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The Best Netflix Originals of 2020 So Far

These shows, movies, and specials deserve a place in your streaming queue

Lucifer, The Baby-Sitters Club, Love Is Blind
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The Best Netflix Originals of 2020 So Far

There's no doubt that 2020 has been an arduous year. Between the never-ending spate of political headlines and the global pandemic that has put people's health and economic well-being at risk, it's no wonder folks have been turning to their televisions to give them an outlet from the real world even more than usual lately. Few things have been as comforting in these turbulent times than being able to binge series like Outer Banksand Dead to Me.

Although Netflix's productions were impacted by coronavirus shutdowns just as much as the rest of Hollywood -- we'll have to wait even longer for Stranger Things Season 4 -- the streaming service has had enough original shows and movies banked up to continue churning out new titles, month after month, and remain a major part of the cultural conversation throughout an otherwise very hectic year.

Some of Netflix's new movies, shows, and specials have been better than others, of course. Here we'll walk you through some of the very best Netflix Originals of 2020, from the docuseries which no one could stop talking about (like Tiger King) to the scripted dramas that got us in our feelings (including Never Have I Ever and The Baby-Sitters Club) to the action movies that were just silly enough to let us escape for a spell (like Extraction and The Old Guard) to genuinely great comedy specials, click through to read about the best of the best on Netflix this year (so far).

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Absurd Planet

Netflix's Absurd Planet is not one of those boring series with monotonous voiceover that puts you to sleep, nor is it a calming doc with an Enya soundtrack that will make you dream of taking exotic vacations. Absurd Planet has evolved from WIRED's Absurd Creature column, and it highlights some of the world's weirdest creatures in some of the weirdest ways. Narrated by Mother Nature (voiced by Afi Ekulona), the show kicks things off with the dung beetle, but there are plenty more fascinating creatures within the show's 12 episodes, so if you need a good laugh and still want to watch something educational and kid-friendly, this is kind of perfect. - Kaitlin Thomas

3 of 76 Ray Burmiston/Netflix

Afterlife Season 2

Ricky Gervais returns for a second season of his "woe is me, Ricky Gervais" comedy-drama, playing a man trying to get his life back together after the untimely death of his wife. The problem is that he's kind of a jerk who has no problem saying the first thing that comes to his mind, which pushes people away as he deals with his grief. In Season 2, he tries to help others who helped him and says, "f--king 'ell" a lot. That's a very underrated British-ism. - Tim Surette

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Aggretsuko Season 3

Hands down the best animated series about a red panda who does death metal karaoke at night, Aggretsuko is for everyone who harbors a dark side. The anime is more than just Sanrio cuteness overload, though. With storylines about aggressive male bosses and hostile work environments, it's actually a sharp satire of a male-dominated industry with a strong female character. - Tim Surette

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Altered Carbon Season 2

After a nearly two-year break, this extravagant sci-fi show returned for its second season. The cyberpunk adaptation mostly sticks with the same hyperviolent detective-story-with-complicated-sci-fi-stuff format from Season 1, but Anthony Mackie takes over the role of Takeshi Kovacs from Joel Kinnaman, because in Altered Carbon consciousnesses can be uploaded into different bodies. (He's still played in flashbacks by Will Yun Lee.) - Liam Mathews

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Athlete A

This powerful documentary follows the two-year investigation by reporters from The Indianapolis Star who uncovered one of the greatest sports scandals in history: the abuse of hundreds of gymnasts at the hands of doctor Larry Nassar. Athlete A is a reference to Maggie Nichols, who first brought complaints about Nassar to USA Gymnastics in 2015. The film is about a program rotten to its core, the sacrifice of young athletes to uphold an image, and the brave survivors who came forward. - Tim Surette

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Hilary Swank stars in this space drama that doesn't quite qualify as sci-fi, because even though it's about a mission to Mars, it's very much down to Earth when it comes to its subject matter. Jason Katims' (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) latest follows Swank's astronaut and her diverse crew on the first manned mission to Mars as they confront issues of loneliness and family drama as their loved ones are left back home. Your tears will have liftoff. - Tim Surette

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The Baby-Sitters Club

Fans of Ann M. Martin's classic children's books are sure to be delighted by this new adaptation, which is both faithful to the source material and imbued with just enough modern themes to make it a feel-good series for the present day. Read our full review here, and find out which of the Baby-Sitters Club members you're most like with our custom personality quiz

