December is finally here, which means its the prime time to crack out the blankets, plump up your pillows and get ready for a month of cosy TV watching in the run-up to Christmas.
While there are so many shows to choose from across the terrestrial channels and all the streamers, you can never go wrong with Netflix, which boasts an impressive selection of popular titles from the phenomenon that is Squid Game to reality hit Selling Sunset, which just returned for season four.
If you’re in the mood for an animated comedy, the latest season of Big Mouth premiered last month, while brand new show Inside Job made its Netflix debut recently.
We make sure to update our recommendations every week, so keep this page bookmarked for RadioTimes.com‘s expert picks – or check out our line-up of the best Netflix movies for other suggestions.
You can also tweet us @RadioTimes if we’ve missed your favourite off the list – otherwise, start scrolling and happy streaming!
Updated: 2nd December 2021
Below Deck: Mediterranean
Nothing beats a bit of sea-based reality TV and Below Deck: Mediterranean is some of the best, with the spin-off series making for a highly entertaining watch.
The Bravo show follows a superyacht crew, led by Captain Sandy Yawn, as they sail across the Mediterranean whilst catering to the every want and need of their wealthy guests. From chef meltdowns to the blossoming of romance within crew members, to shock firings and boating disasters, Below Deck: Mediterranean is factual television at its finest and if you loved the original franchise, then this is a must-watch. – Lauren Morris
Netflix’s brand new live-action remake of the hit anime series might have received something of a critical kicking since it was released in November, but the original show remains a fine, fabulously original piece of television and is available to watch in its entirety on the streamer. The series follows a rag-tag bunch made up of an ex-hitman, a former cop, a con artist, a hacker, and a data dog as they travel the galaxy in their spaceship, called the Bebop, bringing in criminals for pay.
Set in 2071, the series is notable for the way in which it effortlessly blends several popular film genres – including sci-fi, western, and neo-noir, to create something that is wholly unique, tackling themes including loneliness and escaping the past. It aired for only 26 episodes but since built up a reputation as one of the finest animes of all time, with an adoring fanbase around the world. – Patrick Cremona
Original show Narcos continued to be a must-watch despite the exit of central character Pablo Escobar, and Narcos: Mexico has found an identity all on its own with a brand new cast of characters. As Narcos charted the establishment of Colombia’s illegal drug trade up to the 1990s, this spin-off does the same for Mexico, rewinding back to the 1980s to explore the rise and fall of the infamous Guadalajara Cartel.
While there are a few notable guest appearances from key characters from the original Narcos series, Narcos: Mexico tells a largely separate story with a brand new cast of cartel leaders, DEA agents and politicians – yet retains the same stellar production values, impeccable acting in multiple different languages and of course the show’s signature violence. A mostly Mexican cast shines, with Rogue One’s Diego Luna playing against type as a drug trafficker who is as charismatic as he is brutal, while Michael Peña showcases his dramatic chops as agent Kiki Camarena, a DEA agent whose name has gone down in history in both the organisation and the country of Mexico. The Narcos saga comes to an end with the third season of Narcos: Mexico, and together the two shows have done the near-impossible job of dramatising the sprawling story of the war on drugs – bringing us right up to the modern world where the war continues to rage. – Daniel Furn
A coming-of-age tale quite unlike any other, Big Mouth is now five seasons in and shows no signs of stopping. Loosely based on the adolescence of creators Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, Big Mouth follows teenage friends Nick, Andrew, Jessi, Missy and more as they go through the horrors of – gasp – puberty, resulting in plenty of expected hilariously awkward encounters as well as a few unexpected life lessons along the way.
Big Mouth’s premise meant it easily could have relied on cringe comedy and crass jokes alone and called it a day – and while the show is definitely not afraid to indulge in daring humour about the messiest parts of growing up, the show proves itself to be much, much more than that. Much like Netflix’s other teenage comedy Sex Education, Big Mouth explores sex and the human body with a frankness and honesty that is rarely seen on TV, exploring issues long considered too taboo for mainstream entertainment and embracing all the changes and differences that arise during one’s adolescence. What is most impressive – and comically bizarre – is how they convey their message while still being entertaining, with personifications of puberty, celebrity ghosts and famous cameos all managing to imaginatively inform. A spin-off, titled Human Resources, is also on the way. – Daniel Furn
A surprise hit of the last year came in the form of Selling Sunset, a reality TV show centred on The Oppenheim Group in Los Angeles. The group operates in the wealthiest parts of LA selling multi-million dollar homes to those lucky enough to afford them. The glamour is high throughout with more pairs of Louboutins than we can count on both hands, and enviable outfits are a must. But what’s most alluring with Selling Sunset, is the drama.
