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Netflix hidden gems: movies and TV shows you need to watch

Great Netflix treasures that have gone under the radar

Netflix hidden gems: movies and TV shows you need to watch
Marc Chacksfield
02 September 2021

Welcome to our best Netflix hidden gems guide. This is a deep dive into Netflix’s vast library, where we have fished out some of the best hidden gems on Netflix right now.

These aren’t just cult movies (although there are some of them in here), but those films and shows that we feel just haven’t had the recognition they deserve.

We understand your pain when it comes to Netflix. The infinite scrolling, trying to find something to watch - the bickering with housemates and significant others over what genre of movie, whether or not you can just stick on Tiger King for the 40th time.

UPDATE:We've added 10 new movies and shows to our best Netflix hidden gems guide. From comedy to horror, these are the things we reckon need you attention - even if they aren't the most popular things on Netflix right now.

Hell, we even try to help with our myriad guides. Whether you are looking for the best movies, awesome TV shows, Netflix documentaries or even crime drama we have you covered. But, what’s that? You want more recommendations?

That's why we have created this guide to Netflix's hidden gems. Those movies and shows that rarely make it into a best of, not because they are bad but because they just haven’t been found by enough people yet.

Watch these and you will instantly become more popular with your peers. Well, that’s an absolute lie but hopefully we can help curtail a few ‘what to watch’ arguments tonight and beyond.

Netflix hidden gems

If you ever wondered what one of the directors of Crank was up to now (as we all do), well he’s making cracking TV in the form of Happy. This rather violent, blacker than black comedy series focuses on Christopher Meloni as a hitman who starts to see his daughter’s imaginary friend, which just happens to be an animated blue unicorn (voiced by Patton Oswalt). This one definitely isn’t for the faint hearted - it’s over-the-top schlocky, very crude but blisteringly funny at times. Annoyingly it was cancelled after just two seasons but, even though it leaves you hanging a little, it’s still well worth a watch.

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Netflix hidden gems

2. The Fundamentals of Caring

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It’s rare a film by the Peter Pan of movies (Paul Rudd) would pass us by but this one did first time around, but we’re very glad we caught up with it on Netflix. Rudd is a writer who swaps his day job (or lack of it) to become a carer. He is given a job looking after Trevor (a brilliant Craig Roberts ), who has muscular dystrophy. A road trip ensues and it all makes for a rather lovely movie.

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If you had heart palpitation watching Hidden Gems, then maybe avoid the coffee when you watch Good Time - the directorial debut of the Safdie brothers. Batman himself, Robert Pattinson, stars as a bank robber on the run. It’s a pulse-pounding thriller that never misses a nervy beat, just make sure that you have a safe place to go to afterwards to calm down.

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Think the Walking Dead is the best zombie show on TV? Well, you obviously haven’t seen Kingdom. This South Korean TV show is a masterpiece in storytelling. It’s an historical epic that focuses on 16th century feudalism in South Korea, with added zombies! If you are a fan of Train To Busan and want a show that sprinkles in a bit of social commentary with its blood and guts, then this is for you.

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While Marvel may have made the Thor myth its own, thanks to the MCU, this Norwegian series does well to take the idea and run with it in a different way. The series focuses on a teenage reincarnation of Thor (in modern day) as well as a whole host of other Norse gods and myths.

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Netflix hidden gems

6. John Was Trying to Contact Aliens

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This is a beautiful, uplifting documentary that’s about John Shepherd, a man who has spent some 30 years trying to contact aliens by broadcasting his music into space. In just 16 minutes, it paints a fantastic picture of Shepherd, is blessed with a fantastic soundtrack and has an ending that will melt the coldest of hearts.

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Cam is a horror that focuses on cam girl Alice (a brilliant performance by The Handmade Tail’s Madeline Brewer) who goes through something of an identity crisis. It’s Lynchian in its story and gets downright creepy in places. If you are looking for a well-crafted, eerie movie that couldn’t be more prescient right now, with the rise of things like TikTok and Only Fans, then this is highly recommended.

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Netflix hidden gems

8. Love And Monsters

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While it might look a little hokey, Love And Monsters is a lot of fun. A chemical fallout has pushed the world into chaos. With most of humanity wiped out, it’s up to a boy and his dog to save the day. The effects with this one are ace and Oscar nominated.