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If the anthropomorphic world of BoJack Horseman was seen through the eyes of a Japanese anime, featured animals devouring each other, and was turned into a terrifying murder mystery filled with metaphors about gender and power, then, uhhh, it wouldn't really be BoJack Horseman at all, would it? It would be Beastars, a twisted and fascinating Netflix anime about a world filled with animals living as humans and under a treaty that dictates predators don't eat prey... until an alpaca is brutally murdered by someone who can longer resist his carnivorous urges. A wolf takes it upon himself to solve the murder, and befriends a cute little rabbit along the way. Feeling emerge, but are they romantic or something more sinister? WHO THINKS OF THIS STUFF!?!?! - Tim Surette

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The Obamas have put their names on a few documentaries as part of their lucrative Netflix deal, producing films like American Factory and Crip Camp, but now they're finally stepping in front of the camera. Becoming, from director Nadia Hallgren, follows Michelle Obama on her 34-city book tour to promote her 2018 memoir of the same name. That's right; Michelle Obama is entering the tour documentary genre. It's the First Lady's Meeting People Is Easy. Do you think Michelle Obama ever has to tell herself, "I'm not here, this isn't happening," like Thom Yorke did? - Liam Mathews

11 of 76 Gabriel Delerme/Netflix


Prolific producer Kenya Barris -- best known for creating the great ABC sitcom black-ish -- chafed at the restrictions placed on him at Disney-owned ABC Studios, so he left for Netflix. Now he's back with a black-ish-ish comedy series called #blackAF, which you know is edgier because it has an implied swear in the title. Like black-ish, it's semi-autobiographical, but even more so, as Barris plays a fictionalized version of himself, showing what Hollywood and parenthood is like for a superrich black family. Rashida Jones plays his wife, Joya, and she too probably has a pretty similar life to the character, except her real life has more Vampire Weekend. - Liam Mathews

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BoJack Horseman Season 6, Part 2

With the exception of one harrowing showstopper episode, the second half of BoJack Horseman's final season goes all-in on straight drama, solidifying itself as a show about the disease of addiction and its effects on the addict and the people around them. This may be the least funny season of BoJack, but it's also the most bingeable. Suspense, drama, and the sense of inevitable doom make it tough to see but impossible not to watch. - Brian Patchett

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Castlevania Season 3

This American-made anime is based on the popular Konami video game of your youth, but unlike most video game adaptations, it doesn't totally suck. Once again, the object here is to kill Dracula, who goes on a rampage against humans after his wife is burned at the stake. Monster hunter Trevor Belmont takes up the task with the help of a few friends. Castlevania is primarily a horror series, featuring some visceral gore and gratuitous sex. Yes, it's animated, but it's not for the kids. Season 3 is its best-reviewed installment yet. - Tim Surette

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Cheer was the first must-watch Netflix Original of 2020 for its brutal truths about the world of competitive cheerleading.

15 of 76 Mitch Jenkins/Netflix

The Circle

The Circle puts several contestants into one apartment building, where they can only communicate by group and direct messages. Each player has a social media profile with photos of their choosing, but face-to-face meetings are forbidden, which leaves players free to masquerade as whoever they want. More curveballs and challenges are thrown in, and eventually players rank each other from favorite to least favorite. Whoever gets the lowest ranking goes home and has no shot at winning the $100,000 grand prize. Think Catfish meets Big Brother. - Lauren Zupkus

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Da 5 Bloods

The latest Spike Lee joint follows four aging Black Vietnam vets — Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) — who go back to the country where they fought in search of the remains of their squad leader (Chadwick Boseman)... and buried treasure. In the process, they confront the cognitive dissonance of being a Black American soldier, the legacy of the immoral Vietnam War, and the idea that the past is never really past, it still echoes today. It's a Vietnam epic like only Spike Lee could do. - Liam Mathews

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Dark Season 3

The only thing Dark fans knew to expect of the third and final season was that it would be complicated, and the Netflix drama did not disappoint. - Kaitlin Thomas

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Dating Around Season 2

Netflix's docuseries, where the viewer gets to be a fly on the wall for first dates, doesn't sound like a riveting idea the moment you hear it, but then you think about it for a second and you realize there's no part of it that isn't fascinating You get to watch one person go one first dates with several different people, so you can see who they have chemistry with. You can root for who you want them to pick, or compare your own preferences with theirs. You get to live vicariously through the nervous excitement of a first date without experiencing the awkward small talk yourself. It's like eavesdropping on people in a restaurant for their entire date without the risk of being caught. It's great. Season 1 was set in Brooklyn, but Season 2 follows singles in New Orleans. - Liam Mathews

