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  1. Review: fierce and fun Warrior Nun is a perfect Fourth of July binge-watch Meet the (reluctant) new Chosen One of the Order of the Cruciform Sword First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 9+ images. A young woman gains extraordinary powers when a divine artifact is accidentally embedded in her back, and finds herself reluctantly battling demons on Earth in Warrior Nun, a new Netflix series based on the comic books by Ben Dunn. It sounds like a cheesy premise, but this adaptation is anything but. It's a fiercely fun, entertaining, occasionally thought-provoking series that will have you hooked and eager for a second season. (Mild spoilers below, but no major reveals.) As we previously reported, the first issue in Dunn's manga-style comic book series, "Warrior Nun Areala," debuted in 1994. The series largely features Sister Shannon Masters, a modern-day crusader for the Catholic Church's (fictional) Order of the Cruciform Sword. In the series mythology, the Order dates back to 1066, when a young Valkyrie woman named Auria converted to Christianity. Renamed Areala, she selects a new avatar every generation to carry on her mission of battling the agents of hell. Sister Shannon is the Chosen One. It's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer got religion. Dunn has said he was inspired to create the series after learning, via a New York Times article, about the Fraternity of Our Lady, which established a chapter in Harlem in 1991 to run a soup kitchen. One of the nuns (the fraternity has both nuns and priests), Sister Marie Chantel, trained in the martial arts (judo and Tae Kwon Do), and many of her fellow nuns also practiced self-defense, albeit mostly for sport. Dunn envisioned a world with nuns as superheroes, where heaven and hell are real dimensions. Sister Shannon isn't dominant in the Netflix adaptation—she only appears in a couple of episodes, played by Melina Matthews. Instead, the show focuses on a young woman named Ava (Alba Baptista). Per the official premise: Caught in the middle of an ancient war between good and evil, a young girl wakes up in a morgue with inexplicable powers. Her search for answers brings her to The Order of the Cruciform Sword, a secret society of warrior nuns sworn to protect the world from evil. While juggling her responsibilities as the chosen one with the normal obstacles of a teenage girl, this mysterious fantasy drama is full of mystery, action, adventure, and teenage romance, proving our main character might fight in the name of good, but she’s no angel. We meet Ava after she has just died in a Catholic hospital, having been there since she was crippled (a paraplegic) in a car accident at the age of seven. Her body is laid out in the church morgue by Father Vincent (Tristan Ulloa), when his crew of warrior nuns returns from what should have been a routine mission. Sister Shannon has been mortally wounded and they must remove the angelic halo from her back that grants special powers, and insert it into the next "Halo Bearer." But they are interrupted by a supernatural beast intent on retrieving said halo for itself. As the sisters scatter, one of them slips the halo into Ava's body. The halo's power brings her back to life, and also restores her mobility. But Ava is not a nun, nor is she particularly devout, and honestly, after a lifetime paralyzed in a hospital bed, the 18-year-old just wants to live a little. This rankles Cardinal Duretti (Joaquim de Almeida): "How did our greatest weapon against evil end up in an unbeliever?" The whole armor of god First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 9+ images. Father Vincent argues that Ava must have been chosen for a reason, and tries to convince her to take the role of Halo Bearer seriously. Mother Superion (Sylvia De Fanti) doesn't think Ava has what it takes, while Sister Lilith (Lorena Andrea) was supposed to be next in line for the honor and resents being passed over in favor of Ava. Sister Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young) and Sister Camila (Olivia Declan) are a bit more welcoming, while Shotgun Mary (Toya Turner) is grieving the loss of her BFF Sister Shannon and intent on revenge upon whoever betrayed the Order that fateful day. There are also greater machinations afoot, starting with scientist and tech entrepreneur Jillian Salvius (Thekla Reuten), who has been using a mysterious material known as "divinium," found on certain holy relics stolen from the Vatican, to create a prototype inter dimensional portal. She thinks this will usher in a new Age of Enlightenment: "Heaven exists, and I discovered a gateway to it." This puts her at odds with the Cardinal and the Church—she has desecrated holy relics, after all. And the Cardinal himself seems to be intent on remaking the Order to serve his own ambitions within the Church. Ava clearly needs time to process and come to terms with her new situation—but that might be a luxury the Order can't afford, as the beast is still hunting for the halo, leaving carnage in its wake. The entire cast give stellar performances, but Baptista is luminous as Ava. The character could easily have come across as a spoiled brat in the early episodes, given that her learned defense mechanisms involve flippant irreverence and keeping people at a distance. Instead, you genuinely feel for this young woman who has suddenly been granted a second chance at life, able to feel sensations, to walk and run and feed herself, for the first time in 11 years. But the gift comes with a price: she is thrust into a spiritual war she doesn't understand, with people she has no reason to trust after years of abuse at the Catholic hospital. There's also her raging teen hormones and a super-cute boy (Emilio Sakraya) drawing her away from the Order. We naturally expect there to be heroes and villains, but Warrior Nun takes a much more nuanced, less black-and-white approach to this than the original comics. In the comics, for instance, Julius Salvius is a Satanist and arms dealer whose minions regularly battle the Order. But his gender-swapped counterpart in the TV series, Jillian, is a more complicated figure—someone who seeks to rise above the longstanding the tension between science and religion for motives that might just be more personal (and less overtly evil) than one might otherwise expect. Likewise, the heroic figures have all-too-human flaws that lead to ill-advised decisions at times: entitlement and resentment (Sister Lilith), jealousy (Mother Superion), anger management issues (Shotgun Mary), and being a bit too naively trusting (Sister Camila) and overly obedient to Church authority (Sister Beatrice). Another welcome departure from the comics: the nuns actually dress modestly, like nuns, rather than the silly cleavage-centric habits and loin cloths worn by the nuns in Dunn's earlier comics. The series is expertly plotted, with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the final reveal. There is a rich historical mythology, and plenty of action and killer "Nun-Fu" moves, especially when Sister Beatrice lets out her inner ninja. (Watching her effortlessly take out a crew of Jillian's security forces who assumed she was too small and weak to pose any threat is glorious.) And there are welcome moments of sly comic relief and contemplative reflection to break up the action now and then. Ava and her sister Warrior Nuns are definitely worthy to join the ranks of Buffy, Wynonna Earp, and Witchblade's Sarah Pezzini as flawed-but-fierce women who fight against evil, in all its forms, for the greater good. Warrior Nun is now streaming on Netflix, and makes for an excellent holiday weekend binge. Listing image by Netflix Review: fierce and fun Warrior Nun is a perfect Fourth of July binge-watch (To view the article's image galleries, please visit the above link)
  2. Cursed on Netflix should fill The Witcher-shaped hole in your life See the new trailer for Netflix's fantasy drama (Image credit: Netflix) Netflix has released a new trailer for Cursed, the fantasy drama starring Katherine Langford of 13 Reasons Why. This drama is a retelling of Arthurian legend from the perspective of Nimue (Langford), a young woman destined to become the key figure from those stories known as the Lady of the Lake. If you're dreading the long wait for The Witcher season 2, this looks like a similar sort of offering, with the added bonus of Westworld's Peter Mullan (you know, the foul-mouthed billionaire Scotsman stuck in a time loop) as the main antagonist. This washed-out color palette now seems to be the default for fantasy dramas, which is probably Game of Thrones' fault. Cursed comes from writer Tom Wheeler and comics legend Frank Miller, both of which previously released this story in book form last year. Check out the trailer for Netflix's Cursed below. Its release date is set for July 17 globally on the streaming service. Will Cursed be any good? The trailer looks entertaining, but it's always hard to know what to make of Frank Miller's work, especially in recent years. For every controversial book that we'd rather avoid like Holy Terror, he puts out a new Batman comic like Dark Knight: The Master Race which demonstrates what a great storyteller he can be. Miller's work tends to be polarizing, and it's hard to tell where Cursed will land. In a year where no other fantasy dramas are on the horizon, though, we're definitely inclined to check it out. Cursed on Netflix should fill The Witcher-shaped hole in your life
  3. 7 big new shows and movies coming to Netflix in July 2020 What's worth streaming on Netflix in July 2020 (Image credit: CHRISTOS KALOHORIDIS/NETFLIX) Wondering what's new on Netflix in July 2020? We'd call it a pretty good month for the streaming service, if not a great one. The big release this month is The Umbrella Academy season 2, the long-awaited follow-up run to last year's hit comic book adaptation. There are plenty of other highlights on Netflix this month besides, though. Below, we've captured seven of the TV shows and movies that are worth taking a look at in July 2020. Read a little about them, and decide whether or not they belong on your Watch List. This list of new Netflix releases applies worldwide unless noted, and it's worth pointing out that US Netflix subscribers will finally get to see ESPN documentary series The Last Dance from July 17, 2020 (everyone else outside the US can already watch it). Here's the best of what you can stream on Netflix in July 2020. Warrior Nun Could the title 'Warrior Nun' be more vague about the premise of the show? Jeez. This Buffy-infused 'chosen one' series is about a woman who suddenly wakes up with supernatural powers, and teams up with The Order of the Cruciform Sword – essentially a gang of warrior nuns – to defend the world. Simon Barry is the creator of this one, best known for the Canadian sci-fi series Continuum. Streaming on Netflix from July 2 Stateless Stateless is an Australian drama about four different strangers whose lives collide in the testing environment of an immigration detention center. This drama stars Cate Blanchett and Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, The Handmaid's Tale), and was well-reviewed when it debuted earlier this year. Netflix has the rights to show it outside of its native country. Streaming on Netflix from July 8 The Old Guard Even though theaters are allowed to reopen in the likes of the US and UK from July, you may prefer to spend your time indoors anyway for time being. If you're looking for a big movie to stream in July, then, consider adding this new action flick to your list. The Old Guard stars Charlize Theron as the leader of a unit of undying warriors. In fact, they've collectively protected the world for centuries, since they can't be killed via conventional means. Now, though, with their immortal secret exposed, sinister outside forces seek to control and exploit this group's abilities. It's based on a graphic novel by the excellent Greg Rucka, and even though the premise sounds goofy, we're optimistic it'll be better than Netflix's last comic book adaptation. That was The Last Days of American Crime, which currently sits on Rotten Tomatoes with a magnificent 0% positive reviews. Streaming on Netflix from July 10 Cursed Co-created by comic book legend Frank Miller (co-director of Sin City, director of The Spirit), whose output has varied wildly in quality over recent years, Cursed stars 13 Reasons Why's Katherine Langford as a young woman who's destined to become the Lady of the Lake from Arthurian legend fame. If nothing else, Cursed's washed-out color palette and sword fights should pass the time until The Witcher season 2 gets here. Streaming on Netflix from 17 July Last Chance U season 5 (Image credit: Netflix) Netflix's well-regarded sports documentary series returns for a fifth season, this time called Last Chance U: Laney. This time the filmmakers focus on the football scene at Oakland, California's Laney College, with the pressure piling on the Laney Eagles to continue the form that made them state and national champions during the previous year. Unmissable stuff if sports docs are your thing. Streaming on Netflix from 28 July Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy If you're an older Transformers fan who's constantly let down by the poor live-action movies (with the exception of Bumblebee, which was pretty good), maybe this 3D CG-animated offering will help scratch that itch. Rooster Teeth (RWBY) is producing the series, and it'll be divided into three parts, with the first chapter, Siege, coming in July 2020. This will offer an origin story for the Transformers, if you need another one of those. Streaming on Netflix from 30 July The Umbrella Academy season 2 (Image credit: Netflix) The quirky superhero drama returns for a second season on Netflix, this time set in Texas in the early '60s (if you've seen the finale to season one, you'll have an idea why). Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) is tasked with reuniting the Hargreeves siblings to deal with another apocalyptic threat, after each of them arrived in the '60s at a different place and time. This will undoubtedly be one of Netflix's biggest releases of the year so far. Streaming on Netflix from 31 July 7 big new shows and movies coming to Netflix in July 2020
  4. The Guest is a twisty thriller worth streaming this weekend Make some time for the best kind of cheap thrill Photo: Picturehouse You’re kind of setting yourself up for failure when you tell someone a movie is surprising. The moment you say that, the person you’re talking to has no choice but to expect the surprise. They scrutinize everything extra carefully, become more sensitive to clues or red herrings they might have otherwise overlooked. Telling someone a surprise is coming very much defeats the purpose of said surprise. The Guest, however — back on Netflix after a long absence — wants you to know a surprise is coming, and it’s tremendous fun watching that twist play out. Directed by Adam Wingard, a horror director (best known for You’re Next and the recent Blair Witch revival) with a penchant for making subversive films on a budget, The Guest begins when a man named David Collins (Dan Stevens) arrives at the home of Laura and Spencer Peterson (Sheila Kelley and Leland Orser). The Petersons are grieving the loss of their eldest son, Caleb, and David, fresh off the Greyhound from active duty, says he served with him and came to pass along his last regards. It’s not long before the Petersons invite David to stay with them for a few days, and he immediately begins to ingratiate himself to the family. He befriends Luke (Brendan Meyer) and Anna (Maika Monroe), Caleb’s siblings who still live at home, and begins to help out around the house. The whole time, The Guest isn’t being particularly coy: something is off about David from minute one. While most of the characters also share this suspicion, it doesn’t take much for them to drop their guard quickly, as a series of simple and sometimes startling gestures warm the Petersons to him. What seems like a home invasion horror movie is quickly inverted as David starts to become hostile — not to the Peterson kids, but to those who threaten them. In a way, the movie is about white male privilege, and how men are both encouraged and rewarded for adhering to toxic masculinity. Even if it’s easy to see that said toxic masculinity is likely to come and bite everyone in the ass. Stevens is tremendous fun in the lead role: a man aware of his handsomeness and machismo and how people respond to it. This is good, as The Guest hinges entirely on his performance and his ability to make his gaze look friendly in one moment and murderous the next. The whole affair is very much an ’80s thriller transposed to the 21st century with all of the touchpoints: troubled high school kid, a young woman who seems stuck in her small-town dead-end job, parents who are more afterthoughts than nurturing people, and a so-cheesy-it’s-good synth soundtrack. Despite the ’80s aesthetics, The Guest is ambiguously modern — it’s a little unclear when exactly the story is set, but cell phones are common and laptops still have disc drives. Despite being a thriller, The Guest is more playful than scary or tense, taking the tropes of one genre, messing around with the expectations they set, and then using their momentum to do something entirely different. It’s also single-minded; a movie with very little interest in the women in its story — a real shame considering the film stars Monroe, the lead of It Follows, a landmark horror film that debuted in 2014, the same year as The Guest. At a brisk hour and forty minutes, The Guest absolutely breezes by, never idling any longer than it has to or dishing out any more details than necessary. It’s a thriller that wants to be more fun than tense, and more clever than smart — the perfect binge for days and weeks that seem both too long and not long enough all at once. The Guest is a twisty thriller worth streaming this weekend
