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
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.
Every game show needs a gimmick, and Cheat has a real doozy: if a contestant doesn’t know the correct answer to a question, they can hit a secret button to have it surreptitiously fed to them. The only downside to this tactic? The other players have the opportunity to call them out, and correctly identifying cheats can be the route to a big payday.
Presenter Danny Dyer is in his element here, goading and cajoling the contestants as he stalks the neon-lit stage like a cockney panther. Yes, it’s trashy TV, but it’ll have you playing along at home as you try to read the slippery cheats’ poker faces.
Chris Rock: Selective Outrage
In a history-making world first, this hour-long stand-up special was originally broadcast on Netflix via a worldwide live stream, but it’s now available on-demand to all subscribers. Selective Outrage is Chris Rock’s first televised special since the infamous 2022 Oscars slap at the hands (hand?) of Will Smith, and the subject is addressed in the comic’s typically forthright fashion – alongside other topics like racist yoga pants, social media and ‘wokeness’.
If you’re already rolling your eyes at the thought of yet another unfathomably wealthy middle-aged man moaning about pronouns, trans rights and how “you can’t say anything these days” to a worldwide audience of millions, it’s worth knowing that Rock manages to frame it from a different point of view than we’ve seen from the likes of Ricky Gervais and Dave Chappelle – and brings it home ably enough with a strong final section about that Oscars fiasco.
Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal (S1)
This documentary series about a wealthy, influential South Carolina family and their relationship to five mysterious untimely deaths is scarcely believable; if you were to use the events that transpire here in the plot of a mystery novel, your publisher would likely send it back as being far too clichéd and hackneyed, and its villains far too one-dimensional. Corruption, drugs, deadly accidents, murder and multi-generational secrets and lies.
And yet it’s all true, recounted in great detail over three episodes, and made all the more fascinating for the fact that, in this case, the wheels of justice may actually be turning properly.
A guilt-wracked children’s clothing designer (Eva Green) finds herself suffering from multiple health problems, including memory loss, tremors and difficulting breathing. Her husband (Mark Strong) believes these symptoms to be psychosomatic, but when a Filipina housekeeper (Chai Fonacier) arrives on their doorstep with a host of seemingly effective folk remedies, he puts his reservations aside. This housekeeper isn’t all she first appears, however, and Nocebo quickly builds into a compelling and tightly scripted horror film with enduring themes and a great final twist.
Full Swing (S1)
Produced by Netflix in close collaboration with the PGA Tour, this behind-the-scenes documentary series (already renewed for a second season) offers an unprecedented look at life on the professional tour, focussing on top players including Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson over its eight episodes.
Netflix picked a great time to make this series, what with the PGA Tour engaged in a vicious battle with Saudi-backed rival LIV Golf, but Full Swing’s drama and compelling storytelling means you don’t have to have a stake in that particular struggle – or even a strong interest in golf – to enjoy it.
Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre (S1)
This collection of disturbing, distressing and downright terrifying stories inspired by the works of Junji Ito – Japan’s most celebrated horror comic book artist – should appeal to any fan of manga, anime and spine-chilling stories. Cosmic horror, body horror, sci-fi horror, demonic horror and any other horror you can think of gets ticked off in no fewer than 20 creepy tales, which are spread over 12 episodes.
Following a series of action flicks that were low on budget but big on violence, Steven Seagal got his big Hollywood break as special ops man turned navy cook Casey Ryback in Under Siege. When the warship he works on is hijacked by terrorists, Ryback puts down the wooden spoon and picks up a selection of improvised weaponry to off the bad guys, rescue the girl and save the day.
While Seagal himself – blues musician, Buddhist teacher, erstwhile real-life lawman and close friend to Vladimir Putin – has become something of a sinister joke in recent years, he’s never been better than in this film, a genuinely enjoyable example of 1990s action cinema. Yes, it’s powered along chiefly by testosterone and clichés (and we’re sure Ryback kills the same three stuntmen multiple times), but the action sequences are well-directed and Tommy Lee Jones, in star-making form, makes a superb antagonist for Seagal’s aloof hero.
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker
When you get to the end of this feature-length documentary about the perils of viral fame, it’s hard to feel sorry for anybody involved – certainly not for the titular hitchhiker Kai, but also not for the TV newsmen and executives who earmarked him for a showbiz career based on a five-minute interview and still seem baffled as to why he wasn’t interested in becoming the star of his own trashy reality show.
At least the story itself makes for a fairly compelling watch, as Kai goes from loveable homeless have-a-go hero to chaotic maverick to murderous vigilante in the space of a few months. Did his newfound social media recognition play a role in his downfall or was he destined for ruin from childhood? A timely cautionary tale.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Clocking in at a backside-numbing 161 minutes, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is likely to elicit one of two reactions in a viewer: unadulterated Tarantino worship or terminal boredom. As is frequently the case with QT’s films, a fairer response lies somewhere in the middle.
It’s true that there are looooong scenes of seemingly inconsequential dialogue and that you’ll need a strong constitution to stomach the violence when it comes, when have either of those things put people off his films before? And there’s also that Tarantino magic on show: a certain cinematic chutzpah and self-confident swagger that you rarely find elsewhere. Glossy, glitzy, cool, self-indulgent – it’s an event movie you shouldn’t miss.
The Pale Blue Eye
This historical whodunnit stars Christian Bale as Augustus Landor, a veteran investigator hired to track down a killer at large at West Point’s U.S. military academy; just who is murdering trainee officers, and why is he or she removing their hearts?
Landor’s sidekick in this endeavour? A young and unusual cadet by the name of Edgar Allen Poe (yes, that guy). The Pale Blue Eye is rich in chilly gothic atmosphere and well-served by a fantastic cast that also includes Harry Melling, Lucy Boynton and Toby Jones – and ends with a twist that Poe himself would be proud of.
