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
13th – 7 October
Selma director Ava DuVernay has delivered another powerful look at race and race relations in America with a Netflix doc that takes her deep into the belly of the US penitentiary system. Don’t expect any comforting conclusions or too many moments of Orange Is The New Black-style levity as the filmmaker examines the idea that the prison system has basically become a form of slavery by other means.
Homeland, Season 5 – 11 October
Having seemingly jumped the shark in Season 4, Homeland jumps back over it again in its much improved recent instalment. Claire Danes’ ex-CIA analyst Carrie Mathison is now living in Berlin working for a philanthropic foundation but it’s never long before someone’s trying to make life miserable for her. Expect zeitgeisty themes like cyberterrorism, hacking and European migration, and a little avuncular help from Mandy Patinkin’s Saul Berenson. Season 6 lands on US TV in January.
Haters Back Off, Season 1 – 14 October
YouTube star Colleen Ballinger, AKA Miranda Sings, doesn’t do things the standard way. She recently announced her divorce online – in song. As Miranda Sings, she wrote a self-help book that included advice for snagging a man (wear black and carry a fishing net) and karate tips. She’s bringing her millennial life tips to Netflix with a new show that will confound everyone over the age of 28 but thrill and delight hardcore Mirfandas.
Black Mirror, Season 3 – 21 October
“It’s like The Twilight Zone, only rated R,” is how Black Mirror’s most famous fan, Stephen King, succinctly described it, hailing it as “terrifying, funny, intelligent”. He’s pretty much on the money. Charlie Brooker’s landmark science-fiction anthology series has jumped ship from Channel 4 to Netflix, with Hollywood-sized ambitions. A brand new season of six episodes arrives on the 21st, with directors including Joe Wright and Dan Trachtenberg, and a cast including Bryce Dallas Howard and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. If you can’t wait until the 21st, all seven original episodes are now back on the streaming service. No excuse now: if Stephen King says you should watch it, you probably should.
The Fall, Season 3 – 29 October
The Neil McCauley and Vincent Hanna of BBC TV, detective Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) and serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) resume hostilities in a third season that’s finding its way onto Netflix late in the month. To anyone who witnessed the end of Season 2, this will come as a surprise because – spoiler warning! – we left Spector bloodier than an undercooked beef rump in an Irish woods. We find out what happens next on 29 October.
The best movies on Netflix
Dazed And Confused – 1 October
AKA the “all right, all right, all right” origin story, Richard Linklater’s 1993 slacker comedy remains a stone-cold classic that no self-respecting streaming service would want to be without. If you haven’t seen it but you have seen Everybody Wants Some!! lately, well, it’s like that only with less punctuation and, arguably, even more heart. High school in 1976 has never looked so much fun.
Unforgiven – 1 October
Clint Eastwood’s second classic Western as director (after The Outlaw Josey Wales) is still a high-water mark for the genre. Clint’s grizzled gunslinger William Munny pals up with Morgan Freeman’s Ned Logan and a vengeance-hungry kid (Jaimz Woolvett) and heads off in pursuit of frontier justice for a disfigured young prostitute. Standing in their way is Gene Hackman’s morally-comprised lawman. The result is a straight-up masterpiece.
Three Kings – 1 October
David O. Russell’s Iraq War satire feels more prescient with every passing year. Swap the gold treasure hunt at its heart with a search for WMDs and it feels more like a documentary. The set may have been tetchy (George Clooney famously punched Russell) but the end product is a dizzyingly funny war movie with its cast (Ice Cube, Mark Walberg, Spike Jonze) all in top form. If you haven’t seen it, remedy that ASAP.
Titanic – 1 October
Their love will go on and so will James Cameron’s shipboard epic. Clocking in at a mighty three-and-a-quarter hours, Titanic remains a high-water mark (to count a phrase) for modern disaster movies with a human heart. Unless you have an IMAX screen installed at home it might lose some of the visual power, but that famously reconstructed ocean liner, once moored in a Mexican water tank, will still deliver its might and awe to Netflix.
The Siege Of Jadotville – 7 October
A true-life siege story set in Central Africa in 1961, this Netflix Original is a Zulu-like tale of overwhelming odds and even more overwhelming-er heroism from a small band of Irish soldiers. In the Michael Caine and Stanley Baker roles are Jamie Dornan and Mark Strong, leading their UN peacekeepers’ defence in the face of a large force of Katangese troops.
Mascots – 13 October
Christopher Guest is back with another mockumentary, this time set in the surprisingly cutthroat world of sports mascots. The Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show and A Mighty Wind director has enlisted a gold star cast that includes old faves (Bob Balaban, Jennifer Coolidge, Fred Willard) and new players (Chris O’Dowd, Tom Bennett). Happily, Guest himself is also back as Guffman’s highly-strung theatre director Corky St. Clair.
Into The Inferno – 28 October
The last time Werner Herzog tackled a volcano – in 1977 doc La Soufrière – there was a strong chance it would explode and send him and his glorious career three miles up. Fingers crossed there’s no repeat in his new magma-sterpiece. The German philosopher-filmmaker travels the globe, from Australia and Ethiopia to Iceland and North Korean, setting an exploration of the geological phenomenon alongside some typically profound observations on life, death and all things in between.