  5. 10 great feelgood Netflix movies and TV shows Not every great movie and TV show has to be packed with doom and gloom... (Image credit: Netflix) We could all do with a bit of escapism right now. Sometimes an epic binge of the hottest new event series or hard-hitting drama will fit the bill, but at others you need something that’s more openly feelgood. Luckily, there’s plenty on Netflix capable of giving you the warm and fuzzies. Whether it’s a comedy series (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Grace and Frankie), a movie rom-com (Set it Up, Always Be My Maybe), or a reality TV show with a positive spin (Queer Eye, Nailed It!), there’s loads of brilliant content out there for anyone who needs a bit of a pick-me-up. So join us on a journey through the best Netflix feelgood movies and TV shows you can watch right now. We guarantee it’ll be good for the soul… GLOW (Image credit: Netflix) It turns out wrestling isn’t just about bashing the living daylights out of your opponents in the ring. That’s a big part of it, sure, but since GLOW’s 2017 debut, its pioneering female wrestlers have shown that beyond the spandex and very big hair, there can be plenty of heart, wit and intelligent social commentary. As an unlikely group of women (headed up by Mad Men/Community star Alison Brie) come together for a smackdown, GLOW celebrates a bunch of people discovering facets of themselves they never knew existed. There are bumps along the way, of course, but ultimately GLOW is one of the most uplifiting shows on Netflix. Wine Country (Image credit: Netflix) Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler makes her directorial debut with this comedy road trip, and takes a gang of fellow Saturday Night Live graduates along for the ride. Focusing on a group of friends on a 50th birthday wine-tasting tour of California’s Napa Valley, the limited nature of the plot doesn’t really matter when you’re watching such a talented cast. As a Bechdel test-smashing ensemble comedy, Wine Country has inevitably been compared to Bridesmaids, but that’s doing it a disservice – while it’s not quite as riotously funny, it’s packed with believable, beautifully drawn characters, and plenty of warmth. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Image credit: Netflix) As you’d expect from a show from the mind of 30 Rock creator Tina Fey, there’s no shortage of cynicism or snark in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. And yet Kimmy herself – recently released from years locked up in an underground bunker cult – is so relentlessly optimistic that the world always feels better when you’re in her company. Her friends may be screwed up in various hilarious ways, but Kimmy’s positive outlook is the glue that keeps them together. In fact, ‘what would Kimmy do?’ is a pretty good mantra for life – as we experienced first-hand in Netflix’s recent interactive finale. San Junipero (Black Mirror) (Image credit: Netflix) Black Mirror isn’t best known for its optimistic take on the human condition, but when co-creator/writer Charlie Brooker briefly flicked his anthology show’s settings away from dystopian, the results were spectacularly life-affirming. A time-hopping story about two women falling in love in unconventional circumstances, season 3’s San Junipero is a remarkable achievement – an unlikely mix of romance, ’80s nostalgia, and thought-provoking musings on old age, euthanasia and death. Belinda Carlisle’s ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ has never felt so poignant. Set it Up (Image credit: Netflix) In the early 21st century, anyone in need of a movie-shaped pick-me-up could find it in their local multiplex. This was the era of peak romantic comedy, a genre where a happy ending was par for the course. These days, however, the rom-com is an endangered species at the box office – and Netflix has moved in to pick up the slack. Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell display tons of chemistry as a pair of office workers who play matchmakers for their respective bosses and and – surprise! – find themselves falling in love at the same time. Formulaic, yes, but surely that’s what movies like this are all about. Queer Eye (Image credit: Netflix) Making people feel good is part of the DNA of this makeover show, an update of the early ’00s reality hit. The simple premise of the original series remains – a group of lifestyle experts known as the Fab Five give an unsuspecting member of the public a makeover (or “make better”) – but it’s also evolved in the subsequent decade. These days, the team have expanded their remit way beyond giving advice exclusively to straight men – one of the more dated aspects of the original show – to create a diverse, positive and politically aware slice of feelgood reality TV. Always Be My Maybe (Image credit: Netflix) Top US stand-up Ali Wong teams up with Randall Park (Danny Chung in Veep, Agent Jimmy Woo in the MCU) to write, produce and star in this entertaining romantic comedy. They play a pair of childhood friends who grew up, had a one-night stand and didn’t see each other again until their 30s. Will they find the old spark is still there? Well, what do you think? Luckily there’s plenty of laughs, including a hilarious cameo from Keanu Reeves, who took a quick break from shooting John Wick 3 to film scenes as himself. What movie wouldn’t be improved by that? Grace and Frankie (Image credit: Netflix) On paper, Grace and Frankie always sounded great. After all, it’s co-created by Marta Kauffmann one of the brains behind Friends; its stars are 9 to 5 veterans (and real-life friends) Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin; and its premise is the stuff great sitcoms are made of. After all, what’s not to like about the idea of a pair of feuding women forced to live together after their divorce lawyer husbands announce they’ve been having an affair with each other for years? That the show (mostly) lives up to its promise should tell you everything you need to know – the performances are great, the characters memorable, and Grace and Frankie’s evolving relationship is suitably heartwarming. Nailed It! (Image credit: Netflix) The problem with watching TV cooking competitions is that you’re usually watching a genius at work. You’re waiting for something to go wrong because it’s the exception rather than the norm – and also because you’re desperate to see what the judges are about to say. Nailed It! is different. The contestants are just like the rest of us, amateur cooks for whom failure is often added to the mixture when they step into the kitchen. By setting its contestants cake-shaped challenges way beyond their abilities, the show sets up wonderfully half-baked comedy scenarios. And because everyone’s in on the joke, Nailed It! celebrates the joy of failure. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (Image credit: Netflix) Netflix enrols for the American institution that is the high school movie. And while it doesn’t quite graduate top of the class, this fun comedy earns plenty of extra credit. It’s a classic high school movie set-up: 16-year-old Lara Jean (X-Men’s Lana Condor) finds herself embroiled in all sorts of social catastrophe when her little sister mails out the secret letters she’s written to her crushes. Then, for a bit of extra complication, Lara Jean ends up in a fake relationship with the most popular boy in school, just to throw the real object of her affection of the scent... A worthy successor to the likes of Clueless and Easy A. 10 great feelgood Netflix movies and TV shows
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  7. 6 new TV shows and movies on Netflix this week What's new on Netflix this week, including 13 Reasons Why season 4 (Image credit: Marcos Cruz/Netflix) Wondering what's new on Netflix this week? There should be something for everyone to stream over the next few days, as Netflix debuts the final season of its signature teen drama, 13 Reasons Why, the latest season of feel-good hit Queer Eye, and a ludicrous-looking action movie that should absolutely eat two hours of your precious evening time. Here, then, is a selection of what's new on Netflix for the first week of June 2020. Pick something you like the look of and add it to your watch list. As well as the newest Netflix Originals, we've also picked out one older show we love that's coming to Netflix US this week. 13 Reasons Why season 4 (Netflix) (Image credit: DAVID MOIR/NETFLIX) Netflix's controversial but enormously popular teen drama ends this week, as the characters prepare to graduate from Liberty City High School and move on with their lives. Now, the characters have to reconcile with everything that's happened in the last few eventful years before they can take that next step, as well as contending with a new dark secret that has to be kept under wraps. Streaming on Netflix from June 5 The Last Days of American Crime (Netflix) Boy, it sure is fortunate for Netflix that it can carry on releasing movies while the theaters around the world are closed until July. The latest new movie on the platform is The Last Days of Crime, based on a comic book by popular writer Rick Remender and artist Greg Tocchini. It's about a group of criminals banding together to pull off one last big score before the US government broadcasts a mind-altering signal that stops people from purposefully committing crimes. Starring Édgar Ramírez. Michael Pitt, Anna Brewster and Sharlto Copley, it looks like forgettable-but-fun action fare, which is absolutely better than nothing as VOD release schedules start to dry up. Olivier Megaton, who directed Taken 2 and Taken 3, is behind this film. Streaming on Netflix from June 5 Queer Eye season 5 (Netflix) (Image credit: Ryan Collerd/Netflix) Queer Eye returns for another heartwarming season of uplifting makeovers, this time in Philadelphia. The emphasis is on 10 'everyday heroes' in season 5, including a priest and a young mother, who each get treatment from the Fab Five that elevates their sense of self. If you're in need of feel-good TV this week, this should do the trick. Streaming on Netflix from June 5 Hannibal seasons 1-3 (Netflix) (Image credit: Sony Pictures Television) Okay, this isn't a new show, but this week Netflix US gets the complete three-season run of NBC's Hannibal to stream (UK Netflix users have had it for years), which is one of the best TV shows of the past decade. While the series was cancelled, it tells a complete three-season arc about the relationship between FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and psychiatrist (and secret cannibal) Hannibal Lecter. What starts as a very intense working relationship between the pair develops into something of a twisted romance, in the midst of elaborate murders and fine dining. Season 1 is a traditional police procedural but with a lot of style, before seasons 2 and 3 become more deeply serialized, ambitious and strange. The show's unique tone is largely attributed to creator Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, American Gods). A Hannibal revival has been touted before, but we'd argue it doesn't need one. These three seasons wrap up perfectly, and its excellent supporting cast features Laurence Fishburne and Caroline Dhavernas. Streaming on Netflix from June 5 Spelling the Dream (Netflix) This new documentary focuses on the trend of Indian American children dominating at the US National Spelling Bee since the late '90s. It tells the stories of four kids on their way to competing in the prestigious contest, and the hard work it takes to get up on stage and spell words you've probably never heard of. Be warned: these kids will make you feel stupid. Streaming on Netflix from June 3 Fuller House: The Farewell Season (Netflix) (Image credit: Michael Yarish / Netflix) The Olsen Twins-free revival of the '90s sitcom wraps the second half of its fifth and final season this week. In this set of episodes, Steph (Jodie Sweetin) and Jimmy (Adam Hagenbuch) adjust to life in their family-filled house with their new baby. This many seasons into Fuller House, you'll probably know whether this is your sort of show or not. Streaming on Netflix from June 5 6 new TV shows and movies on Netflix this week
  8. 7 new Netflix TV shows and movies you need to watch in June 2020 What to watch on Netflix in June 2020 (Image credit: Netflix) We now know what's new on Netflix in June 2020, and it includes the return of several great original TV series, a new movie from Spike Lee and the final season of controversial teen drama 13 Reasons Why (June 5). We've picked out seven highlights coming to Netflix in June 2020 below, so you've got a bunch of interesting stuff to add to your watch list. All of this is available on Netflix globally in June 2020, with the exception of the last entry. Note, too, that while a release date has finally been announced for The Umbrella Academy season 2, you'll have to wait until July for the comic book show to return. But that doesn't mean there isn't still plenty to stream this month. Here's what's worth watching on Netflix in June 2020. Da 5 Bloods Release date on Netflix: June 12 With theaters likely to be closed throughout June in the US and UK, a new Spike Lee-directed movie dropping straight onto Netflix sounds like a real treat. The above trailer is enormously promising, too. Da 5 Bloods is about a group of Vietnam vets who return to the country decades later as older, grumpier men to find the remains of their former squad leader (played by Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman in flashback) so he can have a proper burial. At the same time, the group looks to track down a cachet of buried treasure lost by the CIA during the war. F is for Family season 4 Release date on Netflix: June 12 Breaking Bad's Jonathan Banks joins the cast of this working class 1970s-set animated comedy, which features the voices of Bill Burr and Laura Dern. If you don't mind dark jokes and a misery tinge to your adult animated shows, it's well worth catching up for season 4. Hey, there's a reason F is for Family made our list of the best Netflix animated series. The Last Days of American Crime Release date on Netflix: June 5 In a crime-ridden United States of America, the government is planning on permanently broadcasting a signal that makes it impossible for its citizens to cause crimes. A career criminal, hacker and gangster team up for one last big heist before that signal comes. Édgar Ramírez, Michael Pitt and Sharlto Copley star in this trashy but fun-looking thriller, which is based on a graphic novel by notable comics talents Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini. Again, with no theaters open, any new movies that are worth a damn suddenly seem like a real benefit to our Netflix subscription. Queer Eye season 5 (Image credit: Netflix) Release date on Netflix: June 5 The Fab Five return for more life-affirming makeovers, at a time when viewers probably need this type of show the most. Queer Eye season 5 is based in Philadelphia, with 'everyday heroes' getting the Fab Five treatment, including a dog groomer and a DJ. Still one of the most comforting shows on Netflix. The Politician season 2 (Image credit: Netflix) Release date on Netflix: June 19 Ryan Murphy's first Netflix series returns for another season in June, with Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) running for senate, as set up by the end of season 1. The Politician didn't exactly wow critics, but like several other Murphy series (Nip/Tuck, The Assassination of Gianni Versace), it walks a careful line between sordid soap and prestige drama that makes for compelling viewing. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Release date on Netflix: June 26 Wait, the Eurovision Song Contest is now something we joke about? The outrage. This Netflix original comedy features Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as Icelandic singers who get their shot at the big time, while the supporting cast features Pierce Brosnan (singing, we pray), Dan Stevens and Demi Lovato. The above sequence was filmed in Iceland. This has potential, and Wedding Crashers' David Dobkin is directing this one. Rick and Morty season 4 (Netflix UK) (Image credit: Adult Swim) Release date on Netflix UK: June 16 Everything else on this list is available to access on Netflix globally, but here's one Netflix UK highlight worth pointing out: the entire fourth season of Rick and Morty arrives on the service from 16 June. Now you can enjoy it without ads on your own schedule. It's unclear when Rick and Morty season 4 will be available to stream in the US. Source: 7 new Netflix TV shows and movies you need to watch in June 2020 (TechRadar)
