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
Of the many serial killer movies that were released in the 90s and noughties, Seven stands apart. First, there’s the clever, taut and tight plot, with a murderer punishing what he sees as society’s “sins” in an unnamed, rain-soaked American city. Second, there are the fine performances from Morgan Freeman (no surprises there) and hitherto pretty boy Brad Pitt, flexing his “I’m a serious actor” muscles for perhaps the first time.
Then there’s the aesthetic: director David Fincher’s trademark desaturated colours and clever camerawork give the movie an unforgettable look that contributes to the overall feeling of bleakness. And the final, gut-wrenching twist? It’s simply to die for.
Better Call Saul (S4)
When Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan first announced this spin-off drama centred on supporting comic relief character Saul Goodman, a lot of people figured it wouldn’t really work – and yet here we are with Better Call Saul three seasons down, a fourth just arrived (with new episodes appearing weekly) and a fifth already commissioned.
And it’s great, great stuff too, delving into a character that felt fairly one-dimensional in Breaking Bad and fleshing him out brilliantly (a lot of credit goes to comedian Bob Odenkirk for delivering a masterful dramatic performance), plus showing what happened in the run-up to the events concerning Walter White, Jesse Pinkman et al.
Another month, another glossy Netflix original sci-fi movie arrives in the form of Extinction. This slick thriller stars Michael Peña as a dad beset by the usual problems – sulky kids, a challenging job, a wife he doesn’t see enough – as well as one that’s slightly less common: vivid nightmares concerning a genocidal alien invasion. Or are they something else? Not dreams, but premonitions…
While we wouldn’t go so far as to call Extinction superb – it’s no Annihilation in terms of concept or execution – it’s one of Netflix’s most enjoyable sci-fi efforts to date, with a story that unfolds in a genuinely interesting way.
It may be set in Earth’s orbit, but Alfonso Cuarón’s thriller is remarkably grounded. No flying saucers or little green men to be found here – just a worryingly feasible accident that leaves astronaut Ryan Stone stranded miles above the Earth. It’s heavy on spectacle, but for most of the movie the only person on screen is Sandra Bullock, giving a superb performance as Dr Stone.
To achieve the film’s extraordinary long takes in apparent zero gravity, Cuarón used innovative visual effects trickery – the actors stood inside a box delivering their lines, while lights moved around them to simulate the lighting sources shifting as their characters moved. Then their faces were composited into CGI spacesuits for the final shot; in many sequences, the only real thing in the frame is Sandra Bullock’s face. The best thing about all this visual trickery? You don’t notice it, inste sucked right into the story – and boy is it a gripping one.
We’re The Millers
If you're sweating about how you’e going to smuggle an RV full of weed over the US border before Trump’s able to build his wall, this American comedy has a few pointers for you.
Jason Sudeikis’ character – a small-time marijuana dealer – assembles a fake family to join him on his drug smuggling trip as a way of fooling border control. But with his wife being a penniless stripper, the daughter a homeless teenager and the son a painfully awkward adolescent, this dysfunctional crew is about as good as Kanye West at keeping a low profile.
The Millers are capable of inducing a few laughs if cringe-worthy comedy is your thing, though. And they’ll make you feel much better about your own family.
Matt Groening’s Netflix animated series has arrived and… it’s not bad! While those hoping for a return to the glory days of early series of The Simpsons or Futurama might find this medieval fantasy series a tad underwhelming – it certainly plays it safe rather than attempts anything radical or groundbreaking – it’s still an enjoyable, witty, sight gag-filled romp through the genre, mocking its tropes while delivering a decent story about a misfit princess and her equally misfit demon and elf companions.
Unlike Groening’s previous shows, Disenchantment follows a multi-episode arc, with 10 episodes now available to stream as “part one” of the first season; the second part will be released at a later date.
Out of Thin Air
This feature length BBC documentary provides a fascinating look into a pair of deaths in 1970s Iceland, or more precisely into the way that the authorities – who had never faced the sort of media pressure the crimes provoked – secured convictions against the alleged murderers.
Fans of true crime will lap up this true tale of dodgy confessions, mysterious disappearances and the portrait of a tiny country (in 1974 the population was just 215,000) losing its innocence – plus it even has a brief cameo from Icelandic legend Björk as a little girl.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Another of this month’s big Netflix original movies, this brisk and breezy teen rom-com makes for a welcome antidote from the usual gross-out fare or gloomy sci-fi epics.
Based on the popular young adult novel by Jenny Han, it tells the story of a sensible, reserved high school girl whose life is turned upside down when the secret love letters she’s written to her crushes – never intended to be sent – end up in said crushes’ hands. Aside from the crippling embarrassment, the main issue is that one of the boys is her sister’s ex, sparking off a series of events that include subterfuge, jealousy, heartbreak, self-discovery and, yes, true love. Ahhhh.
More Archer! Yes, the world’s smoothest, sarkiest and most self-obsessed spy has returned to Netflix for the animated show’s ninth and penultimate series – a spin-off set in an alternative world from the original series but retaining the same voice cast (the reason, apparently, is that it’s actually taking place in the present day Archer’s head while he’s in a coma – but you don’t need to worry about that).
This eight-episode series, dubbed “Danger Island”, opens in 1938 on the mysterious Pacific island of Mitimotu, a jungle packed with hungry cannibals, deadly beasts and decadent colonial types. In other words, the perfect location for an Archer adventure.
The second of the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright “Cornetto Trilogy”, Hot Fuzz takes on the action blockbuster genre in the same way as Shaun of the Dead took on zombie movies – by making them into a comedy movie packed to the gills with the genre’s tropes and traits. Not only is Hot Fuzz – in which Pegg’s superhero police officer is shipped off to a sleepy rural village for making the rest of the Met look bad in comparison – hilarious, it’s also a brilliantly edited and warm homage to the likes of Point Break, Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys, albeit a very English one.