14:26 | 21/04/2021 Print
Despite all the binge-watching you've likely done all pandemic long, there are still new-to-you shows on Netflix just waiting to be discovered and devoured. Plus, Netflix has continued to produce new shows even with the challenges the pandemic has posed, so there are constantly brand-new shows, series, and movies to enjoy (great news for anyone who really feels like they've seen all the good shows on Netflix).
For your viewing pleasure, we've rounded up some of the best shows to watch on Netflix this month, whether you're ready to head back out into the world or not. Between shows like Bridgerton, action series that will get your heart racing, and good shows that are just pure entertainment, there's bound to be something that catches your eye and holds your binge-watching attention for a few hours, at least.
1. “Shadow and Bone”
2. “Life in Color with David Attenborough”
3. “Kingdom” Seasons 1 – 3
4. “Dad, Stop Embarrassing Me!” Season 1
5. “The Circle” Season 2
6. “The Serpent” Season 1
7. “The Innocent” Season 1
|Photo: TV Insider|
If you’re a fantasy fan — or intrigued by the various attempts to launch new TV and film universes — then “Shadow and Bone” should catch your eye. Adapted from Leigh Bardugo’s adventure novel of the same name, the new series follows an orphan with extraordinary powers who joins an army of magical soldiers in the hopes of stopping a monstrous force called… “the Shadow Fold.” The first trailer for the series plays like fantasy gobbledygook, where Jessie Mei Li’s lead can create life-saving light to fight back literal darkness, but one can assume things will make more sense after a few hourlong episodes than after a two-minute preview. This is, after all, part of the “Grishaverse.” (No, this is not John Grisham’s cinematic universe, sorry.)
When “Planet Earth” first premiered, the BBC docuseries earned great acclaim for its majestic depictions of our planet’s natural beauties, unparalleled footage of exotic species, and insightful discussion of deteriorating environments. It was also an instant favorite among potheads. The soothing pace, vivid colors, and David Attenborough’s gentle narration — combined with the rise in HDTV and Blu-ray — made for a decadent experience when stoned, or so I’ve been told, and now, 15 years, dozens of nature docs, and 36 states offering legal, medicinal weed later, Netflix is leaning into the doc’s original allure with “Life in Color,” a three-part nature docuseries narrated by Attenborough and featuring “revolutionary camera technology created specifically for the series” that allows viewers to “experience how colors invisible to the human eye play a vital role in animal interactions.” It is literally a nature docuseries about never-before-seen colors. I mean, this is going to be great. It is going to be great. Prepare accordingly.
|Photo: Netflix Central|
Why Would I Watch? Our love for “Kingdom” should be pretty clear by now, but in case you missed past recommendations, know this: Byron Balasco’s MMA series is an exquisitely acted and rousingly produced family drama, borrowing the best bits from “Friday Night Lights” and “Warrior” to create one of the most compelling hourlong shows of TV’s latest golden age. Now, you might be asking, “If it’s that good why haven’t I heard of it?” Well, “Kingdom” only existed on DirecTV’s Audience Network before premiering on Netflix in July 2020, which means you could only watch it if you had a DirecTV subscription. Netflix righted that wrong last year, but now it’s about to drop off the streamer — so don’t miss it. Who knows when you’ll have another chance to appreciate the gritty glory of Venice Beach fight culture?
Following closely behind the release of the Netflix Original Kevin James vehicle The Crew, as well as the acquisition of some beloved classics like Girlfriends and Moesha, Netflix continues to bulk out their sitcom selection in the wake of losing the streaming rights to top-performing titles like The Office and Friends.
Jamie Foxx takes on his first TV lead since his 90s sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show, starring as a cosmetics brand owner who has to adjust to the demands of fatherhood when his teenage daughter (Kyla-Drew) unexpectedly moves in with him. Foxx not only co-created the show and co-write the story, but stars in multiple supporting roles, so Foxx fans are sure to get their fill. But this is an old-school, broad, down-the-middle sitcom, so your mileage may vary on whether the full-Foxx approach is enough to keep you bingeing. It's light, easy watching, laugh track and all, It's certainly not revolutionizing the format, but if you're looking for a comedic comfort watch, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me might just do the trick.
Netflix’s reality-competition series first premiered in the early days of the global pandemic and rode America’s lockdown to above-average buzz. Now, we’ll see if “The Circle” — which essentially turns social media into a competition, where contestants are isolated in their apartments and curate online personas to be judged by fellow players — can sustain interest beyond its awkward origins.
The Circle follows a group of strangers who can only communicate digitally via a shared network called "The Circle", providing just a basic profile to establish their identities - which may or may not be real. The whole thing is a big online popularity contest (winner takes home $100,000), with the contestant trying to scheme, schmooze, and seduce their way to the top. And Season 2 has some familiar faces in the mix, including *NSYNC's Lance Bass (kind of) and Chloe Veitch, who recently appeared on another buzzy Netflix reality show, Too Hot to Handle. It's a game of strategy, catfishing, and sometimes straight-up cattiness, and on top of being completely bingeworthy, it's a fascinating look at the fickle nature of popularity, how rumors spread, and why you can never know for sure who's on the other end of a screen.
A BBC/Netflix co-production, The Serpent is a visually sumptuous new true-crime drama that takes the audience back to a time before the digital era and improvements in forensics helped detectives track down killers, following the 1970s international crime spree of Charles Sobhraj, from fraud to robbery to the murder of at least a dozen people. Eschewing a more traditional chronological approach in favor of a scattered journey through the years of Sobhraj's crimes (a structure that unfortunately hurts the series more than it builds intrigue), The Serpent stars recent Golden Globe nominee Tahar Rahim as the prolific serial killer, in another noteworthy performance that gives him a chance to put his spin on a Talented Mr. Ripley-esque master of deception and charisma. While the scattered timeline saps some tension and coherence out of The Serpent's storytelling, there's still plenty of stunning cinematography, dramatic twists, and disturbing reveals to keep true crime buffs bingeing through all 8 episodes.
To date, I have seen two adaptations of Harlan Coban novels. The first was the 2006 critical favorite “Tell No One,” a French thriller about a man whose long-dead wife resurfaces shortly before he’s accused of a separate murder. The second was the 2018Netflix limited series “Safe,” which stars Michael C. Hall as a widower whose daughter’s disappearance sends him down an ever-deepening rabbit hole of local revelations. Both the film and the series start off with heavy drama and then build twists on top of twists until they reach largely satisfying conclusions. Is it fair to expect “The Innocent” to do the same? Maybe, maybe not. Delivering a juicy, gasp-inducing mystery time and time again isn’t easy, but Coban has been pumping them out for years. Now it’s up to the creators of “The Innocent” to deliver one more stunner. (Full disclosure: There’s another Coban adaptation on Netflix already: “The Woods,” a six-part limited series that hit the streamer in June 2020. I missed that one, so now there are two “new” Cobans to catch up on! Oh boy!)
“Fatma” Season 1 (available April 27)
“Go! Go! Cory Carson” Season 4 (available April 27)
“Sexify” Season 1 (available April 28)
“Headspace Guide to Sleep” (available April 28)
“Yasuke” Season 1 (available April 29)
“Pet Stars” (available April 30)
“The Unremarkable Juanquini” Season 2 (available April 30)
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