  9. I laughed a lot at Netflix’s Space Force, but my inner space wonk cried “POTUS wants complete space dominance.” Enlarge / Dan Bakkedahl as secretary of defense spells it out: Boots on the Moon by 2024. Netflix Note: This is not a review of Netflix's Space Force, but in discussing differences between the series' first season and the real world, this article contains minor plot spoilers—but not enough to spoil 99 percent of the series' jokes and plot developments. One of the opening scenes of Netflix's new comedy series Space Force hilariously depicts General Mark Naird (Steve Carell) at his first meeting as part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This scene establishes the premise for the main story line of the show. Comedian Dan Bakkedahl (similar to his portrayal of a congressman in Veep) plays the part of Secretary of Defense John Blandsmith. After introducing Naird as a new four-star general, Blandsmith gets to the point: POTUS wants to make some changes. He's tweeting about it in five minutes, so let's hope you like it. Our nation's internet, including Twitter, runs through our vulnerable space satellites. POTUS wants complete space dominance. Boots on the Moon by 2024! To that end, the President is creating a new branch. Space Force. This is not a joke. His words, boots on the Moon in 2024. Actually, he said boobs on the Moon, but we believe that to be a typo. For someone who spends most days thinking and writing about space, and space policy, this is simultaneously highly entertaining and painful. I mean, it's funny. At times during the show, I howled. And there are vivid snippets of reality throughout the series that capture the state of play in modern spaceflight. But this show takes those pieces and scrambles them madly. The launch One of the central tensions of the first episode involves whether or not to launch Space Force's first big mission, a satellite on its "Epsilon" rocket. (For the record, there is a real-world Epsilon rocket, a relatively small booster developed by the Japanese Space Agency.) Space Force's rocket appears to be the love child of two real-world rockets: an Atlas V rocket core (which is built by United Launch Alliance) and two side-boosters that look strikingly like Falcon 9 (SpaceX) first stages with a single engine. The performance of such a rocket is interesting to contemplate, and I will give the producers of Space Force credit for doing their homework. When I was at SpaceX's factory about a year ago working on a project, Steve Carell was there with an entourage. We brushed shoulders while getting a fountain drink in the cafeteria. Enlarge / The Epsilon rocket seems like a love child of the Atlas V and Falcon 9 rockets. Netflix But some of the TV version's logical lapses are, for me, too difficult to swallow. For one, Netflix's version of Space Force is established in Colorado, which is realistic enough given existing Air Force assets there. What is completely bonkers, however, is the notion of launching orbital rockets from Colorado. Big US rockets do not launch over land because of the potential for a) an accident shortly after liftoff, and b) unless it's a reusable rocket like the Falcon 9, the potential for a first or second stage to fall down range after its fuel is spent. With its land-based launch sites, China has a real problem with this. Another weird conflation is weather constraints for the Epsilon launch. While conditions such as thunderstorms or high winds—either at the surface or in the upper atmosphere—can delay a launch (check out this list of constraints for the upcoming Crew Dragon launch), Space Force instead goes with humidity. Humidity?! For the Epsilon launch, the proper humidity is 40 percent, explains Dr. Chan Kaifang (Jimmy O. Yang, Silicon Valley). The actual humidity on launch day was 54 percent. "This can effect oxygenation and fuel burn," Kaifang explains. "If the fuel is insufficient, the rocket returns to Earth without reaching orbit." While, yes, a rocket needs a certain amount of fuel to reach orbit, humidity has nothing to do with it. Weird, jarring details like this emerge throughout the series—space nuts will scratch their heads at the odd array of model rockets behind Naird's desk in his office—that suggest the producers of Space Force ultimately cared little about the details. A confused public Oh Berger, you're such a nerd. And it's true. Most of the public won't catch these details. Nor will they care that chimpanzees are performing spacewalks, or that the interior cabin of the crew spacecraft going to the Moon is about as big as my house. None of this is plausible, but it serves the plot, and it's often damned funny, so it's fine. What sort of does matter, however, is the policy stuff. It is perfectly true that President Donald Trump called for the creation of a Space Force branch of the military early in his administration, but this required Congressional action, and Congress had already been moving toward this for several years. It is also true that one of the Space Force's primary roles is protecting our "vulnerable space satellites." And, to the chagrin of our allies, this administration has called for space dominance. As for the boots on the Moon thing, in the real world, the White House set a goal for a human Moon landing by 2024. Specifically, Vice President Mike Pence gets credit for this, as Trump has at times seemed more interested in Mars than the Moon. Incidentally, the show's characterization of POTUS, who goes unnamed and does not need to be, is spot on. However—and this is important—Pence gave this task to NASA, not the US military. The United States essentially has three major space segments. One is the military, responsible for launching large spy satellites, GPS, its own communications satellites, an uncrewed space plane, and ensuring the safety of those space assets. It does not entail anything like Starship Troopers, however. The second is civil space, which is NASA, and which operates transparently, works with international partners, landed on the Moon in the 1960s, and is responsible for the peaceful exploration of the cosmos. Finally, there is the commercial space sector, including traditional contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing, as well as important new players such as SpaceX and satellite companies like Planet. But for a fleeting, dismissive mention of NASA, Space Force mostly ignores civil and commercial space. In this television show—and thus, I fear, in the public mind—it sets up the human exploration of the Moon as a purely military exercise. There are those of us who would like to see NASA as a force to unite the world, rather than divide it, and for humans to go forward into the next frontier together. The eerily real stuff The show gets some details shockingly right. It portrays China as America's major rival in space, and this is accurate. China has not yet surpassed US spaceflight capabilities, as is suggested in Space Force. However, China is building a credible and stable program that will see development of a modular space station in a couple of years, and they're working toward putting humans on the Moon in a decade or so. Toward the end of the first season, China claims the large "Sea of Tranquility" region on the Moon for its own as a "territory of scientific research." China informs Naird that his astronauts should not land there because it would disrupt Chinese experiments. As I watched this, I was reporting on NASA efforts to finalize an initiative it calls the "Artemis Accords." The goal of these accords is to establish 10 basic norms as part of the space activities, such as operating transparently and releasing scientific data. One of these was "Deconfliction of Activities," which affirms that no one can own territory on the Moon or elsewhere but that NASA and its partner nations can establish "safety zones," which they would ask other nations to respect and not interfere with. The bottom line is that Space Force exists at the very edge of real-world spaceflight. While we're laughing, I hope we're also thinking about how we go into deep space in the coming decade. NASA's vision, as outlined in the Artemis Accords, is a pretty good one. I'll take partnerships over pistols any day. Enlarge / So damn good. Netflix Shortly before the series' formal Netflix premiere on Friday, May 29, some of my Ars colleagues will post a more traditional TV review of the series. Until then, I'd like to briefly fake being a TV critic and salute John Malkovich as fake Space Force's chief scientist. My God, he's wonderful. Steals the show. Source: I laughed a lot at Netflix’s Space Force, but my inner space wonk cried (Ars Technica)
  10. Netflix is cancelling accounts that have been inactive Netflix announced today that it will start removing accounts of customers who have not watched anything on the platform for a year after they have joined the service. The company will also cancel subscriptions of those who have stopped watching content for more than two years. The streaming service says it will begin sending notifications to customers who have been inactive to ask them if they still want to continue their subscriptions. If Netflix does not hear back from them, it will automatically end their membership. This heads-up will be sent via email or in-app notification beginning this week. Netflix's Eddy Wu wrote in a blog post: "You know that sinking feeling when you realize you signed up for something but haven’t used it in ages? At Netflix, the last thing we want is people paying for something they’re not using." For customers whose accounts may be cancelled due to the latest turn of events, Netflix says reactivating a subscription is always a breeze. Also, deactivated accounts that will be restored within 10 months will retain their existing favorites, profiles, viewing preferences, and other details. The company noted that this group of subscribers represents a few hundred thousand of its total users, or less than half of 1% of its overall subscriber base. This figure has already been reflected in Netflix's financial guidance as well. Source: Netflix is cancelling accounts that have been inactive (Neowin)
  11. Uncut Gems, one of Adam Sandler’s best movies, is now streaming on Netflix in the US Honestly, finally Adam Sandler hasn’t acted in many dramas, but those he stars in tend to exceed expectations. Uncut Gems is no different. Josh and Benny Safdie’s critically acclaimed independent film, which stars Sandler as Howard Ratner, New York City jeweler with a gambling addiction who risks it all on a rare stone, Kevin Garnett, and a 2012 Celtics game, is now streaming on Netflix in the United States. The streamer is a co-producer of the film alongside indie hit maker, A24. Uncut Gems was available to stream on Netflix in international territories prior to today. Uncut Gems was named one of 2019’s best films by a number of critics, and many considered the lack of recognition by award bodies for Sandler as a major snub. The anxiety-inducing film also helped cement the Safdie brothers as two of the most ambitious filmmakers working today, following their success with Good Time in 2017 and Heaven Knows What in 2014. Personally speaking, Uncut Gems also does a phenomenal job of accurately portraying what it’s like to be a basketball — or any sports — fan. As Louis Bien wrote at SB Nation in December 2019: This may be the most accurate sports movie I have ever seen. Whereas a conventional sports movie throws what feels like insurmountable challenges at the protagonists, only to resolve them neatly, in Uncut Gems, the outcome is unnecessary. The point is that you’ve become an emotional hostage. And you don’t have to be a degenerate gambler to know the feeling; any sports fan understands, because what is our favorite sports team if not our very own lying, philandering scumbag who we’ve tethered ourselves to arbitrarily and imbued with unearned loyalty and hope that may never be repaid, and whose feelings we’ll never feel reciprocated? If you’re looking for a new Sandler movie to watch on Netflix today, make it Uncut Gems, not Murder Mystery. Source: Uncut Gems, one of Adam Sandler’s best movies, is now streaming on Netflix in the US (The Verge)
  12. The 15 best Netflix Original animated series, from She-Ra to BoJack Horseman The streaming service is home to some of the best animation on TV (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) “Animation is not a genre. Animation is an artform and it can do any genre.” As director of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, Brad Bird should know what he’s talking about – and looking at how the medium’s evolved over the last 30 years, it’s impossible to disagree. As recently as the early ’90s, cartoons were still widely regarded as something for the kids. Since then, however, The Simpsons, Family Guy and South Park have paved the way for more adult-oriented animation on TV, while the groundbreaking likes of Pixar, DreamWorks and Laika have pushed the boundaries of what animators can achieve on screen. These days animation is a broad church taking in everything from comedy for pre-schoolers to sophisticated examinations of the human soul. As with its live-action programming, Netflix’s animated content explores a huge range of styles, genres and themes – and a lot of its shows are absolutely essential viewing. In this list, TechRadar has brought together 15 of the best Netflix Original animated series you can watch right now – whether you’re into gritty sci-fi, family comedy or sword-wielding warrior princesses, there’s something for you here. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) The original She-Ra was a spin-off from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, an ’80s cartoon that was much better at flogging toys than telling stories. Few seriously believed it needed a comeback, until this hit Netflix show proved otherwise. Series creator Noelle Stevenson put the emphasis on reinvention, crafting a fun, intelligent, sophisticated saga that couldn’t be further from the po-faced source material. With He-Man nowhere to be seen, twin sister Adora takes centre stage, wielding the magic sword that turns her into She-Ra and displaying refreshingly 21st century attitudes to representation. The kind of Saturday morning cartoon you encourage your kids to watch. Love, Death + Robots (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) With the likes of Black Mirror, a rebooted Twilight Zone and Inside No 9, the anthology series has gone through something of a renaissance in recent years. The genius at the heart of Love, Death + Robots, however, is that by telling its one-off tales via the medium of animation, the show has ensured its only limitations are the imaginations of its writers. Luckily it has an ingenious plan for navigating that particular obstacle – adapting short stories from some of the finest genre authors on the planet, Peter F Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds and John Scalzi among them. Among the best sci-fi currently on TV. Disenchantment (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) After creating The Simpsons, Matt Groening would have been forgiven for throwing away his pencil and stepping away from animation for good. Thank goodness he didn’t, because then we wouldn’t have been treated to the peerless 31st century adventures of Futurama – or Disenchantment, a deliciously twisted take on epic fantasy. With plenty of trademark Groening overbites, lots of pop culture references, and some razor-sharp skewering of the modern world, there’s no doubt the new show comes from the same stable as its predecessors. But it’s also home to more grown-up themes, and boasts a more serialized arc plot – perfect for the era of binge TV. BoJack Horseman (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) A cartoon about a talking horse who was once the star of his own hit sitcom? BoJack Horseman looked – on paper, at least – like it was going to be the height of silliness when it cantered onto Netflix back in 2014. Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s undefinable show has been defying expectations ever since, evolving from a hilariously acerbic satire on Hollywood – albeit one where animals and humans live alongside one another – into something much more ambitious. By turns funny, bleak and toe-curlingly awkward (and sometimes even heartwarming), few TV shows have ever delved further into the human (and equine) condition. One of the jewels in Netflix’s impressive crown. Castlevania (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) The long-running, vampire-infested console actioner that’s been scaring players since the ’80s gets reinvented as a TV series – and puts most other videogame adaptations to shame. The Hobbit’s Richard Armitage voices monster-hunting hero Trevor Belmont, teaming up with Dracula’s half-human son Alucard (Battlestar Galactica’s James Callis) against the infamous Count. With plenty of gore, every episode written by comics legend Warren Ellis, and anime-inspired visuals, it’s clearly aimed at old-school fans of the franchise – indeed, chances are you wouldn’t want your kids tuning in. Voltron: Legendary Defender (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) A re-dubbed, re-edited reinvention of Japanese anime show Beast King GoLion, Voltron has retained plenty of cult appeal since it debuted in the ’80s. This latest incarnation picks up the story of five teen pilots whose robot lions come together to form a giant mecha fighting machine called Voltron – Earth’s last defence against the evil Galra Empire. Luckily, showrunners and Avatar: The Last Airbender veterans Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim dos Santos realize cool iconography isn’t enough to carry the show, and load the series with epic outer space action and fun character beats – along with surprisingly dark themes about PTSD and bereavement. Dragons: Race to the Edge (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) TV spin-offs from movies don’t have to be cheap cash-ins. Just as the Star Wars universe was undeniably enhanced by the existence of The Clone Wars and Rebels, this long-running series is a vital addition to the soaring Viking adventures of How to Train Your Dragon. Okay, Cressida Cowell’s stories don’t have quite as much dramatic scope as George Lucas’s saga, but nevertheless, Hiccup and Toothless’s adventures between the first two movies are suitably epic. The CG animation is much better than you’d usually expect on TV, and – with many of the movie cast reprising their roles – Dragons feels like a blockbuster sequel in episodic form. Trollhunters (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) From Hellboy to Pan’s Labyrinth, to The Devil’s Backbone to The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro has a long history of infusing tales of the supernatural with memorable characters and plenty of heart. It’s no surprise, then, that the animated series he created should follow a similar blueprint. There’s a definite Buffy vibe to the show, as ordinary kid Jim discovers he’s the chosen one destined to protect his town from subterranean beasts, taking on the mantle of the first ever human Trollhunter. It’s part of a wider universe, too: the second series in del Toro’s Tales of Arcadia