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The Program: Cons, Cults and Kidnapping

Instead of adopting a distant, observational approach typical of documentaries, "The Program" immerses viewers into the intricate world of The Academy at Ivy Ridge, a disciplinary boarding school nestled within the dynamic landscape of the US teen industry.

Filmmaker Katherine Kubler's departure from the school may have occurred years ago, yet the lingering impact of her time there becomes palpable as we delve into her firsthand experiences. Through emotional testimonies from former students abruptly uprooted from their lives to attend the institution, along with ample anecdotes, documented evidence, and encounters with staff, this three-part series evokes distress in many instances. Nevertheless, it remains a compelling and essential viewing experience.

The Gentlemen

Guy Ritchie's latest venture intertwines country estates, chicken suits, and cannabis in an intriguing narrative that returns to his TV roots, originally conceived for a film release in 2020. The eight-part series follows Eddie Horniman (played by Theo James), who inherits his father's grand country manor only to discover it harbors a massive cannabis empire.

As Eddie navigates this unexpected inheritance, he finds himself drawn into the complexities of the criminal underworld, facing off against dangerous adversaries eager to claim a share of the operation. With a cast featuring familiar faces like Vinnie Jones, Ray Winstone, Max Beesley, and Joely Richardson, this series offers riveting storytelling that keeps viewers hooked from start to finish.

One Day

Dexter and Emma lying together on the floor laughing

One Day is likely to evoke mixed reactions from viewers, as its romantic and poetic storytelling may not appeal to everyone. However, for those seeking an emotionally gripping drama, this new series is a must-watch. Spanning 14 episodes, it delves into the lives of Emma (played by Ambika Mod) and Dexter (played by Leo Woodall) over two decades.

While the chemistry between the characters may falter at times, the series captivates audiences with the timeless theme of the 'right person, wrong time.' From their initial encounter at a graduation ball to becoming indispensable to each other, viewers are taken on a journey that culminates in Woodall's remarkable and deeply moving performance, making it essential to have a tissue on hand for the final episodes.

Deadwater Fell

David Tennant in Deadwater Fell

Known for his roles in Doctor Who and Good Omens, David Tennant showcases his versatility in Deadwater Fell, portraying the complex character of GP Tom Kendrick. Initially admired as a respected family man in their serene village, Tom's life takes a dark turn following the tragic death of his wife and children in a house fire.

As suspicions mount and fingers point towards Tom as the arsonist, Tennant delivers a haunting performance that lingers in the minds of viewers. Alongside a talented cast including Cush Jumbo, Laurie Brett, and Matthew McNulty, Deadwater Fell explores themes of guilt, betrayal, and the complexities of human nature.


Sofia Vergara as Griselda Blanco walking through a car park full of men in Netflix's Griselda.

Sofía Vergara, known for her comedic role in Modern Family, takes a dramatic turn as the formidable Griselda Blanco in Griselda. Departing from her usual funny persona, Vergara delivers a compelling performance as the notorious drug lord, known as "The Godmother," who commands respect and fear in equal measure.

While the series may take liberties with the truth, it captivates viewers with Griselda's complex character, portrayed as both charming and ruthlessly ambitious. Set against the backdrop of Miami in the '70s and '80s, Griselda's rise to power in the drug trade is portrayed with intrigue and intensity, offering a fascinating glimpse into one of the most powerful cartels in history. Despite its fictionalized elements, Griselda provides a gripping portrayal of a woman navigating the dangerous world of crime.

American Nightmare

Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn standing together in front of a brown wall

In the realm of mind-bending documentaries, Netflix stands out as the go-to destination for gripping tales. Their latest offering, a three-part series, delves into the intriguing case known as the "real-life Gone Girl." It unravels the mystery surrounding Denise Huskins following a harrowing home invasion involving her and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn.

Over the course of three episodes, viewers embark on a captivating journey through this true crime saga. From initial confusion to outrage and finally sheer astonishment, the series, crafted by the team behind The Tinder Swindler, keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. With its compelling storytelling, it's another compelling addition to Netflix's lineup of must-watch docuseries.

Chimp Empire

Two chimps, one a mother, one a baby, looking forward in Chimp Empire

You might believe you've experienced every conceivable variation of the nature documentary genre, but if you haven't tuned in to Chimp Empire yet, you're in for a surprise. Narrated by Mahershala Ali, this captivating four-part series, helmed by James Reed of My Octopus Teacher fame, sheds light on the sprawling chimpanzee society found in Uganda’s Ngogo Forest.