The series is packed to the brim with gossip even the Kardashians couldn’t produce and there’s enough backstabbing to keep you gripped throughout the seasons. There are weddings, babies, fall out and some seriously pricey properties which might well make for the perfect recipe for a reality show. Tune in before the highly-anticipated new series comes later in 2021. – Helen Daly
Arcane: League of Legends
Video game adaptations don’t have the best track record, so you’d be forgiven for being sceptical about whether Arcane is worth your valuable time. However, rest assured that it most definitely is. The animated series is inspired by the online phenomenon League of Legends, but you don’t require any knowledge of the source material to be enraptured by its larger-than-life characters or get lost in its rich fantasy world.
The story follows Vi (Hawkeye’s Hailee Steinfeld), a brave teenage girl living in the impoverished Zaun, an underground city located beneath the technologically advanced haven of Piltover. On one of her trips to the surface, she plans to burgle the home of an affluent academic with help from a few friends, but gets more than she bargained for when they cause a massive explosion after mishandling one of their target’s experiments – setting the enforcers on their trail.
Not only does Arcane boast a compelling story and strong character work, but it also stands out among the crowded animated landscape with a beautiful art style that blends 2D and 3D animation to create a truly unique look. There are some breathtaking moments in just the first three episodes, with many more to come as Netflix continues a phased rollout of the series throughout November. Give it a chance, you won’t regret it! – David Craig
It’s up for debate whether Tiger King’s success can be attributed to the quality of the zany documentary series or to the fact that it enjoyed a captive audience, with most of us locked in our homes as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. We’ll have a better idea soon, as a second season is out now courtesy of Netflix, which is sure to stir up more controversy as it continues this fascinatingly bizarre story.
If you (somehow) missed the first season or just need a refresher, Tiger King centres on outlandish zookeeper Joe Exotic, whose amateur big cat enclosures become the target of animal rights activist Carole Baskin, who is quite the character herself. Filmmakers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin tell the story of their epic feud, which ends with one of them being thrown in jail, while taking occasional detours to examine some of America’s other notorious big cat owners.
If you missed the initial Tiger King craze or just fancy revisiting the series under slightly less dire circumstances, catch up ahead of the second season. – David Craig
Locke and Key
Based on an acclaimed comic book, Locke and Key has a premise that will likely prove irresistible to fans of dark fantasy. After the tragic and violent death of their father, the Locke family moves to their ancestral home in the quaint town of Matheson, Massachusetts, where youngest son Bode soon makes an unbelievable discovery. Within the grand old house are magical keys that – when put in the correct doors – give the holder the ability to do incredible things.
Whether it’s leaving your physical body to float around on the astral plane or taking a trip into your mind to literally remove your demons, there is virtually no limit to what is possible with these mysterious magical artefacts. But such power is sure to attract malicious forces looking to wield it for their own nefarious purposes, with the Locke children soon getting swept up in something more dangerous than they could ever have imagined.
Netflix’s Locke and Key does justice to the source material with a faithful and suspenseful adaptation, which packs some impressive visual effects and likeable performances. It’s true that some of the high school drama is littered with tropes we’ve seen before, but the main plot is compelling enough to make it worth sticking through those segments. A second season is out now and Netflix has already ordered a third, so make sure you’re caught up if you want to avoid spoilers. – David Craig
Still wildly careening down the teen drama tracks is the seemingly unstoppable train that is Riverdale – The CW’s stylised series loosely based on the long-running Archie Comics. Starring KJ Apa as protagonist Archie Andrews, the series follows the high school jock as he joins his friends Betty (Lili Reinhart), Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and new student Veronica (Camila Mendes) in their search for the truth around missing rich kid Jason Blossom.
While Riverdale may have started in 2017 as a dark murder mystery that modernised Archie’s legendary comic book characters, over the past four years it’s ventured into a number of unpredictable, unrealistic, ridiculous and sometimes hilarious territories – from serial killer The Black Hood terrorising Riverdale residents and students becoming obsessed with the Gargoyle King, to the emergence of a local cult that’s been secretly harvesting organs.
