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 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
Flint Town (S1)
Flint, Michigan used to exemplify the American Dream. 70-odd miles from Detroit, it was another city that boomed on the back of the automotive industry, home to a burgeoning middle class and some of the highest median wages in the country.
Today, it’s one of the nation’s most impoverished cities, with decaying infrastructure, soaring crime and an underfunded and shorthanded police force. Throw in a deadly policy-derived water crisis and Flint starts to look like nothing less than exemplar of systemic failure, a microcosm of forgotten Middle America and a symptom of the globalised mass outsourcing of manufacturing. It’s small wonder Michigan, after voting for the Democratic candidate in six consecutive elections, was won over by Donald Trump’s vague promises to bring back industry and prosperity to the Rust Belt.
It makes for a grimly fascinating subject in Netflix’s original eight-part documentary series, filmed over two years and focussed on the aforementioned police department. With fewer than 100 officers tasked with policing over 100,000 people, the department’s overstretched and demoralised, but determined to keep the city from collapsing. If you want a stark portrait of late capitalist America, and an inside view of how a US police department works (or doesn’t), Flint Town is a must watch.
With a sequel due to hit cinemas in May, it’s a good time to watch (or rewatch) this Marvel movie with a difference. Hideously ugly, more often motivated by greed or lust than honour and forever uttering foul-mouthed quips as he offs his foes, Deadpool is one hell of an antihero, and Ryan Reynolds captures him in fantastic fourth wall-breaking, ball-busting fashion.
Tracing Deadpool’s journey from wise-cracking special forces soldier to wise-cracking superhero, this movie is the first 15-rated Marvel film and, while it comes across as trying a little too hard to offend, shock and scream its differences at times, it makes for a refreshing break with tradition. Oh, and the action sequences are pretty amazing too.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Rumour has it this film originally had no link at all to the found footage monster flick of 2008, only being turned into a pseudo-sequel as a bit of an afterthought. Whatever the truth is, it doesn’t really matter, because this is an enjoyable movie in its own right.
With both Cloverfield and The Cloverfield Paradox also available to stream on Netflix, you can now watch the entire trilogy in one evening, should you desire. John Goodman is brilliant as the gruff owner of an underground bunker who’s either rescued Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) from some kind of global disaster - or kidnapped her. It’s tense stuff that keeps you guessing right up until the unforgettable ending.
Ugly Delicious (S1)
If you find Chef’s Table a little too sedate and respectful, Netflix has another food series that might be more your speed: Ugly Delicious.
Presented by award-winning chef David Chang and food writer Peter Meehan, it celebrates comfort food rather than venerating fine dining. Each episode focusses on a type of grub – pizza, tacos, fried chicken, home cooking, BBQ etc. – exploring its history and traditions and taking a deep, delicious dive into how different cooks and chefs around the world have developed it. For example, did you know the best Neapolitan pizza in the world might just be in Tokyo?
Chang, Meehan and a succession of guest hosts make it a casual, irreverent and enjoyable watch, as well as an engrossing exploration of everyday eating. One note of advice, though: don’t view it on an empty stomach.
Seven Seconds (S1)
When a black teenager is horrifically injured by an off-duty cop in a traffic accident, police officers rally round to protect the driver – and thus begins this diverting Netflix Original crime drama set in wintry New Jersey.
Flipping perspectives between the victim’s distraught, god-fearing family, the corrupt police officers attempting a coverup and the district attorney trying to get to the bottom of what really happened, Seven Seconds is a gripping, taut and well-made exploration of how injustice can swiftly spark racial tensions.
Bagging a trio of Academy Awards, this mud-caked modern classic stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, a 19th century trapper and tracker left for dead by a treacherous comrade (a gruff, mumbling and memorable Tom Hardy) after being mauled by a grizzly bear.
