In the last cataclysmic month, Netflix has gone from a big entertainment outlet to practically the only entertainment available for many people. Cinema, theatre and sports have all shut down due to the global pandemic, and so have all the TV and film productions. But due to Netflix’s practice of ordering entire seasons and stockpiling them, the company’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos says they have enough content to meet the increased demand for the next few months.
Obviously, Netflix can’t be blamed for benefiting from a global black swan event that happened to take out most of its competitors. And the pandemic isn’t all good news for Netflix, anyway. Becoming the de facto entertainment monopoly for much of the world also carries the risk of breaking the internet, and with it, what’s left of the global economy. Netflix has already been asked to slow down its streaming speeds in Europe, switching to lower-definition video to eat up less bandwidth.
Some shows may seem very different now than they would have not very long ago. For example, Netflix is launching a new version of one of the world’s most popular reality formats like The Circle which has been done in multiple countries. The premise of the show is that the contestants live in the same building, but are never allowed to meet in person, and must interact solely through social media. The show made its debut in September 2018, back when that seemed like an unusual way to live.
Netflix in April: What you should watch
La Casa de Papel: Part 4 (April 3)
Created by Álex Pina, this elaborate serialized take on the heist genre. “Casa de Papel” means “money heist,” though the title’s literal translation is “Paper House.” It became an international sensation after Netflix picked it up in 2018; one of the most-watched TV series in the world despite getting little promotion or publicity from Netflix at first. By spending more hours on a single heist than any movie could, the show became the perfect advertisement for the power of binge-worthy TV to bring new life to old stories. This new batch of episodes will provide the conclusion to the second season, which follows the gang of would-be Robin Hoods as they try to rob the Bank of Spain (a follow-up to the first season’s extended assault on the Spanish Mint). It’s also accompanied on the same day by “Money Heist: The Phenomenon,” a promotional film examining how and why the show got so popular.
#blackAF (April 17)
One of Netflix’s highest-profile creator signings in recent years was Kenya Barris, creator of Black-ish, who signed a reported $100-million deal to leave ABC/Disney and join Netflix. Now Barris is making the transition from creator to actor. This series (originally announced under the title #BlackExcellence) is openly inspired by Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, with Barris playing Kenya Barris, a successful writer-producer who is insecure about his place in the mostly white world of Hollywood’s élite. The show takes place on a replica of Barris’s actual home, though of course his family is played by professional actors, including Rashida Jones as his wife; Barris’s actual marriage broke up during the production of the show, leading Vanity Fair to ask him if this might be incorporated in future seasons: “Maybe they will divorce, maybe they won’t,” Barris replied. “I wanted to make it as fluid as a real relationship and a real family is.”
Extraction (April 24)
After leaving Marvel, Avengers directors Anthony and Joe Russo set up a production company to make smaller movies and give a break to less experienced directors. This film, scripted by Joe Russo and directed by their Avengers stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, is based on the 2014 graphic novel Ciudad, which the Russos co-created with writer Ande Parks and artist Fernando León González. Like the graphic novel, the movie is about Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), a mercenary who is assigned to rescue a kidnapping victim from the most dangerous city in the world. Though for the film, the kidnap victim has been changed from a woman to a young boy. The Russos originally developed the project as a movie and then turned it into a graphic novel when the idea didn’t sell, but now it’s a lot easier for them to sell a project with their name on it—especially if they get a Marvel star like Hemsworth to sign on.
Never Have I Ever (April 27)
Mindy Kaling (The Office, The Mindy Project) co-created this comedy series after Netflix asked her if she’d be interested in creating a show based on her childhood. According to Variety, Kaling said she didn’t want to do a period piece, in the vein of Everybody Hates Chris or Fresh Off the Boat, so instead she and co-creator Lang Fisher came up with a show “about a 15-year-old Indian girl now,” with stories inspired by Kaling’s childhood in Massachusetts, but set in the present day. Instead of casting an established child performer, Kaling put out an open call online, and a Canadian, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, won the part out of a reported 15,000 people who applied.
Release date TBA:
ARASHI’s Diary – Voyage (New Episodes) (NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY)
Documentary series about the final tour of Arashi, Japan’s iconic boy band.
The Circle Game (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
This is the French version of The Circle Game. Netflix has done it in too many countries to keep track of.
