Best Netflix Shows and Movies to Download – January 2019
In November of 2016, Netflix rolled out one of the features its fan base had been demanding since the company exploded in popularity all those years ago. The ability to take shows and movies offline is one of those features users assumed were impossible, thanks to how Netflix works, but in reality Netflix was working behind the scenes to bring downloadable content to smart devices for years. While it doesn’t totally offer complete freedom when it comes to downloading your favorite content, the ability to watch shows and movies while offline makes it a great choice for your commute to work on the subway, or when traveling for work on a plane. Offline play has made it one of the best ways to consume Netflix online, though as always, there are some limitations.
Still, it’s worth looking at how downloading works on Netflix, how the app can be a bit confusing at times, how to discover the best downloadable shows on the platform, and of course, some of our favorite downloadable shows and movies on Netflix. Let’s dive in.
How to Download Content on Netflix
First things first: Netflix makes it really easy to download shows on Netflix, and to figure out how much you have downloaded on your device. Diving into the application, it becomes obvious pretty quickly how you can download content to your devices. First things first, though: it’s important to note that Netflix can only save and download episodes to your smart devices, and trying to do the same thing to your Windows or Mac computer will result in failure. You’ll need a smartphone or tablet to download shows and movies, but generally speaking, that’s the only major restriction (update: using the Netflix app on Windows 10 allows you to download content to your Windows laptop; there’s no comparable app on MacOS, however).
From there, you have a few ways to find and download shows. You can start by clicking on your favorite show or movie from the main screen or from your list, which will allow you to see what can be downloaded on your device. Television shows will display a download icon to the right of every single episode that can be downloaded, while movies will feature four icons along the display, the last of which allows you to download the film to your device. At its core, these are the main controls for downloading content on Netflix, and if you can’t save something to your device, the download icon simply won’t appear when you go to download something.
Of course, there are some settings you’ll want to make sure you find before you continue watching shows on Netflix. The first is accessible by tapping on the Downloads tab at the bottom of the display. At the top of the screen, you should see an option for Smart Downloads. Depending on the space on your device, you might want to turn this off. If you can however, leaving this on can help make sure you’re always ready to go when you’re traveling with new episodes downloaded to your device. Smart Downloads track when you’ve finished watching an episode of a show you’ve downloaded onto your device and automatically deletes the watched episode and downloads the next available episode the next time you’re connected to WiFi. This feature is limited only to WiFi, so you never have to worry about your cellular data limits. And since it’s replacing a downloaded episode with another one, you should never have to worry about using extra phone storage.
It’s also worth making sure your download settings are on the right quality level for your internet download speeds and your phone’s storage. Netflix offers your downloads various quality levels, either when you select your download or from your app settings in the app. To get there, select the triple-line menu icon labeled ‘More,’ then choose App Settings from the list. Under Downloads, you can control several options, including the ability to change your video quality. Netflix offers Standard and High versions of these downloads, which allows you to select your quality or your download speed, depending on your current conditions. In our tests, standard seemed to come in at about 480p, while high definition was somewhere between 720p and 1080p, looking great on our device.
Downloads can be found in the download tab on your device, and you can erase or watch them from there.
What are the Limits on Downloading Content on Netflix?
As with any content made available through Netflix or other streaming services, limitations apply on nearly every single content option you could imagine. Yes, it’s true that you can mostly use Netflix’s download feature without running into issues or blocks on what you’re using, but as with anything, you should be prepared for some limitations to pop up as you use the service.
- You can only download up to 100 titles on a single device. Netflix seems to include each episode of a series, so don’t go believing you can load your phone with every episode of Friends ever made without having to deal with an error message from Netflix.
- Depending on your plan, you can download content to either one, two, or four devices at a time. This will likely match whatever your pre-existing plan is, whether that be one, two, or four devices streaming content at once. If you’re unclear what your current plan is, you should dive into the account settings on your device to learn what you’re paying for.
