You know how new DVDs and Blu-rays always come out on a Monday? Top streaming service Netflix laughs in the face of such regimented scheduling. Instead, it 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, adding extra stress to your evenings in front of the TV. But fear not, because help is at hand. In this article, we highlight all of the best new stuff on Netflix. And yes, that means we’ve left out all the rubbish – 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. Bon appetit.
Note: the newest content is at the top of the list, with shows and movies getting progressively less new as you scroll down
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (S1)
Netflix has pulled off a massive casting coup for this Scott Pilgrim anime adaptation, convincing almost every single actor from Edgar Wright’s 2010 live-action movie to reprise their role – albeit in animated form. It’s also written by the graphic novels’ creator Bryan Lee O’Malley, giving him the chance to take his own fictional universe off the page and expand it onto the small screen.
The Crown (S6)
The sixth and final serving of Netflix’s lavish story of the Windsors, this season of The Crown takes us from the death of Diana, Princess of Wales up to the present day – and while we suspect anyone who has stuck with it until this point will want to see it through, there’s unfortunately no denying that the series’ quality has plummeted faster than Prince Andrew’s post-Maitlis interview reputation.
Maybe it’s because the scenes now being dramatised are so familiar and relatively recent, but something has shifted; a show that started out as a compelling prestige drama now feels parodic and trashy, and once Diana’s ghost makes an appearance you may well feel like checking out of things altogether.
Over 20 years on from the TV show’s debut, the Jackass crew reunite for a new feature-length barrage of bone-shaking stunts and wince-inducing pranks. The formula may not have changed (and yes, if you’re wondering – it’s still not big, it’s still not clever but it’s still very, very funny) but the faces are crinklier, the hairlines higher and the teeth fewer.
There’s something oddly heart-warming in watching these middle-aged men getting back together to act the fool, as well as symbolically pass the torch on to a new, younger generation of masochistic lunatics.
Escaping Twin Flames (S1)
When does self-help and life-coaching turn into money-draining cult activity? Very quickly, in the case of Twin Flames Universe, the subject of this three-part documentary series about people who join an online programme in search of finding their one true love (or “Twin Flame”) and end up in the thrall of the married couple in charge.
As a breakdown of how multi-level marketing cults work, this series is effective – even if as a viewer it’s hard to see how anyone could fall for the charmless cult leaders and their vacuous spirituality word salad. It’ll likely leave you angry as well, because despite all the evidence accrued by the filmmakers (with the help of several ex-members who succeeded in breaking the cycle and escaping the cult) Twin Flames Universe is still wildly popular online, and its founders are still raking in millions from their willing followers.
Is this movie a chin-scratcher about an emotionally repressed loner in an impersonal world or a glossy globe-trotting action thriller? Director David Fincher clearly wants to have it both ways in this fantastic-looking made-for-Netflix movie, which walks a wavy line between John Wick and I, Daniel Blake – and mostly stays on its feet.
Having sweet-talked Michael Fassbender out of semi-retirement as a racing driver (Google it), Fincher casts him as a meticulous hitman who, following an on-the-job mishap, is forced to stray from the rigid rules that have governed his career thus far. Spiralling out of his comfort zone, he must embark on one final mission to put his former life comfortably in the rear-view mirror.
Blue Eye Samurai (S1)
This gorgeous and gory animated series takes place in 17th-century Japan, when the borders were closed, foreigners were expelled and any hint of racial difference was regarded with fear and revulsion. We follow a young orphan seeking to track down and kill all four of the white men left in the entire country. Why? Because one of them must be the father from whom she inherited the blue eyes that mark her out as a hated outcast in her own homeland.
With stunning visuals, a compelling cast of characters (not to mention voice actors) and some of the bloodiest fight scenes on Netflix, Blue Eye Samurai is a scintillating show that seemingly came out of nowhere.