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Dead to Me Season 2

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini return for more secrets, lies, and murder in the dark comedy about friendship under less-than-ideal circumstances. Jen and Judy's troubles get bigger and bigger after they have to deal with that [SPOILER] in the Season 1 finale, tying them together even more than before. The second season is once again loaded with twists, but they're darker than ever before as Dead to Me approaches Ozark-levels of manipulation and panic. Still, the show finds a way to make Jen and Judy's turbulent relationship the most entertaining part of the whole show. And with 30-minute episodes, Dead to Me is still one of Netflix's bingeable shows. - Tim Surette

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The Devil All the Time

This "Midwestern Gothic" psychological thriller based on an acclaimed novel by Donald Ray Pollock features an excellent ensemble cast including Robert Pattinson, Sebastian Stan, Riley Keough, Bill Skarsgård, and led by Tom Holland. Holland plays Arvind Russell, a young man trying to protect his family from the forces of corruption in the rural Southern Ohio town of Knockemstiff. It's rated R for "violence, bloody/disturbing images, sexual content, graphic nudity, and language throughout." Hell — and I can't stress this enough — yes. – Liam Mathews

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The Eddy

La La Land and Whiplash director Damien Chazelle goes back to the jazz world for this limited series about the characters who populate a struggling club in Paris run by an American pianist (Andre Holland) who was once a star but has turned his back on his gift. It's not all bebop and hepcats though; at the center of the series is a murder mystery, which threatens the livelihood of the club and the musicians who rely on it. The Eddy has a focus on music, but it's the meditation on how difficult times can transform a person that really shines. - Tim Surette

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Eric Andre: Legalize Everything

Stoners have a reputation for being chill, but Eric Andre proves the exception to the rule. In his high-energy first stand-up special, the Eric Andre Show star screams at the top of his lungs about drugs — and sex, and violence, and everything else. It's a lot of screaming. He screams about taking a Xanax at Coachella and blacking out and missing the Tupac hologram's performance, which caused him to have a public meltdown during Snoop Dogg's set where he tore grass out of the ground while yowling "BURY ME ALIIIIVE! I DON'T DESERVE TO LIIIIVE!" If this doesn't sound appealing to you, you're not a millennial who's had their brain damaged by Adderall and the internet, and you're missing out. - Liam Mathews

23 of 76 Jasin Boland/Netflix


Extraction might've been a bit formulaic and even predictable at times, but the sheer star power of Chris Hemsworth and brass direction by Sam Hargrave more than made up for it -- that 12-minute, one-shot fight sequence alone was a serious feat of cinema. With its breakneck pace and jaw-dropping action, it's no wonder so many millions of people tuned in to see Extraction, and, of course, a sequel is already in the works.

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Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Sara

This extremely amiable direct-to-Netflix music competition film, co-written by Andrew Steele and directed by David Dobkin, is impervious to criticism and impossible to dislike. One might say "nah, don't pause it," to a partner watching on the couch while racing to the restroom, but only because this film is so easygoing that getting hung up on missing two minutes seems against the point. - Jordan Hoffman

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F Is for Family

Bill Burr's animated sitcom about the life of a dysfunctional suburban '70s family returns. This season, Frank Murphy's (Burr) estranged father reenters his life, which brings up old problems and starts new ones when Frank's kids see that their dad is just like Grandpa.

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Floor Is Lava

In the tradition of dumbass obstacle course games like Wipeout and Most Extreme Elimination Challenge — both of which are awesome — comes this souped-up version of the game we all played as children. Teams try to get from one end of a room to the other without landing in a pit of scolding hot molten magma. Except it's colored water. - Tim Surette

27 of 76 Kevin Estrada/Netflix


Gentefied, Netflix's new series about a Mexican-American family from Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, is a painstakingly crafted love letter to that specific Latinx community... At turns hilarious, scathing, and sweet, Gentefied follows in the tradition of shows like One Day at a Time, Jane the Virgin, and Vida as a series with undeniable heart. It's kind of impossible not to fall a little in love. - Krutika Mallijkarjuna

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Giri/Haji — Japanese for Duty/Shame — is a must for fans of sophisticated crime thrillers. Filmed in England and Japan, it follows a Tokyo detective named Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira) who travels to London in search of his missing brother, who is accused of murdering a Yakuza's nephew. As he tries to determine whether his brother did it — or if he's even still alive — Kenzo sinks into the London criminal underworld, and meets a detective named Sarah Weitzmann (Boardwalk Empire's Kelly Macdonald) and a sex worker named Rodney Yamaguchi (Will Sharpe), who help him in his search. It earned rave reviews when it aired on BBC Two last year. Now the rest of the world can see what's up. - Liam Mathews

