Nothing says ‘cosy evening in’ more than teeing up a new Netflix release on the telly. Here, we round up the best new offerings, from a Hollywood star-filled sci-fi epic to a brilliantly dramatic dance series. So sit back, 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).
Funny, zero bullshit observations about everything and everyone. Fran Lebowitz is a character. There is something extremely soothing about this documentary about the literary powerhouse - directed by the author and humourist’s longtime friend, filmmaker Martin Scorsese. It’s part love letter to New York City, part a recipe for living. Exploring the soul at the heart of the seemingly mundane.
Need something to feel that Downton Abbey Christmas special-shaped hole? Yep, us too. Thankfully, we have Bridgerton: the first series to come out of a multi-year development deal between Netflix and the inimitable Shonda Rhimes, creator of hits like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder. Set in Regency-era London, Bridgerton is an eight-part series based on Julia Quinn’s historical romance novels, which follows the lives of the close-knit Bridgerton siblings as they enter the high-society marriage market. Look out for Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan as Penelope, and a special (voice) appearance from Julie Andrews.
The only thing better than George Clooney in front of the camera is when he’s behind it, too: he directs and stars in his latest flick, big-budget sci-fi drama The Midnight Sky, in which he’s joined by an all-star cast including Felicity Jones and David Oyelowo. Set in the year 2049, Clooney plays Augustine, a lonely scientist with terminal cancer and the last man on earth after a global catastrophe. Stranded in the Arctic, he races to make contact with a crew of astronauts, to warn them not to return to earth. Admittedly, you may feel you’ve had enough apocalyptic fare to be getting on with this year, but The Midnight Sky is, as well as a beautifully filmed treat to watch, much more about optimism, hope and human connection than it is about disaster and isolation. We predict this will be the one everyone’s talking about come New Year.
When the turkey’s been finished, all the wrapping paper has been cleared away and the last of the Quality Street have been eaten, procure yourself a boost in the shape of Hope Gap, a well-reviewed, sweeping family drama that’s perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon. Annette Bening and Bill Nighy play a middle-aged couple with a fast-unravelling marriage. When their adult son Jamie (played by an ever-better Josh O’Connor, fresh from his recent turn as Prince Charles in the fourth season of The Crown) comes to visit, he is forced to act as mediator between his estranged parents. Cue fractured relationships, familial tensions and a masterful performance all-round from an excellent cast.
This pumped-up, confident and sex-filled ballet drama has been described as Fame for Gen Z, so don your leotard and get ready for some serious binge watching. Tiny Pretty Things tells the fictional stories of young dancers and their experiences at a gruelling, punishing and hypercompetitive Chicago dance academy. Be warned, this 10-part series pulls no punches: prepare to see stress fractures, plenty of infighting and a blackened toenail or two. If you’re missing the sheer watchability of Netflix classics like Cheer and Glow, you’ll be hooked on this from the word go.
You might have to wait until January for Pieces Of A Woman, but we hear it’ll be well worth it. Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf are reportedly remarkable in Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s devastating tragedy about two expectant parents who lose their baby in a home birth gone wrong and bring a court case against their midwife. It’s Kirby who really steals the show as Martha, a woman who’s suffered unimaginable loss, but portrays it in few words, becoming at turns stiff and cold, or going out drinking, dancing and flirting with co-workers. Martha is unable to process her trauma in a way that feels socially acceptable to us, which turns Kirby’s already powerful performance into a comment on how women, especially, are expected to respond to grief. Don’t forget to set a reminder for this one – it’s bound to be an important, thought-provoking watch.