Bong Joon-ho’s black comedy won both the Cannes Palm d’Or and Oscar for Best Picture, being the first (and to date only) non-English language movie to win the latter. It’s something of an outlier for the Oscars, with the Academy usually favouring epic, feel-good or ostensibly “worthy” films, but watching it it’s easy to see why it’s been so lauded: it’s masterfully crafted, funny, shocking, insightful and extremely relevant to the current state of the world, all while ripping along at a dizzying pace.
The film revolves around two Korean families: the poverty-stricken working-class Kims and the wealthy middle-class Parks. The Kims concoct a devious scheme to install themselves as well-paid household employees of the trusting Parks, but their triumph is short-lived. A wonderfully entertaining treatise on class, inequality and how modern capitalism brings out the bloodsucker in everyone, no matter how rich or poor.
All the Light We Cannot See (S1)
Antony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about war, love, sacrifice and the magic of radio gets the Netflix treatment in a four-part adaptation. Mark Ruffalo, Louis Hoffman and Hugh Laurie star alongside Aria Mia Loberti, a partially sighted actress in her first ever role as blind French resistance agent Marie-Laure.
While it’s hard to fault the technical aspects of this miniseries – it’s consistently great to look at – almost all of the book’s charm and substance has evaporated in translation, leaving only a sentimental and schmaltzy residue. Doerr’s lyrical prose, perhaps the main thrust of the book’s appeal, has been replaced by plodding plotting and leaden dialogue. A missed opportunity, then – but at least it’s reminded us of how wonderful the book was.
Don’t let this Korean horror movie’s 2.5-hour runtime deter you. It’s an atmospheric, disturbing and sometimes incongruously amusing masterpiece of disquiet and tension that’ll linger with you long after the credits roll.
When a series of gruesome deaths occur in a quiet mountain community, suspicion and superstition start to run rampant. The spotlight initially falls on an enigmatic outsider who lives out in the woods, but the investigation into the murders is far from straightforward, leaving both the protagonists and the audience in a near-permanent state of discomfort. As a horror film The Wailing really has it all, taking the viewer to some extremely uncomfortable places – all while keeping you guessing until the end. Masterful.
Talk to Me
This Aussie chiller plays out like a Gen Z take on The Exorcist, with teenagers filming TikToks of themselves becoming temporary vessels for the restless souls of the departed: just grab this creepy embalmed hand, utter the invitation “I let you in” and you’ll become a viral hit in no time.
It’s all fun and games until one spirit doesn’t want to give up its new home, making things go predictably sideways and scary. The result is an enjoyable horror romp with one or two genuinely disturbing sequences.
Setting the mould for all other films with a silent and almost indestructible masked killer, Halloween’s everyday suburban setting, chilly synth soundtrack (written and performed by director John Carpenter himself) and near-constant sense of tension ensure it remains a great watch 45 years after its release.
Jamie Lee Curtis delivers an unforgettable debut performance as babysitter-turned-serial-runner-away, and Donald Pleasance provides gravitas as obsessive shrink Dr Loomis. And the apparently motiveless murderer Michael Myers, a looming ‘shape’ clad in an expressionless rubber mask and boiler suit, makes for a truly iconic manifestation of pure evil.
A brutal small-town murder sparks an investigation where nothing is what it seems, while its grizzled lead detective stumbles into dangerous new territory. Benicio Del Toro stars in and co-writes a brooding, David Fincheresque neo-noir with supporting turns from Justin Timberlake, Alicia Silverstone and Michael Pitt. While Reptile doesn’t quite stick its landing after a compelling build-up, it’s a frosty and involving crime thriller with a great lead performance.
Evil Dead Rise
A welcome antidote to all those lofty, erudite and smart Alec ‘elevated’ horror movies that are currently in vogue, Evil Dead Rise is a fitting and fun return to the franchise that expertly walks the line between silly and scary.
Rather than the usual cabin in the woods, our setting this time around is an ageing Los Angeles apartment block cut off from the outside world by an earthquake – a perfect time and place for malicious and murderous demonic entities to emerge from Hell and torment the remaining residents.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
In 2021 Netflix forked out over US$600m for the rights to adapt Roald Dahl’s beloved written works for the screen, and here’s the first film resulting from that deal: a 40-minute short directed by none other than the Warden of Whimsy, Wes Anderson.