trilogy, the sci-fi-tinged 3Below, debuted in 2018, while final instalment Wizards is due in August 2020. The Midnight Gospel (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Pendleton Ward, creator of hit animation series Adventure Time, teams up with comedian Duncan Trussell to create another slice of trippy surreality. Where Adventure Time focused on the fantasy world of Ooo, The Midnight Gospel sets its coordinates for outer space, namely a weird dimension known as the Chromatic Ribbon. From here a spacecaster called Clancy (effectively a podcaster with interstellar reach) uses his illegal multiverse simulator to interview beings from other planets. Despite only eight episodes being available so far, The Midnight Gospel has already proved itself infinitely inventive, visually stylish and emotionally powerful – and totally unlike anything else on TV. Cross your fingers it gets a greenlight for season two. Tuca & Bertie (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) With a pair of anthropomorphized birds as its lead characters, Tuca & Bertie looks a lot like a BoJack Horseman spin-off. Despite the fact it was created by BoJack production designer Lisa Hanawalt, however, this one-season wonder is very much its own beast. At its heart are two avian best friends, loud-mouthed toucan Tuca, and her song thrush roomie Bertie. Packed with clever puns and visual gags (anyone fancy posting to Facebeak?), the show delivers a unique perspective on life and love in the 21st century. Yet its trump card is the casting of top comedians Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong in the lead roles – this is one double act we’d love to have seen more of. Big Mouth (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Don’t be put off by the unsophisticated animation style. Like Netflix stablemate Sex Education, Big Mouth is impressively candid when it comes to bodily functions and other issues associated with growing up – despite the fact its characters are regularly visited by surreal products of their imaginations such as a Shame Wizard and a Hormone Monster called Maurice. Co-creators Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg drew on their own teenage experiences to tell the story of best friends Andrew and Nick, but it’s hard to believe their real lives were quite this funny – as with The Inbetweeners, Big Mouth shows that teens can get away with the kind of crude gags nobody else can. F is for Family (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) If you thought that The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Family Guy were all the animated, suburban family comedies you’d ever need, think again because F is for Family is a worthy addition to the sub-genre. In fact, co-creator/star Bill Burr’s show instantly distances itself from those other shows with its 1970s setting, an era that puts a very different perspective on the world. Family patriarch Frank Murphy is an angry guy, increasingly disillusioned with his lot in life and struggling to deal with society evolving faster than he’d like. With plenty of pathos to go with the humour, it’s impressively three-dimensional stuff. Carmen Sandiego (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) If there are prizes given out for the most stylish animated series on Netflix, the elegant production design of Carmen Sandiego has to make it a contender. Based on a 1980s videogame (which also spawned two game shows and a cartoon series in the ’90s), this Netflix incarnation tells the story of the eponymous super-thief, voiced by Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez. Of course, this being a kids’ show, Carmen isn’t really a criminal – despite what the authorities claim. Instead she uses her heisting skills to steal back what’s been taken by the despicable operatives of V.I.L.E – aka the Villains International League of Evil – in a series packed with fun adventures and plenty of backstory. Stranger Things and IT’s Finn Wolfhard co-stars as sidekick Player. Hilda (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) This cartoon series may look like something from the 1980s, but it actually debuted in 2018. Based on an award-winning series of independent graphic novels by British creator Luke Pearson, the show mixes a Scandinavian setting that evokes the Moomins with a visual style reminiscent of Studio Ghibli legend Hayao Miyazaki. It follows the exploits of titular blue-haired pre-teen Hilda (voiced by Bella Ramsey, the heroic Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones) when she moves from her magical village to the big city – and discovers there’s just as much supernatural stuff going on behind the scenes... The series clearly has younger audiences in its sights, but there’s also a surprising amount of emotional depth lurking beneath the surface. The Hollow (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) A trio of teenage strangers wake up to find themselves in an underground bunker. With their memories erased, they have to come together to survive the bizarre, dangerous, puzzle-filled world they find themselves in – all while working out why the hell they were brought together in the first place. If the ingenious Maze Runner-like premise of The Hollow isn’t enough to draw you in, rest assured that there’s plenty more to like in this super-smart kids’ show. It’s fast-paced, the core characters are memorable, and there’s plenty of genre-hopping in a gripping serialized story arc. Source: The 15 best Netflix Original animated series, from She-Ra to BoJack Horseman (TechRadar)
  13. The 11 best hidden gems on Netflix: how to get more from your subscription Watch some less obvious favorites (Image credit: Netflix) You've probably been getting more out of your Netflix subscription than ever in the past couple of months, but there's always more stuff to stream that you haven't watched yet. Whether it's a great movie, an obscure short film or fantastic import series, there's a lot more to the streaming service beyond obvious heavy hitters like Orange is the New Black and The Witcher. Here, we've rounded up our favorite Netflix hidden gems, with the goal of finding a few new movies and shows to add to your watch list. Check out our best Netflix movies, best Netflix shows and best Netflix documentaries lists for recommendations on our other favorites. Cable Girls (Image credit: Manuel Fernandez-Valdes) Las Chicas Del Cable in its native Spanish, Cable Girls is a period drama set in 1920s Madrid. Revolving around the lives of four young women who work at a telephone exchange, it dives into the pasts, families and partners of the women while also highlighting the male dominated society of Spain in the 1920s. Murder, corruption, love affairs and betrayal, Cable Girls is well worth turning on the subtitles for. With the fifth and final season recently released, now is the perfect time to binge. Horse Girl (Image credit: Netflix) Written by and starring Community, Mad Men and GLOW alum Alison Brie, Horse Girl is a strange, ephemeral film about a typical horse girl. You know: geeky, overly cutesy, not good at talking to people. She’s happy enough with her job at the craft store and working part time at a stable, but when her glamorous roommate sets her up on a date, things take a turn for the worse. Brie’s character starts to experience vivid dreams, begins sleepwalking, and believes aliens are interfering in her life, with mysterious goals. Toast of London (Image credit: Channel 4) It's not a hidden gem in his native Britain, but Toast of London stars Matt Berry (seen in FX's What We Do in the Shadows), and that alone is reason enough to tune in. Berry plays Steven Toast, a washed up actor who doesn’t quite know he’s washed up. His life is more about the scandals he creates off stage these days than his performances on it. Toast of London is essentially a less serious BoJack Horseman. Three series are on Netflix now, but in true British style that’s just 19 episodes in total. A fourth is apparently on the way, but there’s nothing concrete on that yet. The Breadwinner The Breadwinner is a truly international film. Set in Afghanistan and co-produced by studios in Ireland, Canada and Luxembourg, it tells the story of an eleven year old girl Parvana and her family living under the tyranny of the Taliban. Her father, a war veteran with only one leg, is arrested for insulting a Taliban member, leaving no male breadwinner in the household. With girls not allowed in public without a male escort, Parvana disguises herself as her male cousin Aatish and must provide for her family in an unspeakably hostile environment. Derry Girls (Image credit: Netflix/Channel 4) Derry Girls is Ireland’s most popular sitcom, but it hasn’t garnered too much recognition away from its native shores. The Irish Troubles of the ‘90s doesn’t seem like the ideal setting for a comedy, but by digging into the very human experiences of that era, it carries the heavy themes flawlessly. It's about four Irish school girls and the first boy to go to their school (he couldn’t go to the boys school or they’d beat him up for being English). Derry Girls offers a new, uplifting perspective to a tragic time in history. Viewers in Ireland and the UK can watch both series on All4. Wentworth (Image credit: Foxtel Now) It does Wentworth a disservice to call it the Australian Orange Is The New Black, but it’s a fairly accurate description. If you’ve blazed through the misadventures of Piper, Taystee and Alex, Wentworth might satisfy that craving. A remake-cum-prequel of the cult ‘80s show Prisoner: Cell Block H, Wentworth tells the tale of Bea Smith, a woman awaiting trial for the murder of her husband. Through her naive eyes, we see how the world works in a women's prison. All the classic characters from the original are there, but you definitely don’t need any knowledge of it before you go in. UK viewers will have to watch this one on Amazon Prime Video. Seoul Searching Seoul Searching not only has the best name of any movie in history, it’s also a wonderfully colorful Korean tribute to the work of John Hughes. Set in 1986 but made in 2015, it features a set of foreign born Korean teenagers heading back to South Korea for a summer camp. It borrows heavily from The Breakfast Club but does it knowingly, and is careful to reinvent Hughes’ tropes while injecting fresh life into the premise by tackling it from an entirely new perspective. First They Killed My Father (Image credit: Roland Neveu) First They Killed My Father is a Cambodian biographical drama about the 1970s regime of the Khmer Rouge, told through the eyes of young Loung Ung. Initially from a middle class family, Ung’s life is turned upside down when they’re forced out and into a primitive work camp, leading to the death of her father. Ung went on to become an award-winning author and human rights activist, and the movie gives a startling insight into the horrendous conditions which shaped her into the woman she became. Through director Angelina Jolie, this one has a touch of Hollywood to it too. WHAT DID JACK DO? (Image credit: Netflix) How do you feel about the idea of cult favorite director David Lynch interviewing a monkey about a murder? You probably already know if that's something you want to watch or not. That's literally what this short film is, and you might've seen it come up in your recommendations if you've watched anything Twin Peaks-y on Netflix lately. WHAT DID JACK DO? is a mere 15 minutes long. You'll watch it, you'll scratch your head, and you may laugh at its extremely surprising ending. Flavors of Youth (Image credit: Premiere Pro) Ending the list with a little bit of animated wonder, Flavors Of Youth is a Japanese Chinese anthology movie centered around food. If your favorite part of any anime is the animation of the meals, you’re definitely going to want to watch this one. It’s only the first segment which really puts food in the spotlight, but in the tradition of Paris, Je T’aime, all of the stories link up by the end. With gorgeous visuals, a heartwarming plot and likeable characters, Flavors Of Youth is the perfect palate cleanser. Best TV shows of 2020 so far Stream safely from where you are with a Netflix VPN Money Heist (Image credit: Netflix) Now, calling Money Heist a hidden gem is slightly disingenuous, since it's actually Netflix's biggest non-English TV series, but anecdotally you're less likely to hear English-speaking people talk about it than, say, The Witcher or Sex Education. But they really should be. Spanish drama Money Heist is part crime thriller, part telenovela. Told in two series of two parts (four parts total), the first series focuses on a multi-day heist of the Spanish Royal Mint. The robbers battle with the hostages inside of the Mint and the police outside, with flashback sequences establishing the five month long planning preparation and the motivation of each character. While Ocean’s Eleven is built around the glamor of the caper, Money Heist puts its characters in the driving seat. Part three takes a look at the aftermath and next job, while part part four is set to drop on April 3rd. Just in time for you to binge all of it. Source: The 11 best hidden gems on Netflix: how to get more from your subscription (TechRadar)
  14. Netflix starts restoring streaming quality in parts of Europe Back in March, Netflix announced that the company will be reducing streaming quality in parts of Europe, Australia, India and some Latin American countries. The streaming giant took the decision to ensure that the network infrastructure was not overloaded as people were staying at home and almost everyone was relying on the internet to get things done. Since countries around the world are now starting to open up, Netflix has decided to restore the streaming quality. According to Gizmodo UK, users in Denmark, Norway, and Germany have reported that the streaming quality is now back up to 4K and up to 15 Mb/s. Netflix has opted for a phased rollout to make sure they don't end up overloading the infrastructure. The company told the aforementioned publication: Please note, we are working with ISPs to help increase capacity. In the last month alone we have added four times the normal capacity. As conditions improve we will lift these limitations. Netflix was not the only company that decided to reduce streaming quality worldwide. In March, companies including YouTube, Amazon and Apple reduced streaming quality worldwide to reduce the stress on the network and allow people to use the internet for important things. Netflix has noted that it will be restoring the streaming quality everywhere soon, unless something goes wrong in which case we will have more important things to worry about than streaming Tiger King in 4K. Source: Netflix starts restoring streaming quality in parts of Europe (Neowin)
  15. Netflix’s first interactive sitcom: Good for laughs, deserves a better app After the darkness of Bandersnatch, we get a wackier, more ambitious take. Enlarge / In Netflix's latest interactive special, you can tell Ellie Kemper to wield a bazooka. Seriously. It's one of many reasons comedy fans should endure the special's quirks and annoyances. Netflix Sixteen months after Black Mirror: Bandersnatch toyed with Netflix viewers, the streaming service is back with its newest live-action interactive TV special. This year, instead of a dark spin on '80s video games, we get a "breakable" version of the oddball comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If you come to this new interactive special hoping for one of the series's best episodes, you're out of luck. But if you're less interested in wacky New York comedy exploits and more interested in how interactive television is evolving, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend might merit must-watch status—with the caveat that Netflix's app could use an update before it streams another "choose-your-own-comedy" special. Some people are still Schmidt out of luck For the Schmidt-less among you: the series spent four seasons following Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), a cult escapee, as she re-acclimated to the modern world with a group of odd, new friends. While the series has officially concluded, this comeback special fast forwards to an entirely new, out-of-nowhere plot point and is therefore easy to watch for novices. She's about to wed a British prince (Daniel Radcliffe) who had previously never appeared in the series, but the wedding planning is interrupted by a discovery that her cult captor (Jon Hamm) may have imprisoned other people. As Kimmy goes on a journey to unravel this mystery, two other plots play out simultaneously: the prince participates in a bachelor party while Kimmy's away, and Hollywood agent Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) has to stall for time while her client Titus (Tituss Burgess) helps Kimmy. