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
Arrested Development (S5)
After a disappointing Netflix-produced fourth season (rescued somewhat by creator Mitchell Hurwitz’s recent “remix” reworking), Arrested Development has returned for a fifth run of episodes structured just like the beloved first, second and third – i.e. with episodes arranged in a vaguely chronological order. If you watched the fourth season baffled at why each episode only feature a couple of the main characters, be assured that the fifth doesn’t make the same mistake.
Whether that wins back old school fans of the Bluth family’s labyrinthine misadventures remains to be seen, but personally we’ve found it a welcome return to form. This show has always worked when its ensemble cast, references and in-jokes are packed in tightly together rather than given “room to breathe”, and that’s very much the case here.
Yes, we know: you’re a massive fan of the original Ghostbusters. But if you thought gender-flipping the story would be like Sony Pictures time-travelling to your childhood and mercilessly covering you in slime, such fears are unfounded. And that’s because this reboot is by turns spooky, action-packed and funny.
Mostly, it hangs on great performances from the cast – the ever-reliable Melissa McCarthy; Kristen Wiig; Chris Hemsworth in an amusingly subversive role-reversal as hunky receptionist Kevin. And sometimes it’s uneven – notably an oddly dull final set piece, and being too deferential to the original. But head into this flick with an open mind and you’ll realise busting still makes you feel good, whoever happens to be wearing the proton packs.
Many of the best horror movies are memorable precisely because there’s some kind of killer (literally) gimmick in place – think The Blair Witch Project’s “found footage” premise, or A Nightmare on Elm Street's message of “don’t fall asleep”. It’s very much in evidence with Don’t Breathe, where the moral is: be really, really quiet.
When a trio of teen tearaways decide to burgle the house of an old blind man, they don’t count of him being a vicious ex-soldier with sharpened hearing, a bloodthirsty guard dog and a burning desire to keep the contents of his basement a secret. Cue 90 minutes of cat-and-mouse intensity.
Back in the mid 1990s two of the world’s biggest rap stars were shot dead within a few months of each other – and despite all of the attention both cases received (much of it due to the fact that the cases may be linked), nobody has ever been charged with either murder.
The killings of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur form the basis for this 10-part drama series, centred around the on real-life investigation (and later re-investigation) of Biggie’s murder. With conspiracy theories aplenty and a cast packed with larger-than-life characters, Unsolved is a diverting series that quickly draws you into a web of intrigue – even if it doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by the American Crime Stories series it so closely emulates.
Based on the true story of Whitey Bulger, one of Boston’s most notorious gangland bosses, Black Mass attempts to weave together a truly compelling crime drama for the ages – and almost succeeds.
While there’s no faulting the cast, which features not only Johnny Depp in the lead role but strong performances from Joel Edgerton and Benedict Cumberbatch, there’s something lacking in the pacing and plotting that prevents Scott Cooper’s film from achieving the sort of Scorsese-level greatness to which it aspires. That said, lovers of gritty (and occasionally brutal) thrillers and bad haircuts will find plenty to enjoy.
Queer Eye (S2)
Dragging the makeover show kicking and screaming into the 21st century, the remixed Queer Eye returns to Netflix with a second batch of episodes. You likely already know the formula – a quintet of style experts descend upon an unsuspecting schlub to overhaul his dated looks and put his life in order – but the sheer emotional tsunami that follows in the Fab Five's wake might surprise you. And delight you.
It’s no accident that Queer Eye has become one of Netflix’s most beloved new shows – and proof positive that even makeover shows themselves can benefit from a timely makeover.
If you missed this intensely creepy three-part miniseries when it debuted on the BBC in 2016, here’s your chance to experience it on Netflix.
A fine dramatic recreation of the life and crimes of British serial killer John Reginald Christie, it stars an unrecognisable Tim Roth as the murderer and Samantha Morton as his wife – and eventual victim – Ethel. Even for viewers familiar with Christie’s gruesome crimes, Rillington Place’s excellent writing, characterisation and acting make it an engrossing watch.
Planet Earth II
From a blazing pink flamingo bathing in a shimmering blue pool to a golden jaguar lurking within the dense green of the jungle canopy, there’s an abundance of colour within the animal kingdom. But it’s not just stunning visuals that are on offer in this second series of the BBC’s superb nature documentary (in 4K for any Netflix customer with the right TV and subscription, no less) – David Attenborough’s narration will stir your emotions while leaving you stuffed with knowledge about the incredible world we inhabit.
The Staircase (S1)
Already blazed through Making A Murderer? Binged on Evil Genius? Consumed The Keepers? Then allow us to would direct you to The Staircase, another exceptional true crime documentary series that drags you right into the inner workings of a US murder case.
An exploration of the American legal process, a portrait of an unconventional family and a mystery story rolled into 14 episodes filmed over more than a decade, this takes a deep dive into the strange case of Kathleen Peterson, found in a pool of blood at the bottom of her North Carolina mansion. The filmmakers follow the progress of the ensuing trial, in which Kathleen’s novelist husband Michael is the accused. Full of shocks and surprises, yet leaving the viewer with yet more questions by its end, this is a must-see for any documentary fan.
This zombie horror stars Martin Freeman as a new father whose Australian holiday goes horrifically off the rails courtesy of a massive viral outbreak. Getting bitten by a carrier means you’ve got just 48 hours before becoming a mindless, meat-seeking husk yourself – and the wide open landscape means precious few places to hide from either the zombies or the live folks mercilessly hunting down anyone infected.
So far, so familiar, right? Well, Cargo subverts expectations by focussing on the characters rather than on finding different ways to make you jump, and the viral menace is used as a device to drive the narrative rather than define it. It’s more thought-provoking drama than many gore-hounds would like, no doubt, but we’d rather watch it than yet another Dawn of the Dead rip-off.