- Content you download to your devices doesn’t last forever. After you download an episode or film to your device, you typically have about 30 days to watch it before you have to redownload the show or film. Titles that have less than seven days before expiring on your device will display the amount of time you have left. This all has to do with the way Netflix signs content deals with major companies. Some content expires just 48 hours after you begin watching it back, so make sure you pay close attention to what’s going on on your device by using the tab on the bottom of the app.
Are All Netflix Originals Available to Download?
Most Netflix Originals are available to download on your devices, but not all of them are. Most of this depends on the production companies these shows are made with. While Netflix produces a wide variety of content, some of their shows are picked up from outside sources or selected as a revival from other networks. Arrested Development, for example, has five seasons streaming on Netflix; two of them were produced as Netflix originals. That doesn’t matter, however, as none of the five seasons are available for download. Likewise, Gilmore Girls: A Day in the Life is also unavailable for download, and that too is a continuation and revival of a pre-existing property.
That said, not ever rebooted show from Netflix is unavailable to download. Fuller House and both Wet Hot American Summer series are continuations of pre-existing content, and they both are available for download on your device. All of Trailer Park Boys’ output from both the pre-Netflix days and the current Netflix lineup are available to be saved and watched offline. And shows like Queer Eye or Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return also remain as downloadable content to this very day.
Generally speaking, Netflix Originals are available to download, with only some content being featured as an exception to the rule. This makes it reliable to be able to take your favorite Netflix shows offline and on the go. Netflix Original Movies, too, are typically available for download, though as Netflix begins to go after more upper-class Oscar gold with content like Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, we’ll have to see if that applies for everything.
Okay, enough chatter about downloading content on Netflix. Let’s take a look at some of the best shows and films to download today.
In this spin-off/prequel to Breaking Bad, we see the early-2000s origin story to Saul Goodman, the skeezy lawyer Walter White used in the original show, played by Bob Odenkirk. Though a follow-up series to Breaking Bad about Odenkirk’s comic-relief character seemed like an odd decision when the show was first announced, three seasons in, some critics have argued the show surpasses its predecessor. We wouldn’t go that far: the two shows, despite sharing a creative team and the same DNA behind the camera, are incredibly different. While the first show chronicled the downfall of family man Walter White, this show is far more comical, with a focus on Goodman’s—here still known as Jimmy McGill—law practice, and his relationship with his brother. Mike Ehrmantraut, played by Jonathan Banks, also returns from the original show. While the tone of Better Call Saul varies wildly from its Bad origins, Saul is a must-watch for fans of the first show. The first three seasons of Better Call Saul are currently streaming; season four just wrapped its run on AMC.
You might remember the long-running Archie series of comics from your childhood, featuring the titular character and his friends Betty, Veronica, and Jughead shopping, studying, dating, and playing in their band. Riverdale invites you back to the world of Archie as you’ve never seen it before. Falling somewhere between Degrassi and Twin Peaks, Riverdale begins when one of Archie’s classmates is found murdered over summer break, causing the town of Riverdale to change in ways never presented in the comics. It turns out everyone—especially the adults—has something to hide. The show takes a bit to start up, devoting a bit too much time in its early episodes to a misguided plot involving one of Archie’s teachers, but once the show refocuses itself around episode four, you’ll be hooked from beginning to end. Don’t sleep on this one: seasons one and two are now streaming on Netflix, with a third season planned for the fall.
In the late 1980s, a show premiered on cable access television in Minneapolis on Thanksgiving, an unassuming show that promised to mock classic B-movies with a full commentary track. The show exploded in popularity, and when the cable access station filed for bankruptcy in 1989, the creators of the show took the opportunity to jump to a national level. Mystery Science Theater 3000 made its premiere on Comedy Central in 1989, nearly a full year following its premiere on KTMA-TV, and since then, the show has aired ten seasons over two networks, and published a major motion picture released in theaters. So when the show returned to Kickstarter in 2015, it wasn’t surprising that the show managed to surpass its goal. In April 2017, the show finally premiered on Netflix with a whole new season, new host (comedian Jonah Ray!) and brand new movies to make fun of. MST3K: The Return marks a new start for the series, and thankfully for fans of the long-running bad movie show, it’s only the beginning: a twelfth season is coming soon.