Set against the backdrop of a year-long timeframe, the series unfolds with as much intrigue and tension as an episode of Succession. Viewers are drawn into a world where power struggles, alliances, and rivalries among the chimps take center stage. Each chimp possesses its own unique personality and traits, expertly captured by the series in a manner that is both lucid and enthralling.

Friday Night Dinner

Simon Bird, Tamsin Greig, Paul Ritter and Tom Rosenthal in Friday Night Dinner.

Since its return to Netflix earlier this year, this Channel 4 sitcom has been steadily climbing the Netflix charts – and it's not hard to see why. This delightful, quirky, and consistently humorous series stands among the finest offerings from Channel 4, delivering laughs as a British Jewish family gathers every Friday night for dinner.

Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird, and Tom Rosenthal shine as the Goodman family's resilient matriarch and her two squabbling sons, but it's the late Paul Ritter who steals the show with his portrayal of the eccentric father, Martin. While there's talk of an American adaptation in the works, audiences seem unwilling to part with the original, and rightfully so. Long may it continue to entertain.

The Brothers Sun

Michelle Yeoh as Mama Sun, Justin Chien as Charles Sun in The Brothers Sun standing at the entrance of the Mahjong hall looking at people playing.

In the realm of intense and impactful television, series like The Brothers Sun stand out as a refreshing addition to the streaming landscape. While it may fly under the radar for many, it's a must-watch for fans of action, featuring some truly impressive martial arts sequences that rival those seen in movies.

The story centers around Charles (played by Justin Chien), the eldest son of a powerful Taiwanese triad. He is tasked by his father to travel to Los Angeles to protect his mother (portrayed by Michelle Yeoh) and younger brother Bruce (played by Sam Song Li) from shadowy enemies and assassins closing in on their family. The series offers a rollercoaster of emotions, from wincing at the action to moments of laughter, all while keeping viewers hooked with its compelling storyline and complex family dynamics.

Boy Swallows Universe

Felix Cameron as Eli Bell and Phoebe Tonkin as Frances Bell fixing Eli's shirt and tie in Boy Swallows Universe.

While not exactly a light-hearted watch, this new series manages to inject moments of humor and comedy that add depth to its otherwise somber narrative.

The story revolves around young Eli (played by Felix Cameron), who exudes sweetness and is determined to secure a better life for his family. However, their lives are thrown into turmoil when a drug deal goes awry, exacerbated by his mother's struggle with addiction, a step-father involved in drug dealing, and a brother who is non-verbal.

Despite the heavy themes and the abundance of inspirational quotes reminiscent of internet memes, the series is underscored by genuine heart and culminates in a surprising twist that makes it well worth the watch.

Money Heist: Berlin

Berlin (Pedro Alonso) takes a phone call in his hotel hideout

The explosive final season of Money Heist may be a tough act to follow, but the prequel series Money Heist: Berlin proves itself a worthy successor. Focusing on the earlier exploits of Pedro Alonso's character, the criminal mastermind known as Berlin, the show is set in Paris, where he orchestrates the theft of priceless crown jewels with finesse and stealth.

Similar to its predecessor, Money Heist: Berlin thrives on intricate character dynamics as much as the heist itself. From steamy romantic tension to fiery conflicts, the series keeps viewers engaged with its blend of drama and suspense. Add to that regular doses of humor, and you have a show that offers a thrilling, sexy, and action-packed ride for fans.

Fool Me Once

Richard Armitage as Joe and Michelle Keegan as Maya in Fool Me Once standing outside looking at each other.

There's a lingering debate about whether these Harlan Coben thrillers truly live up to their own hype, but one thing remains undeniable: they're incredibly engaging to watch. Each new adaptation of the American novelist's work leaves a lasting impact on the streaming scene, and Fool Me Once is no exception, following in the footsteps of the equally gripping Stay Close released two years prior.

Featuring a stellar cast of British talent, including Richard Armitage, Michelle Keegan, Joanna Lumley, Adeel Akhtar, and Emmett J Scanlan, the series revolves around a widow who stumbles upon unsettling evidence suggesting that her supposedly deceased husband may have staged his own death. It's the kind of premise that keeps you glued to the screen, always eager for just one more episode.


Steven Yeun as Danny and Ali Wong as Amy in Beef.

Hailing from the renowned film production company A24, known for its quality productions, this comedy-drama series stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong. It delves into the aftermath of a road rage incident that sparks a feud between two individuals, Danny and Amy, putting their lives on the line.