Nevertheless, the show has hung on to a loyal group of fans who still tune for the outrageous plot twists, the random romantic relationships and the meme-worthy dialogue. With five seasons now available for UK fans to watch on Netflix and more series in the works, it doesn’t look like the Riverdale railway is coming to an end anytime soon. – Lauren Morris
Recent events and the advent of social media have made conspiracy theories more prevalent – and powerful – than ever, so it’s good to see a sitcom attempt to see the funny side. Inside Job follows the employees of shadowy government organisation Cognito, where it turns out every conspiracy – from lizard-people to JFK’s assassination to robot presidents – is real, and it’s up to anti-social genius Reagan Ridley and her co-workers to keep them out of public view. Cue a workplace comedy unlike any other, with just about every conspiracy theory imaginable getting a hilarious explanation or knowing reference.
An intriguing mix of Rick and Morty, Men in Black and The Office, Inside Job comes from creator Alex Hirsch, creator of cult favourite Gravity Falls, and certainly retains the wacky humour of his previous projects. Thankfully, Inside Job builds upon its interesting premise with whip-smart and often meta comedy, sharp satire of real-world issues and uniquely oddball characters, with a nice subversion of the lonely tortured genius trope. The Inside Job cast does a great job too, made up of the talents of Lizzy Caplan, Mr. Robot’s Christian Slater and The US Office’s Clark Duke. – Daniel Furn
It certainly didn’t hurt that Korean series My Name arrived so soon after the phenomenal success of Squid Game – but it also helped that the revenge thriller is rather good on its own merits. Climbing high among Top 10 charts around the world upon its release, My Name opens with teenager Yoon Ji-woo tragically witnessing her father’s murder. Intent on revenge, Ji-woo begs a crime boss to join her father’s old gang, who train her up – and then send her into the police as an undercover agent to find the cop who killed her father.
On paper My Name may sound like the many predictable revenge thrillers that have come before, but soon proves itself to be much, much more, thanks in a large part to the many dynamic action sequences and a fittingly pulse-pounding soundtrack. However My Name never loses sight of the character drama, exploring how Ji-woo gives up far more than her name when she goes undercover – erasing her whole identity and at risk of turning into a monster to achieve revenge. Much of this rests on the shoulders of Korean star Han So-hee – who ably carries the show in a tour de force performance as she nails both her role as an action heroine and the more emotional moments as her character goes through the absolute wringer. – Daniel Furn
The world was completely gripped when You launched on Netflix at the end of 2018 – and viewers haven’t really stopped looking over their shoulders since. The psychological thriller set in New York (and later, Los Angeles) sees creepy (but also kinda likeable) Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgley) and his developing obsession for Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail).
Over the course of 10 episodes, we stare in horror as his lust turns into toxic desire. At times, the Netflix series makes you laugh, but as the tone shifts in the story, so too does a viewer’s unease; this is quite simply not the kind of series you want to watch in the dark, before bed. A second season sees Joe move to Los Angeles where he attempts to start afresh, but soon discovers his obsessions can only be repressed for so long.
You might not be the most sophisticated thriller on the streaming platform, but without a doubt the story will have you gripped throughout. At times violent and deeply disturbing, You is a series to binge on one rainy weekend day, especially with season three now releasing. – Helen Daly
The Chestnut Man
Scandi-noir has been all the rage since The Killing burst onto British screens over a decade ago, so it was only a matter of time before there too was a Netflix series filled with bleak landscapes, chunky jackets and peaceful communities hiding dark secrets. The Chestnut Man is a prime example of the genre, following two detectives investigating a grisly murder scene, which has been mysteriously decorated by a figurine made out of chestnuts. This creepy clue soon launches the detectives into a hunt for a politician’s missing child – and the serial killer linked to his disappearance.
The appeal of Scandi-noir has long been documented and discussed, and although The Chestnut Man doesn’t necessarily reinvent the genre it does sit amongst the best of Scandinavia’s crime drama exports. Featuring a bleak autumnal atmosphere, a suspenseful slow-burn mystery and Scandi-noir’s trademark focus on domestic issues, all combined with Netflix’s excellent production values… need we say any more? Plus, you’ll never look at chestnuts the same way again… – Daniel Furn
Alice in Borderland
The success of Squid Game has brought this very similar Japanese series back into the spotlight, which once again sees people compete in sadistic survival games. However Alice in Borderland takes a far more science-fiction-oriented approach, following gamer Arisu who finds himself transported to an empty, parallel version of Tokyo. Arisu is then forced to compete in dangerous games to extend his visa – or face execution via laser if it runs out.
