Netflix: what to watch in August

Image for Netflix: what to watch in August

Spending some time with Netflix this month? We've scoured the streaming site’s new releases and recommending the best for you, the discerning Empire reader, to mark your diary for. Here are the highlights – movies, TV shows and original programmes – arriving over the next four weeks.

The best TV shows on Netflix

The Get Down, Season 1 – August 12

Netflix's most expensive ever miniseries has had a bumpy ride to the screen – production was delayed so often its alternative on-set title was 'The Shut Down' – but Baz Luhrmann's 12-part hip hop musical finally lands this month. Luhrmann's show is set in late '70s South Bronx and recounts the birth of the new artform with rhymes written by Nas and Hamilton's Daveed Diggs starring. But will this be a Hamilton-sized hit?

Gotham, Season 2 – August 14

As the Fox/DC spin-off powers towards a third season, here's a chance to catch up on the goings-on in Gotham over a second season that marked a step up in quality from the first outing. It's still pretty hammy – vaudeville compared with the blood and thunder of Christopher Nolan's Gotham – but Robin Lord-Taylor's Penguin is a fun villain and it'll fill a Bat-gap before Justice League.

Wolf Hall, Season 1 – August 25

The felt hat never caught on in the way we'd hoped (we bought seven of them) but Mark Rylance certainly did. He'd done tonnes of good work on screen and stage before the BBC's adaption of Hilary Mantel's Booker-winner – and plenty since – but here's possibly the best long-form showcase of his substantial gifts. If you haven't seen these Tudor political shenanigans yet, it's from the slow-cooking school of TV: languid and enthralling from the get-go.

The best movies on Netflix

Oranges And Sunshine – August 3

It'd be easy to hail Jim 'son of Ken' Loach's debut as a straightforward chip-off-the-old-block social drama. Yet, stylistically and dramatically, it's very much its own thing. Emily Watson infuses dogged social worker Margaret Humphreys with all her usual passion as she pursues the cases of children forcibly relocated from Nottingham to Western Australia – and into the hands of the Christian brothers. The result is a tough-hided companion piece to Spotlight.

Sicario – August 3


With a sequel in the works and director Denis Villeneuve now working on his Blade Runner sequel, this month offers a timely chance to revisit last year's terrific narc thriller at home. The border-crossing set piece is basically Roger Deakins showing off, while its willingness to embrace the complexities of the drug trade is refreshingly uncomprising. Be warned: the Jóhann Jóhannsson score will scare your cat.

Project Nim – August 3

James Marsh's doc gave critics the warm and fuzzies when it came out in 2011. It should repeat the tricky when it comes to Netflix, telling the poignant, pause-giving tale of a young ape trained to act like a human and, ultimately, to talk. Nim is adorable; many of the humans much less so. A must chimpan-see.

The Little Prince – August 5

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's much-thumbed tale of a young alien prince and an aviator biplane is a classic fairy tale. Netflix's exclusive is a coup, judging by the buzz that's built up around this release. The richly-palatted animation borrows from the stop-motion stylings of Henry Selick and the US version comes with a voicecast that includes Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd and Marion Cotillard. The result's looking likely to cast a spell on kids of all ages when it arrives on August 5.

Brooklyn – August 8

If John Crowley's tender-hearted take on Colm Toibin's love-triangle romance is the Saoirse Ronan show from start to finish, Nick Hornby's script deserves plenty of props too. The characters are three-dimensional and depicted without the kind of cliché or sentimentality that's blighted other movies to tackle the Irish immigrant experience. Yes, we're looking at you Far And Away.

Creed – August 16

Sly Stallone's Rocky spinoff was left controversially un-Oscared in February so hold your own ceremony when it turns up for its Netflix weigh-in on August 16. Michael B. Jordan elevates the gritty-yet-uplifting proceedings as a young boxer trying to step out of his dad Apollo Creed's long shadow. We're already looking forward to a sequel in which he steps into the ring with Ivan Drago Junior.

A Man For All Seasons – August 17

Sixteenth century churchman Thomas Cromwell is everywhere you look on Netflix this month (okay, he's not in Creed), with Leo McKern donning the felt hat of state in this 1966 drama as the arch politician. It's the story of another Thomas, though, that dominates. Thomas More (Paul Scofield, much more sympathetic than Wolf Hall's Anton Lesser) defies Henry VIII's (Robert Shaw) wishes, risking his head in the process. Watch Fred Zinnemann's classic from August 17 and find out if he gets to keep it.

Find out what you should be watching during August on Amazon Prime.

Find out what you should be watching on NOW TV during August.