One of the hottest new series to begin airing over the last few years, NBC’s The Good Place tells the story of Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who’s woken up to find she’s dead and in heaven—or rather, “The Good Place,” as it’s called. Kristen Bell plays Eleanor, a woman who finds herself in a place she doesn’t deserve to be. Also starring is Cheers’ alumni Ted Danson as Michael, the creator of “The Good Place,” a man trying to make his residents as happy as possible in the afterlife. This series comes from creator Michael Schur, fresh off co-creating both Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn-99. Any fans of his previous work—he also wrote and acted on The Office, where he played Dwight’s cousin Mose Schrute—will find plenty to love here. Just don’t read too much into the plot online—serious spoilers abound. Season one is currently streaming on Netflix, with season two expected to land sometime soon on Netflix.
In the mid-2000s, Bravo aired a series titled Queer Eye, a show that used the stereotype of gay men as experts in fashion, grooming, interior design, and culture to makeover another person (usually a heterosexual man), offering advice on grooming, lifestyle choices, and diets. The show was revived as a Netflix Original in 2018 with an eight-episode first season, following an all-new “Fab Five” and now filmed in Atlanta as opposed to New York. The revival has seen critical praise, with most reviewers describing the show as a strong adaptation for a modern, more-accepting era while still retaining the same sense of fun and charm that the original series had in the 2000s. The show was renewed for a second season in March; creator and showrunner David Collins has spoken about wanting to bring a second season to the midwest, where he grew up. Season two premiered on June 15th.
One of the most original and brilliant horror films of the past decade, It Follows is perfect for any fan looking for some spooky entertainment to bring some fright into your night. Made for just $2 million, everything about this film—the acting, the direction, the cinematography, and the music—help to create an atmosphere that makes this film simultaneously unsettling and bone-chilling. The premise of the film is simple, but effective: a teenage girl, Jay, finds herself followed around by a supernatural entity after she has a sexual encounter with her boyfriend. The entity is visible only to Jay, and can take the form of anyone around her, from a close friend to a complete stranger. A fantastic score, an incredible cold open, and an ending so chilling it’ll stay with you for weeks make this a memorable experience, one not to be missed.
Though the UK version of The Office broke new ground and comedy and helped cement a new genre of television—the mockumentary—it was the US version of the show, adapted by Greg Daniels, that has found a lasting impact in the United States. Following a rough first season that essentially retells the stories from the first season of the UK show, The Office managed to find its feat in season two by lightening up on the cringe humor from boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell, in his breakout role) and focusing more attention on the love story between Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer). The show has found a lasting legacy with fans looking to fall in love all over again with the characters, and despite having run a full nine seasons on NBC, the popularity of the show online seems to be at an all-time high. If you haven’t checked out The Office, it’s a perfect binge-watch before the proposed (but not guaranteed) reboot airs next season on NBC.
For those who have finished all nine seasons of The Office but want more from the same brilliant minds of writers will have to check out Parks and Recreation if you haven’t already. Developed by Greg Daniels (The Office) and Michael Schur (a writer on The Office, creator of The Good Placeand Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Parks and Rec started life as a spin-off to The Office before being developed into its own thing. The series follows Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the deputy director of the Parks and Rec department in Pawnee, Indiana, as she attempts to use her powers in the government to turn her town into a better place to live. Much like The Office, the first season of Parks and Rec is a rough start to what would eventually become an incredible series, with the writers refocusing Poehler’s character behind the scenes to make her more intelligent between the first and second seasons. Where The Office can occasionally seem cold or cruel, Parks and Rec has a massive, beating heart under the series, filled with compassion and humor. With an all-star cast including Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones, and Nick Offerman, this is absolutely a must-see series.
