Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (S1)
With a shockingly gory death in its first ten minutes, any notion of Netflix’s reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch being Saturday morning kids’ fare is swiftly dispelled. No pun intended. This is a whole lot darker and grittier, as modern reimagingings of classic shows tend to be – and all the better for it.
Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka impresses as the 17 year-old half-human, half-witch who must balance her supernatural destiny – her impending “dark baptism”, to be precise, where she becomes a fully-fledged daughter of Satan – with all the normal problems and pressures of growing up. There are some fairly clear Harry Potter parallels here, and fans of the boy wizard will eat this 10-part first season up.
Hell’s Kitchen’s hell-raising angel of justice is back for a third season of being a lawyer by day, punching baddies in the face by night. Daredevil was Netflix’s original Marvel collaboration drama series, and several years on it’s still arguably the one with the biggest mass appeal thanks to its relatable but conflicted hero.
With Matt Murdock’s old adversary Wilson Fisk out of prison and up to his old tricks, the blind vigilante already has a lot on his plate – so what better time for the series to introduce Bullseye, another of the comic book Daredevil’s greatest enemies?
House of Cards (S6)
With Kevin Spacey departed in disgrace and the real-life White House currently exhibiting a chaotic stranger-than-fiction quality, Netflix’s original Original might be lacking some of its previous allure and satirical bite, but this sixth and final season – in which Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood steps out of her husband’s shadow to take centre stage – wraps things up in typically tense, taut and thrilling style.
Let’s face it: if you’ve not already watched the previous five seasons, now’s probably not the best time to get into House of Cards. But those who’ve spent the past few years watching the Machiavellian rise of the Underwoods will enjoy seeing all the loose ends tied off and the saga brought to a satisfying close.
ReMastered: Who Shot the Sheriff?
On a December night in 1976, a gang of gunmen entered Bob Marley’s Jamaica home, wounding the reggae star, his wife Rita and his manager Don Taylor. Marley quickly recovered – in fact, he headlined a major concert a couple of days later – but the identity and motives of the would-be assassins has never been confirmed.
There are many theories, some of which are explored in this riveting hour-long Netflix Original documentary. It brings together many of Marley’s friends and associates to talk about the attack, as well as the political climate in Jamaica that seems the likely cause of it. The Cold War, the CIA, Cuba, gang violence, drug traffickers, even horse-racing – all of it weaves together into a fascinating snapshot of a fraught time in the island’s history.
The Haunting of Hill House (S1)
Horror movie maestro Mike Flanagan makes the transition to television with this glossy 10-part ghost story about a strange house and the effect it has on a seemingly normal family who moves in.
Flitting between the past and present, it’s as much a family melodrama as it is a horror story, delving into the troubled adult lives of five siblings and the disturbing childhood events that shaped them. Horror heads needn’t worry, though: there’s plenty of supernatural creepiness on show – we just get a heap of context to go with the jump scares.
Making a Murderer (S2)
The original 2015 documentary series put Netflix on the true crime map with its exploration of what appeared to be a travesty of justice – an innocent man framed for an horrific murder by a corrupt sheriff’s department – but failed to deliver the desired Hollywood ending: Steven Avery was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
Part 2 of the series, made after the success of the first, explores recent attempts by Avery’s lawyers, in particular the high-flying post-conviction specialist Kathleen Zellner, to get a federal court to reexamine the case. At times a bit ponderous (it’s ten episodes long – and the filmmakers could probably tell the full story in half as many), it’s still a well-made series about a truly intriguing case; anyone who became enraptured with the first series should find it similarly riveting.
Children of Men
Upon its release in 2006, Children of Men’s near-future British setting seemed like a particularly pessimistic take on the direction in which the world was heading. A decade and a bit later, post-Brexit, Trump et al, it seems eerily prescient in its deft presentation of a green and pleasant land turned grey and grim, robbed of hope by multiple crises: an influx of refugees fleeing wars, climate change and failed foreign countries; nuclear war; terrorism and, worst of all, a lack of children.
The setup here is that humans have become completely infertile, with the last baby being born 18 years before the events of the film. But Children of Men does more than just present a dispiritingly plausible dystopia – it weaves together a thrilling plot, featuring some of the best one-shot takes in modern cinema.