Based on the manga of the same name, Alice in Borderland doesn’t hang about, getting straight into the all-important games without overdoing the exposition or keeping the premise a mystery for too long. It’s a good move, as it’s during the games that this show really shines, with slick visuals, well-choreographed action and clever games. Alice in Borderland was already a moderate global success upon release and had already been renewed for season two – which we’re sure will get a lot more viewers this time around. – Daniel Furn
If you’re one of the few people on Earth who are yet to see viral sensation Squid Game, then you are in for one wild, violent and thought-provoking ride. The breakout South Korean series follows several indebted individuals who are given the chance to compete for 45.6 billion-won prize, and all they have to do is play popular children’s games. However these aren’t quite the same harmless activities from our youth – with losers brutally murdered in their hundreds.
Despite arriving on Netflix with little promotion outside of Korea, Squid Game is on track to become the streaming service’s biggest show of all time, becoming a bonafide pop culture phenomenon complete with social media challenges, fan cosplays and a surge in popularity in the show’s dalgona candy. It’s easy to see why – Squid Game is simply great television that is well acted, tightly written, sharply directed, as well as acting as a critique of the predatory competition a capitalist society inspires. But even those not looking for a social commentary will finding something to enjoy, with plenty of white-knuckle survival sequences – made all the more effective because the compelling human drama means we actually care about the characters. – Daniel Furn
Maid’s arrival may have been somewhat overshadowed by the unexpected success of Squid Game, but this grounded and sensitive comedy-drama is the perfect detox after the South Korean killer game series. Based on the New York Times bestseller Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, Maid stars Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) as Alex, a young single mother who has recently fled an abusive relationship. She then turns to cleaning houses, contending with occasionally repellent work, low pay and the ongoing impacts of domestic abuse as she attempts to give her young daughter a better life.
Maid’s premise may seem less ambitious or inventive than other shows on the streamer, but it’s the unflinching realism that gives the show its edge – not only for its accurate depiction of those living on the poverty line, but also for showing how domestic abuse is not always physical. The show is anchored by a standout performance by Qualley as the resilient Alex who is determined to rewrite her life and redefine her worth, but she is helped by a strong supporting cast – with some of the best scenes featuring the interactions between Alex and her mentally ill mother, played by screen legend Andie MacDowell. – Daniel Furn
It’s become something of a tradition for Netflix to release a new limited series from Mike Flanagan just in time for spooky season, and this year’s offering is the brilliantly creepy Midnight Mass. Unlike his two previous series for the streamer, the Hauntings of Hill House and Bly Manor, this new series is not based on an existing work of horror fiction – but is instead a wholly original work, in part inspired by Flanagan’s past as an altar boy in the Catholic Church.
The series is set on the isolated community of Crockett Island, which is suddenly shaken by a couple of new arrivals – most notably that of a charismatic but rather mysterious new priest by the name of Father Paul, who claims to be filling in for the parish’s long-serving Monsignor John Pruitt. When Paul appears to start performing miracles, the faith of Crockett’s inhabitants is put to the test – and some of them are more skeptical than others about what this new priest has planned.
A challenging, ambitious and thrillingly unique new series, Midnight Mass packs in some great frights, intriguing discussions and one or two moments that will live long in the memory of those who watch. – Patrick Cremona
With season three of comedy-drama Sex Education now arriving, there couldn’t be a better time to visit Moordale Secondary School and its puberty-stricken, lovelorn, angsty students. Created by Laurie Nunn, this Netflix original stars Hugo’s Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn, an insecure teen who struggles with his mum Jean (Gillian Anderson) being a very candid sex therapist. While initially desperate to distance himself from his mum’s line of work, he finds himself inadvertently helping the school bully with his sexual performance anxiety and subsequently sets up his own sex advice clinic with troubled classmate Maeve (Emma Mackey).