Anderson has solid form when it comes to Dahl, having directed 2009’s excellent Fantastic Mr. Fox, and has assembled a star-studded cast for this adaptation of the author’s 1970s short story. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the eponymous Sugar, and is joined by Dev Patel, Richard Ayoade, Ralph Fiennes and Sir Ben Kingsley.
Can we handle this much quirkiness? Sure we can. And the good news for fans of Dahl and Anderson is that more short films based on the partnership are arriving (or have arrived already, depending on when you’re reading this).
With the US government’s recent admission of having huge reams of records (including videos) of hundreds of encounters with what it calls UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena), and Congress hearing testimony about ‘non-human biotics’ and strange craft in government possession, this documentary series about UFO sightings feels timely. Like many Netflix-produced factual series, it’s slickly made and full of interesting interviews with experts and witnesses alike – even if it ends without revealing anything truly original.
Judas and the Black Messiah
Daniel Kaluuya bagged an Oscar for his towering portrayal of charismatic young Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton, the would-be ‘black messiah’ whose Chicago-based chapter of the socialist, anti-racist organisation was infiltrated by the FBI in the late 1960s.
Concerned that Hampton may unite disparate working-class communities and effect a revolution, the bureau recruits and coerces petty thief William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield, also Oscar-nominated) into joining the Panthers as a mole and keep a particularly close eye on Hampton. It’s a gripping and galling story, full of high drama, but it’s the two lead performances that demand the most attention.
Sex Education (S4)
In lesser hands, Sex Education could have turned out as a cringey sitcom with a brand of humour that’d make American Pie look like The Godfather. Instead, this magnificent show has cemented itself as one of Netflix’s most adored and popular original series. And little wonder, being that it’s a genuinely warm-hearted and involving teen dramedy with some of the most well-drawn characters on telly. It’s back for another season – the last, sadly – in which all of our favourites’ tales of love, lust and loss will come to a close. We’ll miss it.
Top Boy (S3)
Along with Sex Education, here’s another much-loved British series taking its final Netflix bow. Top Boy’s fifth season (or third if you’re Netflix and seemingly can’t acknowledge that Channel 4 made two great seasons before you took over the show) wraps up this gritty and long-running London crime saga, with plenty of blood being shed as tensions between childhood friends Dushayne and Sully seem certain to spiral out of control.
If we’re being honest, this is the weakest of the three Netflix-made seasons, but even if it does seem to sell certain characters a bit short, we can’t deny that it finishes everything off in a way that befits the brutal, near-nihilistic tone of the show.
Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise plays an arrogant, cowardly officer forced to fight on the front lines against an alien invasion in this ingenious and underrated sci-fi action movie. With no combat experience, he’s quickly killed – only to find himself waking up again and repeating the experience, only slightly differently. Yep, he’s only gone and got himself trapped in a time loop, which always ends with his death. How the heck is he going to get out of it? By saving the world, perhaps?
With fine performances from Cruise and Emily Blunt, killer visual effects and a clever hook, it’s strange that Edge of Tomorrow didn’t prove a bigger hit. The bland title didn’t do it many favours (it’s often known as Live Die Repeat, which would’ve been a much bolder name to market it under), but despite its lacklustre box office performance it’s proved something of a slow-burn hit – so much so that a sequel is reportedly in development.
Last Night in Soho
Edgar Wright’s stylish and creepy thriller follows a shy and introverted fashion student (Thomasin McKenzie) as she moves from the sticks to London’s swinging Soho – a place she has dreamt of for years, having been inspired by its 1960s heyday. And dream she does, discovering an uncanny aptitude for nocturnal time travel: she finds herself experiencing the glitz and glamour in vivid reality, albeit as a powerless witness rather than a participant. At first she’s entranced and overjoyed, but soon she discerns a darkness beyond the bright lights – one that threatens to bleed into her present day life. Matt Smith and Anya Taylor-Joy also star, alongside real-life 1960s icons Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp.
