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
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 re-dropped onto Netflix. While it may gloss over or skirt around some of the more distasteful occurrences in the group’s history, it’s a quick and engrossing primer on one of the most important acts in hip-hop history.
This Netflix-production action comedy stars Mark Wahlberg as the titular Spenser, a tough ex-cop fresh out of jail for – yep, you guessed it – a crime he didn’t commit. Kind of. Well, to be totally honest, he did beat up his boss – but the boss deserved it.
Anyway, his post-prison plans to leave Boston and shrug off his past are put on hold when a pair of former colleagues turn up dead and he’s dragged back into the world of chasing down bad guys. This time without a badge. What he does have is Winston Duke’s aspiring MMA fighter as an unlikely partner in getting to the bottom of the mystery.
Spenser Confidential won’t win any awards for originality, but it’s a well-crafted crime yarn with some memorable characters.
Taxi Driver scribe Paul Schrader’s directorial career has had its ups and downs, but this drama starring Ethan Hawke as a troubled small-town priest is truly superb.
When a member of his parish gives him a wake-up call about the horrifying extent climate change’s impact, Hawke’s Reverend Toller begins to undergo his own Damascene Conversion – dramatically losing his faith while embracing a dangerous form of fatalism. To reveal much more would risk spoiling this wonderful film’s impact, but we guarantee it’s a movie that’ll have you pondering its meaning long after the credits roll.
Ugly Delicious (S2)
Like to gaze upon food porn but find Chef’s Table a little too sedate and respectful? Netflix has your back with this second season of Ugly Delicious.
Presented by award-winning chef David Chang (he of New York’s famous Momofuku), it celebrates comfort food rather than venerating fine dining. This second season is only four episodes long (the first was eight), but Chang takes a deep dive into what are, for him, uncharted culinary waters: steak, curry and kids’ menus.
Chang and a succession of guests make Ugly Delicious casual, irreverent, enjoyable and occasionally emotional, as well as an engrossing exploration of everyday eating. Just don’t watch it on an empty stomach.
For readers of a certain age, this entertaining documentary about the rise and fall of Oasis will feel like nothing short of a nostalgia onslaught. 25 years or so on from the release of Definitely Maybe, it’s hard to think of another band that dominated mainstream British culture to the degree that the frères Gallagher managed – even if that dominance lasted just a few short years before egos and excess put an end to the band’s “classic” line-up, the tunes dried up and Noel and Liam decided to expend their energy sniping at each other in the media rather than attempt any sort of return to form.
Even if you were never a fan of their music, there’s plenty to enjoy here – both brothers being on typically candid form in the present-day interviews, which play over reels and reels of fantastic archive footage.
Studio Ghibli’s Oscar-winner showcases Hayao Miyazaki’s filmmaking at its very best: magical, thought-provoking and utterly absorbing. When the average Western animated movie is considered sophisticated if it throws in a couple of clever references for any adults that happen to be watching, Spirited Away feels like it’s working on an entirely different plane.
Its story of a young girl unwittingly drawn into a strange land of spirits, witches and demons effortlessly touches on universal themes, making it a compelling, engaging watch for viewers of all ages. The stunning animation and music don’t hurt either.
Another Studio Ghibli classic, this time set in a feudal Japan that is undergoing rapid change. Civilisation is on the march, leading to deforestation and the destruction of the land’s woods, rivers and other wild places.
As humans come into conflict with the god-like nature spirits who maintain the world’s ecological balance, our young hero Ashitaka finds himself caught in the middle, attempting to play peacemaker as things edge ever closer to outright war. Alongside him is San, a mysterious girl (and the former princess of the film’s title) raised by giant wolves – and a true outsider to both sides. Like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke exhibits a level of maturity and nuance that’s extremely rare in Western animation, and makes for a great entryway into the wonderful world of Ghibli’s movies.
Altered Carbon (S2)
The premise behind this visually stunning cyberpunk series – that we can digitise our consciousness and transfer it between different bodies (aka “sleeves”) in order to live forever – means that recasting its main character between seasons feels like no big deal at all. Anthony Mackie replaces Joel Kinnaman as ruthless private dick Takeshi Kovacs, leaving Earth behind to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of long-lost love, revolutionary leader Quellcrist Falconer. If you like violent neo-noirs full of brain-bending ideas and labyrinthine plots, get involved.
I Am Not Okay with This (S1)
An angst-ridden small-town high school misfit who turns out to be extremely special – it’s a well-worn trope in TV and film, but this briskly-paced comedy drama series manages to keep it feeling fresh.
Based on a graphic novel by the same writer as The End of the F***ing World (in fact, the two stories are supposedly set in the same fictional universe), it stars Sophia Lillis at Syd Novak, a 17-year-old dealing with loneliness, confusion over her sexuality, a dysfunctional relationship with her mother and the fallout over the sudden death of her father. Oh, and the fact that she may have telekinetic powers. As superhero origin stories go, it’s atypical.
Better Call Saul (S5)
With this, its fifth season, Better Call Saul will match its parent show Breaking Bad for sheer number of episodes. And it looks like there’s going to be a sixth too, a concept that might have seemed fanciful in the extreme when this show was first announced.
A spin-off centred on one of Breaking Bad’s most irritating characters may not have sounded like a tempting prospect, but from its beginnings Better Call Saul has never felt like anything less than a full-blooded effort from creator Vince Gilligan or lead actor Bob Odenkirk, who have managed to turn Saul Goodman into a beautifully drawn and extremely tragic figure. Its plotlines, meanwhile, have succeeded in not just adding colour to events we saw play out in the earlier show but taken on a real fictional life and pull of their own. In short, this is a show that’s just as good as Breaking Bad – and might end up being even better once it reaches its end.