Now that the first quarter of the year is officially over, it’s time for a look ahead at what the coming days will bring to the biggest streamer of them all. Below, we’ve got a selection of five new Netflix releases that are all hitting the platform next week, and they range from reality TV to historical drama to new film and TV content that’s already wowing critics.
Over the longer term, you can check out our snapshot here of what the entire month of April will bring to Netflix, including big new releases like the second season of the fantasy drama series Sweet Tooth. For now, though, here’s what’s coming next week.
Let’s first take a look at the A24 series Beef that everyone has already started talking up, which — given that the story here is built around a road rage incident — kind of left me scratching my head at first.
And then I remembered that, long story short, I’m a simple man: Whenever I see Steven Yeun in anything, there’s no need to ask what or why — the thing to do is just press play. The same goes for Ali Wong. And, while we’re at it, the same generally holds true whenever I see A24’s brand attached to anything, as it is here.
Both Yeun and Wong elevate what could have been a forgettable revenge drama into a series that critics have not stopped raving about — and which already has a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
A Hollywood Reporter review calls Beef a “feast of sharp comedy, wild thrills, and disarming empathy.” In the series, which arrives on the streamer on April 6, Yeun portrays a failing contractor with a chip on his shoulder. He gets locked in a dispute with a woman played by Wong — a self-made entrepreneur with a picturesque life. “The increasing stakes of their feud,” Netflix explains, “unravel their lives and relationships in this darkly comedic and deeply moving series.”
Creator Lee Sung Jin explained in an interview included with Netflix’s press material that the idea for the project was born out of (what else?) a road rage incident that happened to him. Without getting too down into the weeds, things went “awry,” in his words, and he later felt like there was a basis for a show in an encounter like that … about two people who, because of fate and their own selfishness, get latched together and unravel in different ways because of it.
Transatlantic + more Netflix new releases
Moving right along, Anna Winger’s new 7-episode drama Transatlantic, inspired by Julie Orringer’s novel The Flight Portfolio, is another must-watch, particularly for anyone with an interest in World War II-era history.
The official logline for this Netflix release, which is coming on April 7: “An international gang of young heroes in Marseille help blacklisted artists and other ‘undesirables’ escape Nazi-occupied France. Inspired by the true adventures of Varian Fry and the Emergency Rescue Committee.”
The series is set in Marseille in 1940, after the fall of Paris, and the narrative is built around the Emergency Rescue Committee — an international band of volunteers who risked their lives during WWII to save more than 2,000 refugees. The group ended up saving some of Europe’s greatest artists and intellectuals, which had the secondary effect of helping turn the United States into the cultural epicenter of the world in the post-war era.
The American and European members of the group forged makeshift escape routes that required dodging local police, navigating complex bureaucracies, and performing a balancing act among British intelligence, American diplomats, and the French resistance.
“I have been living in Berlin now for two decades,” Winger said in notes about the show shared with the press. “After the influx of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan to Germany in 2015 touched all our lives here so profoundly, I was reminded of the Emergency Rescue Committee and began work on what would become Transatlantic.
“Then the war started in Ukraine during our second week of production. Sadly and unexpectedly, we ended up making Transatlantic while a new European war — and a new refugee crisis — was happening in real-time. This gave fresh urgency to the project and a strong sense of purpose to all of us involved.”
Additional titles to check out
The Signing: It feels like it’s been a minute since we’ve included a new Netflix reality series in these weekend rundowns, but here’s another one to check out — particularly for fans of Latin music artists.
With participation from artists including Nicki Nicole, Rauw Alejandro, Yandel, and more, the idea here is that talented young singers will try and impress these industry veterans to score the contract of a lifetime — and, as the title suggests, to get “signed.” Release date: April 4.
Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now: This revealing, 97-minute Netflix film gets us up close and personal with the first Scottish solo artist to top the US music chart since the 1980s. Per Netflix: “In this all-access music documentary, award-winning studio Pulse Films partners with recent breakout artist Lewis Capaldi at a pivotal moment in his career.
“At the heart of this film is the story of a young artist, returning to his roots after achieving unbelievable global success, attempting to reconnect with his old life and the family and friends he left behind.” Release date: April 5.
One more can’t-miss Netflix release
Hunger: Finally, an intense Thai thriller coming next week promises Netflix’s version of The Menu. In the Netflix film Hunger, a 20-something woman named Aoy runs her family’s local stir-fried noodles restaurant in Bangkok’s old quarter.
One day, she gets an invitation to leave the family business and go to the show, as it were — specifically, by joining the team at “Hunger,” the #1 luxury Chef’s table team in Thailand. Its leader: The brilliant but exceedingly nasty and dictatorial Chef Paul.
“This is a journey of two people, each driven by their own hunger into many situations and complications,” director Sitisiri Mongkolsiri explained in a Netflix interview. Continuing the metaphor about hunger for food resembling the hunger for acceptance, he adds: “People can eat until they are full, but they may still be hungry for acceptance, fame, love, and more.”
Fun fact: The director himself is not a cook, but he teamed up with Chef Chalee Kader of Michelin fame to help bring a sense of verisimilitude to the project. Moreover, Chef Chalee and a broader team of chefs were actually on hand for every cooking scene in this Netflix release — making sure, for example, that the dishes all looked as stunning as possible. Release date: April 8.