The 32 best things to watch on Netflix US right now

The Fall

This tense, Belfast-set show centres on a pair of truly compelling characters – Gillian Anderson’s icy, complex detective and Jamie Dornan’s obsessive serial killer - and is equal parts police procedural and psychological thriller.

We all already knew that Anderson was a fantastic actor, but ex-model Dornan is perfectly cast and surprisingly affecting as an apparently normal, caring family man with a deep-seated sickness lying just beneath the surface.

With every episode of the three-season show in Netflix USA’s library, there's never been a better time to let The Fall's cold grip get a hold of you.

Watch The Fall on Netflix USA

Beasts Of No Nation

Netflix’s first foray into feature film-making is not for the faint hearted. This is the story of a young boy, horribly orphaned as the result of a militia attack on his village, who falls into the retinue of a brutal, yet also charming commander of a band of child soldiers.

It’s violent, visceral and sobering, and features Idris Elba in his most impressive performance to date. But it’s newcomer Abraham Attah who shines brightest of all as the boy at the centre of the drama.

Watch Beasts of No Nation on Netflix

Friends

The defining sitcom of the 90s has hit Netflix, affording you the opportunity to lose yourself in ten seasons’ worth of terrible fashion (Mom jeans! Denim vests!) and relationship drama (“We were on a break!”).

The early seasons, when the characters had yet to become caricatures, are better – but although the show developed into more of a comedy-drama than a sitcom, its writers’ room continued to pump out gags with astonishing efficiency. It’s also an entertaining time capsule of a bygone age, when the Internet was the exclusive preserve of geeks and smartphones were but a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye. How on Earth did we cope?

Watch Friends on Netflix USA

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones is, like Daredevil, a product of the Netflix/Marvel partnership and follows the eponymous character (played by the superb Krysten Ritter) as she attempts to set up her private detective business in NYC, battle with her superhero demons and drink every bar in the Big Apple dry.

Oh, and she also has to face her nemesis, the obsessive, abusive and mind-controlling sadist Zebediah Kilgrave, brilliantly played by David Tennant.

But great though the two leads are, New York City is every bit as integral to JJ’s appeal: it looks simply stunning, with a gritty, stylised feel that is quickly coming to characterise Netflix’s Marvel forays. And of course that’s all the more true in the 4K stream available to owners of 4K TVs. Stunning stuff.

Watch Jessica Jones on Netflix USA

Planet Earth II

Got a 4K TV? Then get this peerless nature series on your watchlist, stat. There’s no better way to experience UHD – from the bright pink flamingo bathing in a shimmering blue pool to a yellow jaguar lurking within the dense green jungle, there’s an abundance of colour within the animal kingdom.

And it’s not just stunning visuals that are on offer here – Sir David Attenborough’s narration will stir your emotions while also leaving you with more knowledge about the world we inhabit.

Watch Planet Earth II on Netflix

Arrested Development

Dysfunctional families have been done to death on both the big screen and TV, but the Bluths are up there with the most self-centred, destructive and, well, downright hilarious bunch of the lot.

Straight man George Bluth desperately tries to keep his family and fortune intact as their company is hit by the US government for embezzlement.

Superb performances from the likes of David Cross, coupled with tonnes of re-quote potential make this a must-watch. It gets a little lost after the first three seasons thanks to the actors' other projects clashing with filming, but it's still well worth watching until the very end.

Watch Arrested Development on Netflix USA

Collateral (TV)

Co-produced by Netflix and the BBC, this British drama series is real state-of-the-nation stuff, with its ensemble cast (which includes Carey Mulligan at her best) and twisting plot allowing writer David Hare to explore a soaring gamut of themes, from the refugee crisis to zero hours contracts to PTSD in the military. At its heart, though, Collateral is a murder mystery thriller, and Hare’s examinations of the modern-day UK don’t get in the way of a good, tense police yarn – one that doesn’t feel the need to outstay its welcome either, with everything being wrapped up in a trim four episodes.

Watch Collateral on Netflix

Spotlight

It takes a lot of tact to make a film about a delicate subject like Boston’s Catholic priest child sex abuse scandal, but the host of nominations and wins Spotlight earned over this year’s award season should clue you in: director Tom McCarthy absolutely nailed it.

The star-studded cast helps, getting you invested in the hard-working team of Boston Globe investigative journalists right from the off. Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber and Mark Ruffalo steal the show, but there are great performances from Stanley Tucci and Rachel McAdams too.

It’s difficult to watch in places, but entirely engrossing and totally worth sticking through to the end.

Watch Spotlight on Netflix USA

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Put those interminable Hobbit movies to one side for a moment and remember that there was a time when Peter Jackson’s bloated, big budget Tolkien adaptations were actually enjoyable. And this, the first Lord of the Rings movie, is proof positive. Even if you detest any film that features the prancing of pointy-eared little folk, there’s plenty to admire here: the sheer craftsmanship Jackson and his team employed in creating Middle-earth and its denizens, not to mention wrangling Tolkien’s unevenly-paced narrative into something resembling a brisk film (even though it clocks in at just under three hours). It might be pure escapism, but it’s beautifully done.

Watch The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on Netflix

Master of None

Comedian Aziz Ansari plays jobbing actor Dev in this 10-part series about life, love and tacos. Actually, one suspects Ansari is really playing himself (his real-life parents even play his onscreen parents here) and a big part of the charm is watching him work through various subjects over the course of the series.

It’s very self-obsessed and some will find the whimsy hard to stomach, but it's also funny, charming and occasionally thought-provoking. Well worth five hours of your time.

Watch Master of None on Netflix

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