There have been several abortive attempts to bring Don DeLillo’s cult classic novel about academia, technology, consumerism, chemistry and mortality to the screen; Netflix and Noah Baumbach have finally pulled it off with this black comedy starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig.
Is it entirely successful? Well, your mileage may vary, but this chaotic, relentless film may well capture the 1985 book’s themes as capably as any two-hour movie can. There’s plenty to ponder from a 2023 perspective too, even if the absurdity of everything and the shifting tone makes it hard to give yourself fully over to Baumbach’s vision.
The Recruit (S1)
An enjoyable fast-paced and humour-laced spy series about rookie lawyer Owen Hendricks (Noah Centineo) who, upon starting a new job at the C.I.A., is immediately dragged into a case that involves murder, torture and an apparent agency asset who’s threatening to reveal a whole slew of damaging secrets. The Recruit isn’t going to change the world, despite its international jet-setting espionage story, but it’s a fun ride while it last.
Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery
The Netflix-produced comedy series gets an hour-long Christmas special, and it’s more of the same: brusque homicide detective Terry Seattle (Will Arnett) is saddled with a celebrity trainee (or two in this case: Jason Bateman and Maya Rudolph) who must help him solve a murder. The twist? The whole thing is largely unscripted, with the trainees forced to think (and act) on their feet. Who knew a seasonal slaying could be so much fun?
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Incredibly, Guillermo del Toro hasn’t directed a single animated movie during his illustrious career. That all changes here, with the Mexican master of the macabre tackling something rather less creepy and disturbing than his usual fare: a musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale about a wooden boy – rendered in gorgeous stop-motion animation.
Reportedly a lifelong passion project for del Toro and arriving just in time for Christmas, the film proves an intriguing counterpoint to Disney’s recent (and wholly unnecessary) live-action remake of its own Pinocchio adaptation. It’s much, much better too. Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard are among the voice cast.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
It might be as cheesy as a gallon of fondue and wilfully historically and geographically inaccurate (who knew Robin of Locksley spoke in a Southern California drawl sometimes?) but this 1991 Kevin Costner vehicle is heaps of daft medieval fun. The lion’s share of the credit should go to Alan Rickman for his moustache-twirling, scenery-chomping portrayal of a devil-worshipping Sheriff of Nottingham, but the rollicking action scenes and sweeping English locations (which take in pretty much the entire country by the time the credits roll) do a lot of heavy lifting too.
Stand by Me
Chances are you’ve seen this beloved tale of childhood friendship – based on a rare non-horror story by Stephen King – before, but if not it makes the perfect post-Christmas Dinner watch as you doze in a hazy turkey-induced food coma. Nostalgic, funny and warm, it follows four teenagers who, in the hot summer of 1959, head off into the woods to look for the body of a missing boy. They’re hoping for adventure, fame and a reward, but find out that childhood dreams and the cold reality of the real world are far, far apart.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Netflix serves up yet another screen adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s taboo-shattering erotic classic, this time starring Brit thesps of the moment Emma Corrin and Jack O’Connell as upper-class Constance Chatterley and gamekeeper Oliver Mellors. If the al fresco nudity and rural rumpy pumpy doesn’t do it for you, there’s a fairly interesting treatise on class, exploitation, nature and sexism here too – but there’s not much novelty for anyone who’s read Lawrence’s book or watched one of the previous adaptations.
Deep in the remote mountains of Norway, something vast and ancient stirs: and you can probably guess what it is from the title of this straight-to-streaming Netflix original release. Inspired by Scandinavian folklore (but with a bit of Godzilla thrown in for good measure), this diverting monster movie sees the mega-sized mythical beast cutting a swathe of destruction through the country as it heads straight for Oslo. Meanwhile a plucky group of heroes try to work out how to stop the seemingly unstoppable.
Reservoir Dogs may have put Quentin Tarantino on the map as a director, but it was Pulp Fiction that cemented him as the enfant terrible of 1990s cinema, as well as inspiring an entire generation of imitators (none of which came close, we might add).
What is Pulp Fiction? On the face of it, it’s a trio of interweaving stories set in the Los Angeles criminal underworld, which is in itself a pretty interesting, novel way to structure a movie. But it’s the film’s style, its snappy dialogue, its music, its depictions of violence and drugs, and its dance sequences that truly make it something special.
Tarantino has yet to make a better film than Pulp Fiction. And judging by his recent efforts, enjoyable as they are, he never will. It manages to feel both fresh and classic at the same time, both a tribute to cinema and a mould-breaking, pioneering piece of filmmaking. If we had to pick a movie that best sums up cinema in the 1990s, it’s tough to think of a better bet.
Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s Oscar-winning dramedy takes a look at middle-aged manhood, responsibility and friendship through an unconventional lens: booze. Four friends and colleagues, all teachers at the same school, decide to test an obscure theory: that we’re born with a 0.05% deficiency in our blood alcohol levels.
By keeping themselves permanently lubricated (albeit with strictly no drinking at weekends or after 8pm), they believe they may unlock some secret to social happiness and professional performance. Needless to say, their experiment proves revealing, but perhaps not quite in the way intended.
The Crown (S5)
This fifth and penultimate season of Netflix’s excellent drama about the monarchy moves to the early 1990s and shakes things up by once again replacing its entire cast. In come British TV royalty in the form of Imelda Staunton and Jonathan Pryce as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Dominic West as Prince Charles and (bit of a leftfield casting choice, this) Jonny Lee Miller as famously dull PM John Major.
The plaudits should fall first on Elizabeth Debicki, however, who takes over the role of Princess Diana from the excellent Emma Corrin and does a fantastic job. With Diana’s death foreshadowed throughout the season, Debicki’s excellent performance shines through.