The series strikes a perfect balance between comedy and drama, blending witty dialogue with the seriousness of the storyline. At its core, it's a profound exploration of the need for open communication and addressing our emotions rather than letting them consume us. With stellar performances from its leads, the series effectively delivers this message.

Adding to its acclaim, Beef emerged victorious at the recent Golden Globes 2024 ceremony, with Yeun and Wong receiving awards for their outstanding performances, and the show itself being named the best limited series.

The Crown

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown season 6

Certainly, the balance between fact and fiction may have shifted in its later seasons, but there's still an undeniable thrill in peering behind palace doors and into the private lives of one of the world's most renowned families.

Claire Foy and Matt Smith set an impeccable standard with their portrayals of a young Elizabeth and Philip, navigating the challenges of duty and public scrutiny, while Vanessa Kirby captivated audiences with her portrayal of the enigmatic Princess Margaret.

As time progressed, Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter led the cast into a new era of the monarchy, with Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin embodying the tumultuous marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Imelda Staunton took the reins for the final two seasons, supported by a talented ensemble including Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki, and Jonathan Pryce.

The Crown garnered numerous award nominations, solidifying its status as a game-changer for Netflix. It brought prestige, critical acclaim, and attracted a whole new audience to the streaming service, drawn in by the allure of witnessing The Crown's captivating portrayal of royal history.


Stephen Graham and Shirley Haas looking through glass in Netflix series Bodies

In the realm of drama, Stephen Graham consistently delivers stellar performances, whether it's in Boiling Point, This Is England, The Virtues, or The Walk-In, among others. His portrayal of a mysterious and slick authoritarian group leader in Bodies is yet another role that Graham effortlessly embodies.

Joining him in the cast are talents like Shira Haas (Unorthodox), Amaka Okafor (The Responder), and Jacob Fortune-Lloyd (The Queen's Gambit). Bodies twists and turns in all the right places, seamlessly blending dystopian, drama, and mystery elements, making it a genre-defying series worth watching.


Jonah Hill and Emma Stone in Maniac.

As UK film enthusiasts anticipate the release of Emma Stone's highly praised project, Poor Things, it's an opportune moment to revisit Netflix's vaults and explore Maniac, the series she co-starred in alongside Jonah Hill in 2018.

This sci-fi comedy-drama reunited Stone and Hill, known for their collaboration in Superbad, as two strangers participating in a psychologically intense and risky pharmaceutical trial.

Justin Theroux and Sonoya Mizuno portrayed two of the lead scientists overseeing the trial, which, from a narrative perspective, provides viewers with insights into the surreal experiences encountered by Hill and Stone's characters.

The Fall of the House of Usher

Rahul Kohli as Napoleon Usher in The Fall of the House of Usher wearing a kimono, screaming

For horror aficionados, The Fall of the House of Usher is a compelling choice. This latest offering from Mike Flanagan, known for his captivating Haunting anthology and Midnight Mass miniseries, diverges significantly from his previous works.

Picture Succession infused with a surreal supernatural element, as the egocentric Usher family, enriched by unethical dealings in the pharmaceutical realm, face their own sinister reckoning orchestrated by the mysterious Verna (played by Carla Gugino). Drawing inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe's literary legacy, this eerie tale, akin to the foreboding raven, bears witness to their descent into macabre turmoil.

Not for the faint-hearted, The Fall of the House of Usher captivates with stellar performances from Flanagan's past collaborators like Gugino, Rahul Kohli, and Bruce Greenwood, alongside emerging talents from his acclaimed The Midnight Club.

Squid Game

A Squid Game contestant wearing a green tracksuit by guards in pink

If you haven't yet delved into the viral sensation that is Squid Game, prepare yourself for an intense, violent, and thought-provoking journey. This breakout South Korean series follows a group of individuals burdened with debt who are offered the chance to compete for a staggering 45.6 billion won prize by playing childhood games.

However, what seems like a golden opportunity quickly turns into a harrowing ordeal as the games become increasingly perilous, with losers facing brutal consequences, including death.

With the recent release of the spin-off reality series, anticipation for the second season is mounting. Squid Game's unprecedented success has solidified its place as one of the streaming platform's most popular shows to date. Its appeal lies in its stellar acting, intricate storytelling, and sharp critique of the cutthroat competition inherent in capitalist societies.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off

Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim Takes Off walking together

Edgar Wright's 2010 adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World faced a disappointing reception at the box office despite receiving rave reviews, leaving many fans disheartened and assuming that the beloved series of graphic novels had seen its last on-screen adaptation.