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 9+ images. Thus, this special's first major divergence from Bandersnatch is that viewers are asked to make decisions on behalf of pretty much everyone, instead of a single lead character. What exactly does Jacqueline do to stall for time? How does Titus deal with a crowd of unruly rednecks? Whom does Kimmy call first with a question about her old cult life? At each divergence point, a two-option menu pops up at the bottom of the screen, which you can toggle with your remote or a touchscreen on most devices. (Sorry, Apple TV users. Even 16 months after Bandersnatch came and went, you're still Schmidt out of luck.) At its best, UKS revels in the moments when one of the two choices is "wrong." Wait for a taxi that will clearly never arrive or sing an intentionally botched version of "Freebird" and a ridiculous sequence plays out before rewinding time. These moments are the golden stuff. Viewers are given no-brainer hints that these choices lead to silly, laugh-filled dead ends, and the show's writers get the freedom to write their characters into wacky sequences that wouldn't otherwise organically play out. The interactive gimmick gives the writers a get-out-of-jail card for jokes that wouldn't otherwise work outside of an animated series, and it doubles-down on Bandersnatch's brief WTF moments of dark comedy. Explaining these moments any further would dampen their hilarity for a first-time viewer, so please forgive my vagueness. Comedy, now loading... But in order to make room for these moments, UKS:KvtR is forced to build a bunch of "real" plot sequences to sew the timeline together. These sometimes dull the special's comedic punch, particularly when characters must travel from one location to the next, as if the comedy was held up behind a game console's "loading" sequences. Some of the special's decisions create massive forks in the story (and, thus, the gags and jokes you'll see), which might have been fine if Netflix's interactive format included nimbler rewind and fast-forward options. Sadly, even when you use some platforms' built-in "go back to a specific choice" seeking functions, you're still forced to re-watch a lot of the decision-making scenes that you've already seen. (These last approximately 15 seconds while the decision-making menu appears.) If you're a completionist, you'll have to watch some of these sequences three times to "unlock" every piece of footage in the special. And there's a good-news-bad-news twist to one of my favorite decision-making moments. Sometimes, when you pick the "wrong" choice in the special, time will rewind and you'll automatically choose the "right" thing. But other times, you'll get to manually pick again after the rewind, and the wrong choice will still be in the menu. Sometimes, when you pick this, the results are nuts—we're talking about the golden era of The Simpsons in terms of inspired wackiness. When those surprises hit, I found myself belly-laughing in ways I didn't expect. But other times, re-selecting the same choice over and over led to... the same result playing out over and over. This exposes an inherent weakness in Netflix's system: it basically works like an ancient Hypercard sequence. Each choice links to full-motion video for both the on-screen action and your menu choices, as opposed to a dynamic menu placed on top of a separate video feed. And sometimes, Netflix doesn't go to the trouble of building an entirely new if-then sequence. In these cases, viewers can expect a redundant feed of "pick this again and the same thing happens" choices. An interactive drama can absorb some of these momentum-dampening moments as we watch characters ruminate or while we enjoy refreshes of stirring scenery. But a comedy set in the classic TV-sitcom mold of gags and punchlines isn't nearly as amenable, so it's frustrating to see some of UKS' most refreshing and hell-yes comedic moments hampered by this format—even though on a few occasions, the laughs are likely doubled by the effort required to dig them out. As a comedy nerd—a devotee who ascribes to everything from the Dick Van Dyke series in the '60s to anti-comedy vanguards like The State and Mr. Show—I was charmed enough by UKS:KvtR to recommend it to anybody in a similar boat. As a kick-back-and-laugh diversion, on the other hand, the special is tougher to recommend, but most of that boils down to Netflix's ho-hum app experience, not the cast and crew's ambition. Go back to the interactive drawing board, Netflix, and help your next specials be a little less bitter to explore and enjoy. Source: Netflix’s first interactive sitcom: Good for laughs, deserves a better app (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  16. The 10 best Netflix Original movies – and 5 of the worst Netflix can rival the big Hollywood movie studios for quality – but things don't always go as planned... Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story. (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) When Netflix first launched as a mail-order DVD rental service, making movies was not part of the plan – and why would it have been? In the early 21st century, going direct-to-video was considered the kiss of death for a film, and few self-respecting Hollywood stars would voluntarily make the move away from the big screen. Times have changed, however, and these days there’s no shame in making films for a streaming platform – in fact, it’s something Hollywood’s biggest players have embraced wholesale. Regularly throwing blockbuster-sized budgets at its movies, Netflix attracts some of the biggest names in cinema to work on its original movies, with the A-list likes of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver all making films under the Netflix banner. Now that movies like The Irishman, Roma and Marriage Story have become major contenders in awards season conversations, Netflix has taken its seat at Hollywood’s top table. While it’s quite the success story, however, its movies don’t always get it right… So we've put together a list of 10 of the best Netflix Original movies you can watch right now – and, for balance, we’ve also picked out 5 of the worst you might want to avoid, which you'll find at the bottom of this page. The Irishman (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Yes, the CG technology used to turn Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci into younger men is a game-changer, but if that’s all you take away from The Irishman you’re missing the point. Martin Scorsese’s return to the gangster genre that made his name undoubtedly lacks the energy of the genre-defining Goodfellas and Casino, and at three-and-a-half hours gets perilously close to overstaying its welcome. Nonetheless, the leisurely pacing feels appropriate in a movie that’s as much about ageing as it is offing your rivals. Proof that some of the most important movies in Hollywood are now being made by Netflix. Marriage Story (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Marriage Story scrapped with The Irishman on this year’s awards circuit – indeed, with Laura Dern picking up an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress, it was arguably more successful. The Squid and the Whale/Frances Ha writer-director Noah Baumbach crafts the perfect falling-out-of-love story, an anti-romance that charts the painful divorce of a couple of New Yorkers. It’s sometimes excruciating to watch, but Baumbach latches onto the humanity of his characters to find the tenderness in their story, with stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver both on mesmerizing form. Roma (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) With this decade seeing wins for Alejandro Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) and Alfonso Cuarón himself (Gravity), Mexican filmmakers had already made their mark on the best director Academy Award by the time Cuarón helmed the brilliant Roma. Even so, this semi-autobiographical story about growing up in 1970s Mexico City still managed to break new ground as one of the first Netflix movies to hit big at the Oscars. Shot in gorgeous black-and-white, it’s a heartfelt, low-key masterpiece that would have been a much more deserving recipient of the big prize than eventual victor Green Book. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Despite an eclectic career that’s seen them dabbling in film noir, screwball comedy and the Dude, the closest the Coen brothers had previously come to the small screen was the superlative Fargo TV spin-off (which they didn't make). Netflix persuaded them to break their televisual duck, however, tempting Joel and Ethan back to the Western genre that served them so well in True Grit and (kinda) No Country for Old Men. Featuring six typically idiosyncratic Old West tales, this anthology boasts an all-star cast including James Franco and Liam Neeson, while O Brother, Where Art Though? veteran Tim Blake Nelson gets back in the Coen saddle as the eponymous singing cowboy. Okja (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Before he made a searing satire on wealth, class and modern society with the superlative Parasite, director Bong Joon-Ho pointed his viewfinder at animal rights and factory farming. Co-written with The Men Who Stare at Goats author Jon Ronson, Bong’s story starts off as a surprisingly touching tale of a girl and her genetically modified ‘superpig’ BFF – the eponymous Okja, an adorable triumph of CG. Things take a darker turn in the final act, however, as bad guys led by a wonderfully OTT Tilda Swinton try to take the pig back to its corporate roots. A one-of-a-kind collaboration between storytellers from East and West – and all the better for it. The Two Popes (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) As soon as Pope Francis was elected head of the Catholic Church in 2013, people started asking when Jonathan Pryce – who shares a remarkable likeness with the Pontiff – might play him on screen. Netflix eventually made it come to pass, as City of God/The Constant Gardener director Fernando Meirelles took a peek through the keyholes of the Vatican. We’ll never know how accurate the portrayal of Francis's meetings with Benedict XVI – his more conservative predecessor (played by Anthony Hopkins) – really are, but it’s a brilliant odd couple drama, especially when the duo let their hair down watching their teams face off in the 2014 World Cup Final. High Flying Bird (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Netflix has a habit of enticing big-name Hollywood directors to make movies for the platform, but few have crossed over quite like Steven Soderbergh. In fact, while Netflix is usually synonymous with massive budgets, the Out of Sight and Erin Brockovich director has chosen a rather more frugal route, shooting his recent films on smartphones. There’s rather more to this sports drama than your average home video, however, as André Holland (star of new Netflix series The Eddy) plays an agent taking on the basketball establishment. It’s a gripping story with plenty to say about issues surrounding race in sport, and with the supremely talented Soderbergh behind the camera – or should that be phone? – it’s as impeccably told as you’d expect. Dolemite is my Name (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Every so often a new Eddie Murphy movie gets hailed as a return to form. Dolemite is my Name is the latest to follow in the potentially career resurrecting footsteps of Shrek and Dreamgirls, and there’s no doubt the star’s performance justifies the hype. Murphy heads back to the 1970s to play real-life actor, comedian and singer Rudy Ray Moore, most famous for the blaxploitation films he made about his Dolemite character. While Moore’s rise from clubs to the big screen is straight out of the biopic textbook, it’s a wonderfully atmospheric recreation of the era, with an intriguing character at its heart. I Lost my Body (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) You didn’t think Netflix was going to let Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks have everything their own way, did you? Weeks after the release of the Christmassy Klaus, the streaming service's first homegrown feature-length cartoon, it was back in animation action with this weirder, more grown-up affair. For all Pixar’s spirit of creative adventure, they’ve never dared front a movie with a disembodied limb, but here a severed hand – making its way across France to find its owner – is the star of the show. Part horror, part love story, I Lost my Body is a beautifully animated tale, and a refreshing antidote to a medium dominated by CG. Atlantics (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Just to prove that Netflix isn’t all about big-name Hollywood directors, they also gave a debut to French actor-turned-director Mati Diop – with Atlantics, she became the first woman of color ever to direct a film in contention for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Set in the Senegalese city of Dakar, Atlantics focuses on a group of construction workers who are lost at sea when they go looking for a better life elsewhere – and, crucially, the people they leave behind. It’s an arresting, unconventional mix of romance, hard-hitting drama (the issues facing migrants are inescapably real) and the supernatural, all tied together with remarkable skill by Diop. And here are five of the worst As with its TV productions, not everything Netflix makes is a slam dunk. IO (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) For all the success Netflix has had with genre series (everything from Altered Carbon to The Umbrella Academy to The Witcher), its sci-fi movies are still playing catch up. Despite being fronted by talent like Anthony Mackie (Marvel’s Falcon) and Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers), this end-of-the-world drama is as lifeless as the futuristic Earth it portrays. Death Note (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Sometimes Hollywood gets hold of a classic Japanese manga and crafts something as all-round brilliant as Edge of Tomorrow. At other times, they make Death Note... It’s the story of a teenager who discovers a notebook whose pages have the ability to kill – there are supernatural powers at work, but paper cuts would be scarier. A major waste of You’re Next director Adam Wingard’s talents. The Open House (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) We’re pretty sure it wasn’t Netflix’s plan when this haunted house story was greenlit, but it’s become a handy resource for students who want to learn how not to make a horror movie. Genuine scares are in perilously short supply when a teen and his mum into beautiful mountain chalet – in fact, the film’s biggest shock is that they thought they could get away with one of the worst twist endings of recent years. Sandy Wexler (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) UK-based Netflix subscribers get to enjoy the critically adored Adam Sandler vehicle Uncut Gems (and US subscribers get to watch it from May 25 2020). Unfortunately, Sandy Wexler is a reminder that not all of the Happy Gilmore star’s output is gold. Heading back in time served Sandler well in The Wedding Singer, but unfortunately this overlong, ’90s-set tale of a Hollywood talent manager prone to exaggeration is bogged down by way too many gags that miss the mark. How it Ends (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) From Mad Max to Dawn of the Dead to A Quiet Place, there have been loads of classic movies depicting the fall of civilization. Despite its what-it-says-on-the-tin title, however, How it Ends will not be joining that list. A widespread power-out is the catalyst for an apocalypse driven by questionable plotting and far from A-list effects. You’re supposed to care about Theo James, Kat Graham and Forest Whitaker’s familial squabbles – sadly, you won’t give a damn. Source: The 10 best Netflix Original movies – and 5 of the worst (TechRadar)
  17. The Eddy on Netflix evokes the self-indulgent power of jazz Opinion: Stirring moments in this makeshift musical won’t stop it being a harder sell than La La Land (Image credit: Netflix) In case it wasn’t already obvious, director Damien Chazelle loves music. Like really loves it. The now-famous director was once on a doomed quest to become a professional jazz drummer when he studied at Princeton High School, and the fact that he had an especially intense tutor will come as no surprise to fans of his breakout film, Whiplash. Then there was his band at Harvard, Chester French, and, of course, La La Land, his heartfelt, timeless ode to the musical. Just as music has characterized and defined the director’s life, so it does with The Eddy, a just-released limited series for Netflix in which Chazelle appears to have been able to fill its eight-hour duration with as much jazz as he can squeeze. Here it's the show’s entire language and the structural glue that holds it all together. It almost feels like TV made from jazz. But for all The Eddy’s entertaining glamor and emotional weight, it’s held back by aimlessness and overindulgence. The Eddy is the story of a Parisian jazz club and the band of the same name that ply their rambunctious trade there nightly. However, the club founded by Elliot Udo (André Holland, Moonlight) is struggling financially. This famous New York musician has to manage business interests that get increasingly murky, his extremely tiresome daughter, Julie, and the dysfunctional band while it records an all-important album. The Eddy trumpets onto the streaming scene in a time of booming renaissance for jazz more widely. In recent years, the genre’s popularity has exploded. Spotify reported in 2018 that listens to their Jazz UK playlist have more than doubled, with artists like the Ezra Collective, The Comet is Coming, and Kamasi Washington revitalizing the genre and repurposing it for our turbulent present. In short, jazz is cool now. The Eddy thinks it’s pretty cool, too. And it is, for the most part. At first, however, it may put some people off. The show’s title card invites you into this “série originale netflix” and most of the cast in this flit between fluent French and English effortlessly. Its tone and style certainly won’t be for everyone. The musical numbers – of which there are many – often outstay their welcome, so if you have anything against jazz, I wouldn’t bother watching. And as we start in the crowd watching the band, they seem haughty and aloof, moaning at each other for minor mistakes. This first impression fades when you realize The Eddy doesn’t take itself as seriously as it initially seems. Farid’s wife Amira (Leïla Bekhti), gently teases them for their snobbishness, and as they play an al fresco wedding gig, the bride mutters that she wishes they’d change their “elevator music” for something more popular. Even the bank refuses to support the club because they’re “not French enough.” But it’s The Eddy's structure that gets under its characters' highfalutin skin. Each episode is named after one character and is then mostly driven by the baggage that person bring to each gig. These mini-narratives give the show