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Grace and Frankie Season 6

Grace and Frankie is quietly one of Netflix's most successful comedies, accumulating four Emmy nominations for Lily Tomlin (and one for Jane Fonda) and more episodes than almost any other show on the streaming service. In Season 6, Grace (Fonda) navigates a life as the wife of a younger man (Peter Gallagher). A toilet-related problem in his house inspires Frankie (Tomlin) to come up with a new invention and business opportunity. Most importantly, though, let's hear it for great American Jane Fonda, who's getting arrested to demand climate change every Friday. - Liam Mathews

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Hannah Gadsby: Douglas

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby unwillingly unleashed a major hit in her previous stand-up special, the award-winning Nanette, which transformed the notion of stand-up comedy into part confession, part TED talk about acceptance. She returns to the stage more popular than ever -- even she's surprised -- but continues to mold our expectations of performance into something greater than it was. Ironically, we'd expect nothing less from one of the most exciting comedians working today. - Tim Surette

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Horse Girl

Horse Girl manages to do a number of remarkable and difficult things. For starters, it is a blend of genres. It is frightening, sad, and also very funny. So many filmmakers not named Joel and Ethan Coen try to mix up distinct storytelling styles and invariably fail. Jeff Baena does not. Then there's Alison Brie's performance. She is enormously charismatic, and watching this film is a real workout on your emotions. It is (in a very strange way) entertaining to watch her flip out and ruin a first date by babbling about clones, but you sit there in the audience and just want to help. - Jordan Hoffman

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I Am Not Okay with This

I Am Not Okay With This is an adaptation of Charles Forsman's comic of the same name from Jonathan Entwistle (who also did Forsman's The End of the F***ing World for Netflix), and the producers of Stranger Things. The series follows Sydney (It star Sophia Lilli), a teenager attempting to navigate the complexities of high school and her budding sexuality while also struggling to understand and control a newfound supernatural ability. It's hardly new territory -- it's not even new territory for Netflix -- and yet the series, which is now streaming, still finds ways to set itself apart while telling a story that resonates with its audience. - Kaitlin Thomas

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I'm Thinking of Ending Things

Visionary writer-director Charlie Kaufman returns for his first live-action movie since 2008's Synecdoche, New York with this unnerving movie that's described as a horror-thriller but leans more towards the uncategorizable. It's about a woman (the great Jessie Buckley) who despite planning to break up with her boyfriend (the great Jesse Plemons) goes on a trip to meet his parents (the great David Thewlis and the great Toni Collette) at their isolated farm. Once they're there, things start going very wrong. Like impossibly, existentially, seeing-beyond-the-veil wrong. This movie will be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the next Oscars and it won't win because it's too weird. Or maybe it'll be too weird to even earn a nomination. And by "too weird," I mean AWESOME! - Liam Mathews

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The Innocence Files

In this country, you're innocent until proven guilty. Supposedly. The truth is this country's justice system is broken, with too much emphasis and pressure on prosecutors getting a conviction in cases. That's led to a rash of wrongful convictions on flimsy evidence, destroying lives all across the country. A bunch of Oscar nominees and winners, including Alex Gibney, Liz Garbus, and Roger Ross Williams, produce this series that follows the non-profit Innocence Project as it works tirelessly to overturn eight cases in which the wrong person went to prison. Get ready to be gutted as those who have spent half their lives in jail for something they didn't do finally see justice. Tim Surette

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Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill

Joey Ramone voice: "20, 20, 23 hours to kill, I wanna be Seinfelded." This is Jerry's first stand-up special of completely new material in 22 years (2017's Jerry Before Seinfeld was jokes from early in his career with commentary). So there's a lot of new stuff for him to ask what's the deal with. - Liam Mathews

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Julie and the Phantoms

This is a show aimed at tween girls and fans of DCOMs about a power-pop boy band that dies from eating bad street hot dogs but comes back decades later as ghosts to help a high school girl find her confidence as a musical performer. - Tim Surette

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Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

This anime-influenced kids' show from DreamWorksTV is back for Season 2, with our heroine Kipo trying to master her powers and exploring the origins of the fantastical world she's found herself in in order to save her friend Lio and defeat the evil baboon-creature Scarlemagne. Your kids will be singing "Get along, Kid Scarlemagne!" - Liam Mathews

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Locke & Key

Author Joe Hill's bestselling comic series had a long, hard time getting to the screen (the adaptation was originally piloted for Fox back in 2010, and redeveloped for and passed on by Hulu before it landed at Netflix), but it's finally here. Quiet super-producer Carlton Cuse's version is much less scary and gory than Stephen King's son's horror comic about siblings who discover their house has magical keys that give them supernatural abilities, but it still has the fantasy, mystery, and family drama fans have been waiting more than a decade to see. - Liam Mathews

