Need something new to binge-watch? It's never really a quiet month for new releases on Netflix, but April is particularly jam-packed with original series on the streamer, from prestige true-crime drama to nature docuseries to Jamie Foxx's return to comedy TV. Which shouldn't come as too much of a surprise considering the entertainment industry is slowly adjusting to the new normal, productions are back in swing, and with theaters and events opening back up, streaming services are going to have to stock their release calendars pretty heavily to keep audience attention.
Speaking of stocked lineups, this month's new Netflix shows pack a pretty high-profile punch. The Netflix/BBC co-production The Serpent offers a highly-rated serial killer drama (which originally premiered in the U.K. at the start of the year), featuring recent Golden Globe nominee Tahar Rahim, and chronicles the 1970s crims of Charles Sobhraj. Folks looking for something a bit lighter can turn to Netflix's new sitcom Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! or the always-soothing dulcet tones of David Attenborough with his newest nature docuseries. And at the end of the month, the long-awaited adaptation of Leigh Bardugo's fantasy adventure Shadow and Bone.
Here are the details on all our picks for the best new shows on Netflix, and for a complete listing of everything that's new on Netflix in April, follow the link below.
Available: April 1
They may not prompt the immediate instinctive recall of a familiar smell or a favorite song, but when you think about tangible items that tell our stories and remind us of our pasts, it's difficult to think of a more enduring intimate item than our clothes. Based on Emily Spivack's book of the same name and executive produced by Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan, Netflix's new docuseries Worn Stories offers a collection of personal narratives inspired by what we wear and what it means to us. Sometimes funny, often touching, and always thoughtful, Worn Stories takes a surprisingly moving approach to items that might be considered "clutter" or "stuff" by some, but are beloved by the people who own them. I guess Marie Kondo would say these are the ones that "spark joy". Well, for some, at least. Worn Stories cleverly kicks things off by introducing us to a community of nudists, the perfect opportunity to investigate the societal constructs of clothes, and the wide range of what that means to different people, before honing in on more specific items and the fascinating human stories that home with them.
Available: April 2
Cast: Tahar Rahim, Jenna Coleman, Billy Howle, Ellie Bamber, Amesh Edireweera, Tim McInnerny
A BBC/Netflix co-production, The Serpent is a visually sumptuous new true-crime drama that takes the audience back to a time before the digital era and improvements in forensics helped detectives track down killers, following the 1970s international crime spree of Charles Sobhraj, from fraud to robbery to the murder of at least a dozen people. Eschewing a more traditional chronological approach in favor of a scattered journey through the years of Sobhraj's crimes (a structure that unfortunately hurts the series more than it builds intrigue), The Serpent stars recent Golden Globe nominee Tahar Rahim as the prolific serial killer, in another noteworthy performance that gives him a chance to put his spin on a Talented Mr. Ripley-esque master of deception and charisma. While the scattered timeline saps some tension and coherence out of The Serpent's storytelling, there's still plenty of stunning cinematography, dramatic twists, and disturbing reveals to keep true crime buffs bingeing through all 8 episodes.
Dad Stop Embarrassing Me
Available: April 14
Creators: Jamie Foxx and Jim Patterson
Cast: Jamie Foxx, David Alan Grier, Kyla-Drew, Porscha Coleman, Jonathan Kite, Heather Hemmens
Following closely behind the release of the Netflix Original Kevin James vehicle The Crew, as well as the acquisition of some beloved classics like Girlfriends and Moesha, Netflix continues to bulk out their sitcom selection in the wake of losing the streaming rights to top-performing titles like The Office and Friends. Jamie Foxx takes on his first TV lead since his 90s sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show, starring as a cosmetics brand owner who has to adjust to the demands of fatherhood when his teenage daughter (Kyla-Drew) unexpectedly moves in with him. Foxx not only co-created the show and co-write the story, but stars in multiple supporting roles, so Foxx fans are sure to get their fill. But this is an old-school, broad, down-the-middle sitcom, so your mileage may vary on whether the full-Foxx approach is enough to keep you bingeing. It's light, easy watching, laugh track and all, It's certainly not revolutionizing the format, but if you're looking for a comedic comfort watch, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me might just do the trick.
