Settle in for dry January - here’s what’s new to Netflix day by day
...plus highlights from Amazon Prime, Sky/Now TV
After all the over-indulgence of the festive season (and one too many viewings of Love, Actually), it’s time to look ahead to a dry and quiet January and the streaming delights that await those long, dark evenings.
If you have not yet succumbed to Netflix’s innovative, interactive new film, Bandersnatch, from Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror stable, then what are you reading this for?
Get to it, and choose what happens in the 80s-set adventure in which there are choices, challenges, dangers and consequences.
However, if you’re a little too delicate this season to accept a challenge and responsibility like this there are plenty more passive offerings to choose from.
Amongst Netflix's original content is the arrival of Sex Education, a new series starring Gillian Anderson as a sex therapist and Asa Butterfield as her socially awkward high school student son, a new round of Grace and Frankie, and part two of season 4 of the wonderful Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Amazon Prime Video, meanwhile, is also launching the third season of The Grand Tour this month and Sky/Now TV have the second series of Living the Dream, Magnum P.I. – I Saw the Sun Rise, Escape at Dannemora, A League of their Own: European Road Trip and the brilliant Music Icons.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Netflix
Would Mike Myers’ 1999 comedy be green-lit now? Perhaps not. There are a few gags that will elicit a chuckle, but just as many that fail to hit the mark as Myers reprises his several roles from the first Powers outing.
Will Smith and Kevin James star in this flick about a dating guru who claims to match someone successfully within three dates. Perfect passive romcom viewing for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Valentine’s Day, Netflix
We can blame Love Actually for spawning a spate of these ensemble romcoms. This one boasts Jessica Alba, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kucher, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Eric Dane and many, many more among its cast. They’re all falling in and out of love but it feels so very contrived and disjointed and awful.
The Blind Side, Netflix
Sandra Bullock stars in this sugary drama about a rich woman who takes in a homeless teen who becomes a star NFL player. Based on Michael Lewis’s best-seller The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.
The Witches, Netflix
A terrific Angelica Huston leads the cast in this big screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s creepy tale brought to life with puppetry from Jim Henson’s creature shop. A treat for all the family (except maybe the smallest smallies).
Pacific Rim, Netflix
Guillermo del Toro’s creature feature stars Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi as a former pilot and trainee who are tasked with steering giant robots called Jaegers in battle against giant creatures called Kaiju which have risen from the sea and want to destroy humankind. Watch it loud in a darkened room. It’ll rattle you out of your post-festive season lull.
Escape at Dannemora – Girl from the North Country, Sky Atlantic 9pm & NOW TV
Benicio Del Toro, Paul Dano and Patricia Arquette star in Ben Stiller’s eight-parter based on the stranger-than-fiction prison break that took place in the summer of 2015. Del Toro and Dano play convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat, whose escape sparked a statewide manhunt.
Comedians of the World, Netflix
A new series showcasing the stand-up talent of 47 comedians of different genders and ethnicities from 13 regions in eight languages.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo , Netflix
There's something therapeutic about clearing a home of clutter and in this series of inspiring home makeovers, world-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out the clutter in their homes and choose joy in their life.
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 3, Netflix
Kids and family: In the series' third and final act, the Baudelaires will stop at nothing to solve the mysteries of the VFD and end Count Olaf's relentless pursuit.
Pinky Malinky, Netflix
Pinky Malinky sees the bright side of everything, including being born a hot dog. Family fun.
The Ottoman Lieutenant, Netflix
Released in 2017, this Turkish-American World War I drama was criticised in some quarters for offering a revisionist account of the Turkish Aremenian Genocide. Starring Michiel Huisman, Hera Hilmar, Josh Hartnett and Ben Kingsley, it is directed by Joseph Ruben.
Slasher: Guilty Party, Netflix
The second season of this TV series does exactly what it says on the tin. A group of former summer camp counselors return to a former camp where they're picked off one by one by a mysterious killer.
Ten Percent (Call My Agent!): Season 3, Netflix
Rising tensions prompt two agents to hatch a secret plot in a new season of showbiz antics with Isabelle Huppert, Monica Bellucci and Jean Dujardin.
When her father falls ill, Adaeze steps up to run the family business - alongside her uncle - and prove herself in a male-dominated world.
And Breathe Normally, Netflix
An Icelandic single mother struggling with poverty and a Guinea-Bissauan asylum seeker facing deportation find their lives intertwined in unexpected ways.
Living the Dream, series 2, episode 1 of 6, 9pm Sky One & NOW TV
Mal and Jen (Philip Glenister and Lesley Sharp) have settled in Florida for good, spruced up the park with a new tearoom and taken on a mysterious resident (Leslie David Parker). But they’ve had to downsize to a rougher area and things do not run smoothly.
GODZILLA The Planet Eater, Netflix
Original animae. With the earth alliance weakened, Haruo weighs siding with the Exif, whose death cult is summoning a monster that can destroy the world.
A League of Their Own: European Road Trip. 9pm Sky One & NOW TV
Freddie and Jamie will be totting up points as they abseil down Rotterdam’s Euromast tower, go head to head in a Holland Cup cycle race, double up with celebs for tennis at the Monte Carlo Masters, play darts with Anthony Joshua, hit Paris’s Formula E circuit and shoot pens at the San Siro. The loser has to bungee jump off the GoldenEye dam. Alan Carr and Kevin Pietersen make an appearance.