However, over the past decade, the film has garnered a dedicated following, bolstered by the rising fame of its stars such as Chris Evans, Aubrey Plaza, Brie Larson, and Kieran Culkin. With renewed interest in the property, Netflix seized the opportunity to revisit the beloved story.

This animated series revisits the whimsical tale of slacker Scott Pilgrim, portrayed by Michael Cera, as he battles Ramona Flowers' seven evil exes in a bid to win her heart. Mary Elizabeth Winstead reprises her role as the enigmatic Ramona. Wright returns as executive producer, aiming for an even more faithful adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's illustrations, complete with an art style that pays homage to various pop culture influences.


The cast of Friends pose for a photo outside Central Perk cafe

Friends, the iconic sitcom that dominated the '90s and early 2000s, was truly a cultural phenomenon. With its unparalleled chemistry among the core cast and memorable characters, it captured the hearts of millions worldwide. Each character had their own charm, making it difficult for fans to pick a favorite.

While some argue that the show's quality declined towards the end, many believe that its humor and heartfelt moments remained consistent throughout its run. Despite certain aspects feeling dated now, Friends still resonates with timeless themes and experiences that many can relate to.

The popularity of Friends has endured over the years, especially with its availability on streaming platforms. Its recent surge in viewership, particularly following the passing of Matthew Perry, underscores its enduring legacy and the profound impact it continues to have on audiences globally.


Greg Davies and Alex Horne on Taskmaster

Fans of the Channel 4 comedy competition show, formerly aired on Dave, can now binge-watch the first six seasons on Netflix while the current season continues to air. Hosted by Greg Davies and his sidekick 'Little' Alex Horne, the show features a group of five celebrities tackling tasks that range from absurd to downright bizarre.

I Think You Should Leave

Tim Robinson stars in I Think You Should Leave

"I Think You Should Leave" is a sketch show created by Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin that has garnered a dedicated fanbase and spawned numerous memes. The series features mundane situations spiraling into chaos due to the actions of an unruly individual, often portrayed by Robinson himself. Alongside Robinson, the show boasts appearances from A-list guest stars like Bob Odenkirk, Steven Yeun, Andy Samberg, and Ayo Edebiri. However, some of the most memorable moments come from lesser-known performers, including a gruff action star with an unusual second job and an eccentric focus group member pitching bizarre ideas for a new car model. While not every joke hits the mark, "I Think You Should Leave" delivers plenty of laughs when it does.


Assane Diop in Lupin wearing a dark jacket and cap, leaning on a rail

Get ready for another round of thrilling escapades with Assane (Omar Sy) in the highly anticipated third installment of the Lupin series. Fans have been eagerly awaiting to see what unfolds for our beloved yet cunning protagonist, especially after his daring escape at the end of season 2.

Despite his achievements in the season 2 finale, Assane finds himself unwelcome in Paris, now one of the most wanted men in France. While he successfully helped bring Hubert Pellegrini to justice and cleared the name of the late Babakar, Assane now faces the daunting task of returning to Paris while also reconciling with his family.

As always, viewers can expect unexpected twists, formidable adversaries, and the hope that Assane emerges unscathed from his latest predicament.

Sex Education

Mimi Keene as Ruby and Asa Butterfield as Otis in Sex Education Season 4 walking together with bicycles

For fans of Sex Education, there's both good news and bad news. The good news is that the series has made its return to our screens, bringing with it its trademark blend of important messaging, impeccable comedic timing, and relatable explorations of sex. However, the bad news is that this fourth season marks the final chapter for the series.

While it's bittersweet to bid farewell to Sex Education, viewers can expect this final outing to be packed with twists, character development, and emotional farewells. In this season, Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) find themselves navigating the challenges of life in their new sixth form. Otis grapples with no longer being the sole sex therapist on campus, as well as adjusting to his role as an older sibling and maintaining a long-distance relationship with Maeve (Emma Mackey).

Top Boy

Sully (Kane Robinson) and Dushane (Ashley Walters) in Top Boy

The backstory of the crime drama Top Boy is quite intriguing. Originally airing for two seasons on Channel 4 in 2011 and 2013, the series seemed to have reached its end when the broadcaster shelved it in 2014. However, Netflix revived the show years later, with significant interest from Canadian rapper Drake playing a role in its resurrection. Now, all five seasons of Top Boy are available for streaming on Netflix.

Ashley Walters and Kane Robinson lead the cast as Dushane Hill and Sully Sullivan, respectively. In the final season, these drug kingpins are forced to confront the profound impact of their actions on the Summerhouse Estate. The series is a gripping and gritty crime drama that effectively captures the essence of its setting, skillfully balancing personal storylines with larger-scale narratives. The fast-paced conclusion is not to be overlooked.

