This week on Netflix sees three massive arrivals. The first of those is Britney vs. Spears (2021), a documentary series that promises to dive into unseen aspects of her high-profile conservatorship battle… and explain what conservatorship actually means. See the explosive documentary, featuring years-long investigative work, exclusive interviews and new documents, on Tuesday.
Then comes miniseries The Comey Rule (2020). If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s the drama where Brendan Gleeson plays Donald Trump. It also stars Jeff Daniels as former FBI Director James Comey, whose strikingly different ethics and loyalties set him on a collision course with the former president.
On Friday, it’s Seinfeld (1989-1998) time. All nine seasons of the sitcom will be available to binge at once. All nine seasons of one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms of all time. Yada yada yada…
Also this week: Attack of the Hollywood Clichés!, a guide to movie tropes featuring Rob Lowe; kids animated show Ada Twist, Scientist (Season 1); documentary MeatEater (Season 10 Part 1); kids show Polly Pocket (Season 3 Part 1); crime mystery The Chestnut Man (Season 1); anime Baki Hanma; rom-com Love 101 (Season 2); and anime Scissor Seven (Season 3).
Last week’s arrivals include season 2 of Love on the Spectrum, kids program Go! Go! Cory Carson: Chrissy Takes the Wheel, season 4 of Dear White People, historical drama Jaguar, true-crime miniseries Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan, horror , season 2 of mystery Blood & Water, thriller Ganglands, reality series Jailbirds New Orleans and Italian true-crime docuseries Vendetta: Truth, Lies and The Mafia.
Phew, that’s a lot. For even more, scroll down to find a list of Netflix’s best original shows.
Best Netflix Original TV series
Midnight Mass (2021)
From the auteur who brought us The Haunting of Hill House and Bly Manor, comes another slow-burning horror series that’ll haunt you for days. Midnight Mass is Mike Flanagan’s latest creation, a meticulously crafted mystery spanning seven hourlong episodes. Riley Flynn, still paying the price for a drunk driving accident four years ago, returns home to Crockett Island, where the arrival of a charismatic new priest coincides with astonishing miracles around the town. Pregnant with a sense of foreboding and dread, Midnight Mass is an eloquent interrogation of faith, with horrifying supernatural monsters along for the ride.
Netflix’s first original Korean series doesn’t pull any punches. A zombie horror with a Joseon period political backdrop to sprawl over, Kingdom is for those partial to a blood-pumping genre-meld with a gory imagination. Season 1 sees Crown Prince Lee Chang wrapped up in a political conspiracy, when he’s not investigating a mysterious plague. He’s swept up in a life or death thriller, with a dash of royal dynasty at stake.
The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House, loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name, weaves its horror into a deeply affecting story about a broken family. Fractured after growing up in a haunted house, the Crains can’t ignore their past and must do what you never want to do: Go back down those dark corridors. The impressive set-pieces will please horror fans, but it’s the sad story of the Crains that will, yes, haunt you for days. Good news: The second chapter of the anthology, The Haunting of Bly Manor, is out for Halloween.
If you were a fan of Howard Overman’s insanely entertaining Misfits, Crazyhead might be where you want to head next. Overman’s follow-up show, which first aired in the UK in 2016, is a comedy-horror starring Cara Theobold (the voice of Tracer in Overwatch) and Susan Wokoma as unlikely friends who bond over being able to see demons gallivanting about in normal society. Their brilliant double-act is at the heart of this disturbingly entertaining series, featuring exorcisms, accidental roommate killings and demon fathers. Yeah, you need to watch this for yourself.
Sweet Tooth (2021—)
This fantasy based on Jeff Lemire’s comic book is the definition of weird and wonderful. Sweet Tooth follows Gus (a stellar Christian Convery), a half-deer half-human child, who lives a sheltered life in the forest with his dad Pubba (Will Forte). Events relating to The Great Crumble, a viral pandemic, sweep Gus into an adventure branching down mysterious, action-filled and highly entertaining paths. Echoes with real-world struggles can be heard in the treetops of this immersive, riveting fantasy world. Genre fans settle in for this fantastic ride.
Shadow and Bone (2021—)
Netflix’s vault of young adult fantasies is bulging at this point, but Shadow and Bone makes this list as the cream of the crop. While our hero Alina Starkov hits the conventional Chosen One story beats, rising up the ranks of the magical Grisha army as she discovers her powers, you’ll find a ton of world-building and rich supporting characters. Ben Barnes’ General Kirigan is a standout as the morally questionable and powerful Darkling. At the center of the piece is the Shadow Fold, a stretch of dangerous land splitting the kingdom of Ravka down the middle. It’s up to Alina and General Kirigan to bring it down once and for all. Eight hours of peak young adult fantasy await you.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)
Kevin Baker / Netflix
We weren’t ready for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Canceled after one season, the critically-acclaimed fantasy series is, well, a gem. A prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson film, the series returns to the planet Thra, where three Gelflings inspire a rebellion against the absolutely diabolic Skeksis. The puppet design and performances — from a stunning cast including Taron Edgerton, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nathalie Emmanuel — sneak up on you. You’ll find yourself deeply invested in the poor, oppressed Gelflings’ lives, hurt just as much as the puppets whenever one of their own is harmed. A full-on fantasy epic, built with love, care and staggering detail.
Criminal gives you four series of Line of Duty-channeling police procedural, with each episode centered on a suspect picked apart in an interrogation room. The twist: Each series takes place in a different country and language — Spanish, French, German and English — but they use the exact same concept and set. As well as the tightly-scripted, cat-and-mouse interrogations, featuring masterclass performances from the likes of David Tennant, Hayley Atwell — and in season 2, Kit Harington — it’s fascinating to see how the limited sets are used differently by different police teams.
This miniseries, based on a true story of rape, deftly navigates its disturbing and tricky subject matter with the help of a remarkable performance from Kaitlyn Dever. She plays Marie, a teenager who’s charged with lying about being raped, but of course it’s more complicated than that. Toni Collette and Merritt Wever team up as whip-smart detectives who see what others fail to, adding another layer to Unbelievable’s delicate, powerfully moving triumph.
When They See Us (2019)
Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us comes under the tough but essential viewing banner. It depicts the real-life events of the 1989 Central Park jogger case, involving five male suspects of color who were falsely accused of rape and assault. Not only sensitively drawing the humanity of the boys into…