Much of Christopher Nolan’s output could be (uncharitably) described as overblown, po-faced and pseudo-intellectual and watching Tenet, his lavish big budget not-time travel movie it’s easy to see why. The tenor is Very Serious – but break it down to its core and this is a silly but enjoyable sci-fi film with some cracking set-pieces, a mind-bending plot and a solid cast headed up by John David Washington and Robert Pattinson. With scenes in which time flows both forwards and backwards at the same time, there’s some visually impressive stuff here – even if you might be wondering what it all means by the end of it.
Tenet is undoubtedly a film built for the big screen, but watching at home has one advantage over the cinema: you might actually be able to understand the words that are coming out of the characters’ mouths. The muffled dialogue issue left many cinemagoers miffed and confused about key plot points, but at home there’s the freedom to rewind (no pun intended) at your leisure.
They Cloned Tyrone
Dripping with retro chic and in-your-face attitude, this comedy/mystery/sci-fi thriller stars John Boyega, Teyonah Parris and Jamie Foxx as a trio of unlikely detectives investigating a dastardly conspiracy that goes (as these things so often do) right to the very top. Think Three Days of the Condor meets Shaft meets The Truman Show and you’ll get somewhere close, with the three hustlers reluctantly attempting to uncover a shocking truth that’s been in front of their eyes the whole time – all shot in a gloriously grainy 1970s Blaxploitation style.
How to Blow Up a Pipeline
This timely indie drama follows a disparate band of young eco-activists who, having decided that protesting fossil fuel use isn’t going to cut it, resolve to sabotage the US oil supply by destroying a Texas pipeline. Part tension-filled heist movie, part firebrand wake-up call, How to Blow Up a Pipeline is a lo-fi gem with an infectious revolutionary energy.
The Deepest Breath
This feature-length documentary explores the sport of freediving, in which swimmers descend to incredible depths without equipment – merely the air in their lungs. It’s an extreme sport by any definition, potentially deadly but also meditative, majestic and transcendent, and it attracts a certain type of personality. Two such people – champion freediver Alessia Zecchini and expert safety diver Stephen Keenan – form the focus of the film, and their shared story is inspiring, emotional and ultimately heartbreaking. Riveting stuff.
Dragged Across Concrete
S. Craig Zahler’s films (which also include Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99) aren’t for the faint of heart. But if you like your cinema gutsy and brainy (and with plenty of both splattered around the place), these artful B movies are probably right up your alley.
2018’s Dragged Across Concrete stars Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn as disgruntled cops seeking an off-the-books payday, and while perhaps a little less gore-drenched than Zahler’s previous films it boasts the same naturalistic neo-noir style. Think long takes, restrained acting and hard-boiled dialogue punctuated by outbursts of extreme violence. It doesn’t always make for a pretty watch, but as dark, gritty thrillers go, you won’t find many better.
Proof positive that not all rock documentaries need to be full of doom, gloom and trashed hotel rooms, Wham! is a wonderfully warm and breezy flight through the career of the eponymous pop group.
Tracing, as it does, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s journey from school friends to international household names in 90 minutes, there’s plenty here that falls by the wayside, and while some might dismiss the film as lightweight and unrevelatory, it’s not without enough pathos and drama to keep it involving and affecting.
Mackenzie Crook writes, directs and stars in this wonderful sitcom about a pair of Essex metal detector enthusiasts. On paper it looks like the recipe for a broadly comic, canned laughter-laden Last of the Summer Wine-style ‘aren’t these country types weird?’ series, but there’s a lot more to Detectorists.
It’s funny, certainly, with sharp writing and fine performances from Crook and co-star Toby Jones, but there’s also something magical in its depiction of the English landscape that these men and women trudge over in search of Roman gold or Saxon silver day after day – almost always coming away empty-handed aside from a handful of ring pulls. Warm and affectionate but never sentimental, and a beautiful homage to hobbies, it’s a series that’s both understated and significant.
