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
Cobra Kai (S1-2)
This spin-off from The Karate Kid takes a gleefully revisionist approach to the 80s classic movie by asking the question, “What if Daniel Larusso was really the bad guy of the whole thing?” Ralph Macchio’s former martial arts champ, now a smarmy car dealership magnate, plays the antagonist of this comedy/action/drama series, and instead it’s his old rival Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) we find ourselves rooting for.
Johnny’s miserable life turns around when he decides to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo and train a new generation of karate kids in its “no mercy” approach to the sport, but he’ll once again find himself butting up against Larusso – not to mention his brutal former sensei John Kreese.
Tom Hardy stars as the shape-shifting, alien symbiote-infested antihero Brock in this Sony-produced Marvel movie, which exists in a separate “cinematic universe” to Disney’s shiny Avengers series. That gives the movie some leeway to be a tad darker and grittier than Marvel fans might be used to – somewhat refreshingly so, we reckon.
Don’t go into it expecting a classic or anything, but Hardy’s game performance and the creepiness of the extraterrestrial entity make for an enjoyably offbeat superhero romp.
A pre-Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence broke into the Hollywood mainstream largely thanks to her Oscar-nominated performance in this dark indie drama set in the foreboding backwoods of rural Missouri.
Lawrence is indeed outstanding as Ree, a resourceful teenager in search of her missing father amidst the threat of eviction. She finds answers hard to come by in a community riven by fear, as a code of silence surrounding the local drug trade keeps tongues securely fastened. A film that keeps its cards close to its chest, is inhabited by complex characters and relies on cold menace over graphic violence, Winter’s Bone is a great grown-up mystery story with a hard edge.
John Was Trying to Contact Aliens
This 16-minute documentary about electronics enthusiast John Shepherd, who devoted all his time, money and energy into building machines to broadcast music and sounds into space. Short and sweet, it’s a heart-warming tale of looking for one thing and finding something else entirely.
High Score (S1)
A six-part documentary series exploring the early evolution of video games, High Score should strike a sweet note with fans of retro games – or indeed anybody who wants to learn more about how gaming grew from a kids’ pastime into a multi-billion-pound global industry.
Beautifully presented (the pixel art animations are a particular highlight) and full of interesting interviews and previously untold tales, it’s both a joyful nostalgia injection and a reminder of how quickly gaming has developed in a relatively short expanse of time.
A big budget action thriller directed by the guys behind Catfish might sound like a disaster in the making, but Project Power is enjoyable (if somewhat forgettable) fun with fantastic special effects.
Jamie Foxx plays an obsessive ex-military man forced to team up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s idealistic New Orleans cop and a wily teenager when a new wonder-pill hits the streets. This drug, dubbed Power, gives anyone who takes it superpowers – but only for five minutes, after which (assuming they’re still alive: the drug’s effects are… unstable) they revert to their regular self. It’s hardly the most original concept for an action flick, but the three leads’ performances and the frenetic fight sequences keep things interesting.
This brilliantly diverting b-movie stars Logan Marshall-Green as a man left broken by a violent mugging. His wife murdered and his spinal cord severed, he’s facing a life of loneliness and pain, but when a scientist offers him a cure for his quadriplegia in the form of an experimental AI chip implant, it gives him a shot at revenge. At a price, of course…
With superb action sequences, several plot twists and some chin-stroking about the nature of free will and transhumanism, Upgrade transcends its low-budget roots to feel like a future cult classic.
The Fall (S1-3)
If you missed this Belfast-set drama when it was originally broadcast by the BBC or haven’t yet caught it on Amazon Prime Video (where it’s still available), now’s your chance. A tense series focussed on two compelling characters – Gillian Anderson’s icy detective and Jamie Dornan’s obsessive serial killer – The Fall is equal parts police procedural and psychological thriller.
We all already knew that Anderson is a fantastic actor, but Dornan is superbly cast and surprisingly affecting as an outwardly normal, caring family man with a deep-seated sickness sitting just beneath the surface. Dark and disturbing, but seriously involving to watch.
The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game portrays the nail-biting race against time by the mercurial mathematician Alan Turing (played here by Benedict Cumberbatch) and his team of big-brained outcasts at Britain's top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.
Turing’s work ultimately led to the invention of the world’s first computer system and hastened the war’s end, but his homosexuality prevented him from ever achieving the recognition he deserved during his lifetime. Cumberbatch gives a typically strong performance as the complex scientist, while the film itself canters along like an enjoyable cross between a biopic and a thriller.
The Umbrella Academy (S2)
Having saved the world in the first season, the super-powered Hargreeves siblings find themselves warped back to the 1960s, once again scattered and facing an apocalypse – the apparent result of their messing with the timeline. Can they reunite and avert annihilation once more? Probably, yes – but you’ll have to tune into the second season of this fantastical graphic novel adaptation to find out for certain.