A hilarious, heart-warming and at times infuriating comedy-drama about the ins-and-outs of teenage adolescence, Sex Education is well worth the watch for the performances alone – Ncuti Gatwa shines as Otis’s openly gay best friend Eric, while Aimee Lou Wood (Maeve’s friend Aimee) comes into her element in season two. – Lauren Morris
Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father
Jack Whitehall is becoming quite the name in Hollywood after starring with the likes of The Rock and Emily Blunt in Jungle Cruise, but luckily for fans of his travel show, he still finds time for some highly unconventional father-son bonding. As the title suggests, Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father sees the titular charismatic actor and comedian go sightseeing with his stuffy and old-fashioned father. It’s no surprise that the two don’t exactly have the same idea of an ideal holiday – cue humorous antics from the mismatched pair across South East Asia, Eastern Europe, western US, Australia and a final trip in the UK.
Shows in which comedians see the world with a family member are a dime a dozen these days, but Travels With My Father has a secret weapon: Michael Whitehall. Just as funny as his comedian son – and at times even more so – the former talent agent’s wry put-downs and grumpy reactions have given him quite the fan base, and led to his inclusion in more father-son comedy specials with hopefully many more to come. Not that Jack is not pulling his weight, as his usual zany antics and self-deprecating humour provide the perfect foil – but he also opens up during some of the show’s surprisingly emotional moments. – Daniel Furn
Miranda star Tom Ellis has completely reinvented his image with this fantasy drama, going from innocent chef next door Gary to the literal Lord of Hell. Impressive! But an even greater accomplishment is the dedicated fandom this series has built up since its debut back in 2016, with legions of so called “Lucifans” ready to defend it to the ends of the earth.
The show follows the devil himself, Lucifer Morningstar, after he relocates from hell to Los Angeles and begins solving murder cases with the local police department. He quickly strikes up a bond with detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) and their romance becomes the focal point of the show, with no shortage of obstacles in their path to happiness.
It’s a slightly odd show that occasionally pokes fun at its own eccentric premise, which plays out like Midsomer Murders meets Twilight. The show holds a dear place in the heart of many viewers, as proven by the staggering one million tweets that were sent to protest its premature cancellation by FOX in 2018 – prompting Netflix to rescue the show and renew it for an additional three seasons. – David Craig
Heist thrillers have to walk a fine line between realistic – or at least believable – burglary schemes and enough tension-filled twists and turns to keep things entertaining – and it’s a balance that Money Heist (mostly) manages to pull off. Money Heist dedicates several seasons each to two heists planned by the enigmatic criminal mastermind The Professor, who recruits an unusual group of robbers named after cities to take hostages in key financial centres in Madrid. However, mistakes, emotional dynamics and impulsive relationships on both sides on the heist mean the plans soon go wrong – and robbers, hostages and police alike are all in a race to outwit each other before it’s too late.
Initially regarded as a failure after first airing on Spanish TV, Money Heist was added to Netflix with little fanfare and barely any promotion – yet still became an absolute worldwide phenomenon, with a whole new audience falling in love with The Professor and his Dali-masked accomplices while a certain earworm swept the European charts. It was enough for Netflix to order three additional seasons, the last of which is split into two parts with the final instalment arriving in December 2021.
The heist genre gets subverted in this crime caper, which uses a female narrator, a Spanish cultural lens and a twisty-turny narrative to update the long-running formula with a series where the complex characters and their relationships matter just as much as the actual heist. A few unnecessary love triangles mean the show veers dangerously close to soap opera territory in later seasons – but at its best Money Heist is a smart, inventive and utterly gripping series that truly deserves its status as one of the most-watched non-English language shows in the world. – Daniel Furn
Identity, perception and the dark side of social media are explored in this very modern thriller starring Entourage’s Adrian Grenier. Grenier stars as Nick Brewer, a seemingly wholesome family man who is abducted, and soon appears in a social media video holding cards alleging that he abuses women – and that he will die at five million views. It’s up to his shocked wife Sophie and sister Pia to rescue him in time – though with each clue revealing a completely new side of Nick, perhaps they won’t want to by the end…
While taking many elements of a classic whodunit, Clickbait has a lot to say about modern internet culture, particularly about the alarming speed of social media and how it can bring out the worst in us, but also takes aim at misinformation, cat-fishing, cancel culture, media sensationalism and how all our online profiles are skewed and distorted personas of who we really are. Clickbait may not succeed in fully exploring all of the many complex themes it brings up, but it is bolstered by an effective murder mystery – with every episode told from the point of view of different potential suspects. – Daniel Furn
Sandra Oh takes a beak from cat-and-mouse hunts with psychopaths in Killing Eve in order to star in The Chair, a rather different show exploring sexism, racism and ageism entrenched in the staunchly traditional world of academia through a highly satirical lens. The series follows Oh’s Professor Ji-Yoon Kim, the first woman of colour to become chair at a prestigious university. Ji-Yoon must then navigate the dizzying pressure of her new position, save the failing English department and navigate her relationships with her crush, an inventive up-and-coming colleague as well as strong-willed adoptive daughter Ju Ju.