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A low-key thriller that passed many by when it was released in 2018, Calibre is about as far removed from Hollywood as you can get, but its fantastic performances and utter sense of dread makes for fine viewing. Jack Lowden stars as Vaughn who, alongside his friend Marcus, find their lives changed for the worse after a deer hunt goes very wrong.

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Netflix hidden gems

10. Brand New Cherry Flavor

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Brand New Cherry Flavor is the newest thing on this list, but we reckon it's already being missed by people. This is a shame as it's a superb horror series that goes full David Lynch in places. The premise: a young director heads to LA to fulfil her dreams but what she gets instead is the ultimate nightmare.

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The first few episodes of Marianne are some of the scariest bits of TV we have ever come across. While the rest of the show doesn’t quite live up to the premise, this is a fantastic French chiller. Emma (Victoire du Bois) is a horror writer who comes back to her hometown to find out that the things she has been writing about may not actually be fiction after all. Annoyingly, this is another Netflix show that was cancelled too soon - but pretty much everything does get wrapped up in this one season.

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Netflix hidden gems

12. The Final Girls

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A fantastic meta take on the slasher genre, The Final Girls is about the daughter of a former ‘scream queen’ who is sucked into one of her mothers’ movies when she passes away. Like Cabin In The Woods before it, The Final Girls pokes fun at the genre it is part of.

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Netflix hidden gems

13. People Places Things

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We will watch anything with Jemaine Clement in so maybe we are biased with this one but People Places Things really works for us. Clement is a graphic novelist who is also a single parent - the movie is a romantic comedy but manages to avoid the cheese that goes along with that for the most part.

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Netflix hidden gems

14. Dora The Lost City Of Gold

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Another family adventure movie that is far better than it has any right to be. Dora And The Lost City Of Gold is based on the popular kids show. The movie manages to keep its kid-friendly roots but also creates something that pokes gentle fun at itself. Directed by James Bobin (Muppets), there is a lot of fun to be had here.

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15. Bad Day For The Cut

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This one is a hard watch but there’s a lot to admire in Bad Day For The Cut, a revenge thriller centring on an Irish farmer who is out for justice after his mum is murdered. There is a big chunk of violence in this one and while it’s a little absurd at times, it’s an assured directorial debut from Chris Baugh.

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Netflix hidden gems

16. Buster’s Mal Heart

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This isn't for everyone but if you want to watch a movie that really shows off the acting prowess of Rami Malek, then this is the movie for you. Buster’s Mal Heart is an experimental movie in three parts - each focusing on the disappearance of a strange man who believes that The Inversion is coming. Don't expect to understand it but it's worth investing in.

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Netflix hidden gems

17. Kodachrome

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If you are currently obsessed with Ted Lasso like we are, then you should definitely watch Kodachrome, a movie that stars Jason Sudeikis as the son who goes on a roadtrip with his father across America to get to Kodak's last Kodachrome lab before it closes down, so they can develop some photos. It's based on a New York Times article and also stars Ed Harris and Elizabeth Olsen.

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This doc is absolutely fascinating. Created by one of the best true-crime doc makers (Errol Morris), it is about the wild story of CIA employee Frank Olson who, after being part of a top-secret experiment, is killed in strange circumstances. Blending real life, scripted scenes and more this is a great watch.

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Netflix hidden gems

19. I Think You Should Leave

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Now in its second season, I Think You Should Leave is a brilliant sketch show that shows men at their absolute worst. Tim Robinson is the star (and co-creator) and through his jaw-dropping characters he has created a show that feels very relevant right now.

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Netflix hidden gems

20. Aunty Donna's Big Ol' House of Fun

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Well, this one is simply one of the best hidden gems on Netflix right now. Aunty Donna's Big Ol' House of Fun is an amazing Australian sketch show. It focuses on some friends that live together and hi-jinx they get up to.It's The Mighty Boosh coupled with Flight of Conchords and a bit of Monty Python added in. You will be laughing out loud at this one.

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Note: All of the above are available on Netflix UK. Please check Netflix in your country for availability.