Fire in Paradise (Available now)
While its innocent-sounding name might not carry the same terrible weight outside of America, last year’s Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history – scorching over 150,000 acres and claiming nearly 100 lives, many of them elderly or disabled. Drawing on interviews with survivors and emergency responders, as well as unseen first-hand footage, this documentary will show how the tragedy unfolded. A compelling human story in its own right, but also a devastating warning of what might be to come. Not one to miss.
American Son (Available now)
An adaptation of the smash-hit Broadway play, American Son casts Kerry Washington (star of the American series Scandal) as a black mother wrestling against an unsympathetic police force as she tries to find out what’s happened to her missing son. A taut four-hander, the play was praised for Washington’s stellar performance and its intelligent take on race and policing in America. Will its claustrophobic tension translate to the small screen? Kenny Leon, who directed the original play, returns to the helm for the screen version.
Maradona in Mexico (13 November)
Diego Maradona has proved himself to be goldust for documentary makers – just look at the success of Asif Kapadia’s eponymous film earlier this year which made headlines with shocking footage of the iconoclastic Argentina palling around with the Naples mafia. Now this docuseries follows Maradona as he takes over the reigns at Dorados de Sinaloa – a struggling Mexican football team based deep in Cartel country. Netflix have been understandably cautious about giving too much away. Fingers crossed it delivers on the hype.
Klaus (15 November)
Here’s one for the kids as Spanish director Sergio Pablos – the former Disney animator who birthed the hugely successful Despicable Me franchise – turns his hand to this season’s most anticipated origin story: Father Christmas himself. Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman and Spiderman’s J K Simmons provide the voices what promises to be an enchanting family flick for the holiday season. Given it’s Netflix’s first foray into making animated films, you can expect them to throw everything at this one.
The Crown (17 November)
No Netflix round-up would be complete without a mention of The Crown, which returns this month for its third series. Having captivated viewers around the world, this time around it’s goodbye to the old guard as Olivia Colman steps into the main role and stage-favourite Tobias Menzies plays her husband. Beginning in 1964, the series will cover the Apollo 11 moon landing, the breakaway of Britain’s African and Caribbean colonies, and the coronation of Charles – played by relative newcomer Josh O’Connor – as the Prince of Wales. You will be hearing a lot about it.
Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator (20 November)
In 2013, Bikam Choudhury – the well-heeled founder of hot yoga – was accused of rape and false imprisonment by two of his former students. Since then, dozens more allegations have emerged, shining a disturbing light on the secrets behind Choudhury’s tightly-controlled, multi-million dollar fitness empire. Choudhury, who fled to his native India in 2016 and has yet to return to the United States, now faces arrest warrants in three US states. This documentary speaks directly to the women behind some of the allegations – and explores how Choudhury was able to manipulate his followers so successfully.
Mike Birbiglia: The New One (26 November)
Although little known in the UK, Mike Birbilgia is an American comedian and writer who became famous via The Moth, the legendary New York storytelling night turned uber-fashionable podcast. The perfect choice then for Netflix’s latest comedy special. The show – which sold out in both New York and Los Angeles – sees Birbiglia wrestle with his new father status and his ambivalent relationships with his own parents. A reasonably typical theme then, but Birbiglia is known for his masterful and empathetic storytelling.
The Irishman (27 November)
Martin Scorsese’s latest film has been hailed by some critics as his finest work in 30 years – so you can understand the excitement around it. As with the Wolf of Wall Street, it’s another biopic, this time telling the story of the late Frank Sheeran – an American-Irish mobster regarded by many as responsible for forging the links between the union movement and organised crime. Scorsese’s cast – Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel – has the air of a victory lap about it. Keep an eye out for This is England’s Stephen Graham, the film’s sole Brit, who goes toe-to-toe with Al Pacino’s mob boss.