The King: Eternal Monarch (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
In this K-drama, written by Kim Eun Sook, two people from two different time periods must team up to close a portal between their realities.
Coming to Netflix on April 1, 2020
David Batra: Elefanten I Rummet (NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIAL)
Batra is a stand-up comic whose wife, Anna Kinberg Batra, is a the former leader of a major Swedish political party; his new special reflects on what it’s like to be married to a politician.
How to Fix a Drug Scandal (NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY)
Erin Lee Carr directed this documentary, based on a 2018 Rolling Stone article, about an alleged drug and evidence-tampering scandal in the Massachusetts State Police.
The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show (NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIAL)
A six-episode sketch comedy series focusing on send-ups of modern television; produced by and starring Shlesinger, who has done five solo Netflix stand-up specials.
Nailed It!: Season 4 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
In this reality competition show, amateur bakers are asked to try and replicate professional-level cakes, with what TV Guide used to call “disastrous results.”
Sunderland ‘Til I Die: Season 2 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Documentary series about a British soccer club trying to turn its fortunes around, and the team’s relationship with its hometown and its fans.
- 40 Days and 40 Nights
- Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
- Anger Management
- Bram Stoker’s Dracula
- Charlie St. Cloud
- Community: Season 1-6
- Dawn of the Dead
- Europa Report
- Far from Heaven
- Gosford Park
- Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie
- Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
- Little Children
- Magic Mike
- Maid in Manhattan
- Reservoir Dogs
- The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
- The Age of Innocence
- The Skulls
- The Squid and the Whale
- The Wedding Planner
- We Own the Night
- White Chicks
Leaving Netflix on April 1, 2020
Pride & Prejudice
Coming to Netflix on April 3, 2020
Coffee & Kareem (NETFLIX FILM)
A odd-couple buddy comedy, produced by and starring Ed Helms as a cop, who finds himself teaming up with his girlfriend’s 12 year-old son (Terrence Little Gardenhigh) to fight against a crime syndicate.
La casa de papel: Part 4 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
See introduction for details
Money Heist: The Phenomenon (NETFLIX FILM)
See introduction for details
Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy (NETFLIX FAMILY)
Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy is Netflix’s long-running animated series about Lucky, a girl who loves horses. The new season switches things up by moving Lucky and her friends from their hometown to “the prestigious Palomino Bluffs Riding Academy,” where there are lots of horses but spirits are probably not quite as free.
StarBeam (NETFLIX FAMILY)
Animated series aimed at preschoolers, about Zoey, an eight year-old girl with the power to transform into a superhero named Starbeam.
Coming to Netflix on April 6, 2020
The Big Show Show (NETFLIX FAMILY)
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. gets in on the sub-genre of Disney-style family sitcoms by producing this series, starring wrestler The Big Show as himself. He finds that being a dad to his three daughters is much harder than wrestling ever was. Also featuring Jaleel “Steve Urkel” White in a recurring role.
Leaving Netflix on April 6, 2020
Coming to Netflix on April 7, 2020
TERRACE HOUSE: TOKYO 2019-2020: Part 3 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
A new instalment in the popular Japanese take on one of the oldest of all reality-show premises: six strangers, three male and three female, must share a house together.
Coming to Netflix on April 9, 2020
Hi Score Girl: Season 2 (NETFLIX ANIME)
Anime series based on Rensuke Oshikiri’s nostalgic manga about kids who get involved in the arcade-game boom of the early 1990s.
Coming to Netflix on April 10, 2020
Brews Brothers (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Real-life brothers Greg and Jeff Schaffer created this odd-couple comedy series about two very different brothers (Alan Aisenberg and Mike Castle) who must put aside their differences when they are forced to run a brewery together.
LA Originals (NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY)
A look at Los Angeles’s Chicano street art movement, directed by renowned photographer and music-video director Estevan Oriol.
La vie scolaire (NETFLIX FILM)
In a poor community in the Saint-Denis area of Paris, a young school counsellor (Zita Hanrot) tries to help a gifted, but troublemaking student live up to his potential.
Love Wedding Repeat (NETFLIX FILM)
Jack (Sam Claflin) lives through alternate version of his sister’s wedding, possibly including a version where he gets the woman of his dreams (Olivia Munn). Written and directed by Dean Craig, who previously wrote another wedding comedy (A Few Best Men) and a funeral comedy (Death at a Funeral).