After making her name in life-or-death dramas such as Grey’s Anatomy and the aforementioned Killing Eve, it’s highly refreshing to see Oh show off her comedic chops, consistently hilarious as a professor constantly at the end of her tether yet still managing to exude wit and warmth to those around her. Showrunner Amanda Peet takes academia – a world still largely unexplored onscreen – and explores the modern issues within, finding the comedy in this nuanced take as Ji-Yoon fights to save an education system that struggles to accept her. The show could have done with a bit more time to fully examine the many complex topics it throws up – six half-hour episodes go quick – but Oh’s performance and great writing still make this a must-watch. – Daniel Furn
Hit and Run
Israeli series Hit and Run dominated Netflix’s top ten charts for several weeks after its release, proving the platform is the perfect home for international drama following the success of shows such as Money Heist and Lupin. The series follows Segev Azulai, a happily married man whose life is turned upside down after his wife is killed in a hit and run in Tel Aviv. Soon discovering the incident was no mere accident, Segev heads to the US along with ex-lover Naomi Hicks to look for answers – but perhaps wishes he hadn’t after finding some disturbing secrets…
Hit and Run was co-created by writer-journalist Avi Issacharof, who was also behind acclaimed war drama and fellow international hit Fauda. With two other co-creators formerly writers and executive producers on The Killing, there was certainly a high standard set for Hit and Run – which it easily reaches with so many twists, turns and action that it truly lives up to the definition of a thriller and then some. Netflix has had a good run with mystery thrillers following hits such as The Stranger and You, and Hit and Run is the latest addition that will have you reaching for the ‘next episode’ button. – Daniel Furn
After releasing excellent Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance in 2020, Netflix is soon becoming home to high-quality sports docuseries, and Untold is one of the latest well-reviewed additions to the roster. As the title suggests, the series examines previously untold stories or provides new perspectives to people and events from across the world of sport, covering remarkable incidents from tennis, boxing, basketball and more.
The first subject is Untold: Malice at the Palace, which provides a re-contextualisation of the infamous Pacers-Pistons NBA brawl of 2004 that involved both teams and spectators, re-examining the role of the fans after the media largely blamed the players. The reshaping of established narratives is a theme that continues in later episodes, with attention turning to topics such as the rise and fall of boxer Christy Martin, the athletic career of Caitlyn Jenner and Mardy Fish’s decision to withdraw from the US Open due to struggles with anxiety.
While each episode is presented as feature-length films running at 75-90 minutes, they are all part of the Untold series created by brothers Chapman Way and Maclain Way, the team behind Netflix‘s true crime hit Wild Wild Country. After a triumphant and somewhat eventful return to live sport in 2021, the time is perfect for an engaging, thought-producing exploration of sport and public perception. – Daniel Furn
As the home of Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why here in the UK, Netflix has very much cornered the teen drama market. However Outer Banks may well be one of the streaming service’s best, balancing the usual teen tropes with a rip-roaring sense of adventure as an over-arching search for buried treasure ties all the relationship drama together.
The show follows a group of ‘Pogues’, the working class residents of North Carolina’s Outer Banks who are searching for the missing father of the group’s ringleader, John B. Along the way they discover clues leading to a legendary treasure left behind by John’s father – but a group of wealthy ‘Kooks’ are also after the gold…
As a teen show there is the usual dose of melodrama and a few unrealistic situations, but otherwise the show makes for a fun and breezy summer binge that occasionally touches on more serious topics such as drug addiction, consent and class divides. However the Outer Banks itself may well be the true star of the show, with some colourful cinematography and stunning locations truly creating the feel of an endless summer, and making this a very easy watch. – Daniel Furn
Money Heist creator Alex Pina channels the pulp stylings of Quentin Tarantino for this darkly comedic thriller, which follows Coral, Gina and Wendy as they attempt to free themselves from the brothel in which they have become prisoners. The three make a messy, spontaneous escape one fateful evening, but ruthless henchmen Moisés and Christian are hot on their trail and closing in with every passing moment.
