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

Unmissable telly and movies for the new year

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 January 2021:

Returning favourite: ‘Riverdale’ season five


What is it? The latest season of the Archie Comics adaptation following classic characters Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead. The first few seasons of the show were a delight, as we previously put it: “When Riverdale first appeared on our screens, it was wonderful and weird. Dubbed a teenage Twin Peaks, it mixed high-school melodrama with eerie murder mystery”. After a faltering fourth season, fans will be hoping the fifth outing returns to its former heights.

Who’s in it? KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes and Cole Sprouse

When’s it out? January 21 (weekly)

Must-watch movie: ‘Booksmart’

What is it? A hilarious, honest and heartwarming teen comedy that solidified Beanie Feldstein‘s status as a star-in-the-making after an under-appreciated turn in Lady Bird, earning the actress a Golden Globe nomination in the process. Two years after its release in 2019, Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut arrives on Netflix.


Who’s in it? Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever

When’s it out? January 24

Bingeable reality TV: ‘The Circle USA’ season one

What is it? With the tagline of “anyone can be anyone”, The Circle is like a Catfish episode in the form of Big Brother-esque reality TV. Contestants live in the same house but communicate digitally, meaning that they don’t really know each other’s true identities at all. It’s a show primed for lockdown. The UK version threw actual Richard from Richard and Judy into the mix and we can’t see what weirdness the American version has to offer.

Who’s in it? A whole host of reality show hopefuls.

When’s it out? January 1

WTF of the month: ‘History of Swear Words’ (with Nic Cage)

What is it? Nicolas Cage presents a docu-series stuffed with gratuitous cursing – what’s not to love? Offering an “education in expletives,” the six-parter looks to explore “the origins, pop culture-usage, science and cultural impact of curse words”. Bloody brilliant.

Who’s in it? Nicolas Cage, obviously

When’s it out? January 5

Your next true-crime obsession: ‘Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer’

What is it? A chilling documentary looking at the life and crimes of serial killer Richard Ramirez, who would become known as ‘The Night Stalker’. Ramirez terrorised the Californian cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles in the mid ’80s and this new true-crime series brings his gruesome murders back into focus.

Who’s in it? First-person interviews with those close to the case

When’s it out? January 15

The best of the rest

‘The Office US’ (January 1)

The full nine seasons of the American Office is back on Netflix UK, meaning you can get stuck into bingeing them all all over again.

‘The Minimalists: Less Is Now’ (January 1)

We’ve had shows about hoarding, so now the next step is the complete opposite: lifestyle minimalists. In this new show, two lifelong friends tell us why cutting down on stuff can change our lives.

‘Headspace Guide To Meditation’ (January 1)

A new collaboration between Netflix and the people being the Headspace mindfulness app, this eight-part series will be vital to those looking to overhaul their wellbeing in the new year. A synopsis reads: “From tackling stress to embracing gratitude, each episode first teaches the basics and techniques of the practice, and then concludes with a guided meditation.”

‘Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy’ (January 11)

This new series takes a look at the crack epidemic of the 1980s, offering up a fresh take on how racism might have started the moral panic surrounding the drug.