the feel of an anthology, and that was a strong creative choice. As Katarina struggles to get the support from the state her disabled father needs and Sim gets desperate in his efforts to get his terminally-ill mother to Mecca, we see the real diversity that enriches Paris’ shabby banlieues. Beyond a poster reading “Strength in diversity” in the background and a copy of James Baldwin’s The Price of the Ticket, the importance of diversity isn’t commented on or emphasized. It’s just there. (Image credit: Netflix) By the time the band comes together to record their album – the final episode is named ‘The Eddy’ – it’s a different story, like an empty gallery that’s now been filled. The sound they produce is more nuanced in context. Once we know that band members are variously playing through the pain of addiction or a poor relationship with a parent, we understand where the passion for their music comes from, and it creates a quite beautiful ensemble by the end. That said, The Eddy does occasionally lurch into cheesiness and melodrama. After a hectic night involving a botched sexual encounter, and being kidnapped by drug dealers, Julie plays her clarinet to cope. Impromptu performances take place frequently as if The Eddy were a sort of makeshift musical, and it doesn’t always work. We also get a classic rom-com cliche as Elliot makes a last-ditch exhortation to his love interest and Eddy lead singer, Maja, at the airport. The show is weakest when it wants to be a crime thriller. The fallout of Elliot's partner's dodgy business dealings triggers a hokey overarching plot that gets increasingly ridiculous and ultimately tails off. The big bad gangster that torments Elliot and the club with fire bombs and threats is someone that really loves jazz, for instance. The lack of a crescendo feels as if another season is being set up, but this is just a limited series. (Image credit: Netflix) But, as we’re reminded in the final scenes, The Eddy is all about the music and the people that produce it. So much so that scenes without it are conspicuous in its absence. With the lively gig scenes still reverberating in the mind, the scene of a body being prepared for burial – drained of all life, colour, and sound - is especially jarring, and stark in its cold silence. Other moments play simultaneously with the band’s performances, both to enhance and contrast with events elsewhere. At times in The Eddy, music and life become so intertwined as to be indistinguishable. It's all enhanced by a demanding, close-up camera that helps us feel like we're there. We get right up in Elliot’s face in a way that recalls Ryan Gosling’s claustrophobic cockpit in First Man, of which Holland copes masterfully as his face displays endless variations of I don’t need this right now. Conversations feel as chaotic as a solo as we whirl from one face to the next. Thrust into the centre of the crowd we can almost taste the black coffee amid the haze of tobacco. While that may sound off-putting to some at first, what starts as impenetrable and distant becomes more welcoming as the chinks in the band's initially arrogant armour unravel. Each note, scene, and character is marshalled to bring us all together under one roof regardless of our backgrounds, by a shared appreciation of music. The Eddy's earnestness to present its clarion call on the uniting power of music means it veers into something overlong, self-indulgent, and all that jazz, but its heart is in the right place. Source: The Eddy on Netflix evokes the self-indulgent power of jazz (TechRadar)
  18. After Life season 3 is coming to Netflix – along with more Ricky Gervais shows Comedian signs a deal with the streamer (Image credit: Netflix) Ricky Gervais comedy-drama After Life is coming back for season 3 on Netflix, it's been revealed. Along with confirmation of the show's renewal, Gervais has reportedly signed an eight-figure deal with Netflix to create new stand-up specials and TV shows. After Life is about a local newspaper journalist dealing with the death of his wife, and attempting to bond with those in his community, even if he's not always in the best mood for it. The renewal of After Life isn't a massive surprise. Gervais is popular in his UK homeland, and the show was the most-streamed content on Netflix UK during its release weekend on the occasions we were looking at the app, even outpacing the Chris Hemsworth action hit Extraction. During a nationwide lockdown, that's likely to represent a big audience. Gervais has previously released a stand-up special on Netflix, too, called Humanity, as well as a movie called Special Correspondents. He's also a voice actor in the recent animated movie The Willoughbys. Thanks, THR. After The Office Gervais' previous work includes The Office, an enormously popular sitcom that shaped modern comedy, in a lot of ways, and led to an extremely successful US remake. Extras followed, a subversive and extremely funny look at fame from the perspective of an outsider. Life's Too Short, starring Warwick Davis as himself, was very much in the Extras mold. All three were co-created with writer/director Stephen Merchant. We'd some of call Gervais' modern work, post-Extras, as more of an acquired taste. There was a maudlin quality to Gervais' self-starring show Derek that made it pretty hard to like. That said, The Ricky Gervais Show animated series, based on the podcasts of the same name, was bizarre in concept but really funny in execution. You probably already know whether you're the right person to enjoy Gervais' work or not these days, but evidently After Life has really found an audience. Source: After Life season 3 is coming to Netflix – along with more Ricky Gervais shows (TechRadar)
  19. 10 future Netflix shows you didn't know it was making Probably, anyway (Image credit: Bandai Namco) Netflix is making so many new movies and shows at any given time that it's hard to keep track. That's not a bad thing. In fact, it means that every time a new title surprises you by launching on the streaming service out of nowhere, it's one more thing you can potentially add to your watch list. While the world of TV and film production is currently at a halt for the most part, save for animated series and projects shot in countries that aren't as badly affected by the global health crisis, Netflix has plenty in the works for the coming years. Below is just a handful of the projects that the streaming service has in production. We picked these out because we think they're worth having on your radar, either because of their stars, behind-the-scenes talent or interesting source material. Inventing Anna You might remember this widely-circulated and fascinating New York Magazine article about a woman pretending to be an heiress, who infiltrated the wealthy social circles of New York City and committed grand larceny. Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes is adapting the article for Netflix, and this limited series will star Julia Garner and Veep's Anna Chlumsky. Midnight Mass Midnight Mass is about an island community that's disrupted by the coming of a priest, whose appearance marks the island's residents experiencing both miracles and omens. If it's hard to get a grasp of why that's exciting, consider that it's a new genre series from The Haunting of Hill House team of Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy. Zach Gilford, Hamish Linklater, Rahul Kohli and Henry Thomas are among its attractive cast. One Piece You've probably already heard about Netflix's adaptation of the popular anime Cowboy Bebop, which will star John Cho, but you might've missed the fact that it's making a live-action version of the extremely popular pirate manga One Piece, too. Creator Eiichiro Oda will play a part in the 10-part series' creation. Hopefully it'll be better received than Netflix's Death Note adaptation, which got mostly negative reviews. Jupiter's Legacy Jupiter's Legacy was co-created by master artist Frank Quitely. (Image credit: Frank Quitely/Mark Millar) In 2017, Netflix bought Mark Millar's publishing line Millarworld, including the rights to his creator-owned comic books. The thinking, we assume, was that if Disney's going make its own Marvel series, why not just buy your own version of Marvel? One of five projects announced as part of the deal is this series, which is about multiple generations of superheroes, and how the present day children of '30s golden age heroes deal with their legacy. The pilot is directed by IT's Andy Muschietti, and the cast features Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb. It's likely to be the first Netflix project based on one of Millar's works to see the light of day, since it finished filming back in January. American Jesus (Image credit: Millarworld) The second TV series based on a work by Millar (as well as artist Peter Gross), American Jesus is about the supposed return of Christ in the form of a young man, who can perform many of the miracles associated with the son of god. Water into wine? No problem. This is a multilingual show that'll be presented in English and Spanish. Pieces of Her Karin Slaughter's 2018 novel is about a woman called Laura who's spent 30 years in hiding, until a terrible incident surfaces some unwanted truths about her past to her daughter. As mentioned above, Toni Collette will star in this Netflix drama along with Bella Heathcote, which was due to shoot in March 2020 but has since been delayed for obvious reasons. White Stork Tom Hiddleston stars as an up-and-coming politician in this drama, whose ambitions are about to be derailed by secrets from his past that are uncovered in a vetting process, just before he runs for parliament. As well as White Stork, Hiddleston, of course, is also starring in the Loki spin-off on Disney Plus. Mulligan This is a 20-episode animated series from 30 Rock writers Tina Fey, Sam Means and Robert Carlock. Mulligan is about Earth's survivors starting civilization again after an alien race destroys everything, an idea that should be amazing in these creators' hands. It was only announced in March 2020, so you might have a long wait for this one yet. Netflix could always do with more adult animated series after the demise of Bojack Horseman and Tuca and Bertie (though it still has Matt Groening's Disenchantment). Stateless This Australian immigration dentention center drama, co-starring and co-created by Cate Blanchett, is inspired by a true story of a resident who ended up trapped in one of these places. Check out the trailer for this six-part series above, which also stars Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid's Tale) and Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad). It's not actually a Netflix production, but the streaming service is distributing the show outside of Australia. The Sandman Okay, you probably did hear that Netflix is adapting Neil Gaiman's acclaimed Vertigo comic for the small screen. If you're not familiar with the comic, though, it's less likely you'll know why this is exciting. Sandman is about Morpheus, or the Lords of Dreams, basically the personification of the concept of dreaming. It's a bizarre, fantastical and engrossing series set in the DC Universe, and its long run means there are plenty of potential stories to be told, here. David S Goyer (the Dark Knight movies, Man of Steel) and Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman) are working with Gaiman on the adaptation. Source: 10 future Netflix shows you didn't know it was making (TechRadar)
  20. Netflix adds 15 million subscribers as people stream more than ever, but warns about tough road ahead As time spent streaming increases, Netflix looks ahead Netflix is one of the rare companies benefiting from the global pandemic, which has kept billions of people at home with nothing to do but stream, but the question is how long can it last? Although much of Netflix’s recent boom didn’t start until mid-March, when more people were forced to stay home to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, a series of popular, original shows and movies helped Netflix boost subscribers in its first quarter. Netflix added 15.8 million subscribers, more than double its expected 7.2 million that were expected — a growth of more than 22 percent year-over-year. Netflix now has 182 million subscribers worldwide. The company also saw quarterly revenue of $5.77 billion vs. the $5.76 billion estimated. Still, Netflix’s opening letter to shareholders isn’t all good. The letter notes that “some of the lockdown growth will turn out to be pull-forward from the multi-year organic growth trend, resulting in slower growth after the lockdown is lifted country-by-country.” The letter adds that executives expect “viewing to decline and membership growth to decelerate as home confinement ends, which we hope is soon.” “At Netflix, we’re acutely aware that we are fortunate to have a service that is even more meaningful to people confined at home, and which we can operate remotely with minimal disruption in the short to medium term,” the letter reads. “Like other home entertainment services, we’re seeing temporarily higher viewing and increased membership growth. In our case, this is offset by a sharply stronger US dollar, depressing our international revenue, resulting in revenue-as-forecast.” Netflix is taking extra precautions right now in an uncertain time, including “temporarily reduced the number of product innovations we try.” The big question is about content, and Netflix is more than hopeful that it will be able to continue releasing shows. “While our productions are largely paused around the world, we benefit from a large pipeline of content that was either complete and ready for launch or in post-production when filming stopped,” the letter reads. “So, while we’re certainly impacted by the global production pause, we expect to continue to be able to provide a terrific variety of new titles throughout 2020 and 2021.” A consistent stream of new originals gives Netflix a leg up over other streaming services. One of the biggest advantages Netflix has over its competitors ties directly into its release strategy; because full seasons of shows are available at once, Netflix has to have full seasons ready to go. That means TV shows it has in the pipeline for May, June, and July are fully complete seasons, so Netflix doesn’t have to worry about filming more episodes like networks do. Chief content officer Ted Sarandos previously acknowledged that Netflix has enough original content in the pipeline to survive the next few months, but like other companies, production stoppage will affect Netflix. Forward-looking statements from CEO Reed Hastings reiterate what many other entertainment companies are saying: it’s going to be a long, tough road ahead. While Netflix prepares for the long haul, analysts see Netflix as being more prepared to weather the storm than other competitors. “Obviously, everyone is in the original content game for the next nine to 12 months,” Steve Nason, research director at Parks Associates, told The Verge. “But they’re going to be fine. They have a big original library compared to competitors.” Some analysts see Netflix’s dominance as a streamer as a double-edged sword. The company is still mostly seeing additional gains domestically, but it’s slowed down considerably. Last quarter, Netflix only added 550,000 subscribers domestically, but it saw an additional 8.4 million subscribers globally. The company has leaned more heavily on its international growth in recent earnings reports and SEC filings, pivoting some of its focus to developing those international territories. Other analysts, like Nason, see it as a natural progression for the company. Netflix is a “foundational service,” according to Nason. It’s already in the majority of people’s homes who are going to pay for Netflix. Plus, people aren’t likely to give it up when it comes time to cut down on streaming services. Those who don’t have Netflix now, when it’s arguably the best time for streamers to get people’s attention, likely won’t going forward, Netflix’s letter argues. “Intuitively, the person who didn’t join Netflix during the entire confinement is not likely to join soon after the confinement,” the letter reads. It’s hard to grow from that spot domestically, Nason added, but said because of Netflix’s aforementioned advantages, Netflix’s subscriber base in the United States could continue growing over the next several months. “When you’re number one, it’s always difficult to grow as fast as your competitors or whoever’s trailing you,” Nason said. “Ever since they hit the 60 million subscribers mark about three or four quarters ago, they’ve seen decelerating growth. Most of the growth they’re seeing is international where they’re still growing much, much faster.” Netflix is far ahead of its competitors, according to HarrisX, a market research and consulting company that specializes in online polling and data analytics. Netflix took up 72 percent of streaming time in homes, according to a new research report from MoffettNathanson in partnership with HarrisX, “while overall streaming penetration reached 74 percent, implying very healthy subscriber growth in the quarter.” That could help explain Netflix’s skyrocketing performance on Wall Street. The company’s boasting an impressive valuation as stocks reach an all-time high, rising 30 percent year over year. Unlike Disney Plus, which has an impressive catalog of older films and TV shows, Netflix and Hulu continue to best serve people looking to watch something on a daily basis, according to MoffettNathanson. Netflix also believes that its ongoing curation of new series on top of its licensed library will help weather the storm compared to its competitors. “Our content competitors and suppliers will be impacted about as much as we are, in terms of new titles,” the letter to shareholders reads. “Since we have a large library with thousands of titles for viewing and very strong recommendations, our member satisfaction may be less impacted than our peers’ by a shortage of new content, but it will take time to tell.” The longer that Netflix has a captive audience because of the coronavirus pandemic, and as long as Netflix can continue serving new content, the company will continue to have a major advantage. “People are consuming, not just Netflix, but all kinds of video content at an unprecedented level,” Nason said. “It’s probably going to get a little more challenging as new entrants enter the market. Peacock launched, and HBO Max is a huge service launching next month. Even Quibi to a much much lesser extent. Disney Plus certainly has some type of impact. Even then, none have the original lineup that Netflix does right now.” Source: Netflix adds 15 million subscribers as people stream more than ever, but warns about tough road ahead (The Verge)