Emerging from his shallow grave, Glass sets out on a long, cold journey towards revenge, evading marauding Native Americans, hunting food and performing gory self-surgery in a series of incredible sequences. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s direction – ever impressive, never showy – and the flawless camera work help the viewer feel every moment of Glass’ struggle to survive against all odds.
Despite uttering only a handful of lines during the film’s nigh-on three hours of running time, DiCaprio received his first Best Actor Oscar for The Revenant. Watching what he goes through here, it’s not difficult to see why the Academy was so impressed. As a pure physical performance, it’s remarkable – and it’s just one great aspect in a movie awash with them.
Duncan Jones had reportedly been trying to get this film, something of a passion project, made for 16 years. Enter Netflix with bagfuls of cash and a big green light. By the time the end credits roll, you’ll have wished they brought a more merciless editor too.
A noirish missing person drama set in a Bladerunner-inspired near-future Berlin looks eminently thrilling on paper, but the film’s unhurried pacing, two-hour running time and frequent forays into distracting plot cul-de-sacs leave you wondering if perhaps the producers have too readily indulged Jones’ auteurish whims.
Alexander Skarsgard’s Amish bartender (yes, really) is a man of no words, his vocal chords having been damaged in a childhood accident. When his girlfriend disappears, he delves into the city’s grim underbelly to find her, only to instead become embroiled in a plot that somehow feels less significant than the setup suggests.
You can’t fault the cast, who all deliver fine performances, and thanks to the visual spectacle Mute feels like a partial triumph. But viewers hoping for echoes of Jones’ other films – the brisk pace and clever conceit of Source Code or the sci-fi pondering of Moon – will likely find themselves disappointed. Like Bright before it, this seems half-baked – a bold attempt by Netflix to rival the giant studios’ best efforts, but pushed out of the door well before it was ready.
Chris Rock: Tamborine
After a lengthy absence from the stand-up stage, Chris Rock has, like Dave Chappelle before him, been tempted back by Netflix’s armfuls of cash – but thankfully this one-hour special (his first recorded special since 2008, apparently) feels like slightly more than a contractually-obliged box-ticking exercise.
While Rock’s riffs all focus on well-worn subjects – US politics, police brutality, raising children, infidelity and divorce – his original takes and masterful delivery make the hour fly by. There’s a sense that he never quite hits fifth gear; that this one-time bad boy of comedy’s razor edge has been dulled by his years as part of the entertainment establishment – but that’s probably to be expected of a man of 53. We can only hope that more specials follow; we reckon Rock still has plenty more to say.
When We First Met
Sometimes, most often when you’re hungover and sofa-bound, you just want to watch a dumb, near-mindless romantic comedy with a few genuine laughs and a plot that makes at least some kind of sense – and Netflix’s own When We First Met ticks those boxes.
Workaholics’ Adam DeVine stars as a man distraught at being confined to the friend zone by his ideal woman (Alexandra Daddario), only to discover that the old-timey photo booth in a local bar doubles up as a time machine, repeatedly able to warp him back four years to the night the pair met. With unlimited attempts at making the right first impression, surely he can right this wrong and end up with the girl?
While you might suspect you already know the answer, the film keeps one or two tricks up its sleeve. Will it change your life? Lord no. Will you even remember it two weeks after watching? Doubtful. Do either of those things matter on a lazy Sunday afternoon when your brain is too fried to watch something that requires genuine effort. Not at all.
The less said about David Ayer’s Bright – Netflix’s big original movie release for Christmas 2017 – the better, but a few years ago the director struck gold (or should that be steel?) with this grit-encrusted action-drama starring Brad Pitt as a tank commander in the last days of World War II.
Featuring some of the most convincing depictions of tank warfare in cinema – you can practically smell the grease, sweat and worse in the cramped confines of Pitt’s Sherman – there’s the occasional sense that Fury holds dramatic aspirations that it can’t quite match up to, but when the action is this electrifying, you’re unlikely to care that this isn’t quite Saving Private Ryan.