Adapted from Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name, Coraline is the first feature film produced by Laika Studios, a stop-motion animation studio that has created some incredible work over the past decade. Coraline tells the story of Coraline Jones, an adventurous 11-year-old who is uprooted from her home to move to a new one she doesn’t much care for. While looking for something to do in her new area, she goes exploring and discovers a secret door in her new house—one that leads to a parallel world, where her parents have time for her and listen to her needs. While this idealized world feels too perfect to be true, the truth is far more sinister: the world is hiding a dark secret. The film was directed by Henry Selick, best known to animation fans as the man behind The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.
A few minutes watching the pilot of this musical-dramedy and you’ll be hooked. This incredibly original series was written by screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) and sketch-comedy and YouTube star Rachel Bloom, who stars as Rebecca Bunch in a role that has garnered Bloom a Golden Globe for Best Actress in 2016. Rebecca leaves an amazing career in New York after she runs into an ex-boyfriend, Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), who she went to summer camp with when she was 16. Convinced her happiness lies with Josh in West Covina, California, she leaves behind a promotion at her New York law firm to follow Chan back to his hometown. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has won over millions of fans online, with a killer soundtrack and the ability to make you laugh and cry all at the same time. Make no mistake—this is one of the best shows on television right now. Seasons one through three are currently streaming on Netflix, with a fourth and final season to arrive on The CW on October 12th.
Based on the graphic novel series by Luke Pearson, Hilda is a gorgeously-animated new original series bound to appeal to kids and their parents alike. Told over thirteen chapters, the show follows the adventures of the fearless Hilda, a girl with blue hair who travels to the city of Trolberg from her once-reclusive world of the wilderness. While initially believing her new city will be boring, lacking the monsters and creatures she loved in the woods, she later finds the city filled with dangerous monsters, new friends, and plenty of adventure. Any fans of Cartoon Network’s typical output will really enjoy this tale of a young girl’s imagination, as she finds her place in the world.
Spawning from the CollegeHumor series of the same name, Adam Ruins Everything is a hit show on TruTV that follows Adam Conover as he tries to deconstruct misconceptions, myths, and lies surrounding a specific concept or idea in each episode. A great mix of educational fun and humor, Adam Ruins Everything makes for a great binge in the background, as Adam and his friends on the show provide peer-reviewed articles and sources to back up their claims. Although not perfect, Adam Ruins Everything can be a lot of fun, and with a collection of 20 episodes from the series’ entire history now streaming on Netflix (albeit out of order), it’s easy to find some truths in the show.
Are you a fan of Black Mirror? Found yourself interested in the anthology series where science-fiction is mixed with social commentary? If you’re tired of waiting between seasons for new episodes of Charlie Brooker’s nightmare dystopia, you should check out the series that directly inspired Black Mirror: The Twilight Zone. Ran on CBS from 1959 to 1964 in its original run, Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone served as a launchpad for dozens of aspiring actors and writers to cut their teeth working on nightmarish scenarios. Over 156 episodes, Rod Serling used science-fiction, fantasy, and psychological horror to tell stories about the human condition. It can be tough to decide where to start with this series, which has all but season four streaming on Netflix. Check out Serling’s favorite episodes, “Time Enough at Last” and “The Invaders,” if you’re looking for an entryway into the show; “To Serve Man” and “It’s a Good Life” are also excellent starting points. A new series has been commissioned by CBS for 2019, run by Get Out‘s Jordan Peele.
Charlie Brooker might be best known as a presenter and broadcaster on British television, but Brooker is also the creator of one of the best science-fiction shows on television. A modern day Twilight Zone, Black Mirror first started airing in 2011 in Britain, but it wasn’t until the series moved to Netflix in 2014 that it began to grow in popularity Stateside. The show, which recently premiered its fourth season, has now hit nineteen full episodes of varying length (ranging from a breezy 41 minutes to a full 89-minute, movie style film), each with different actors, writers, and plot that takes place in a not-so-distant future, exploring our paranoia, our modern society, and how the future of technology might lead us down terrifying paths. Most of the show isn’t meant to be watched lightly, typically featuring a sense of cynicism and dark satire, but a few episodes—”San Junipero” in particular—highlight their happy endings in a way that subverts expectations. If you’re a fan of science-fiction or anthology series, you’ll fall in love with Black Mirror. Definitely check it out.
