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The Best TV Shows and Movies to Watch on Netflix in August

Netflix's next hit action movie will be Project Power with Jamie Foxx

Liam Mathews

With the debut of Peacock last month, every fighter in the Streaming Wars has now arrived on the battlefield. All those years of waiting and speculating about what was coming next in the streaming world are finished. We can now see and evaluate all the major services and see how they'll compete against Netflix, the game's most dominant player. And you know what? It doesn't look like any of the newcomers are going to knock Netflix off its pedestal. They just don't have the range   

Just look at this sampling of titles Netflix is adding in August: Two movies -- a teen romantic comedy and an original premise action flick -- that are exactly the kind of thing people love to watch on Netflix that they can't get anywhere else. A beloved animated series that's about to get discovered by a new generation of fans. Two popular shows that got canceled by other companies and saved by the streaming service with unlimited resources. And the kind of animated comedy that's going to become even more valuable as the coronavirus era continues, because they can be made at home. A reckoning may come someday when the bill for all that spending comes due, but for now, Netflix is unstoppable. 

Our list of suggestions is below, but here's the full list of what's new on Netflix in August. If you're interested, we also have a list of the best shows and movies on Hulu and the best shows and movies on Amazon in August. We also have a list of everything coming to the major streaming services in August. If you're looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, click over to our Watch This Now! page.

The Best Shows and Movies on Netflix This Month

Immigration Nation

Available Aug. 3
This important docuseries was three years in the making and gives an intimate look at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and the immigrants they arrest, and it allows both sides to give their version in their own words without the camera judging them, which allows the ICE agents to hang themselves with their own words. They're just doing their jobs, but their jobs are inhumane. They're not necessarily bad apples, but the whole system is rotten. The filmmakers were given shockingly expansive access, and they captured some deeply disturbing footage of ICE at work. The footage is so incriminating, in fact, that the federal government fought to keep the documentary from being released until after the election. The sheer amount of news that happens every day can make the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents feel like it happened a long time ago, but this docuseries' first episode will take you right back to the summer of 2018.

Work It

Available Aug. 7

This teen movie was probably pitched to Netflix execs as "Pitch Perfect, but with dancing, and wholesome." Disney Channel alum Sabrina Carpenter stars as a high school senior who wants to join her school's award-winning dance team in order to beef up her extracurriculars for college applications, but she isn't any good at dancing. Yet. So she starts her own team with her best friend (Liza Koshy, YouTube's most successful crossover star) and enlists the help of a talented dancer (To All the Boys 2's Jordan Fisher) to teach her how to -- wait for it -- work it. Will they be good enough to win the dance competition? The trailer's top-rated YouTube comment is "This movie looks corny and predictable. I can't wait to watch it." Accurate!      

Project Power

Available Aug. 14

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's that kind of movie. It's an original story 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). It'll be big whether or not it's good, and there's a chance it'll be good.    

The Legend of Korra

Available Aug. 14

The millions of people who rediscovered/became obsessed with Avatar: The Last Airbender thanks to Netflix are in for treat, as all four seasons of that animated sensation's sequel series The Legend of Korra are coming to the streaming service in August. The series, which originally aired on Nickelodeon from 2012 to 2014, is set 70 years after Avatar and tells the story of Avatar Korra (voiced by Janet Varney), the successor to the original series' Avatar Aang, as she tries to save her world from those who wish to destroy it. 


Available Aug 21

What if New Girl's Nick Miller/Into the Spider-Verse's washed-up Peter Parker was a high school basketball coach who swore a lot? That's the premise of adult animated comedy series Hoops, and honestly, that's all we need to be sold, because we think Jake Johnson is hilarious. J.J. lends his voice to this show, which was created by Ben Hoffman and executive-produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Natasha Leggero, Rob Riggle, Ron Funches, Cleo King, and A. D. Miles also lend their voices. 


Available Aug. 21 
Season 5 of this delightfully preposterous supernatural show will introduce Lucifer's even more evil twin brother Michael, who's also played by Tom Ellis, but without the charming British accent. Michael comes to Los Angeles while Lucifer is still hanging out down in Hell, and insinuates himself into the lives of Chloe (Lauren German), who misses Lucifer terribly, and the rest of Lucifer's earthly loved ones. This is Part 1 of the season, with Part 2 coming at a date to be announced. 

Cobra Kai

Available Aug. 28

This sequel series to the Karate Kid film franchise is poised to be the latest beneficiary of the Netflix Bump. The first two seasons of this dramedy streamed on YouTube during the platform's experiment with making TV and were relatively successful, but the show was canceled when YouTube decided to refocus on just being YouTube instead of trying to also be Netflix. Then Netflix, which is extremely good at being Netflix, acquired the show, as is Netflix's signature move. The first two seasons are coming to Netflix at the end of the month, and a third is in the works. Cobra Kai tells the story of Daniel LaRusso's (Ralph Maccio) vanquished nemesis Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), who restarts their more than 30-year-long rivalry when he reopens the Cobra Kai dojo and begins training the next generation of karate kids.    

Want to know what else is coming to Netflix? Here's everything new on Netflix in August.