Sky Rojo crafts heartbreaking backstories for its three protagonists, with Verónica Sánchez, Yany Prado and superstar musician-turned-actor Lali Espósito excelling in some truly harrowing scenes. Indeed, this series offers an unflinching – and at times disturbing – look into the world of human trafficking and coerced sex work, but co-creator Pina is able to prevent the tone from becoming too bleak by leaning into pitch black humour at just the right moments.
With its lean 30 minute episodes, Sky Rojo naturally moves at a brisk pace which only goes to make the story feel even more chaotic. Not content with resting on its laurels, the recently released second season flips the premise on its head, offering a fresh twist on what came before as the leading ladies take brutal revenge on their pursuers. Imagine the stylish direction of Money Heist merging with the heightened reality of Kill Bill and you won’t be far off. – David Craig
The drama has now been renewed for a second season, so what better time to catch up with longtime friends and later colleagues, Tully (Heigl) and Kate (Chalke) through 30 years of love, heartbreak and divorce.
In the present-day, Heigl plays a famous talkshow host who has her own show, The Girlfriend Hour, while Chalke plays Kate, Tully’s longtime best friend who quit journalism to focus on raising a family. – Flora Carr.
Robia Rashid’s comedy-drama about a teenager on the autism spectrum recently returned to Netflix for a fourth and final season, so why not binge-watch the hit series from the beginning?
Atypical follows 18-year-old Sam Gardner (played by Keir Gilchrist), who works at local appliance store Techtropolis and is obsessed with penguins and Antarctica. At the start of the series he begins to explore the world of online dating.
The show also focuses on Sam’s family, including matriarch Elsa, who begins a flirtation and later extra-marital affair with a bartender; and Casey, Sam’s younger, athletic sister who begins to have romantic feelings for a close friend. – Flora Carr.
Never Have I Ever
Created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, this joyful coming-of-age comedy-drama recently launched its second series, once again following Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) as she attempts to improve her social status in high school while simultaneously dealing with her (almost literally) crippling grief.
Before the events of Never Have I Ever, Devi’s beloved father had a heart attack and died during a school concert in her freshman year, after which she lost the use of her legs for three months. But it’s a new school year, and Devi is desperate to forge a new identity for herself, beyond both her public loss and her fiery temper (appropriately, famously quick-tempered tennis player John McEnroe narrates the show).
The series is laugh-out-loud funny, and has been widely praised for its South Asian representation and for breaking Asian stereotypes. – Flora Carr.
Swedish-language, coming-of-age boarding school drama Young Royals takes the well-worn “love versus duty” predicament and turns it on its head, telling the story of a Swedish prince who is packed off following a public scandal.
Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) is the disaffected, second-born royal prince, but he still feels suffocated by the weight of expectation placed upon him. At Hillerska (a fictional, prestigious boarding school in Sweden, where Young Royals was filmed), he’s expected to mix with Sweden’s most elite teenagers; but he finds himself drawn to ostracised scholarship student Simon, who is shown to be (almost literally) from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’.
While the series feels predictable in some places (you can find out more in our non-spoiler Young Royals review), in others the heartfelt six-part drama subverts the viewer’s expectations completely, with a gut-wrenching twist. – Flora Carr.
When it comes to Netflix comedy-dramas, you don’t get much better than Feel Good – Mae Martin’s semi-autobiographical series that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next.
The romcom stars Martin as Canadian comedian and ex-cocaine addict Mae, who meets repressed middle-class woman George (Charlotte Ritchie) at a comedy club and the two strike up a relationship. Following the couple as they face hurdles in their intense relationship, from George’s hesitancy to introduce Mae as her girlfriend to Mae’s addiction past, the series is an intimate, hilarious and yet utterly heart-breaking look at complex queer relationships.
While Ritchie and Martin stand out in Feel Good, Friends star Lisa Kudrow is always a scene-stealer in the few episodes she appears in as Mae’s uptight, cold mother, while the likes of Sophie Thompson, The Umbrella Academy’s Ritu Arya, Ophelia Lovibond, Adrian Lukis and Anthony Head fill out the rest of the talented cast. – Lauren Morris.