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The Lovebirds

Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani star in this movie that qualifies as a "rough night" comedy, where a mild-mannered individual or couple gets caught up in an increasingly complicated and dangerous situation over a short period of time. The finest example is After Hours, and there was even a movie in this subgenre called Rough Night. Anyway, Rae and Nanjiani play a couple whose car gets hijacked by Paul Sparks and used to commit a murder. They fear that the police will think they did it, so they run, and dark romantic comedy hijinks ensue. This was supposed to be a theatrical release, but the coronavirus scuttled those plans. Check out our review. - Liam Mathews

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Love is Blind

Shortly before the coronavirus pandemic made social distancing the new normal, Netflix's romantic reality series Love Is Blind came along to teach us all about the romantic perks of isolation. But it wasn't just the novel concept of the series that got us interested in the couples; it was also just fascinating to watch them legitimately fall in love and decide whether to take their love beyond the pods (which a surprising amount of them actually did!).

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Lucifer Season 5, Part 1

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he was canceled. Lucifer, the cult hit that debuted on Fox, was canceled after three seasons before Netflix swooped in to save it. This will be the second season on the streamer, which has already renewed Lucifer for a sixth and final season. This time around, Lucifer is back in hell while his twin brother Michael comes to Earth to take over his life! So we're at that point in the series, eh? Word is it's really good, and will satisfy the Lucifer faithful. - Tim Surette

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Magic for Humans Season 3

If you need a little light to cut through all this darkness, Magic for Humans will *presto* make the day a little better. Comedian/host/warlock Justin Willman stars in this series that attempts to tie the wonder of magic with the universality of being human by performing illusions that highlight what it means to be alive. It's part street magic and part sketch show, with some insane tricks that Willman promises are not the result of camera tricks or post-production cheating, just new updates on classic techniques from the olden days. As you can see in the trailer above, Willman performs magic in the buff at a nudist colony, proving he's got nothing up his sleeve (and hopefully anywhere else). - Tim Surette

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Marc Maron: End Times Fun

The actor and podcast king does his main job -- stand-up comedy -- in his latest Netflix special. In this one, he grapples with the signs that the world is winding down, like the California wildfires, the cultural hegemony of superhero movies, and how Trump "has opened the lizard portal." - Liam Mathews

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Middleditch & Schwartz

Here's another fact: Improv is for dweebs. Mostly. In the hands of masters, improv is an astonishing feat of quick-thinking, crisis-management, and spontaneous choreography, and Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch and Parks and Recreation's Ben Schwartz are pretty damn great at improv. The three-episode comedy special Middleditch & Schwartz were taped during their recent improv tour, where they take the stage with a couple of chairs, talk with an audience member to get a set-up, and then make everything up on the spot while playing dozens of different characters inside a single story. There are moments when you'll swear they're in some sort of harmonious mind meld, and then there are other times when they seemingly go out of their way to sabotage each other for laughs. - Tim Surette

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Narcos: Mexico Season 2

The Narcos franchise doesn't get a ton of media attention (TV Guide is admittedly as guilty as anyone with not giving it the respect it deserves), but it's quietly, broadly popular and critically acclaimed. It's back for its second season covering the rise of Mexican drug cartels, with Diego Luna doing his seductively menacing thing as Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, the founder of the Guadalajara cartel and the Lucky Luciano of Mexico. - Liam Mathews

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Never Have I Ever

Mindy Kaling co-created this teenage rom-com about an Indian-American girl named Devi who enters her sophomore year of high school determined to shed her nerdy image and get a boyfriend. Do I need to even tell you that things do not go as planned? It's great, filled with fun writing and an energetic performance from its lead Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who meets every of Devi's obstacles with spirit and a smile. - Tim Surette

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The Old Guard

The Old Guard, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, is the perfect summer thrillride. The film stars Charlize Theron as Andy, a centuries-old woman whose body regenerates and who leads a pack of other near-immortal people, including KiKi Layne's newcomer Nile, as they try to save the day and keep their cover from a greedy pharmaceutical executive who wants the secret to their longevity for his own financial gain. The movie is action-packed and full of heart, and it's perfectly paced to keep you on your toes and in your feelings. 

