New on Netflix UK: February 2021’s must-watch film and TV

Unmissable telly and movies to get you through lockdown

There’s a lot of choice on Netflix UK. In fact, each viewer spends 18 minutes (18 whole minutes!) on average trying to decide what to watch on the streaming platform. To put that into context, that’s almost as long as an episode of The Office.

But fear not, we’ve gone through all the new shows, docs and films arriving this month and whittled them down to the very best.

Here’s what you should be watching on Netflix UK in February 2021:

Ideal for binge-watching: Parks and Recreation

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What is it? Parks and Rec’s arrival back on Netflix – all seven seasons of the local government-themed mockumentary-cum-sitcom are available on the streaming service from this month – comes at no better a time. Sure, you’ve probably seen Parks and Recreation already. Maybe even, like, three times from start to finish. Perhaps you even know every quip Ron Swanson utters word for word, or remember each and every time Leslie Knope gets herself into an awkward situation. But lockdown is all about giving yourself some time to indulge in some comfortable binge-watching.

Who’s in it? An unrivalled comedic cast of Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Paul Schneider, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Rob Lowe and more.

What they say: “I’ve never liked mean-spirited comedy,” creator Michael Schur said in a 2011 interview. “The characters on our show make fun of each other, but not in a biting, angry way. And there’s no shortage of conflict in the world of government.”

When’s it out? February 1

A post-election must-watch: Amend: The Fight for America 

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What is it? Following the turmoil of 2020 and the recent US election, there could be no more suitable a time for a docu-series like this. Amend: The Fight for America is a six-parter that looks at the US Constitution and, specifically the 14th Amendment, which promises liberty and equality for all. Delving back into the history books, the series aims to ask viewers, “What does it mean to be an American?”

Who’s in it? Will Smith narrates, while the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Mahershala Ali and Laverne Cox also appear.

What they say: “We are living in unprecedented days as a society, as a country, and as a human family,” Smith has said in a statement announcing the series. “I believe that the cultivation of personal and historical understanding is the imperative spark igniting the flames of desperately needed compassion and healing.”

When’s it out? February 17

A returning fave: Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready (season two)

What is it? In the first season of the Emmy-nominated They Ready, Tiffany Haddish shined a spotlight on her fave female comics and peers from when she was rising up the ranks. Now, for the second season, she’s giving the mic to long-serving acts that deserve much more acclaim than they’ve enjoyed today. These are “veterans at tickling the soul”, she says. Each episode features a full set from a different comedian, as introduced by Haddish.

Who’s in it? Season two includes sets from Godfrey, Erin Jackson, Tony Woods, Kimberly Clark, Barbara Carlyle and Dean Edwards.

What they say: “I’m sharing the platform, and to see them shine and get people’s eyes on their talent is just the best,” says Haddish. “Plus, I know it’s going to bring joy to people, and my No. 1 goal is to bring joy.”

When’s it out? February 2

The critics’ choice: Us

What is it? Jordan Peele’s much-anticipated sequel to the brilliant Get Out, Us is more of a straight-up horror than its preceding project but doesn’t disappoint one bit. As we said in our review: “Us plays on the trope of the home invasion film, a modern horror staple that strikes to the very heart of the American psyche… But this is a Jordan Peele script, and therefore there is a twist: the people invading the family’s home look exactly like the Winstons, but wearing red jumpsuits and carrying scissors.” The film is gripping, terrifying and poignant all at once, and was beloved by critics – its 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes stands testament to that.

Who’s in it? The ever-amazing Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther, 12 Years a Slave) and Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale, Mad Men), plus equally impressive showings from Winston Duke (Black Panther) and Tim Heidecker (of Tim & Eric fame) as part of a stunning ensemble cast.

What they say: “Throughout history the doppelganger mythology exists.” Peele said in 2019. “It represents… everything that we don’t face in ourselves… I tried to apply this idea of duality to everything in the film… That’s when the movie sort of went from being about self-introspection to this idea of a societal or collective introspection.”

When’s it out? February 28

Your next true-crime obsession: Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (season one)

What is it? This new true-crime docu-series focuses on the gripping story of 21-year-old Canadian Elisa Lam, who disappeared in 2013 after being caught on CCTV acting erratically at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. But it’s also, as we put it in our five-star review, “a meditation on the true crime genre itself”. It “explores themes of victimhood and accountability” and “shows the gravity of the consequences of a crowd of unregulated voices left to point fingers of suspicion at strangers”.

Who’s behind it? The series was directed by Joe Berlinger, the filmmaker responsible for Netflix’s Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.

What they say: “What I aim to do is look at a case holistically, look at the context socially and culturally, or with this series, at the physical location and environment, to examine how this story came to pass,” Berlinger recently said. “There’s a moral responsibility on us as filmmakers to tell this story in the best way possible, because for the people involved, this is not just a story.”

When’s it out? February 10

Nordic noir turns horror: Red Dot 

What is it? Netflix’s first feature film from Sweden, Red Dot may look like a typical Nordic noir at first – the wintry backdrop with an undercurrent of unease – but this thriller puts a twist on the genre as things plummet into full-blown horror. The premise is based around a couple on a skiing and hiking trip who get awoken in the night by a red dot (hence the title) shining into their tent – they then find themselves fighting for survival.

Who’s in it? A native Swedish cast led by Nanna Blondell, Johannes Kuhnke and Anastasios Soulis.

What they say: “My ambition is to make a hair-raising film with high-octane, spectacular scenes, but with a very emotional core,” says director Alain Darborg.

When’s it out? February 11

A dystopian gem: Tribes of Europa 

What is it? From the creators of Dark (one of the most popular non-English language shows on Netflix, and often dubbed the “German Stranger Things”), Tribes of Europa is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian sci-fi series set in 2074. After a mysterious global disaster turns the world beyond recognition, this fictional future Europe is split between different warring tribes, with the series following the plight of three siblings trying to bring peace back to the continent.

Who’s in it? Emilio Sakraya, Henriette Confurius and David Ali Rashed in the lead roles.

What they say: “We noticed that we have to bring out the positive and hope more strongly,” says creator Philip Koch. “We are not moving in a radioactively contaminated post-apocalypse where doom lurks behind every corner. Rather, we are living in an exciting world where everybody gets back on their feet. A new beginning for the continent, full of hope.”

When’s it out? February 19

The best of the rest

Snakes on a Plane (February 1)

A classic so-ridiculous-maybe-it’s-good film, worth watching for Samuel L. Jackson’s immortal, titular line alone. Sure, you won’t be able to yell out “I’ve had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!” in a cinema any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it from the comfort of your own home.

Malcolm & Marie (February 5)

An emotionally wrought depiction of a couple shot entirely in black and white over two weeks in lockdown. It’s polarised viewers and critics, but is the powerhouse performances sheer of its young stars, John David Washington and Zendaya, are unmissable.

News of The World (February 10)

No, not a movie about the defunct, shamed British tabloid. Instead this is Tom Hanks’ latest, a Western with a plot in typical grand Hanksian fashion: a Civil War vet tasked with reuniting a young girl with her family.

Pelé (February 23)

The sporting pick of the month. As you can tell from its title, this tells the story of one of football’s greatest and enduring icons – directed by one of the producers of the Brazil edition of Amazon’s All or Nothing series.

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