Honestly, what would we have been doing the past year if it weren’t for Netflix’s monthly releases? The streaming giant consistently knows how to keep us entertained, whether it be through its various psychological thrillers (one of our favourite genres), the endless list of rom-coms (both new and classic), and of course, the mix of real-life documentaries (from the uplifting to the horrifying).
Thankfully, 2021 has been one of its best years yet with some incredible shows and films being released since January. And because we are always in need of good recommendations, we’re looking back at some of the most notable ones to drop on the platform so far this year.
Read on for the best, most binge-worthy TV shows and movies released on Netflix Australia in 2021.
Based on the 2007 novel of the same name, written by author John Preston, Netflix’s The Dig follows the story of wealthy widow Edith Pretty, played by Promising Young Woman’s Carey Mulligan, who hires amateur archaeologist Basil Brown, played by Ralph Fiennes, to excavate burial mounds on her East Anglican estate. The film, while historical and enlightening, wasn’t without its controversies, and you can read out deep dive into that here.
To All The Boys: Always And Forever
In the bittersweet end to the All The Boys trilogy, the final film followed Lara Jean and Peter as they wrapped up their final year of high school and preparing to head off to university. If you’re looking for a lighthearted, fun and captivating YA romance to watch, may we suggest a marathon of all three incredible films, which were adapted from the equally as gripping books by Jenny Han.
If you haven’t yet delved into Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke’s series Firefly Lane, we suggest you do so immediately. The book-turned-series, based on Kristin Hannah’s acclaimed novel, follows Tully and Kate, who meet as young girls and make a pact to be best friends forever until a single act of betrayal years later tears them apart. In the best news ever, Netflix announced the series would be returning in 2022 with Heigl and Chalke set to “reprise their roles as lifelong best friends facing the ultimate test of their friendship and the path to sustain the other relationships in their lives.”
If you’re a fan of Booksmart, you’ll definitely enjoy Amy Poehler’s Moxie, which follows Vivian (Hadley Robinson), a shy 16-year-old who publishes an anonymous zine calling out sexism at her school after being inspired by her mother’s rebellious past and confident new friends.
Mystery adventures coupled with British accents? What more could you want from an addictive crime drama. The Irregulars, created by Tom Bidwell for Netflix and based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the series follows the Baker Street Irregulars working for Dr Watson, and his elusive partner Sherlock Holmes, who save 19th-century London from supernatural elements. Fans of Peaky Blinders, take note!
Taking inspiration from shocking true events, the Netflix series The Serpent is based on the story of Charles Sobhraj, a merciless killer who wreaked havoc in the 1970s, preying on travellers exploring the “hippie trail” of South Asia. With Jenna Coleman as Marie-Andrée Leclerc and Tahar Rahim as Sobhraj, the dramatic retelling is as captivating as it is fashionable (and it even broke streaming records!).
Things Heard & Seen
Looking to be seriously spooked? Amanda Seyfried and James Norton’s Things Heard & Seen, adapted from Elizabeth Brundage’s horror novel, All Things Cease To Appear, is sure to leave you with goosebumps. The pair portray a Manhattan couple who move to a Hudson Valley hamlet who discover their marriage has sinister darkness that rivals their new home’s history. Not for the faint of heart!
Shadow and Bone
Based on the Grisha trilogy series and the Six of Crows duology by American author Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone, has been tipped as the next Game of Thrones. “Dark forces conspire against orphan mapmaker Alina Starkov when she unleashes an extraordinary power that could change the fate of her war-torn world,” reads its synopsis. The best part? Its got a strong female protagonist at the helm, courtesy of newcomer Jessica Mei Li.
Good On Paper
With Netflix’s previous lineups of viral rom-coms, it’s unsurprising Good On Paper has become one of the streaming giant’s most viral films this year. The romantic comedy follows a stand-up comic and aspiring actress’ meet-cute with a wealthy Ivy League grad working in finance, who “almost seems too good to be true.” Interestingly, the film is even based on a true story taken from the real-life of the film’s creator, Iliza Shlesinger.
While we’re used to Gina Rodriguez’s wholesome, comedic character on Jane The Virgin, the actress takes on a more harrowing story in Netflix’s can’t-miss thriller, Awake. Taking place after a global event wipes out humanity’s ability to sleep, a troubled ex-soldier (Rodriguez) fights to save her family as society’s and her mind spiral into chaos.
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork
Exploring one of Ireland’s most infamous true crime cases, Netflix’s docuseries Sophie: A Murder In West Cork delves into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a French woman found dead near her West Cork holiday home. Told in three parts, the creative team behind the Netflix project look to the investigation that spanned decades and how journalist Ian Bailey became embroiled in the case as a suspect.
Perhaps one of the most talked-about series on Netflix (like, ever), Sex/Life tells the story of Bille (Sarah Shahi), a suburban housewife and mum, who despite having crafted the perfect life alongside husband Cooper (Mike Vogel), finds herself fantasising about her past, including the many sexual encounters with ex-boyfriend Brad, played by Australia’s own Adam Demos. The series is steamy, dramatic and has captured the attention of fans globally—thanks, largely, to *those* now-viral scenes.