The Directors, series 2, episode 1 of 10, 9pm Sky Arts & NOW TV
Series two will take a closer look at the life and work of the masters of the big screen, David Lean, Federico Fellini, Michael Curtiz, John Huston and many more. The first episode focuses on Stanley Kubrick whose works include Dr Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and Full Metal Jacket.
When Heroes Fly, Netflix
Netflix Original series - Years after a bitter falling out, four Israeli military veterans reunite and travel to Colombia in search of a loved one they'd presumed to be dead.
Sex Education, Netflix
Otis Milburn is an inexperienced, socially awkward high school student who lives with his sex therapist mother, a woman who believes in being open and honest about sex. Otis is therefore something of an expert despite his lack of physical experience and soon realises he can use his superior knowledge to gain status at school. Gillian Anderson and Asa Butterfield star.
Music Icons, series 2, episode 1 of 13, 8.30pm Sky Arts & NOW TV
Documentary looking at the life and work of some of the most iconic musicians and performers including Ray Charles, Al Green, The Kinks, The Police, and The Band. The series kicks off with a look at Otis Redding. Dock of the Bay was his first and only number one in 1968 and was released posthumously one year after he died in a plane crash at 26 years old.
ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium, Netflix
Original documentary - For years, the murder of Chilean protest singer Victor Jara was blamed on an official in Pinochet's army. Now in exile, he tries to exonerate himself.
Friends from College: Season 2, Netflix
Original series – Picking up where the first season left on there’s a wedding on the horizon and the gang try to put their mistakes behind them.
Original series kicking off with 11 new episodes - Led by Batman's former protégé Robin, a group of teen heroes forms to fight crime while wrestling with their inner demons.
In a remote area of the Canary Islands, young surfer Alvaro Vizcaino accidentally falls from a cliff. Seriously injured, he must fight to survive in this film.
The Last Laugh, Netflix
Netflix film - Retired talent manager Al reconnects with former client Buddy, a comedian who gave up performing decades ago, and urges him to go back out on the road.
The Fault in Our Stars, Netflix
Just in time for Valentine’s Day this teen romantic drama lands on Netflix. Based on John Green’s 2012 novel it stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as two teenagers who are battling cancer and meet at a support group where they fall in love. Get the hankies out lads.
The Heist, Sky Box Sets and NOW TV
Series about 10 law-abiding citizens in North Yorkshire who set about raiding a cash-in-transit van containing a quarter of a million pounds. If they can hide it from a team of detectives for two weeks it’s theirs.
Indulge in some mid-month mind-bending sci-fi courtesy of Christopher Nolan. Leonardo Di Caprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, and Marion Cotillard will blow those cobwebs from your brain.
Martial arts flick about a former detective who infiltrates an island that serves as a prison for death row criminals in an effort to avenge the murder of his family.
Sebastian Maniscalco: Stay Hungry, Netflix
Original comedy specials - Sebastian Maniscalco takes on life's many annoyances with his expressive approach in a live special based on his memoir of the same name.
Magnum P.I. – I Saw the Sun Rise, season 1, episode 1 of 22, 9pm Sky One & NOW TV
Reboot of the hit 80s series starring Jay Hernandez as an American hero and ex Navy SEAL who is back from Afghanistan and channelling his military skills into private investigation. With keys to a vintage Ferrari in one hand and aviators in the other, Magnum’s straight back on the case in episode one, directed by Justin Lin.
Just Another Immigrant, series 1, episode 1 of 6, 10pm Sky One & NOW TV
Romesh Ranganathan uproots his family and heads to LA in a bid to make it in America. Taking his wife, kids, Sri Lankan mother and eccentric uncle with him, this ‘mostly true comedy’ follows them as they throw themselves into their new lives in La La Land. And Romesh hasn’t exactly made things easy for himself. He’s booked a gig at the 6,000-seat Greek Theatre and has just three months to sell it out.
The Purge: Anarchy
The annual right to purge – act our your murderous instincts for one night only – returns with more of the same from writer/director James DeMonaco.
The Grand Tour – Season 3, Amazon Prime Video
The new episodes featuring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will be released weekly. The trailer shows Richard Hammond struggling to keep his Jeep on a tiny bridge over a steep canyon in Colombia. Also revealed are the trio taking on challenges in Detroit and Nevada, Jeremy and Abbie attempting an unusual snowy challenge in Sweden, and James May playing the bag pipes in Scotland.
FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, Netflix
Original documentary - The Fyre Festival was billed as a luxury music experience full of social media influencers on a posh island, but the reality was quite different. Here’s an examination of what exactly went wrong.
Uplifting tale of a five year old boy who gets lost on a train and ends up thousands of miles away from home in India. He must learn to survive before he is ultimately adopted by an Australian couple. A quarter of a century later he returns home to try to find his family, armed with hazy memories and Google Earth. Starring Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
One of the best instalments in the franchise, the older X-Men join forces with their younger selves to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle. All the crew return – Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Ellen Page, Anna Paquin, Bingbing Fan, Omar Sy, Nicholas Hoult, and Peter Dinklage.
Fifty Shades Darker, Netflix
The third instalment in the erotic drama sees Christian (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) married and this does nothing to improve the chemistry that has been lacking on screen since the first instalment.
Assassin’s Creed, Netflix
Michael Fassbender stars in this CGI laden video game adaptation that ultimately fails to transcend the genre despite an interesting premise. Fassbender plays Callum Lynch, a man who, through technology that unlocks his genetic memories, experiences the life of his ancestor Aguilar in 15th Century Spain. He’s descended from a secret society, the Assassins, and uses their knowledge and skills to take on the Templar organization in the modern day.