Nothing says ‘cosy evening in’ more than teeing up a new Netflix release on the telly. Maybe you’ve had enough of that level of comfort and screen time, after a year of it. But let’s be real for a moment, old habits die hard. So, sit back, relax, load one of the below, throw that big blanket over your feet and prepare not to move for the rest of the evening (except to pour yourself one more cup of tea).
Unlike previous seasons, this romantic drama (subtitled ‘Moments in Love’) – back after a four-year hiatus – puts Lena Waithe and Naomi Ackie in the spotlight. It’s a deeply intimate and honest portrait of queer love, that is rarely explored in such depth as this on screen. It’s less ‘showy’ than the last two seasons and yet the slower pace just increases our feeling the characters' emotional aches and pains over the course of their marriage. Like experiencing a therapy hug.
From Master of None to Starstuck, millennial romantic comedies are on a roll. Of that ilk, comedian Mae Martin’s expertly crafted, and award-winning series, Feel Good, is back. After a dramatic ending to the show’s first season, S2 opens up with leading couple, Mae and George, taking some time apart. A nuanced portrait of romance and sexuality in all its messy complexities. Raw and utterly compelling.
If tense, and supremely stylish, crime thrillers are your jam, bookmark Netflix’s smash hit series Lupin (which garnered 70million viewers within the first 28 days of its release). For the uninitiated, a short Twitter user review: “I’m halfway through and it is incredible. Sexy con man w/a heart, set in Paris." Think James Bond meets Taken.
Even for the sports averse, this uplifting story – about a teenage girl (Rachel Sanchita Gupta) in northwestern India, who dreams of becoming a competitive skateboarder, will strike a chord. A heart-warming and inspiring coming-of-age journey of discovery and blazing your own trail.
Cast your minds back to last spring. OK, maybe you’d rather not. But. For all of life’s lows, let’s not discount the TV highs that temporarily soothed our wearied souls (The Last Dance, Tiger King, Normal People, to name but a few). 2020 was also a big year for reality TV. Remember Too Hot To Handle? Netflix’s Love Island-esque dating show that forbids its contestants from engaging in any form of physical intimacy, in order to win a prize of up to $100,000.
An adaptation of Walter Dean Myers’ 1999 multi-award-winning novel of the same name, Monster stars Kelvin Harrison Jr. (yep, the breakout star of Waves) as 17-year-old Steve Harmon, a Harlem teenager whose life is irrevocably changed when he is charged with a robbery murder. A sobering look at the American justice system – which judges Steve by his race before he’s even tried – this is timely and powerful, not to mention extremely well-cast with Jennifer Hudson, John David Washington, Nas and A$AP Rocky all making appearances.
Can you imagine anything more perfect that Ewan McGregor as Halston? Nope, us neither. Thankfully, the Netflix gods have answered our prayers: McGregor has been cast as the iconic 1970s fashion designer in an upcoming series about his life, which embodied the decadence of the era before his hard partying spun out of control. Expect glitter, dancing at Studio 54 with Liza Minelli and of course, lots of Halston’s own signature black polo necks. A lesson in how to do fashion docudramas, with actual style.
If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll be hard-pressed to find fault with The Woman In The Window, Netflix’s take on AJ Finn’s bestselling novel. Amy Adams plays Anna, an agoraphobic child psychologist who lives alone in New York, spying on her neighbours – until she’s convinced she’s seen one of them murdered. Is she losing her mind, or is everyone around her hiding something? Gary Oldman in particular is brilliant at playing Anna’s supremely intimidating neighbour, Alistair Russell. Very Hitchcock-goes-modern, perfect for the suburban crime lover.
Hooray for Oliver Stone’s classic 1991 biopic, which chronicles the rise of Jim Morrison from obscurity to the height of fame with The Doors, all the way through to his tragic final days. Now finally available on Netflix, the film stars Val Kilmer as the man himself, with Meg Ryan making a standout appearance as Pamela Courson, Morrison’s girlfriend. Of course, the soundtrack is pure heaven for fans of the band. If you’re looking for a top-tier music biopic, you couldn’t do much better.
A selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, short film We Love Moses is a brilliant coming of age story, written and directed by Dionne Edwards. Ella is 12 years old, living on an estate in south London and hopelessly crushing on her brother’s best friend, Moses – until she discovers a secret that changes everything. Tackling race, sexuality and perceived ideas of gender, this is a sensitively told take on growing up and public image.
Essential watching for any fans of The Boss, this is a feel-good comedy drama set in 1987 Luton about the music of Bruce Springsteen, as discovered by a Pakistani British teenager as he begins to navigate his identity, culture and the world around him. Directed by Gurinder Chadha (behind that most hallowed of hits, Bend It Like Beckham) this is a funny yet touching take on 1980s culture and race in Britain.