In the directorial debut of screenwriter Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Never Let Me Go, Sunshine), we’re introduced to Caleb Smith, a programmer for Blue Book, a Google-esque search engine led by mysterious, isolated CEO Nathan Bateman. When Smith wins a trip to meet the CEO of his company for a week, he finds out that Nathan lives alone, with the sole exception of his assistant, Kyoko, a robot powered by an artificial intelligence. Nathan introduces Caleb to Ava, a more-powerful robot that has passed a Turing test, with Nathan hoping Caleb will help him to understand whether Ava is thinking real thoughts and emotions. As Nathan’s narcissism and heavy drinking makes Caleb grow uncomfortable, he’ll slowly begin to turn on the CEO of the company. But when Ava turns out to be far more capable and self-sufficient than at first glance, Caleb must begin to ask: can he trust anyone, let alone himself?
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Frank) and adapted from the novel of the same name, Room tells the story of 24-year-old Joy Newsome and her 5-year-old son Jack, who live in a locked shed called “room.” Unbeknownst to young Jack, they are held captive by “Old Nick,” a man who kidnapped Joy seven years prior and who is the biological father to Jack. Joy tries to balance her own mental health while being as much of a mother to Jack as she can be, though Jack believes the world consists of “room” and television, and not much else. When Joy manages to hatch a plan to get Jack to escape and alert the authorities, it sets off a chain reaction of events that will send Joy and Jack spiraling, as they attempt to adjust to a new world.
Steven Spielberg is, perhaps, one of the most famous filmmakers in the world, and though his resume isn’t perfect, no one has made as many incredible, jaw-dropping films as he has. From crafting the original blockbuster with Jaws to recreating dinosaurs with Jurassic Park, it’s obvious that the man has more movie magic in his body than any living director. Schindler’s List isn’t one of his feel-good films, but it is an incredible document to the life of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman and member of the Nazi party who is credited with saving the life of 1,200 Jewish men and women during the Holocaust by employing them. Liam Neeson portrays Schindler in a spellbinding performance, with Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, and Caroline Goodall all appearing in supporting roles. At 195 minutes, it’s one of the longest films on our list (beaten only by The Godfather Part II below), but it’s a must-see for any and all film completionists or historical buffs.
This sitcom was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, and stars Ellie Kemper (of The Office) in the title role. 29-year-old Kimmy was rescued from a Doomsday Cult after spending 15 years as an underground hostage, held by the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (played by Jon Hamm). She moves to New York to begin her life as an adult, and we get to follow her as she discovers our weird modern world with enthusiasm and zany naivete. Any fans of Fey and Carlock’s previous show, 30 Rock will find plenty to love here, including actress Jane Krakowski, who played Jenna Maroney on Fey’s previous sitcom. The show has three seasons currently streaming on Netflix, and has been renewed for a fourth and final season, the first half of which (featuring six episodes) premiered on Netflix on May 30th.
Supernatural is a mainstay in American television. Having premiered in 2005 on the WB, it is the longest-running fantasy-based television show in American history and the final remaining show that first aired on the WB, the predecessor to the CW (other shows, like Gilmore Girls and Reba, only lasted a year; Smallville lasted until 2011 and America’s Next Top Model lasted through 2015). Originally designed with a story to be told over three seasons (later extended to five), the show has run for thirteen seasons and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. The show follows the Winchester brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki, Gilmore Girls) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), as they hunt ghosts, demons, and other evil beings from the paranormal world. The show has always been fairly well-received, and the fanbase is rabid for the show. It starts slow, but give it some time, and you’ll find a fantastic serialized-procedural hybrid show to enjoy. And hey, if you decide the show isn’t for you, the finale of season five is a great place to end.