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On My Block Season 3

Out of all of Netflix's many, many coming-of-age shows, On My Block is one of the best and definitely the coolest. In Season 3, the kids from South Central -- determined and kind Monse (Sierra Capri), sensitive and loyal Cesar (Diego Tinoco), dramatic and sincere Ruby (Jason Genao), and nerdy and reliable Jamal (Brett Gray) -- are tasked with finding Lil' Ricky, the no-longer-presumed-dead founder of the Santos gang. Very real gang-related danger lurks around every corner, which make the laughs feel even more cathartic. - Liam Mathews

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Outer Banks

Falling into the so-bad-it's-awesome category is Outer Banks, a meme-able teen soap about some kids who spend their time doing crimes across the coast and find themselves hunting for $400 million in gold and some answers about their own personal losses. Sure, this show is a bit over-the-top, but it's the melodrama that really makes it, too.

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Ozark Season 3

The third season of Netflix's celebrated drama was like watching a tightrope walker in a windstorm -- in other words, it was intense, everyone was certainly doomed, and we couldn't peel our eyes away from the disaster as the Byrde family went all-in with their casino business and money laundering business.

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Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak

The timeliness of this docuseries cannot be overstated, as it dropped on Jan. 22, before the coronavirus pandemic turned the entire world into a petri dish. The series details how infectious outbreaks spread like wildfire and attempts to bring some wisdom to those who doubt the utility of vaccines. Perhaps we should've paid even more attention to this when it first came out because in retrospect, it seems awfully prescient.

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Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything

The prolific actor and comedian is back for another stand-up special, his third for Netflix. This one is about topics like embracing his 50s and finding love again. That's right; the guy who has a famous bit about how his text message autofill assumes he's typing "I hate" is trying out a positive mental attitude. And this special has a pretty novel gimmick: a post-credits sequence that's another hour-long special entirely, from comic Bob Rubin, presented by Oswalt. - Liam Mathews

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The Platform

The Platform centers on a prison-like system in which each day's food buffet, which is meant to be enough for everyone in the unit, is passed down from one level to the next, and the occupants of the lower levels are often left with nothing to eat thanks to the greed of those on the higher levels. The Spanish-language dystopian thriller from Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia is not a movie for the faint of heart (nor those with uneasy stomachs); in addition to being extremely gory, the film is also deeply unsettling for its imagery of the food that gets passed down from one level to the next in increasingly slimmer and more disgusting portions. The concept of the movie is what makes it a standout addition to the Netflix library, though, as it becomes a scathing, but captivating rebuke of capitalism ... if you can finish it, at least.

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Project Power

Netflix recently released a list of its 10 most popular original movies as measured by number of views in their first four weeks of release, and four of the top five were action movies, with The Old Guard rapidly ascending (it's definitely already bumped Murder Mystery from the top five since the list was published). Project Power will almost certainly also make the list, because it has the same formula as all the other hit Netflix action movies. It's familiar, but original enough. It's not based on any existing property, but it feels like it could be. It's set in New Orleans, where a pill available on the streets either gives people superpowers for five minutes at a time or kills them. Jamie Foxx stars as a guy trying to get his daughter back because her lifeforce is being harvested for the pills. He's helped by a cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and a teenage dealer (The Deuce's Dominique Fishback). - Liam Mathews

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Does anyone in the TV world feel themselves harder than Ryan Murphy? You would have to wake up every day feeling like Allen Iverson in 2001 to even consider making a prequel series to the 1962 novel/1975 movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest -- one of the most acclaimed movies ever made — focusing on the character of Nurse Ratched, let alone doing it in a totally different tone and style from the movie, changing from a straightforward drama to a psychological thriller. But Murphy only puts up big shots, and this one stars his frequent collaborator Sarah Paulson in a colorful period piece set in 1947 that tells the cruel nurse's origin story. Ratched's all-star cast also includes Vincent D'Onofrio, Sharon Stone, and former New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. – Liam Mathews

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Sam Jay: 3 in the Morning

Sam Jay is a spiritual successor to the late comedian Patrice O'Neal, with a similarly confident presence and an ability to calmly articulate provocative, contrary arguments. She even borrows "goofy," his signature adjective. She updates his style for 2020, though, replacing his misogyny with hilariously independent-minded takes on the racism of white male confidence, the failures of #MeToo, the reason she doesn't like Greta Thunberg, and how her girlfriend forgets that just because she's masculine-presenting, she's still a woman. She may be influenced by Patrice O'Neal, but her point of view is completely her own. - Liam Mathews

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Selling Sunset Season 3

If you're into Bravo-style d-r-a-m-a from done-up women working in close quarters, give this a spin. Christine is quickly becoming one of reality TV's most notorious villains, and Chrishell — who was named that because her mom went into labor at a Shell gas station and the attendant who helped her is named Chris, seriously — gets divorced from This Is Us star Justin Hartley this season. Oh also, they sell some houses. - Tim Surette

