We made it. The dark, cold days of January are over and it’s only a matter of time before spring arrives. But, if the box set addiction you cultivated to get you through Dry January is still demanding to be fed, then fear not. There’s plenty coming to the streaming service this month that will sate all your viewing cravings. From the highly anticipated arrival of Studio Ghibli’s much loved animations to sequels to some of 2018’s most hyped series, here’s what to watch on Netflix this month…
My Neighbour Totoro, February 1
If you have yet to discover the work of Japanese animation firm Studio Ghibli then Netflix is about to deliver your essential primer. Widely regarded to be the world’s leading anime studio, its critically acclaimed films have won Oscars and made the unusual world of Japanese anime accessible to a Western audience.
Where better to start, then, than with the film that gives the company its mascot: My Neighbour Totoro. Telling the story of two sisters and their adventures with friendly wood spirits in rural Japan, the film currently has an impressive 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes while the English dubbed version features voice acting from Dakota and Elle Fanning. Set aside your pre-conceived notions of cartoons and allow yourself to be blown away.
Lady Bird, February 2
Greta Gerwig’s highly regarded 2017 coming-of-age film will hit Netflix this month, finally giving those of us who missed it the first time round a chance to catch up. And, with five Oscar nominations, four Golden Globe nods and three BAFTA nominations under its belt, it’s worth making time for.
Its truly star-studded cast includes Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet and Beanie Feldstein, each offering up the kind of exceptional performances necessary to do Gerwig’s superb script justice.
Horse Girl, February 7
Not a huge amount has been revealed about this Netflix Original film but, given that it received its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, it’s safe to say Netflix has big hopes for this prestige drama. Directed by Jeff Baena and starring Alison Brie (who also co-wrote and produced the film), Horse Girl is told from the perspective of Sarah, a socially awkward, crafts and true crime-loving woman experiencing severe mental health deterioration. Praised for its honest depiction of a full breakdown, while still managing to retain moments of humour, this is the film everyone is going to be taking about this month.
Locke & Key, February 7
After the success of 2018’s The Haunting of Hill House, Netflix is making another foray into the world of horror with original series Locke & Key. It’s classic haunted house fare: after the mysterious death of their father, the three Locke children and their mother move into their ancestral home, Keyhouse, and immediately awaken a demon with sinister intentions.
An adaptation of the comic book series written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key has been developed by a team whose credits include Lost, Bates Motel, Heroes and the aforementioned Hill House. With that kind of pedigree we’re expecting big things.
Narcos: Mexico Season 2, February 13
It took just three weeks for Netflix to renew Narcos’ sister series when it first aired in November 2018 but it’s been a long 14 months for fans waiting for the next instalment. Charting the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel in the 1980s, Narcos: Mexico is as much a crash course in the workings of the modern drugs trade as it is a thrilling and highly addictive action series. Season two will see DEA Agent Walt Breslin (Scoot McNairy) take over as the first line of defence against kingpin Felix Gallardo (Diego Luna) and his growing Mexican cartel.
Better Call Saul Season 5, February 24
The Breaking Bad spin-off will air its penultimate season on Netflix this month. Although the show hasn’t quite garnered the same world wide adoration as its predecessor, it does have an ardent following that, after four seasons, might finally get the pay off of seeing Jimmy McGill become the Saul Goodman of Breaking Bad fame.
As Better Call Saul comes closer to its conclusion so, inevitably, does it draw closer to the Breaking Bad timeline. At the end of season four McGill finally chose Saul Goodman as his professional name while the involvement of super villain Gus Fring has been growing since season three. Season five will also see familiar Breaking Bad characters Hank Schrader and Steven “Gomey” Gomez join the cast – but will Walter or Jesse turn up? Time will tell.
Altered Carbon Season 2, February 27
There are two ways to deal with these troubling times of Brexit, impeachment and the coronavirus. Either stick your head in the sand and switch on something heartwarming and escapist (in which case you’ll be pleased to know the sequel to All The Boys I Loved Before is coming this month) or double-down and dive straight into a dystopian drama. For the latter may we suggest the second season of Altered Carbon. Based on the 2002 novel by Richard K Morgan, the series is set 300 years in the future when all our personalities have been digitised into ‘cortical stacks’ which can be transferred from body to body.
Season one followed Takeshi Kovacs, the last remaining of an ancient military group, who is given a second chance at physical life by a rich man who wants help solving his own murder. Little about the plot of season two is known but, if the producers take the second book in the series as their source material, the timeline will jump another 30 years in the future and see Kovacs join a group of mercenaries caught up in a war against a corporate-sponsored government.
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