for us adults who read the book when we were young this is the perfect blend of the story we remember and Wes Anderson's off-beat humour, impeccable sets and stunning scene construction.
Anderson's regular cohorts (particularly George Clooney as Mr. Fox and Bill Murray as his badger lawyer) infuse the super-detailed character models with warmth, charm and wit, and they make it easy to route for the Fox family and friends against Boggis, Bunce and Bean - the nasty local farmers trying to hunt them down.
The Theory of Everything
Rather than a complete biobraphy of the brilliant Stephen Hawking, Theory of Everything focuses specifically on his relationship with his first wife, Jane - in fact, the film is based on her book.
What that means is you don't get a great insight into his work, but you do get an insight into the onset of the motor neurone disease that turned a once able-bodied man into the Stephen Hawking we regonise today. It's at times agonising to watch, as it should be, with Eddie Redmayne doing an astoundingly convincing job of conveying both the genius and the disability.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia season 11
More Sunny is always a good thing, and with season 11 bringing with it episodes such as Frank Falls Out the Window, Charlie Catches a Leprechaun, and The Gang Goes to Hell, that's especially true this year.
Never watched it before? You've got a lot of catching up to do. The first few series are so old they're not even widescreen. Thankfully, that horror is mitigated by the ridiculous adventures of this group of narcissistic, sociopathic, sexist, elitist, delusional and downright unpleasant bar owners.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
On paper, A Series of Unfortunate Events sounds horrible. Child abuse, killer leeches and a relentless serial killer all sound like ingredients in a decidedly unpleasant recipe for adults rather than a piece of family entertainment, but those familiar with the original novels and/or the Jim Carrey film with roughly the same name will know that the grime and darkness pretense is actually a vehicle for goofy characters and storybook charm.
The TV series is faithful to the original stories, following the lives of orphans Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, who find themselves in the 'care' of the cruel Count Olaf, here played with delightful nastiness by Neil Patrick Harris.
J. K. Simmons’ portrayal of a neurotic jazz conductor still haunts our inner insecurities to this day. Verbally and physically abusive to his students in a bid to push them beyond their limits to absolute musical greatness, each and every scene with him and lead student Andrew Neiman is crackling with tension.
Does he get results? Yes, but at a cost we’d never be willing to pay. We’ll stick to shredding on the triangle, thank you very much.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
This antipodean adventure sees grumpy old bugger Hec (Sam Neill) and his clueless, wannabe gangster foster son Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) attempt to outrun and outwit the police in the wild New Zealand bush.
It's charming and sweet-natured, but not saccharine, with an independent spirit and some genuine belly laughs. And while not exactly pitched as such, it's a great film to watch as a family as long as the kids can handle the odd mild swear word (it's rated 12A).
Arguably the late Gene Wilder’s finest hour and a half, this Mel Brooks horror spoof was shot in black and white for gothic ambience. It’s not exactly a moody film, though – Brooks keeps the daftness bubbling over in the tale of an American doctor, embarrassed by his infamous surname, who inherits the family castle in Transylvania and ends up… well, you don’t need us to tell you what he ends up doing once he discovers his grandad’s secret lab.
Now, have a slice of this astonishing fact pie: Peter Boyle, Wilder’s reanimated monster, had John Lennon as his best man and later played the dad in Everybody Loves Raymond.