Netflix hidden gems: movies and TV shows you need to watch
Great Netflix treasures that have gone under the radar
This is our guide to some of Netflix's hidden gems, the brilliant works of film, TV and documentary-making that the streaming service's algorithm may not surface for you.
We're not exclusively looking at cult classics here. The aim is to try to cater for all tastes, but we do want to give the spotlight to some of the content that has not had the attention it deserves. Yet – let's fix that.
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.
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
1. HappyWatch now on Netflix
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.
2. RagnarokStream now (Netflix)
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.
3. The Fundamentals of CaringWatch now on Netflix
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.
4. KingdomWatch now on Netflix
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.
5. Good TimeWatch now on Netflix
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.
6. Brand New Cherry FlavorStream now (Netflix)
Brand New Cherry Flavor is 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.
7. John Was Trying to Contact AliensWatch now on Netflix
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.
8. MarianneWatch now on Netflix
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.
9. CalibreWatch now on Netflix
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.
10. CamWatch now on Netflix
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.
11. WormwoodStream now (Netflix)
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.
12. The Night Comes For UsWatch on Netflix
One of the most violent action movies we have ever seen, The Night Comes For Us is a brutal look at the Triads and gangland violence, which erupts when a girl is saved during a massacre. The fantastic Iko Uwais stars, offering up some amazing martial arts set pieces. You haven't see anything like this in a long time (in a good way!).
13. KodachromeStream now (Netflix)
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.
14. I Think You Should LeaveStream now (Netflix)
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.
15. The Mitchells vs. the MachinesStream (Netflix)
While The Mitchells vs the Machines was reportedly Netflix’s biggest animated film to date at its release in 2021, this is Pixar-grade stuff many of you may have missed. A robot apocalypse starts kicking off and, in classic unlikely hero fashion, it falls on the Mitchell family to save the world. It’s a true feel-good movie that may well loosen a few tears from your eyes.
16. The EddyStream (Netflix)
This show comes with a warning, or at least a caveat. You’re much more likely to get on with The Eddy if you are into the kind of jazz music that runs through the show’s entire being. It’s a creation of Damien Chazelle, director of La La Land and Whiplash. However, this is an 8-episode TV show rather than a movie. It sees a jazz club owner caught up with a criminal gang, but the atmosphere — rather than the plot — is the key draw here.
17. The PlatformStream (Netflix)
This Spanish horror film gained serious word of mouth heat when it arrived in 2019, but it deserves a second hit of attention at the least. It’s set in a prison where the inmates live on floating platforms arranged one above the other — hundreds of the things. The Platform acts as a punchy exploration of class as well as a tight, mysterious sci-fi tinged horror movie.
18. Coming Home in the DarkStream (Netflix)
A holiday becomes a nightmare as a family is accosted by a pair of drifters. It’s a seat arm gripper that will shred your nerves but won’t waste your time, clocking in at 93 minutes. First-time director James Ashcroft was the creative force behind Coming Home in the Dark, having also written the script. It’s a menacing horror-thriller grounded in reality.
19. EthosStream (Netflix)
A Turkish arthouse drama TV show — Ethos was never going to pull in big numbers. But it is absolutely worth a watch, particularly if you are after something a little more grown-up and grounded than the typical Netflix Originals fare. Ethos examines the intertwining existences of a bunch of people living in Istanbul. It is an 8-episode arc and, given how it largely flew under the radar, we don’t expect to see a second season commissioned.
20. Aunty Donna's Big Ol' House of FunStream (Netflix)
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.
Note: All of the above are available on Netflix UK. Please check Netflix in your country for availability.
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