The Main Event (NETFLIX FILM)
Another WWE original production, this film is about a young boy who finds a magic mask that turns him into a superstar wrestler whenever he puts it on.
Tigertail (NETFLIX FILM)
Alan Yang, co-creator of Netflix’s Master of None, wrote, directed and starred in this film as a man who looking back on his past, and in particular his decision to move from Taiwan to America.
Coming to Netflix on April 12, 2020
Coming to Netflix on April 14, 2020
Chris D’Elia: No Pain (NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIAL)
The stand-up comic and sitcom actor (Whitney, Undateable) returns to Netflix for his fourth original comedy special.
Coming to Netflix on April 15, 2020
The Innocence Files (NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY)
A nine-episode series produced by the Innocence Project, a non-profit dedicated to finding cases of innocent people who have been convicted and get the convictions overturned. The series looks at eight such cases, but instead of dividing them up into individual episodes, the series is structured in three parts: The Evidence (episodes 1-3), The Witness (episodes 4-6) and The Prosecution (episodes 7-9), to give a broader look at how the U.S. criminal justice system fails innocent people.
Outer Banks (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Stranger Things-esque series about John B (Chase Stokes), whose father mysteriously disappeared while searching for sunken treasure. He and his friends set off to unravel the mystery and find his dad.
Coming to Netflix on April 16, 2020
Fary: Hexagone: Season 2 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
The French stand-up comic Fary, who specializes in observations about balancing personal identity with French identity, returns with his second two-part comedy special.
Fauda: Season 3 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Israeli drama series co-created by Lior Raz, who stars as an IDF agent in Gaza.
Mauricio Meirelles: Levando o Caos (NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIAL)
The Brazilian comic’s first Netflix special (English title: “Generating Chaos”).
Coming to Netflix on April 17, 2020
Betonrausch (NETFLIX FILM)
Cüneyt Kaya directed Netflix’s first original German film, based on a true story, about the rise and fall of three real estate agents who managed to amass a fortune through fraudulent deals.
#blackAF (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
See introduction for detail
Earth and Blood (La terre et le sang) (NETFLIX FILM)
French thriller about a sawmill where the owner and his teenage daughter unwittingly become the target for drug dealers.
El Dragón: Return of a Warrior: Season 2 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Continuing the popular Netflix/Univision co-production about Miguel (Sebastián Rulli), the reluctant head of his family’s crime syndicate.
The Last Kids on Earth: Book 2 (NETFLIX FAMILY)
The adventures of a group of kids who have survived a zombie apocalypse.
Legado en los huesos (NETFLIX FILM)
Mystery film, (a sequel to the 2017 film The Invisible Guardian), about a police detective (Marta Etura) investigating a suicide that may be related to the murder she investigated in her last film.
Sergio (NETFLIX FILM)
Biographical film starring Wagner Moura as the world-renowned Brazilian diplomat Sérgio Vieira de Mello.
Too Hot to Handle (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
A reality show where sexy single people are thrown together on a tropical island, where romance is inevitable. But to win the competition, they have to abstain from sex for the entire series.
Coming to Netflix on April 18, 2020
Life in Pieces: Season 4
Surviving R. Kelly: Season 1
Coming to Netflix on April 19, 2020
Coming to Netflix on April 20, 2020
Cooked with Cannabis (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Netflix’s second attempt at a cannabis-related cooking show, after 2018’s “Cooking on High.” This one is hosted by Kelis and Leather Storrs, who will require the contestants to prepare three-course meals where all the dishes incorporate a sizeable amount of cannabis.
The Midnight Gospel (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Eight-episode animated series, created by comedian Duncan Trussell and Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward, about a podcaster who goes around the universe to interview creatures who live on worlds that are dying.
Coming to Netflix on April 21, 2020
Bleach: The Assault
Bleach: The Bount
Middleditch & Schwartz (NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIAL)
Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz specialize in “long-form improv” sketch comedy, where they start with an audience suggestion and then improvise an entire story. This three-part comedy special features three long-form sketches, each filmed live in New York.
Coming to Netflix on April 22, 2020
Absurd Planet (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
A science series highlighting funny-looking or otherwise ridiculous animals around the world.