Star Trek as a franchise has now seen six distinct live-action series aired on television and the web (Discovery recently ended its first season and has been renewed for a second) and thirteen feature films (with a planned fourteenth from director Quentin Tarantino sometime in the future), and somehow, The Next Generation is still considered the crown jewel in the entire franchise. Though the first season of TNG is a slow start, the series eventually became acclaimed by critics around the country for its take on human problems in a science-fiction setting. Starring Patrick Stewart (X-Men, the Royal Shakespeare Company) and an ensemble cast (including LeVar Burton and a young Wil Wheaton), the show uses the original ideas behind Star Trek and helps bring them into a new decade, complete with improved effects and sets and better acting. The show won 19 Emmy awards during its run, and remains the only syndicated show to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.
Stranger Things is both a loving tribute to 1980s science-fiction and horror, while also telling the story of four children growing up in the ’80s who find their town hides supernatural secrets. The story begins when Will, one of the four boys returning home after a night of playing Dungeons and Dragons, goes missing without a trace, leaving behind a lost girl with a shaved head in his place. With twists and turns, gruesome murders, and a mystery as thrilling to solve as it is to watch play out, it’s no wonder Stranger Things was a breakout hit when it first premiered in the summer of 2016. Featuring outstanding performances from Winona Ryder and David Harbour as Will’s mother Joyce and the town’s police chief Jim Hopper, respectively, plus breakout stars Millie Bobby Brown and Finn Wolfhard (who you may recognize from 2017’s It adaptation), Stranger Things is a must-see piece of entertainment. Season two dropped in October of this year, and a third season is already under pre-production. We’ll stop short of calling the show a masterpiece, but if you’re in the mood for some good, old-fashioned fun, there’s plenty to be found here. Season three is on track for summer 2019.
During the State of the Union, a single individual is chosen to stay behind in a physically distant, secure, and undisclosed location when the entire government meets in one area. When Thomas Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) is chosen to the the designated survivor for this year’s State of the Union, he plans to spend the night watching the meeting on television and hanging out in a protected area. That all changes when an explosion destroys the Capitol Building, claiming the lives of everyone involved. When Kirkman is immediately sworn in as President of the United States, he quickly learns that the worst of the attack on the nation is yet to come, as he attempts to rebuild the government and take control of the country as quickly and safely as possible. The show was cancelled on ABC after two seasons, but recently jumped ship to Netflix, where it was saved for a third season coming sometime in 2019. For now, you can catch up on the first two years of the show.
Alias Grace is yet another import sold as a Netflix original, though this time from our neighbors up north. At only six episodes and standing as a miniseries, Alias Grace is the type of content that might only take you a day or two to watch (it’s exactly six hours long, or 360 minutes). Based on the novel by Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale, a series that garnered a lot of attention, both publicly and critically, for Hulu), Alias Grace follows Dr. Simon Jordan as he is asked to evaluate suspected murderer Grace Marks, who has been imprisoned for fifteen years for the crime. Though Grace has no memory of the crime, she tells Jordan the events of her life that led her from Ireland to Canada and how she ended up in prison. Unlike Handmaid’s Tale, which is a dystopian novel set in the future, Alias Grace is historical fiction based on real events, fictionalizing the 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery. The series was acclaimed upon release, both for its production values and social commentary and for Sarah Gadon’s performance as Grace.
One of the most underrated films of this decade, Edgar Wright’s (Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a visual triumph, a funny and charming story that wears its heart on its sleeve. The film follows bass guitarist and 22-year-old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera, in a pitch-perfect casting), who is floundering in his adulthood without a job after being crushed by his ex-girlfriend. Now dating a high schooler, he seems content in just letting his life pass him by, when he runs into Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a girl new to Toronto who seems to be, quite literally, the girl of Scott’s dreams. A visual triumph, pulling direct inspiration from video games, anime, and the graphic novel this series is based on, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a perfect action-comedy.
From the producers of Riverdale comes a show that was originally destined for The CW as an official Riverdale spinoff: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. At once a reboot of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch sitcom of the 1990s and an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name. Fans of the latter will find the adaptation accurate, but those who only know Sabrina from the 90s TGIF sitcom will find an all-new character here. Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) plays Sabrina Spellman, a half-human, half-witch who finds herself balancing her normal high school life while also learning dark magic. Though the show retains plenty of the elements anyone familiar with Sabrina will know—Aunts Hilda and Zelda, Harvey Kinkle, Salem the cat—but with a higher influence places on dark magic, Satanism, and horror elements, this is a great adaptation for 2018. The show was ordered to series for two seasons, so the first season is far from the last time we’ll see Sabrina appear on Netflix.
