Netflix: The 10 best new shows and films to watch in April
David Attenborough’s Our Planet, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Swedish drama Quicksand and Bear Grylls goes interactive
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Season 2
From April 5th
While the first season of this “reimagining” delved into the conflicting worlds of teen Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka): the decision to either embrace her new witchy life or continue as a mortal, with Sabrina attempting to balance the two, this season is an exploration of the more mystical side of things. Having signed herself over to the Dark Lord’s book and getting a new bleach blonde hairdo in the process, she’s ready to enjoy the macabre elements of her magical life. This bout of teen angst includes the usual carnage, demonic dalliances and blood fest for the students of Baxter College.
Adapted from Malin Persson Giolito’s novel, Quicksand is a Swedish crime-drama about the aftermath of a highschool massacre. As popular, studious senior Maja is charged with her involvement in the incident that killed her best friend and boyfriend, the story follows the court case, leaving viewers in their own moral conundrum to decide if the school girl really is the blank cold-hearted killer who caused the atrocity.
Narrated by David Attenborough, Our Planet is a warning signal. A documentary that endeavours to capture how humans are destroying the Earth, the devastating impact that global warming is having on the natural world and our resources and how we are spiralling towards a catastrophe. BBC stalwart Attenborough apparently offered his services to Netflix in attempt for his grave message to reach the widest audience possible. The eight-part series is a sobering look at the resilience and beauty of nature with an important message about conservation and our inevitable fight for survival in the chaos we have created.
You vs Wild
Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch is now becoming a reality with everyone’s adventurer Bear Grylls. You vs Wild will allow viewers to follow the celebrity Boy Scout on his survivalist journey around the world as he tackles the great outdoors. They can then have an opportunity to make choices for Grylls in each episode and see what predicaments they can get him into – or out of. Those at home hoping it will grant them the opportunity to force him to drink his own urine, watch him try to wrestle a pig or have him stuck in a makeshift Wickerman may be disappointed though – the choices will no doubt fall on the more pedestrian side of things.
He is the first star to sign on for multiple-choice telly; its success may entice others to following suit. Netflix is likely to devise more shows where viewers on a whim can choose which recipe a cooking show will follow or what ingredients they use or reality talent shows where you can pick what song the contestant will perform. The future is in our hands.
The Perfect Date
The internet’s boyfriend, Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I Loved Before) is cementing his status as the new rom-com Romeo returning in this fluffy teen romp. Centineo plays Brooks, a misfit who is trying to scrape together enough money to attend Yale (maybe he should ask Felicity Huffman), who ends up on a fake date with local tough-girl Celia (Camila Mendes). Pleased with the results, Celia encourages him to set up his own rent-a-boyfriend business for luckless girls.Borrowing from classic rom-coms such as She’s All That and Can’t Buy Me Love, it’s a Cinderfella story featuring all the standard teen flick cliches, from awkward dancing to clothes-changing montages and the wiggling of Centineo’s glorious eyebrows. With The Perfect Date, Centineo and Netflix seem to be in the first bloom of a beautiful relationship.
Starring Sabrina’s Kiernan Shipka and Stanley Tucci, The Silence bears more than a little resemblance to other sensory deprivation modern horror films such as Birdbox and A Quiet Place. It’s another tale of dystopian dread – this time around the world is under threat from a strange species which hunt humans by sound, leaving Ally (Kiernan Shipka) who lost her hearing at an early age at the mercy of these creatures. Ally and her family flee their home, attempt to find refuge in a remote area, only to be besieged by a doomsday cult who are intent on utilising Ally’s extra heightened senses.
Have Netflix created the perfect indie comedy? They’re certainly trying with Someone Great, which features the scorching acting talents of Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) and Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You), a track by the exceptional Lizzo, an appearance by RuPaul and a cameo by QuestLove. It ticks more than a few boxes.
Following the story of aspiring music journalist Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) who upon snatching her dream job in San Francisco is left bereft after her long-term boyfriend (Lakeith Stanfield) decides to break up with her rather than attempt a long-distance relationship. Heartbroken and with her future uncertain, she gathers together her best friends, Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow), to enjoy one last night in New York City.
The film exists in the same sphere as Bridesmaids, a love letter to the strength of female friendships, the support they offer and the optimism they can provide. With the focus on the need for positivity and the courage it takes to make your life your own, Someone Great could be the heartwarming, feel-good hit of the year.
Grass Is Greener
Taking a look at America’s complicated dependency on their favourite drug of choice, Grass is Greener is a documentary that analyses the lure of marijuana. From jazz to hip-hop to the beginnings of psychedelia, the series concentrates on the special relationship between it and creativity. Dropping on 4/20, this may be Netflix own in-joke for blissful burnouts everywhere.
This darkly comic series written by Rightor Doyle (Barry) explores the unconventional relationship between one-time school friends Pete (Brendan Scannell) and Tiff (Zoe Levin) who reconnect in New York City. While Pete is navigating the gay dating world, Tiff is busy working as one of the city’s top dominatrixes. It’s not long before Pete becomes more embroiled in Tiff’s lifestyle, ending up becoming her assistant and getting a bird’s eye view of the sexual peccadilloes of the obscenely wealthy.
From the makers of the highly successful Chef’s Table comes a new series about everyday chefs across the globe who create culinary masterpieces in food trucks, cheap restaurants and backstreet stalls. Focusing on small, family-run businesses, it’s a look at the importance of restaurant culture in preserving a country’s cuisine and how these ideas are formed through generations. For fans of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, that are hankering for a similar dish, this may be a taste of something familiar.