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
The Sinner (S1)
Less a whodunnit than a whydunnit, this disturbing Netflix original series starts off with a brutal murder, then works backwards to unfold its root causes. While the killing appears random and unexplainable, Bill Pullman’s unconventional detective believes something lies behind it (no prizes for guessing that he’s right there) and is determined to find out exactly what it is.
If you like suspense, downbeat indie drama and aren’t shy about a bit of gore, The Sinner could be your latest bit of binge-fodder.
A tense drama based on the real-life 1980 siege of London’s Iranian embassy, in which a small group of Arab dissidents took 26 people hostage, the conclusion of this Netflix original movie won’t provide much in the way of surprises to anyone who remembers the actual events (spoiler: the SAS stormed in, making the erstwhile secretive special forces unit a household name overnight).
Still, the film does the events justice by giving a nuanced look at all the participants, from Mark Strong’s police negotiator to Jamie Bell’s SAS squaddie to the terrorists themselves.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
This wry, intelligent indie comedy-drama written and directed by Noah Baumbach – one of the most perceptive chroniclers human hubris, frailty and ennui in cinema today – is possibly Netflix’s best original movie yet.
Starring Adam Sandler (reminding us here, for the first time since Funny People, that he can be a very decent actor when he’s in the mood), Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) takes a deep dive into a dysfunctional New York family from the viewpoint of several of its members, each of whom revolves around Hoffman’s preening, needy and manipulative patriarch.
Stranger Things (S2)
Netflix’s biggest hit series of 2016 returns for its much-anticipated second season, but don’t expect a change in the formula – Stranger Things 2 neglects to take any risks by straying away from its brand of nostalgia-inducing 1980s-set sci-fi drama, which references everything from Dig Dug to Stephen King to Aliens in its nine episodes.
So keen is it to pile on the nods that it even packs a couple more ‘80s movie icons into its cast, namely Paul Reiser (who played slimy corporation man Burke in the aforementioned Aliens) and The Goonies’ Sean Astin. Fortunately for the viewer, this reverential, referential approach doesn’t get in the way of the story, which is mostly as strong as the first series’. Mostly.
This blockbuster adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel about an astronaut accidentally stranded on the Red Planet could easily have been bogged down by its maths and technical jargon, as Matt Damon’s abandoned botanist-with-an-attitude works out how to survive long enough to be rescued.
Fortunately, Damon’s Watney is less annoying than the book version, making him far easier to get behind. There’s plenty of beautiful stuff to look at too (well, it’s a Ridley Scott film, what did you expect?) with some striking spaceship design and Mar’s unusual lighting giving the outdoor scenes a truly otherworldly feel. While the finale might feel a tad silly, the whole thing’s supposedly grounded in real science. Just don’t try any of it at home – particularly the poo-fertilised spud diet.
Line of Duty (S3)
For those that missed it back when it was broadcast on the BBC, the third season of taut, tense and enthralling British police procedural Line of Duty has just dropped onto Netflix (to accompany the first two seasons that were already available to stream; there’s also a fourth season, but we don’t expect that to arrive on here for a while).
Once again this six-part series revolves around the efforts of AC12’s anti-corruption detectives looking into misdeeds within the force, and there’s a new central story with a clutch of new characters – including Daniel Mays putting in excellent work as a firearms officer whose strange actions spark off a wide-ranging investigation into a conspiracy that goes right to the very top of the British establishment.
“How do we get ahead of crazy if we don’t know how crazy thinks?”
This series tracks the efforts of two FBI agents to better understand the inner workings of serial killers’ minds. It was a field of research not considered useful by law enforcement top brass in the late 1970s, when the show is set, but our protagonists believe that learning how murderers’ brains function is key to being able to catch them.
If the subject matter sounds overly grim, don’t worry – Mindhunter isn’t all doom and gloom, being peppered with moments of comedy (often black comedy, admittedly) and underpinned by the interesting dynamic of the main characters’ often-strained relationship.
The Expanse (S2)
Star Trek isn’t the only sci-fi series dropping onto Netflix this month; there’s also the entire second season of The Expanse, promising 13 more episodes of gritty, multi-threaded space opera drama set in a future where Earth and Mars have separate governments and teeter on the brink of all-out war.
While Star Trek holds a generally optimistic view of the future, The Expanse offers a different take – one that might appeal more to cynically-inclined sci-fi lovers. It’s also unusual among sci-fi entertainment in that it at attempts to accurately represent zero gravity travel – astro-physicists should really get a kick out of that.
Straight Outta Compton
Dr. Dre has become a household name (as much for his billion-dollar headphones as his music, perhaps) but back in the 1980s he was just another struggling DJ in South Central Los Angeles – until he linked up with Ice Cube, Eazy-E, MC Ren and Yella to form NWA, who quickly became one of the US’s best-loved – and most-hated – musical acts.
Inventing gangsta rap and making white America extremely uncomfortable, NWA and its rise is documented in this wildly entertaining biopic which has just dropped onto Netflix. While it may gloss over or skirt around some of the more distasteful occurrences in NWA’s history, it’s a quick and engrossing primer on one of the most important groups in hip-hop history.