Directed by Brass Eye creator Chris Morris, who co-wrote it with Peep Show’s Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, this 2010 jihadi-themed satire is still disturbingly relevant (not to mention funny) today. Like the inept politicians in Bain and Armstrong’s In the Loop, the titular lions are bigoted fools who stubbornly cling to an extreme belief (that suicide bombing ‘moderates’ will further their cause) despite mounting evidence of their agenda’s contradictions.
Four Lions is well worthy of its frequent billing as a terrorism equivalent of This Is Spinal Tap, but it’s not just about the gags. Morris spent years researching British Islamists, and his depiction of them as confused, unintelligent, gullible losers is likely far more accurate than the British media’s ‘evil masterminds’ narrative.
Mads Mikkelsen is one of the most interesting and watchable actors of his generation – arguably never more so than when he’s clad in the perfectly cut suits of this TV incarnation of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
As per Thomas Harris’ original novel, Lecter is a brilliant psychiatrist brought in to assist FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), but it’s not long before the malevolent doctor is manipulating the prodigious but fragile Graham. This is high-brow stuff for a network TV show: visually rich, full of Lynchian characters and packed with dinner scenes that will make your stomach rumble. Which is quite unsettling once you think about some of the main ingredients…
There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson’s great American epic is stark and relentless; the first we see of protagonist Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a wordless 20-minute sequence as he scrabbles in the dust in search of silver; instead, he strikes oil. Plainview progresses to drilling and, consumed by a relentless pursuit for black gold, dispenses homespun charm to rural folk as he nabs their oil rights; his adopted son the perfect prop as he seeks to depict himself as a God-fearing family man.
The only person who sees through him is young evangelist preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) – because he recognises a kindred spirit of sorts. Just as corrupt as Plainview, he identifies him as a grave threat to his church’s supremacy. The stage is set for a grand clash between religion and capitalism, played out in operatic fashion against the towering derricks.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Nicolas Cage plays himself (or an alternative-reality version of himself, at least) in an action-comedy that looks over the actor’s long career and popular persona with a postmodern eye.
Failing to land the roles he feels he deserves while his relationship with his daughter deteriorates, Cage (the character) resolves to quit acting for good after taking one final paycheque: the guest of honour at a wealthy fan’s birthday party (Pedro Pascal, clearly having a great time, plays the fan).
Accompanied by the ghost of his digitally de-aged younger self (we told you it was postmodern), he heads to the Med for one last big payday, dejected and resigned to a life out of the spotlight – only to find himself in the middle of a criminal plot. Cue bullets, fist fights and the sort of deranged one-liners we’ve learned to expect from the great man.
The ‘ageing elite assassin reluctantly forced to go back to his/her killing ways’ trope might be as threadbare as those Primark socks you got at Christmas, but if anyone can give it a good darning it’s Jenny from the Block. This Netflix-financed action flick sees former merc sniper J-Lo going back to her sharpshooting ways to save the daughter she barely knows from a man (Joseph Fiennes) she knows all too well.
The Mother won’t be winning any Oscars come early 2024, but its female-centric plot offers a refreshing take on a stale genre, and the action sequences are as slick and explosive as any testosterone-fuelled alternative.
Another heavily psychological space exploration drama to add to a list that includes the likes of Interstellar and 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt as Roy McBride, an astronaut sent to the farthest reaches of our solar system in an attempt to track down a missing rogue explorer threatening Earth’s safety. The twist? This rogue (played by Tommy Lee Jones) happens to be McBride’s father, a heroic space pioneer who rocketed off into the void decades before as part of another mission, only to go radio silent shortly thereafter.
While the movie meanders somewhat, taking some ill-advised detours into action-thriller territory at a couple of points, it’s yet another beautifully shot extra-terrestrial journey that reminds us that even the nearest parts of space to us are unfathomably alien, cold, silent and deadly.