We couldn’t complete a list of the best Netflix originals without mentioning their anime output. It’s started slow, but Netflix currently has more than 30 original anime productions being worked on, and one of their first also happens to be one of their best. Castlevania is a four episode anime based on the video game of the same name. Whereas a Castlevania film would likely flop (as most video game-related films do), the anime series is able to use its stylish approach to the material to tell a fascinating story. After losing his wife to being burned at the stake for witchcraft, Count Dracula declares all citizens of Wallachia to be his enemies. With the world overrun with monsters, Trevor Belmont, a disgraced demon hunter, begins to fight back against the Count, aided by magician Sypha and Dracula’s half-son Alucard. The series is based directly on the third Castlevania game, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, released in 1989 in Japan for the NES, but the artwork is far more similar to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, still considered one of the best games ever made. Two seasons are currently streaming.
Though most often praised for its incredible screenplay, Hot Fuzz manages to pull off multiple layers of filmmaking at once. Director Edgar Wright’s (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Baby Driver) second theatrical film and the middle entry in his Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy of films stars, as expected, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, returning from Shaun of the Dead and the television series Spaced. In Hot Fuzz, Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a London officer who is transferred to the small town of Snadford when his fellow officers realize his excellent police work will put them out of a job. While there, Angel begins to suspect a violent conspiracy is erupting from within the town, and together with police constable Danny Butterman (Frost), he attempts to crack the case behind a series of deadly “accidents” to bring the culprit to justice. Part paroday and part homage, Hot Fuzz is a hilarious sendup to American action films with a British sensibility, even going as far to directly parody Bad Boys 2 and Point Break. It’s a must-see.
The sixth film by director Alfonso Cuaron continues the director’s trend of creating intimate pieces of work, content that is crafted around long-takes, incredible performances, and thoughtful scripts. Children of Men is the director’s follow-up to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the best of the Harry Potter films, and the director uses that clout to create a film set in a dystopian universe. Children of Men follows a near-future where global infertility has taken place, with humanity slowly facing extinction. In the United Kingdom, one of the final countries with a functioning (albeit restricted) government, a police state has been enacted. When Theo Faron, a former activist and government employee, discovers an immigrant woman is pregnant with the first child in eighteen years, he takes it upon himself to get her to safety.
In the late 1980s, a show premiered on cable access television in Minneapolis on Thanksgiving, an unassuming show that promised to mock classic B-movies with a full commentary track. The show exploded in popularity, and when the cable access station filed for bankruptcy in 1989, the creators of the show took the opportunity to jump to a national level. Mystery Science Theater 3000 made its premiere on Comedy Central in 1989, nearly a full year following its premiere on KTMA-TV, and since then, the show has aired ten seasons over two networks, and published a major motion picture released in theaters. So when the show returned to Kickstarter in 2015, it wasn’t surprising that the show managed to surpass its goal. In April 2017, the show finally premiered on Netflix with a whole new season, new host (comedian Jonah Ray!) and brand new movies to make fun of. MST3K: The Return marks a new start for the series, and thankfully for fans of the long-running bad movie show, The Gauntlet premiered in November of 2018, with six new episodes streaming.
From director David Mackenzie (Starred Up, Outlaw King) directed this Best Picture-nominated film in 2016 with a script from Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Wind River) follow two brothers who work together to try to save their family ranch from foreclosure. Toby and Tanner haven’t led perfect lives, but to accomplish their goal, they’ll have to turn to a life of crime in order to raise the necessary money through a series of heists. Their only problem is Marcus (Jeff Bridges), a Texas Ranger weeks away from retirement and paired with his soon-to-be replacement. As the two brothers plan out their final robbery, they’ll be forced to fight back against the law, who’s trying to take both brothers down as quickly as possible.