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
Returning for a second season, Saturday Night Live star Tim Robinson’s absurd sketch show is back for more of the strangest yet most side-splitting hours of television on Netflix. The first season became the breakout critical hit of 2019 for its offbeat, irreverent and wholly original reinvention of the format, with sketches including a man singing yacht rock at his mother’s funeral, a hotdog car crashing into a clothes shop and an octogenarian at a car focus group that has become a viral sensation.
Robinson’s sketches are undeniably bizarre, but what makes them work is that they are (mostly) deeply relatable, with the comedian targeting the usual cringe-worthy situations and social faux pas before hijacking them to extreme levels of absurdity. Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk and Cruella‘s Paul Walter Houser are among the celebrities joining in the surreal skits in season two, joining an already impressive list of guest stars that has previously included Andy Samberg, Will Forte and Steven Yeun. – Daniel Furn.
Part Two of French mystery thriller Lupin arrived on Netflix last week and quickly shot up the platform’s Top 10 most-watched list, with fans desperate to check back in with ‘gentleman thief’ Assane after Part One’s tense cliffhanger.
If you haven’t yet streamed Lupin, then you’re seriously missing out. The ever-charismatic Omar Sy stars as Assane Diop, a man seeking revenge against the creepy tycoon Hubert Pellegrini (Hervé Pierre), who framed his late father Babakar for a crime he didn’t commit 25 years prior. Inspired by the adventures of literary icon Arsène Lupin – (think a French combination of Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood) – Assane sets out to harness Lupin’s powers of persuasion to get justice for his father.
An exciting, gripping and action-filled heist caper featuring a terrific performance from Sy, Lupin is guaranteed to steal your heart. – Lauren Morris.
If you’re looking for your next fantasy obsession, then look no further. Now available to stream on Netflix is Sweet Tooth – a post-apocalyptic fantasy drama executive produced by Marvel mensch Robert Downey Jr.
Starring The Last Man on Earth star Will Forte and Game of Thrones‘s Nonso Anozie, the eight-parter follows Gus (Christian Convery) – a half-human, half-deer living secretly in the Nebraskan woods with his sickly father in a time when humanity has been nearly wiped out by a deadly virus. With the remaining humans unsure whether the virus caused the human-animal hybrids or vice versa, Gus ventures out into a hostile world when his father dies and is rescued by a mysterious loner named Jepperd.
A heart-warming tale of adventure with a post-apocalyptic horror twist, this drama certainly lives up to its name. – Lauren Morris
Many fans gave up on The Big Bang Theory towards the end of its whopping twelve-season run – but spin-off Young Sheldon is the perfect refresh for the franchise. As the title suggests, Young Sheldon follows the formative years of the socially impaired genius, beginning with his decision to pursue theoretical physics at nine years old and depicting several events referenced in The Big Bang Theory, including Sheldon starting university aged eleven and his attempt to build a nuclear reactor. However the spotlight extends to include Sheldon’s family also – which includes Sheldon’s mother Mary Cooper (played by the real-life daughter of The Big Bang Theory’s Laurie Metcalf), father George Sr., Sheldon’s beloved Meemaw Constance and siblings Georgie and Missy.
Much of The Big Bang Theory’s geek references and Sheldon’s fish-out-of-water shenanigans remain, but Young Sheldon swaps out much of the adult and sometimes crass humour of its predecessor for a much more family-friendly and wholesome coming-of-age tale. The result is half-hour episodes of pure joy, thanks largely to a wonderfully confident performance by Iain Armitage as young Sheldon, who both nails the mannerisms of his predecessor but also adds his own spin on this more vulnerable and naive version of the character. Jim Parsons returns as narrator and a few references to The Big Bang Theory – though wonderfully restrained – will surely delight long-term fans. – Daniel Furn
American Crime Story
After creating the delightfully deranged American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy would then go on to produce this much more grounded and topical spin-off. As with its sister show, American Crime Story is an anthology series with each self-contained season dramatising a different criminal case – season one chronicled the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, while a second instalment looks at the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace. A third season, covering the Monica-Lewinsky scandal, has also been released but has not yet made it to the streaming service.
Depicting some of the most famous criminal cases in modern history is no mean feat