Michael Mann’s 1995 thriller is probably best known for putting screen titans Robert De Niro and Al Pacino together for the first time (yes, we know they’re both in The Godfather Part II, but they don’t share any screen time there). That ground-breaking feat of casting aside, Heat is also a stylish, smart and influential movie that everybody should watch at least once, whether they’re a fan of the genre or not.
De Niro plays it cool as a dispassionate but driven master thief keen to set up one final heist before hanging up his hat and disappearing into the sunset for good; Pacino, on the other hand, is in full scenery-munching overdrive as the veteran detective trying to stop him. It’s may be a simple setup, but the two leads’ performances, the grudging respect between their characters, the various engaging subplots and the film’s exceptionally directed action sequences add depth aplenty.
The Diplomat (S1)
Anyone missing political dramas in the vein of The West Wing would do well to check out this Netflix drama, which balances the personal and political similarly well. Keri Russell plays a hardworking career diplomat about to become ambassador to Afghanistan, only for a potential flashpoint in the Persian Gulf to see her despatched instead to London. There she must deftly deal with a restive PM (Rory Kinnear) seemingly intent on war – all while negotiating a similarly tricky situation in her own marriage to a beloved political maverick (Rufus Sewell) who’s not accustomed to playing second fiddle.
It’s fast-moving, well-written stuff with lashings of humour, intrigue and mystery. Aaron Sorkin would be proud, and Netflix seems to like it too: it’s already been renewed for a second season.
Chimp Empire (S1)
This gripping documentary series from Oscar-winning My Octopus Teacher co-director James Reed shows us the naked truth about chimpanzees. Our closest cousins from the animal kingdom aren’t the cute and cuddly apes they’re often portrayed as, but just as ruthless, scheming and violent as human beings.
Reed documents the conflict between two rival groups of Ugandan chimps, filming the four episodes over the course of more than a year. The camerawork is magnificent, but it never gets in the way of the real draw: the emotional heft and gripping narrative of a full-blown, intra-familial primate power struggle. It’s Game of Thrones by way of The Jungle Book, and a fascinating watch.
A steamy, no-strings hook-up while on a business trip might be a fantasy for anyone that’s spent endless days ensconced in airport lounges. But finding out said hook-up is now pregnant with your sprog? Not so much. That’s the starting point for Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan’s brilliant four-season sitcom, which is equal parts hysterical and cringeworthy while managing to pull on your heartstrings too.
Moving to London might be a culture shock for Boston native Rob, but it’s hardly a picnic for Irish teacher Sharon, who’s been contending with prodding parents, unsubtle school kids and a cool clique of antenatal mummies. Don’t miss the late Carrie Fisher as the potty-mouthed mother-in-law from hell.
The creators of John Wick haven’t strayed out of their comfort zone with this fast-moving thriller starring Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk – perhaps not the first name you’d think of as an action star. Odenkirk’s character is the eponymous ‘nobody’: a doleful suburban dad who trudges to a thankless, boring office job every day after an excruciating breakfast with his disengaged family.
But he wasn’t always this way, and a violent encounter on a bus brings his former life as an underworld enforcer rushing back into focus – complete with a lot of guns, snapping bones and broken noses. It’s loads of fun, and let’s face it: who needs originality when well-made formulaic stuff is just so damn brilliant?
Luther: The Fallen Sun
Forget The Wire’s Stringer Bell. If there’s a role that’s truly defined Idris Elba’s career, it’s DCI John Luther, the angst-ridden, desk-flipping London detective who upsets his superiors almost as much as he does London’s nastiest baddies.
After a string of BBC series and specials, Luther is back for this Netflix-produced feature-length instalment, butting up against Andy Serkis’s almost comically malevolent tech expert. (Luther’s villains have never been subtle, but Serkis gleefully cranks things up to 11 on the creepiness scale.) Can Luther stop the killer before his latest grand plan paralyses London? He’ll have to get out of prison first.