  21. 10 cancelled Netflix TV shows that are worth binge watching Gone too soon, but well worth watching (Image credit: Netflix) The worst thing about falling in love with a TV show is that it might be cancelled before its story is finished. Not even Netflix, with its massive production budgets and ad-free streaming model, is immune to the need to wield the axe on a beloved series before its time. While some series’ demises are made inevitable by poor viewing figures or a critical panning – no content provider can expect to hit the mark all the time – Netflix has been known to cancel shows seemingly in their prime. In fact, these days having the plug pulled by the streaming giant isn’t necessarily an indicator of failure – especially when a show gets past the three-season mark, and the production costs start to spiral upwards. Here’s a list of 10 of the best shows cancelled by Netflix – and with Jessica Jones, BoJack Horseman and Santa Clarita Diet among them, they're in excellent company. House of Cards (2013-2018) (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Going into House of Cards, Netflix pretty much knew their first original drama was set to be a hit – their vast bank of subscriber data had already told them that viewers liked movies directed by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey. And in its early days this US remake of a brilliant BBC mini-series was tense, gripping stuff, as morally flexible politician Frank Underwood shamelessly maneuvered himself to the top of the Washington tree. The show had started to lose its way long before Spacey’s much-publicized fall from grace prompted Netflix to decree that the sixth season would be the last. By then, however, House of Cards had already confirmed Netflix’s arrival as a major force in Hollywood. Orange is the New Black (2013-2019) (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) While it’s not quite Supernatural or Grey’s Anatomy territory, seven seasons is such a good innings that the end of Orange is the New Black didn’t really feel like a cancellation – even creator Jenji Kohan had admitted she was “leaning towards” wrapping things up around then. Netflix pulling the plug on its hit prison drama was still symbolic, however. Over its impressive run, the show had become so much part of the televisual furniture that we’d almost come to take it for granted, forgetting how groundbreaking this female-led drama was back in 2013. Arguably paving the way for the likes of Killing Eve and GLOW, while showcasing the talents of future stars such as Laverne Cox, Ruby Rose and Samira Wiley, OITNB remains one of the most important shows in Netflix’s history. BoJack Horseman (2014-2020) (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) By the time BoJack Horseman galloped onto Netflix in 2014, we already knew there was a big market for satirical, adult-oriented animation – Family Guy, Futurama and South Park had made sure of that. But even they couldn’t prepare us for Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s thoroughbred of a series, one of TV’s most heartfelt and painful explorations of the human condition – despite the fact the lead character is a horse. You’re never given any reason to question why humans and anthropomorphized animals live together in this alternative Hollywood, as washed-up, self-destructive former sitcom star BoJack struggles to find his place in the world. Netflix ultimately decided the show’s sixth season would be its last – but not before giving Bob-Waksberg the chance to end the story on his own terms. Sense8 (2015-2018) (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) You could never accuse Sense8 of a lack of ambition. A collaboration between the Wachowskis, the brains behind The Matrix, and Babylon 5 creator J Michael Straczynski, the series gradually pulls together eight seemingly random people from around the world, who all turn out to share a powerful psychic bond. With an impressive cast, globe-spanning storyline, and levels of LGBTQ representation that rightly won plenty of praise, Sense8 picked up an incredibly passionate audience over its short run. Indeed, the fans even helped save the show when it was cancelled shortly after its second season aired – their campaign helped persuade Netflix to grant closure in the form of a feature-length finale. Jessica Jones (2015-2019) (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Maybe it’s best to think of Netflix’s street-level, New York-based take on the MCU as a single 13-season story arc. After all, the events of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher and Avengers-style team-up The Defenders are so intertwined that you can’t really appreciate one without the others. Jessica Jones just edges Daredevil as the standout – Iron Fist is the only turkey – with Krysten Ritter’s turn as the cynical, super-strong PI making her the most human of the bunch. All the heroes ultimately met their match when Netflix wielded the axe on this particular branch of the Marvel universe across late-2018 and early-2019 – but Jessica Jones remains one of the best superhero TV shows ever made. Santa Clarita Diet (2017-2019) (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Everything about this macabre horror comedy is unconventional. Despite having the trappings of a suburban family drama, its central character (a real estate agent played by Drew Barrymore) becomes undead, and develops a taste for human flesh. Yet it’s not a traditional zombie drama either, because she remains self-aware, and still has to negotiate the challenges of 21st century family life. It’s a mash-up that showrunner/creator Victor Fresco exploits for maximum comedy value, making the most of the chemistry between Barrymore and screen husband Timothy Olyphant as they try to work out what the hell is going on. Sadly, a brilliant third season wasn’t enough to save it from the chop. The OA (2016-2019) (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Back in 2017, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made the surprising statement that, “Our hit ratio is too high right now. I’m almost pushing the content team, ‘We have to take more risk, you have to try more crazy things,’ because we should have a higher cancel rate overall.” His commissioners were obviously taking note, because few other TV platforms would have taken a chance on a show as ambitious, weird and opinion-splitting as The OA. Telling the story of a mysterious young woman (played by co-creator Brit Marling) who dubs herself the “Original Angel”, the show’s two seasons were possibly too inaccessible to ever pick up a mass audience. Sadly, that meant Netflix pulled the plug after two seasons, leaving the show’s proposed five-year story arc frustratingly unresolved. Mystery Science Theater 3000 (2017-2018) (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) That the ’80s/’90s cult classic made a comeback at all is so remarkable that nobody should be too upset that it only lasted two seasons in its Netflix incarnation. The reboot was itself the result of a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, so while fans were clearly out there, there weren’t quite enough of them to guarantee the show’s long-term future on Netflix. The original premise – on the Earth-orbiting Satellite of Love, mad scientists force a human and his lo-fi robot companions to watch B-movies – remains intact, with a new cast including Jonah Ray, Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt. This cancellation doesn’t necessarily mean the end of MST3K, either – another comeback elsewhere is not beyond the realms of possibility. Mindhunter (2017-2019) (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) While Mindhunter hasn’t technically been axed – executive producer David Fincher still has the option of making a third season, and it's apparently on "indefinite hold" – but the fact that the cast have been released from their contracts suggests it's possible we've seen last of this excellent crime drama. That would be a shame, because the ’70s/’80s-set story of a pair of FBI agents studying incarcerated serial killers to help solve current cases is a brilliantly made period piece. So far so Silence of the Lambs, but the drama is given extra edge by the fact cases are inspired by real-life, with the series based on a book co-written by former Fed John E Douglas. Yes, Mindhunter tends to favour talky scenes over firefights and action, but who’s going to complain when the stories are this good? She’s Gotta Have It (2017-2019) (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) One of the best things about living in this so-called golden age of television is the fact that the best movie directors around have made the move to the small screen. Spike Lee joined the likes of David Fincher and the Wachowskis with this TV update of his 1986 breakout She’s Gotta Have It, helming every single episode of its brief two-season run. Nola Darling (played by DeWanda Wise) is a genuinely groundbreaking lead for a TV show, a polyamorous Brooklyn-based artist juggling several relationships and jobs. As you’d expect from Lee, the show has plenty to say about the world – not least because the characters have a habit of making asides to the camera – but it’s also funny, touching and powerful when it needs to be. Source: 10 cancelled Netflix TV shows that are worth binge watching (TechRadar)
  22. Netflix is making a bunch of documentaries free on YouTube If you were waiting for a reason to watch Our Planet Several of Netflix’s nature documentaries, including the critically acclaimed Our Planet and Babies, are streaming for free on the streamer’s YouTube page. Netflix normally allows teachers to access and stream its documentaries in classrooms for various teachings, but since schools are closed right now, the company is bringing those documentaries to YouTube. This way, teachers can assign documentaries for students to watch without worrying about whether students have access to Netflix. “Each title also has educational resources available, which can be used by both students and teachers,” a press release reads, “and we’ll be doing Q&As with some of the creators behind these projects so that students can hear from them firsthand.” The 10 documentaries available for free include 13th, Abstract, Babies, Chasing Coral, Explained, Knock Down the House, Our Planet, Period. End of a Sentence, The White Helmets, and Zion. A couple of the documentaries focus on nature; others center on social issues, including poverty, racism, and systemic injustices. The education materials for each documentary can be found on Netflix’s blog. Although the documentaries are only available in English right now, Netflix’s blog states that subtitles “in more than a dozen languages will be available later this week.” Source: Netflix is making a bunch of documentaries free on YouTube (The Verge)
  23. 6 Netflix sports documentaries that are worth watching With no live sports, these might help pass the time (Image credit: Netflix) These are strange times to be a sports fan. While there’s usually some kind of live action to watch somewhere in the world, the coronavirus crisis has led to the postponement of almost every major league in the planet. For the first time in decades, the constant background noise of matches and analysis has been silenced. But fear not. While there’s no new live sport to tune into, there are plenty of ways Netflix can help you scratch that itch. Whether you’re looking for documentaries about football or Formula 1, or the finest sports dramas, TechRadar has assembled a league table of the best action you can watch on Netflix. We can’t get the games and races restarted, but we can bring the thrill of sport back to your living room. Sunderland ’Til I Die (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) It’s all very well making documentaries about champion superclubs like Manchester City (Amazon’s All or Nothing) and Juventus (Netflix’s First Team). But for most football fans, the beautiful game is defined as much by the losses as the victories. That’s a big reason why this trip behind the scenes at perennial underachievers Sunderland feels so relevant – whether you’re a Black Cats fan or not. The timing couldn’t have been better, as the two seasons give you front row seats for relegation from the Championship, and the subsequent play-off agony after a season in League One. Fair play to Sunderland for letting the cameras in, because this warts-and-all doc doesn’t always make the club look good. Check out more of our thoughts on Sunderland 'Til I Die season 2 here. Last Chance U (Image credit: Netflix) You can hire the best writers, directors and actors around, but sometimes the best stories are found in real life. Four seasons in, Netflix’s documentary series about American football teams at US community colleges remains home to some of the most compelling drama on TV. The focus is on the players who nobody else wanted, full of potential on the field, but often prevented from realising it on the field by their difficult backgrounds. Yes, that sometimes plays out in the uplifting sports movie cliché of a team defying the odds. But just as often the players’ issues get the better of them and everything goes wrong. Hollywood should watch and learn. Formula 1: Drive to Survive (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) Here’s your chance to relive the 2018 and 2019 Formula 1 seasons at much closer quarters than ever before. With Netflix cameras granted unprecedented levels of access to the pit lane, this documentary series is as much about what happens off the track as on it. Mixing race action, interviews and tantalizing glimpses behind the scenes, Drive to Survive follows drivers, teams and management as they negotiate the globe-trotting circus that is F1. As impressive as Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen’s driving feats are, it’s soon clear that what’s going on beneath the bonnet is the real star of the show. Icarus (Image credit: Netflix) (Image credit: Netflix) The Lance Armstrong doping scandal rocked world cycling. It also inspired documentary filmmaker and amateur cyclist Bryan Fogel to embark on an audacious experiment to see if he could beat the testers. After meeting leading Russian anti-doping expert Gigory Rodchenkov, however, Fogel found himself taking on a key role in exposing the scale of state-sponsored doping in Russian sport. While the original focus of his Oscar-winning movie was totally transformed, Fogel still manages to skilfully weave together several disparate narratives into a compelling real-life drama – even as he becomes an integral part of his own story, testifying in front of the enforcers at Wada. Maradona in Mexico Footballing legend Diego Maradona (and past subject of Asif Kapadia's excellent documentary, Diego Maradona) attempts to save the Dorados, a bottom-place Mexican team based in Culiacán, Sinaloa, which has the stigma of being a cartel hot spot. If you know anything about Maradona's career, you'll understand how he's the perfect documentary subject. Put this on your watch list. A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story (Image credit: Netflix) A recent Netflix addition, this documentary focuses on the Argentine F1 legend Juan Manuel Fangio, and his amazing career at a time where safety wasn't exactly paramount in Formula One racing. A Life of Speed tries to explore why so many drivers decided to risk their lives doing it anyway. Well worth checking out if the virtual Grand Prix isn't enough for you. Source: 6 Netflix sports documentaries that are worth watching (TechRadar)