Circus of Books (NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY)
Netflix contractee Ryan Murphy executive-produced this documentary, directed by Rachel Mason. It’s about Mason’s parents, Karen and Barry Mason, a straight married couple who made their living as the owners of one of Los Angeles’s most prominent gay porn shops.
El silencio del pantano (NETFLIX FILM)
A crime novelist (Pedro Alonso) finds himself investigating a real-life crime.
The Plagues of Breslau (NETFLIX FILM)
Patryk Vega, the Polish filmmaker described by the Guardian as a “purveyor of graphic screen gore,” made this 2018 thriller about a detective who investigates a series of gruesome serial killings.
The Willoughbys (NETFLIX FILM)
Will Forte, Maya Rudolph and other comedy stars lend their voices to this animated film from Canada’s Bron studios, an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s book about kids who contrive to get their parents out of the house and live on their own, only to immediately regret it and set out on a journey to bring their parents back.
Win the Wilderness (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
In this British reality series, six couples are forced to live in the Alaska wilderness, where temperatures are cold and there’s always a bear around the corner.
Coming to Netflix on April 23, 2020
The House of Flowers : Season 3 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Another season of creator Manolo Caro’s hit comedy about a dysfunctional family and the upscale flower shop they own.
Coming to Netflix on April 24, 2020
After Life: Season 2 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Ricky Gervais’s comedy-drama, about a man trying to adjust to life after his wife’s death. This season he tries to be a little more sensitive to other people’s problems, but only makes things worse.
Extraction (NETFLIX FILM)
See introduction for details
Hello Ninja: Season 2 (NETFLIX FAMILY)
Animated series about a kid who has the power to turn into a ninja by saying the title of the show.
Yours Sincerely, Kanan Gill (NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIAL)
The first Netflix comedy special for the Indian comic, who previously did several shows for Amazon.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 7
Coming to Netflix on April 26, 2020
The Last Kingdom: Season 4 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
The British answer to Game of Thrones, based on The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell, about war and intrigue in a far-off medieval fantasy land known as Britain.
Coming to Netflix on April 27, 2020
Never Have I Ever (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
See introduction for details
Leaving Netflix on April 28, 2020
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Series 1-3
Coming to Netflix on April 29, 2020
A Secret Love (NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY)
Terry Donahue (1925-2019) was a Canadian professional baseball player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (which inspired A League of Her Own). This documentary looks at Donahue and her lifelong romantic partner, Pat Henschel, telling the story of a gay relationship from the 1940s through the age of marriage equality.
Extracurricular (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
South Korean drama series about Jisoo (Kim Dong-hee), who turns to crime to get enough money to pay for his college tuition.
Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story (NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY)
Cyntoia Brown was sentenced to life in prison in 2004; this documentary deals with the increasing doubt about whether her conviction was just, which eventually led to the commutation of her sentence.
Nadiya’s Time to Eat (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Former The Great British Bake-Off winner Nadiya Hussain offers recipes for good food that you can prepare in a hurry.
Summertime (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Italian drama series about Summer (Coco Rebecca Edogamhe), a young woman who wants to see the world, and motorcycle-riding bad boy Ale (Ludovico Tersigni), who just might be her ticket out of small-town life.
Coming to Netflix on April 30, 2020
Dangerous Lies (NETFLIX FILM)
Katie (Camilla Mendes), a caretaker for a rich old man (Elliott Gould) finds that money brings deadly trouble after her boss dies and leaves her his fortune.
Drifting Dragons (NETFLIX ANIME)
Adaptation of a manga series about people who hunt dragons for food.
The Forest of Love: Deep Cut (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Sion Sono wrote and directed this drama, based on real-life crimes, about young filmmakers who try to make a movie about a sinister con artist, and wind up putting themselves and everyone around them in danger.
Rich in Love (Ricos de Amor) (NETFLIX FILM)
Romantic comedy about a rich guy (Danilo Mesquita) who pretends to be poor in order to find out whether the woman he loves (Giovanna Lancellotti) will love him for himself.
The Victims’ Game (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
Joseph Chang stars in this Taiwanese series as a detective who tries to crack a murder case that may involve his daughter (Tiffany Hsu).
Leaving Netflix on April 30, 2020
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days