Author: Darren Croft
We know the feeling; you’re all “Christmas Movied” out. You’ve watched everything from Elf to Die Hard, and it’s time to change direction.
The good news is – it’s that time of year when Netflix starts to reveal what tasty treats it has in store for us over the coming year.
New movies, new documentaries and new seasons are coming.
There are plenty to sift through in this spoiler-free review, but we’ve narrowed it down to the new and returning shows we feel you won’t want to miss.
The best series & documentaries on Netflix 2023
Nothing is better than discovering a binge-worthy series, especially one with multiple seasons. Here are some of our favorite shows to catch in 2023…
Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?
This one is a tale recounting a disastrous competition run by Pepsi in the 1990s where they offered a jet as a prize. Anyone who has seen the episode of The Simpsons- “Bart Gets an Elephant,” will know that this will hardly be a smooth ride for the competition winner.
The monstrous rivalry between Pepsi and Coca-Cola led each company to push its promotions harder. Unfortunately for some, Pepsi pushed this one a little too hard.
The campaign in question was “Pepsi Stuff,” which featured a Harrier fighter jet with a caption claiming it was worth 7 million Pepsi points. Anyone who remembers, as a child, trying to build up all of those fairground tickets for the big motorized mini-car first prize will know this is a challenge too far for most.
Not for two shrewd businessmen who realized the jet was worth a whopping $36 million, yet it would cost just $4 million to gather the Pepsi points needed.
Enjoy the journey!
The Walking Dead: Season 11 (Final season)
The final season is here for those who have made it this far through the series and have been unable to find it on other streaming platforms. You’ll probably get a mixed reaction if you speak to the fans.
Some have followed it religiously, and others have needed a break after being “zombied out” by the program being stretched out for many seasons.
This final season will be a delight for avid fans and give them everything they crave. It’s got the suspense, it’s got the drama, and of course, it’s got the zombies.
There are no spoilers here, but even those unsure whether to continue the journey should leave this final chapter feeling relatively satisfied.
MADOFF: The Monster of Wall Street: Season 1
At last, we have a fully-comprehensive and detailed expose of the man described as a “financial serial killer.”
It’s one documentary that has you staring at the screen in frustration.
How did this guy not get caught sooner?
He even handed himself in at one point! It’s the kind of documentary that has become synonymous with Netflix, one which almost seems too far-fetched to be true.
Those struggling with the cost of living right now might be angrier than most at the way so much money was handled and lost in Madoff’s hands. A must-watch.
Our Father (2022)
True crime documentaries on Netflix tend to go above and beyond, and this one pulls no punches. You might be tempted to stop watching and take a break sometimes.
It might be better categorized under “Horror” as it recounts the tale of doctor Donald Cline who tricked wannabe mums into believing that he was artificially inseminating them with anonymous donor sperm.
He secretly used his own samples instead. He was eventually caught out by DNA testing by his own family. That’s the “bookend” summary; the filler in between is hard to believe, but it shows that the trust we place in people we see as authority figures can be so easily abused.
A genuinely disturbing tale and one you’ll find challenging to wash off for some time after.
Kings Of Jo’Burg- Season 2
The South African gangster series returns for a new season after getting mixed reviews for the first season. It’s a low-budget drama with small-scale scenes and local actors.
There are no stellar performances, but it does its best to tell a tale of organized crime and the loyalty of the criminals it embraces. Season one had genuinely heartfelt moments and almost knocked it out of the park, but they were mixed in with watered-down scenes that had you reaching for the remote.
A mixed bag but entertaining nonetheless. Let’s see what the second season brings us.
The best movies on Netflix 2023
Still trying to decide whether to commit to a series that has eleven complete series or a ten-part documentary.
Luckily, some of the best movies are straight to Netflix and available in your home.
Glass Onion: A knives out mystery
The much-anticipated follow-up to Knives out sees southern detective Benoit Blanc gate-crash an island party hosted by billionaire Miles Bron (definitely in no way influenced by Elon Musk).
In classic knives-out style, the murder mystery keeps you on the edge of your seat before letting the audience in on the secret.
A devilishly enjoyable must-watch movie that needs to be on your screen this January.
The Pale Blue Eye
Fans of author Edgar Allen Poe will be glad to know that he’s been brought back to life and reinvented as a detective in this thrilling mystery with a strong cast.
A young cadet is found hanged, and his heart has been stolen (literally) in a gruesome murder. Step forward Christian Bale, who, along with Mr. Poe, tries to solve the riddle.
As tends to be the norm in detective dramas, the main character has some baggage to deal with along the way (alcoholism, a missing daughter and a deceased wife). This tends to spur him on, and he rises to each challenge, showing excellent detective skills in the process. It is an eerie and highly watchable movie that will have you on the edge of your seat with its twists and turns.
Quentin Tarantino’s 90’s masterpiece finally storms through the Netflix doors, and for those looking to get the taste of a bad Christmas movie out of their mouth, this is the perfect remedy.
The complete reverse of a feel-good film, it bolts out of the traps and starts as it means to continue. One thing Tarantino excels at is the art of conversation between villains, and this film is full of iconic quotes that have lasted through the ages, as well as a knock-out soundtrack that serves as an eerie backdrop to the grizzly scenes.
Anyone thinking of pulling a bank job after watching this should watch the movie again to be sure.
The Kings of the World
Potentially a hidden gem, this journey for five wannabe kings without a kingdom will draw you in and captivate you. It’s the kind of movie where you feel that artistic license has been used to the full, as pretty much anything can happen and generally does.
It’s a movie about a journey and the lessons learned along the way (see also Lord Of The Rings, Stand By Me etc.). It’s a great coming-of-age story that will have you empathizing and rooting for the main characters along the way.
It will also have many recounting their long-lost youthful innocence and reminding them how quickly maturity can swipe it all away.
How I Became a Gangster
Full of gangster-film stereotypes but still highly entertaining, this is another for the watchlist in January. It starts, very much as you’d expect, with the narrator describing his violent upbringing and rise in the criminal underworld of 1970s Warsaw.
I don’t think I’d give you any spoilers by saying that violence, love and prison feature along the way. It’s one of those movies you can watch without entirely watching but still know exactly what’s going on.
Chill, have a beer and enjoy.
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