  24. Netflix food shows: 15 great cooking series to inspire and entertain you Make yourself hungry with these great series (Image credit: Netflix) These days, the shelves at the supermarket are looking a little bare. That could lead to more experimentation in the kitchen, as budding chefs try out a variety of different ingredients to make do with what they have. Naturally, that may have you to turning to the television for inspiration. Cooking shows have always been a part of the TV landscape, but with the rise of streaming, they’ve moved to the next level. Netflix has a whole host of great cooking shows, examining food from every conceivable angle, and here are 15 of the best. The Great British Baking Show (Image credit: Netflix) Numerous cooking shows are founded on competition, but The Great British Baking Show (known as Bake Off in the UK) does things a little differently. Full of charming contestants and heartening narratives, the show is a competition, but without the ferocity or the drama. Each week, bakers must complete three challenges in encouraging circumstances, ending with creative showstoppers. You won’t be able to taste the delicious treats, but the show will make you feel like you have. UK viewers can't stream the show on Netflix right now, annoyingly, but All4 has the three recent three series to stream with ads. Ugly Delicious (Image credit: Netflix) Hosted by acclaimed chef David Chang, Ugly Delicious is much more than a cookery show. Ugly Delicious is a history lesson in a bowl. Each episode highlights a specific dish, but rather than exploring how the dish is made, it takes you on a journey of the history of the food and the culture it was born into. Like a visual essay, Ugly Delicious is a love letter to food which goes way deeper than taste. Featuring Korean barbecue, Xiaolongbao dumplings, tacos from Los Angeles to Mexico and pizza in Connecticut, Naples and even Japan, Ugly Delicious takes you around the world in new and interesting ways. Sugar Rush (Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix) Sugar Rush is the most colourful cooking show around, and is like a 45-minute cupcake. With celebrity guest judges, neon sets and high stakes drama, this all might be a bit much for you if you’re looking for a pure, focused cookery program. If you’re after something fun, flavorsome and fluffy, though, Sugar Rush is just what you need. There are some spectacular creations here, mixed in with much finer, technical cakes. Sort of like the Great British Bake Off on LSD, Sugar Rush has all the makings of a great guilty pleasure. Chef's Table (Image credit: Netflix) Another cookery show which delves much deeper than just the food, Chef’s Table takes an introspective look at the makings of a chef. Each episode follows the career, culture and inspiration of a world renowned chef, offering up profiles of them and their work complete with captivating cinematography. Creator David Gelb previously helmed the documentary movie Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, which is essentially a feature length Chef’s Table. Worth tracking down once you’ve had your fill here. Cooking on High (Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix) Cooking on High has a killer concept and the name to match, even if the execution just falls slightly short. It’s a cooking contest show like any other, with the key distinction that every dish includes marijuana as a core ingredient. The problem is it gets a little high on its own supply. The production values aren’t really there, everything feels slapped together and it’s exactly what you imagined a mix of cooking TV and weed would end up as. Still an entertaining watch, though. Nailed It! (Image credit: Netflix) Nailed It was born out of those ‘cake fails’ you see online, and while the aim of the game is to not fail – to ‘nail it’, you might say – the challenges are so grand that contestants sometimes fall short. There are so many shows out there which revolve around the creation of perfect, jaw-dropping cakes, but they lack the relatability of Nailed It. Here, with all amateur bakers involved, things often go wrong in the best possible way. Seeing the hilarious failures is often better than seeing the contestants actually nail it. The Chef Show (Image credit: Netflix) If you liked the movie Chef, you’ll love The Chef Show. Written, directed by and starring Jon Favreau, the movie chronicled an award-winning chef who abandoned his high end restaurant to rediscover his love of cooking with a food truck. The Chef Show sees Favreau reunited with chef Roy Choi, the consultant for the movie. The show highlights the bond between them and the love of cooking the pair share, bringing in a whole host of celebrities for the ride too. It’s best known for the viral clip where Gwyneth Paltrow forgot she had ever been in a Spider-Man movie, despite featuring in Spider-Man: Homecoming alongside Favreau. A third season released on Netflix this year. Street Food: Asia (Image credit: Abhishek Bali/Netflix) Coming from Chef’s Table creator David Gelb, Street Food takes a much more rugged look at the history of dishes. Where its predecessor focuses on a single chef and their journey, Street Food examines the cities where food comes to life at a grassroots level. The first volume was set entirely in Asia, exploring Thailand, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam and more, with future series set to explore other continents too. By stripping away the personalities, Street Food gets much closer to the action and offers the most authentic experience here. Restaurants on the Edge Restaurants on the Edge asks the question ‘what if you tried to make Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares without Gordon Ramsay?’ The answer? You end up feeling like you’re missing something. The show replaces the temperamental Scottish chef with three less OTT characters: a restaurateur, an interior designer and a chef, but they’re less than the sum of their parts. Between them, they try to revive struggling restaurants by reconnecting them with the local culture, and it’s worth a watch to see the stories behind the failures, even if it doesn’t live up to Chef Ramsay. Salt Fat Acid Heat (Image credit: Netflix) Based on the cookbook of the same name, this mini docuseries explores what chef Samin Nosrat claims are the four essential parts of cooking: salt, fat, acid, and heat. Each episode explores one element of the cooking quadrilogy, although frustratingly for some perfectionists, the airing order switches Fat and Salt around. Starting in Italy with olive oil, the series journeys to Japan for the salt of soy sauce and miso, Mexico for acid and ends in Nosrat’s first restaurant in California for heat. With a much greater proportion of female chefs and home cooks than most cooking shows out there, Salt Fat Acid Heat has a unique charm. Million Pound Menu (Image credit: Netflix) If you’re looking for a cooking show just as focused on the business side of restauranteering as it is the food, look no further. Brought to you by Fred Sirieix of First Dates fame, Million Pound Menu is Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank for restaurants. Four different chefs prepare a signature dish for a team of investors, with one being chosen to open a pop-up. That’s just the beginning, though. After a half price service, another meal for the investors, a business meeting and full price service, each investor individually decides if they want to go into business together, or leave the chefs high and dry. In the US, this is a Netflix original, but in the UK where it airs on the BBC, you can still watch it on the service. The Final Table (Image credit: Adam Rose/Netflix) The Final Table is a hugely ambitious, globetrotting cooking show like no other. Featuring international pairs of chefs, each episode sees them prepare dishes from different culinary cultures. These dishes are judged by a food critic, two culturally important citizens and a world renowned chef from that country, with one pair eliminated week by week. For the season finale, all of the legendary chefs return to sit at The Final Table and judge the ultimate champion. A high stakes competition with high quality food, The Final Table is a masterclass in what it takes to become a top class chef. The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Image credit: Netflix) The Big Family Cooking Showdown is an entertaining watch, but doesn’t exactly know what it is. Hosted by Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain and DJ Zoe Ball, the show pits two teams of three family members against each other in a knockout format. It goes after the warm appeal of Bake Off, but comes off a little twee and forced, and the challenges are a little convoluted. It’s set for a second series, and if it sorts out the teething problems, it could be great. Until then, it’s not perfect but it’s well worth a try. Zumbo's Just Desserts (Image credit: Netflix) This Australian cooking show feels like what you’d get if you threw all the ingredients in the cupboard together just to see what happens, especially if what you have in your cupboard is a lot of sprinkles. Presented by Adriano Zumbo, it immediately becomes clear why Zumbo is known as “The Sweet Assassin” and “The Australian Willy Wonka”. His creations are sugar packed delights with strange and sublime concoctions of flavor, and here contestants are tasked with completing three hour-long technical bakes as well as creating some of his most spectacular signature dishes. Taco Chronicles For all it’s a tasty snack that’s easy to make at home, the taco is one of the most culturally significant dishes around, and this Spanish-language docuseries details the history surrounding the immortal taco. Delving into the history, varying styles and different riffs on the taco design, Taco Chronicles takes us from the Aztecs to modern day Los Angeles via Tijuana and Asia Minor. Who knew one little taco contained so much history? Source: Netflix food shows: 15 great cooking series to inspire and entertain you (TechRadar)
  25. 12 Netflix shows and movies in Dolby Vision HDR you actually need to watch Use your HDR TV to the fullest Black Mirror Season 5, Episode 1: Striking Vipers (Image credit: Netflix) Let’s picture the scene: you're relaxing at home after a long day’s remote working, and you're looking for something truly eye-catching to take your mind off things on one of your favorite TV streaming services. Thankfully, if you have a subscription to Netflix, there are a number of HDR TV shows and films available for you to watch. Why should you care about HDR? HDR (high dynamic range, to use its full title) is a modern TV technology that gives video that extra oomph. The increased dynamic range over basic SDR (standard dynamic range) allows for more colors, better contrast, and a more nuanced palette than you would get on your TV otherwise. HDR isn’t that hard to come by these days – though Netflix also supports a dynamic HDR format called Dolby Vision, which packs in additional metadata to tailor the television’s picture scene by scene, and ensure the end result is as close as possible to the master screens used in a film or TV show’s production studio. You don’t need HDR to enjoy a movie, of course, but it makes a huge difference to the visuals if you have a 4K HDR TV able to display it. That’s why we’ve brought together some choice picks of Netflix series you’ll be able to watch in Dolby Vision HDR – or regular HDR if your television doesn’t support the premium format. It’s worth mentioning that you’ll need a TV that supports Dolby Vision or HDR to see the improvement, as well as the Premium Netflix price plan – but if those two needs are met, there’s nothing to stop you diving into Dolby Vision TV show and films today. (If you aren’t seeing the HDR or Dolby Vision logo on titles, it may be that your streaming settings aren’t set to ‘high’). Don’t have an HDR TV? The following titles are still available to watch to Netflix, whatever your TV capabilities may be. 1. Star Trek Discovery (Image credit: Netlfix) The seventh Star Trek series, Discovery, was created for CBS All Access, though also made its way to Netflix internationally – offering a tantalizing world of hyperspeed, intergalactic warfare and The Walking Dead’s excellent (and we mean excellent) Sonequa Martin-Green in the lead role. It’s a show that suffers from having too many good ideas, and not being able to choose between them – everything from multiverse theory and quantum mechanics to time travelling crystals – but there’s a good mix of new stories and fan callbacks to make this a Star Trek show very much worth watching. Doug Jones’ turn as Kelpian Commander Saru is also a masterclass of acting in heavy prosthetic make-up. 2. Chef's Table (Image credit: Netflix) The first Netflix Original documentary is still one of its best. Chef’s Table profiles a different professional chef each episode, and has now been running for six seasons – meaning there’s plenty of food porn and behind-the-scenes chat with cuisine maestros for you to enjoy. It’s a truly globe-trotting series, jumping between Italy, the United States, France, Slovenia, Thailand, and others – and watching in HDR really helps make those colorful cuisines jump off the screen. 3. Russian Doll (Image credit: Netflix) Natashy Lyonne plays a bad-mouthed video-game designer in New York, caught in a time loop of endless deaths. Can she escape? Is she just high? And might someone else be caught in the same predicament she is? Russian Doll is surprisingly clever – often brutally succinct about the lasting scars of trauma and mental illness – especially as the sci-fi elements become more apparent, and having Lyonne as its snarky heart carries this show into pure brilliance. A redo of Groundhog Day, this isn’t. 4. When They See Us (Image credit: netflix tv) Created by Ava DuVernay for Netflix, this hard-hitting drama miniseries follows the story of five teens – four African American men and one Hispanic man – who were accused of attacking and raping a woman in New York in 1989. It's a gut-wrenching story that shines a light on systemic racism in the US, and was one of the most-watched Netflix shows in its first month of release, going on to win multiple Emmy and Critics Choice awards. The production values certainly aren’t the most important thing about it – but it was filmed in Dolby Vision HDR, and it’s one of the most deserving programmes on Netflix to have done so. 5. Altered Carbon (Image credit: Netflix) This Netflix Original TV adaptation of the Altered Carbon book series was an instant sci-fo classic, and its second season has now joined the first on Netflix too. The world of Altered Carbon focuses on immortality – granted by a technology called ‘stacks’ that the human mind can be uploaded to – with the rich and powerful able to guarantee their permanent survival while those at the bottom of the ladder struggle to live more than one life. If it sounds philosophical, it is – with a mournful AI also inspired by the gothic writer Edgar Allen Poe – but there’s also plenty of high-paced action and more than a dose of Blade Runner in the production design. The second season saw the MCU’s Anthony Mackie take on the lead role, too, with the body-hopping technology at the heart of this series putting a new, glossy and far more adult spin on the reincarnation sci-fi of Doctor Who. The second season doesn’t feel quite as grounded, and also suffers from a lot of déjà vu (a lot of sets and locations are re-used) but there’s still a lot to enjoy here. 6. Black Mirror (Image credit: Netflix) Charlie Brooker’s sci-fi anthology series may have started its life on Channel 4, but these days it’s a massive Netflix operation – spanning the world with tales of how technology has entangled itself in our lives, usually (though not always) for the worse. The most recent seasons (4-5) were filmed in Dolby Vision HDR, and it’s clear the production values got a shot in the arm. Some of us may miss the satirical bite of the earlier seasons, but they’re all on Netflix for you to cast your vote on. Check out our guide to the best Black Mirror episodes to know which ones are most worth your while too. 7. Marriage Story (Image credit: Netflix) Noah Baumbach, husband of Little Women and Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig, made waves with this meditation on love and marriage – and divorce – on Netflix in 2019. Starring Adam Driver (Rise of Skywalker, Girls) and Scarlett Johansson (Lucy, Black Widow) are a couple navigating the difficulties of drifting apart, both emotionally and legally. It's heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure. 8. The Politician (Image credit: Netflix) One of the most confident Netflix Originals on this list, The Politician follows a young high schooler and (in his mind) prospective future President of the United States. It’s a bit early to be running for office, certainly, but that won’t stop him putting his all into the elections for school president. It has all of the politicking, backstabbing, and soul-searching you’d hope from a high school drama and The West Wing rolled into one. The show loses some momentum in its indulgent moments – mainly in order to show off the incredible singing voice of its lead, Ben Platt – but it’s still dramatic stuff, with every scene being packed with incredible outfits and unobtainable homes that truly sing in Dolby Vision HDR. 9. Velvet Buzzsaw (Image credit: Netflix) This 2019 movie from Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy is… an interesting mix of genres. With Jake Gyllenhaal playing a gallery curator who stumbles across the disturbing – and highly valued – artworks of a deceased painter, he puts them on display for the world to see. But things quickly go wrong, as this art world satire descends into paranormal horror and grisly bloodshed. With John Malkovich, Zawe Ashton, and Stranger Things’ Natalie Dyer heading up the cast, there’s a lot of talent on show – while Velvet Buzzsaw’s popping colors and increasingly twisted aesthetic is a brilliant showcase for Dolby Vision too. 10. Stranger Things (Image credit: Netflix) Ok, you’ve probably heard of Stranger Things by now, but did you know seasons 2 and 3 were filmed in Dolby Vision HDR? While the first season didn’t slack in the visuals department by any means – helped by the show’s lovingly-recreated 80s fashion and paraphernalia – this paranormal horror adventure story gets even more gorgeous with each season, whether the camera is patrolling the dark fields and interdimensional portals of season 2, or the sun-soaked swimming pools and flashy Starcourt Mall of season 3. Here's when we expect to see Stranger Things season 4, too. 11. Always Be My Maybe (Image credit: Netflix) Comedian Ali Wong (Tuca & Bertie, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra) stars in this romantic comedy about reconnecting with your childhood sweetheart, reassessing what you want in life, and sleeping with Keanu Reeves. Truly a movie for us all. 12. Ozark (Image credit: Netflix) Jason Bateman and Laura Linney co-star in this Netflix crime drama, where a family is strong-armed into laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel. With its third season having dropped in March, it’s the perfect time to jump into (or revisit) the series. It may have a dourer color palette than some of the series on this list, but boy do those shadows look good in dynamic HDR. Source: 12 Netflix shows and movies in Dolby Vision HDR you actually need to watch (TechRadar)
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