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Sex Education Season 2

This Netflix comedy with dramatic elements (a "dramedy," if you will) is set at a British high school where a student, the son of a licensed sex therapist, takes it upon himself to educate his peers on the ol' ins and outs of sexy times. The series' open approach to fornicatin' is a welcome addition to the raunch-com stylings of teen sex comedies, and its equal treatment of LGBTQ stories makes it properly woke. Season 1 was great, and Season 2 is more of the same. - Tim Surette

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Somebody Feed Phil Season 3

Unassuming, endearingly dorky Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal is back for more culinary adventures around the world in Season 3 of this entertaining food travel show. Locations visited this season include Montreal, Marrakesh, Seoul, and Chicago. It's probably a tough watch right now, since it involves getting on planes and going to restaurants. - Liam Mathews

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Spelling the Dream

A spiritual sequel to the Oscar-nominated 2002 documentary Spellbound, this feature follows four Indian American children as they prepare for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which has been dominated by Indian American kids for the past 20 years (though not this year, because the Bee was canceled due to the pandemic). - Liam Mathews

61 of 76 Daniel McFadden/Netlfix

Spenser Confidential

Director Peter Berg only makes movies with Mark Wahlberg now. This is his fifth straight movie starring the erstwhile Marky Mark. It's their first movie for Netflix and the first movie they've made together that's supposed to be purely fun. (Deepwater Horizon wasn't a barrel of laughs, you know?) Wahlberg plays Spenser, a former Boston detective who went to prison after being framed by crooked cops he was trying to expose. Now he's out, and he teams up with his hulking new friend Hawk (Black Panther's Winston Duke) to bring the perps to justice. The movie is very loosely based on the Spenser & Hawk characters created by legendary crime novelist Robert B. Parker, not keeping much beyond the names and Boston setting. It's Mark Wahlberg, of course it has a Boston setting! The fun cast includes Alan Arkin, Iliza Shlesinger, Post Malone, and Marc Maron. - Liam Mathews

62 of 76 Netflix

Taylor Swift: Miss Americana

You may think you know Taylor Swift just because you have spy cameras set up all over her house and you're perched in a tree stand with high-powered binoculars staring into her bedroom right now, but you don't really know her at all. This Taylor-approved documentary gives you a better look into her life as a put-upon pop star wrestling with being the voice of a small army and being true to herself even if it means alienating part of her audience. It's a bit polished and likely staged, but there are some fascinating real moments in there, too. - Tim Surette

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Teenage Bounty Hunters

Teenage Netflix Bounty Hunters, Teenage Netflix Bounty Hunters, Teenage Netflix Bounty Hunters, watch this after you watch Project Power. It's an edgy teen action comedy about twin sisters who become...well, you know. It's smart and funny in a way its title intentionally, ironically tries to hide with its lack of subtlety. - Liam Mathews

64 of 76 Netflix

Tiger King

There was a reason every meme that crossed your feed throughout late March and April was of Joe Exotic, the self-proclaimed Tiger King who was the subject of the hit docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. His story was almost too bizarre to be true, and yet it absolutely was. From start to finish, this gripping behind-the-scenes account drew viewers into the warped world of big cat zoos and the deadly feud that landed the Tiger King behind bars.

65 of 76 Chen Hsiang Liu/Netflix


Alan Yang (Master of None, Little America) once again looks to his parents for inspiration in this Netflix film that dramatizes his father's emigration from Taiwan to America. An emotional and funny tale about multiple generations, Tigertail follows a young man's decision to leave behind the homeland he loves to start a new life in the U.S. with a woman he barely knows, and fast-forwards to the future as the man realizes that his adult American-born daughter, who he also feels little connection with, is showing the same stubbornness he did. They bond, you'll cry. - Tim Surette

66 of 76 Bettina Strauss/Netflix

To All the Boy's I've Loved Before: P.S I Still Love You

The sequel to 2018's romantic comedy hit landed just in time for Valentine's Day. Lana Condor is back as adorable everygirl Lara Jean Covey, who's happily dating dreamboat Peter Kavinsky (breakout star Noah Centineo) now that their pretend relationship from the first movie has evolved to become real. But when the recipient of one of her other letters -- John Ambrose McClaren, played by Dancing with the Stars' Jordan Fisher -- reenters her life, she's caught in a conundrum: Can she love two boys at once? If she doesn't pick Peter, there's gonna be a teen girl riot at Netflix headquarters. - Liam Mathews

67 of 76 Ana Cristina Blumenkron/Netflix

Too Hot Too Handle

On this reality competition, a gaggle of hot and horny singles from all over the world have to live together in a villa, but they're forbidden from sexual activity of any kind. And these young folks have a really, really hard time with it. They have to look within and find a spiritual solution for the emptiness they feel. Not all holes can be filled physically. A YouTube commenter on the trailer described this as "basically Love Island but Amazon's Alexa is controlling everything," which is incredibly on point. - Liam Mathews

