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
Proof that there’s more to Australian cinema than Crocodile Dundee, Wolf Creek introduces a character who’s far nastier than but just as memorable as Paul Hogan’s knife-wielding, buffalo-hypnotising, globe-trotting bushman.
John Jarratt plays an Aussie redneck who offers to help a trio of teens when car trouble strands them in the national park that gives the film its name. If that sounds like a predictable, clichéd horror fare, it would be if Mick Taylor weren’t so terrifyingly deranged, or if it hadn’t been shot with such rare beauty for a film that descends into such horrific depravity. Not one for the faint hearted.
Denzel Washington earned a well-deserved Best Actor Academy Award for his searing, unforgettable performance as wayward narcotics cop Alonzo Harris in this tense thriller, in which (the also Oscar-nominated) Ethan Hawke’s rookie detective Jake Hoyt must endure a fraught 24 hours under the grizzled veteran’s tutelage.
Harris’ law enforcement methods, naturally, can’t be found in any dusty old rulebook, and Hoyt quickly finds himself dragged not only into LA’s terrifying criminal underworld but a wide-ranging conspiracy among the police charged with keeping the city safe.
A “first contact” movie in which the extraterrestrials don’t shoot first and ask questions later, Arrival is cut from the same high quality cloth as Interstellar or Contact. This is lofty, thoughtful, character-driven sci-fi packed with big ideas, “aha!” moment twists and soaring emotional payoffs. War of the Worlds this ain’t, and it’s all the better for it.
Amy Adams is typically superb as a linguistics expert brought in by a frantic US government when alien craft touch down on Earth. Can she decode the ET’s image-based language, work out what they’re looking for and avert an apocalyptic mankind-versus-aliens war? You might guess the answers, but you’ll probably be sideswiped by the ending anyway.
The Sinner (S2)
The first season of The Sinner wrapped up its twisty, turny tale of murder, mayhem and trauma in a beautifully neat bow, which made the announcement of this followup season somewhat puzzling. But fear not: it transpires that this is a completely separate story in which Bill Pullman’s unconventional cop from the initial season is called back to his small hometown to help local police with a bizarre new case: a double murder in which a married couple were apparently poisoned by their young son.
If you enjoyed the first round of episodes, this new batch – which comes with the same brand of gradually unfolding mystery, tension and traumatic pasts – should provide you with plenty of thrills.
If Braveheart’s myriad inaccuracies left the historian in you fuming even as it satisfied your inner sweeping epic movie fan, Netflix’s take on the Scottish rebellion that followed William Wallace’s death might be more your speed.
Star Trek’s Chris Pine plays Robert the Bruce as a dutiful man, somewhat reluctantly forced into breaking his vows and taking up arms against Stephen Dillane’s arrogant English monarch Edward Longshanks. There’s less blood and thunder in his quietly driven Robert than you might expect from such a towering, mythic national hero, but Outlaw King isn’t short on gory battle scenes, dismemberment and other staples of medieval war movies.
As with many Netflix-made movies, the film never quite lives up to its initial promise, but as two hours of mud, blood and beards go, it’s well-crafted, entertaining – and yes, far more convincing than Braveheart.
The Final Table (S1)
Netflix takes on Masterchef with this nine-part culinary competition, a globe-trotting journey around different cuisines. Each episode, the two-handed teams of top chefs are tasked with offering their take on the national dish of a particular country, with one team eliminated at the end of proceedings.
Even if the series’ glitzy production style goes a little too heavy on the fromage at times, watching this collection of pioneering cooks doing their thing under pressure is something that every gastronomy fan will savour.
Narcos: Mexico (S1)
After three seasons concerned with the Colombian cocaine cartels, Netflix’s lavish drama series hits the reset button and heads a couple of thousand miles northwest, relocating to Mexico with a brand new cast and a brand new story.
Covering the origins and creation of today’s powerful Mexican cartels – responsible for half a million deaths and counting – the series stars John Peña as a fledgling DEA agent eager to make his mark in the War on Drugs and Diego Luna as an equally ambitious ex-cop turned drug baron.
The all-new setting gives Narcos a much-needed refresh, and even those who’ve never watched the show before can dive straight in.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Originally intended to be a series of six individual episodes, the Coen brothers instead combined this collection of tales from the Wild West into a single anthology, so over two hours we meet characters including the singing cowboy of the title, a bank robber who meets his match, and a very determined prospector played by Tom Waits.
It certainly comes with its fair share of quirky Coen brothers charm, but the format means The Ballad of Buster Scruggs can never fully get going, and just as it looks like it might, with the tale of a blossoming romance on a wagon train journey to Oregon, it feels like it’s over too soon. And while its depiction of America’s indigenous people might be authentic to the genre, it feels very archaic for the eve of 2019.
Proof that not all alien invasions have to end in the enslavement of the human race or the destruction of the earth, Arrival is the story of a linguist and physicist who are employed by the US Army to board the gigantic, almond-shaped spacecraft that has landed in a field in Montana and make contact with the extraterrestrials inside.
While that’s only marginally less ridiculous than sending a bunch of oil rig workers to land on an asteroid and stop it colliding with Earth a la Armageddon, Arrival’s thoughtful take on communication and cooperation is wonderfully crafted and brilliantly acted, especially by the always-excellent Amy Adams. Sci-fi films don’t come much better than this.
Children of Men
A kind of dystopian riff on the nativity story, Children of Men takes place in 2027, when all women on Earth have become infertile and a new baby hasn’t been born in nearly 20 years.
But when former activist Theo (Clive Owen) is asked to help keep a pregnant woman out of the hands of the nefarious authorities, he embarks on a thrilling journey that the film’s shaky handheld camera work puts you right in the middle of.
One particular single-shot scene is almost worth watching for alone, but this intense, strangely prescient but ultimately quite hopeful film offers many compelling reasons to watch, even if you’ve seen it before.