The Circle Season 2
Available: April 14
Host: Michelle Buteau
Brace yourselves, folks. Netflix's addictive reality series The Circle doesn't follow the streamer's standard release format - meaning one big full-season release - which means no binge-watching unless you wait until the final episode airs in May. Instead, Season 2 of the reality show/social experiment will drop in weekly blocs, with Episodes 1-4 landing on April 14, followed by Episodes 5-8 on April 21, Episodes 9-12 on April 28, and the big finale on May 5.
The Circle follows a group of strangers who can only communicate digitally via a shared network called "The Circle", providing just a basic profile to establish their identities - which may or may not be real. The whole thing is a big online popularity contest (winner takes home $100,000), with the contestant trying to scheme, schmooze, and seduce their way to the top. And Season 2 has some familiar faces in the mix, including *NSYNC's Lance Bass (kind of) and Chloe Veitch, who recently appeared on another buzzy Netflix reality show, Too Hot to Handle. It's a game of strategy, catfishing, and sometimes straight-up cattiness, and on top of being completely bingeworthy, it's a fascinating look at the fickle nature of popularity, how rumors spread, and why you can never know for sure who's on the other end of a screen.
Life in Color with David Attenborough
Available: April 22
Host: David Attenborough
I mean, it's an Attenborough docuseries so we all know what we're gonna get - a dang delightful, insightful, and relaxing peek into the mysteries and miracles of nature, that's what! And this one comes with the bonus of technological innovation. With three 50-minute episodes, Life in Color explores the role color plays in nature as a communication device, warning sign, and its myriad other functions, but not just from the human perspective. Using cameras specially designed for the series, Life in Color seeks to capture those colors from the many perspectives of the animal kingdom, allowing us to see the world as the critters do. And if you're not the biggest nature doc fan, but you are intrigued by new developments in photography, the series doesn't just capture the unseen spectrums of nature, it also offers some insight into how they did it. But really, the sparkle in these shows always comes back to Attenborough's infectious enthusiasm for the wonders of the world, and his gift for translating them into wonderful TV.
Shadow and Bone
Available: April 23
Creator: Eric Heisserer
Cast: Jessie Mei Li, Ben Barnes, Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, Kit Young, Archie Renaux
The wait is over! Netflix's series adaptation of the beloved novel Shadow and Bone finally arrives this month, promising an epic fantasy adventure that should give fans of The Witcher and Game of Thrones a whole new kingdom of heroes, scamps, monsters, and magic to explore. Inspired by Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy (and incorporating the Six of Crows spinoff books), the series picks up in a war-torn world where a tremendously powerful outsider (Jessie Mei Li) discovers her abilities could save her country and change the world forever. This is one of those fantasy epics that comes with a map and a sprawling cast of characters, so be prepared to pay attention, but you can look forward to having that attention rewarded with sexy heists, mythical creatures, and plenty of action (and magic) packed battles.
Available: April 29
Creator: LaSean Thomas
Cast: LaKeith Stanfield, Ming-Na Wen, Gwendoline Yeo, Maya Tanida
The always great LaKeith Stanfield both voices the lead character and executive produces Netflix's new action-packed samurai anime series, and as goes LaKeith, so goes my nation. Created by LaSean Thomas (Black Dynamite), the six-episode series is inspired by the life of the title character - a legendary black Samurai who lived in late 1500s Japan and whose life remains mostly a mystery. Yasuke reimagines the historical figure through a fantastical lens, fusing his legend with a bit of magic (and even a mecha!) in a journey that sees him protecting a young girl with powers she doesn't fully understand. In addition to its fascinating inspiration, the series boasts striking animation, music from Grammy-nominated producer Flying Lotus, and of course, Stanfield voicing the lead, Yasuke promises to be one of the most compelling new animated original series on Netflix this year.
KEEP READING: The Best New Movies on Amazon Prime in April 2021