68 of 76 Netflix

The Umbrella Academy Season 2

This Netflix series follows the seven powered individuals who were adopted by a billionaire who raised them to save the world. As adults, they're reunited when their father dies, putting in motion a series of events that will eventually bring on the apocalypse. One of the best things about The Umbrella Academy is that it points out some super problematic superhero tropes. "What would happen if an eccentric billionaire raised superpowered children in an isolated training environment and weaponized their abilities? They all be super f---ed up, that's what!" - Tim Surette

69 of 76 Nina Robinson/NETFLIX


No more than 90 seconds into Uncorked and I wasn't sure what I craved more, some nicely charred rib tips or a glass of a jammy Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The cooking and preparation of mouthwatering Memphis-style BBQ and the vine-to-vintage route of a fine wine are lustily photographed in a dazzling opening credits sequence. This new Netflix original (which was to have debuted at SXSW before the festival was closed thanks to the coronavirus pandemic) is a fairly straightforward "a man must choose his own path" story, but it's the specifics that set it apart. And the specifics, in this case, are delicious. - Jordan Hoffman

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The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend

Netflix is obsessed with the idea of interactive TV (see: Black Mirror's Bandersnatch, Bear Gryll's You vs. Wild, and some kids' stuff), and is applying state-of-the-art button pressing to a special episode of its comedy series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. You get to choose if Kimmy and Tituss walk or take an Uber! And so forth. This will either work great, go terribly, or fall somewhere in the middle. As for the episode's actual plot, Kimmy discovers that there might be another bunker full of women, so she tries to save them just days before her wedding. - Tim Surette

71 of 76 Anika Molnar/Netflix


This limited drama series follows Esty (Shira Haas), a young woman who tries to flee from a repressive life in an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn and get a new start in Berlin. It's a rich character piece based on a memoir by Deborah Feldman that's beautifully shot and fueled by a riveting performance from Haas. It's a German production that's also partially in English and Yiddish. - Liam Mathews

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Unsolved Mysteries

Unsolved Mysteries, which is an institution in the cold case/paranormal event investigation/reenactment genre, is back as a Netflix reboot. In the decade the show's been away, the rules of true crime TV have changed, and the new version has higher production value and a greater focus on character as ordinary people try to figure out what this extraordinary event that happened to them or their loved one was. The reboot comes from the creators of the original docuseries, Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, and 21 Laps Entertainment, the producers of Stranger Things. - Liam Mathews

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White Lines

Netflix returns to its favorite place, Cocaine Island, for this mystery thriller from Money Heist creator Álex Pina. A woman from Manchester goes to Ibiza to investigate the disappearance of her brother, a DJ, from the party island 20 years earlier. Brits-doing-crime-in-Spain reminds me of the classic movie Sexy Beast, but that's not necessarily the vibe of this series. It's wildly excessive and fun, though. - Liam Mathews

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Warrior Nun

The comic book-based series is set in Spain (which means it's gorgeous) and stars Alba Baptista as Ava, a young woman and former quadriplegic who is given a second chance at life -- and the use of her arms and legs! -- when an angel's halo embedded in her back revives her from the dead and gifts her with special powers. As Ava attempts to come to terms with what's happened to her and explore her newfound freedom, she also finds out she is part of an elite and secret order of nuns tasked with tracking down and killing demons on Earth. Fans of Buffy will recognize a number of parallels in the 10-episode first season, which subverts expectations and features a confident Chosen One who refuses to bend to anyone's will, including that of the Catholic Church. The show might have one of the wildest premises we've ever heard, but it's the perfect escape in these trying times. - Kaitlin Thomas

75 of 76 Netflix

Wasp Network

Acclaimed director Olivier Assayas helms this espionage thriller that's based on a true story about Cuban spies infiltrating exile groups in the 1990s to stop terrorism against the island, at great personal cost to themselves and their families. The glamorous cast includes Penelope CruzWagner MouraGael Garcia BernalAna de Armas, and Edgar Ramirez. - Liam Mathews

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The Woods

This Polish series is the latest Netflix adaptation of a book by Harlan Coben, following the popular mysteries The Stranger and Safe, and stays in those same murky waters of crime and secrets, oh so many secrets! In The Woods, a man looks for answers about the disappearance of his sister 25 years earlier, when four teens went into the woods and never came out, hoping that she's alive even as bodies and new evidence are being pulled out. -Tim Surette