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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
22 January 2024

As much as you might complain there's nothing to watch on Netflix, there's also too much stuff on Netflix. And that means some of the best content tends to get ignored.


If a show or movie is released in the wrong week, overshadowed by something bigger, doesn't have much marketing behind it, or falls foul of "the algorithm" it can end up sinking without trace.


We've put together a list of the Netflix shows and movies we think deserve some more attention. Some are curios quite unlike anything else you'll find in the library. Others just haven't been discovered by quite enough people, in our opinion.


There's gruesome horror, a comedy apocalypse and a family animated movie that can go toe-to-toe with the best from Disney. Give them a watch and, if you enjoy them, be sure to give them an upvote below.


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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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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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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Netflix hidden gems

4. 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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Netflix hidden gems

5. Brand New Cherry Flavor

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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.

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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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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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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

9. The Mitchells vs. the Machines

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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.

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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

11. The Night Comes For Us

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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!).

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Netflix hidden gems

12. 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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Netflix hidden gems

13. 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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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

15. His House

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A haunted house movie with a difference, His House follows a pair of asylum seekers given temporary leave to remain in the UK. But their house is visited by evil entities. It works on a powerful allegorical level and His House is also super-effective as a straight-up creepy scare-fest.

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Netflix hidden gems

16. The Platform

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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.

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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.

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Many folks have slept on 3% for one reason: it's not in English. This is a Portuguese language show, and a Netflix Original. It's set in a dystopia where the vast majority of the population lives in poverty. At the age of 20, people are given a chance to become part of the rich Offshore society by passing a series of tests. But, you guessed it, only 3% achieve that. There are four seasons of the show, first broadcast in 2016.

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Netflix hidden gems

19. The Old Ways

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An exorcism movie with a difference, The Old Ways is grounded in Mexican tribal culture, instantly elevating it above bog-standard genre fare. A reporter heads to Veracruz for a story, but the locals believe she ends up being possessed has part of her investigation. A film partly told in English, part in Spanish.

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Netflix hidden gems

20. Apocalypse Clown

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Ireland is put into an apocalyptic blackout after a mysterious solar event. But rather than taking the usual heroic route in an end-of-world scenario, Apocalypse Clown follows a group of clowns as they travel across the country. It’s a one-off, and very silly, but deserves a bigger audience than it has found to date. David Earl stars as Bobo while Natalie Palamides is the unforgettable Funzo. Strang and silly. Give it a watch.

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Netflix hidden gems

21. I’m Thinking of Ending Things

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Based on the book of the same name by Iain Reid, I'm Thinking of Ending Things is best described as a surreal and mysterious thriller. It's about a woman (played by Jessie Buckley) who goes on a trip with her boyfriend (played by Jesse Plemons) to meet his parents for the first time (played by Toni Collette and David Thewlis). However, everything is not as it seems and as this story plays out, we see another narrative of a school janitor going about his work, which ends up intersecting by the final act. If you're looking for something eerie that'll keep you guessing to the very end, this is it.

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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.

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Netflix hidden gems

23. 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.