One Piece

One Piece (2023)

Adapted from Japan's best-selling manga series by Eiichiro Oda, this eagerly awaited live-action series is a dream come true for anime enthusiasts.

The storyline centers around Monkey D. Luffy (played by Iñaki Godoy) and his crew of pirates as they embark on an epic adventure across the high seas in search of the legendary treasure known as "One Piece," aiming to secure Luffy the coveted title of Pirate King.

Joined by his loyal crew members including Nami (portrayed by Emily Rudd), Mackenyu Arata as Zoro, and Jacob Romero Gibson as Usopp, Luffy's journey is filled with excitement, danger, and the relentless pursuit of their ultimate goal: finding the elusive One Piece treasure.


Nick and Charlie looking into one another's eyes, with a Paris guidebook in shot

This LGBTQ+ romance has captivated audiences worldwide, chronicling the journey of schoolboys Charlie Spring (portrayed by Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (played by Kit Connor) as they transition from friends to boyfriends over the course of a significant school year. Unlike edgier high school dramas such as Euphoria, which often delve into themes of drugs, sex, and despair, this series opts for an all-ages approach, focusing on sweetness rather than dramatic intensity.

However, the second season does introduce darker themes, including challenges related to troubled home lives and mental health issues, adding depth to the storyline. As highlighted in our review of Heartstopper season 2, the latest episodes reveal a more confident and multifaceted narrative that may sway any skeptics from the first season.

With its concise 25-minute episodes, Heartstopper is easily binge-worthy, particularly for those enamored with romantic narratives. While the cast primarily consists of newcomers, with the exception of one A-list cameo, they deliver remarkable performances that hint at promising futures. Notably, trans actress Yasmin Finney, who portrays the artistic schoolgirl Elle, has secured a role in Doctor Who's 60th anniversary special, while co-lead Joe Locke is set to appear in Marvel's Agatha: Coven of Chaos.

Never Have I Ever

A sad Devi lying on a sofa wearing a party hat

Crafted by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, this heartwarming comedy-drama about adolescence is now fully available for streaming, with its final season bidding farewell to the endearing high school protagonist, Devi (portrayed by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan). Devi's journey began with her earnest attempts to enhance her social standing in high school, all while grappling with the profound grief stemming from her father's sudden death during a school concert, which left her temporarily paralyzed.

However, with a new school year comes a renewed determination for Devi to redefine herself, transcending both her public tragedy and her fiery temperament. Aptly, the narration is provided by the famously quick-tempered tennis icon, John McEnroe. As the series unfolds, it delves into romantic entanglements while also documenting Devi's academic pursuits as she aspires to build a brighter future for herself.

With its blend of humor and heartfelt moments, Never Have I Ever has garnered acclaim for its portrayal of South Asian characters and its ability to challenge stereotypes, making it a standout in the realm of teen dramas.

The Witcher

Henry Cavill stars in The Witcher season 3 as Geralt, looking serious

In the third season of The Witcher, Henry Cavill takes his final bow as the mutant monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia, leading viewers on another thrilling journey alongside sorcerer Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) and Princess Ciri of Cintra (Freya Allen). Set against the backdrop of a world engulfed in conflict, the season continues to deliver a rich tapestry of bizarre creatures, intense action sequences, and captivating characters.

As one of Netflix's flagship series, The Witcher has amassed a devoted fanbase over the years, drawn to its fantastical elements and gripping storytelling. The show's success has also translated into a significant boost for the video game franchise it's based on, with sales of The Witcher 3 soaring by 558 percent following the debut of the Henry Cavill adaptation.

With Cavill's departure signaling a shift in the series, anticipation is high for the arrival of Liam Hemsworth in the upcoming fourth season. Whether you're a seasoned fan or new to the world of The Witcher, there's never been a better time to dive into this epic saga.

Black Mirror

Aaron Paul in Black Mirror

After a four-year wait, Black Mirror made its highly anticipated return for its sixth season in 2023. Departing from its usual format, the new episodes presented a variety of stories set in the past, along with a unique 'Red Mirror' installment that diverged from the series' typical focus on technology.

Yet, despite this departure, viewers quickly discovered that Black Mirror has always been more about exploring the depths of human nature than simply showcasing technological advancements. Through its dark and twisted narratives, the anthology series offers compelling character studies that reflect the complexities of the present day. In its latest installment, Black Mirror once again proves why it remains a standout in the realm of television, consistently delivering thought-provoking and engaging storytelling.

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