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From war to serial killers, scandal, and horror, Netflix feels kinda dark right now

Updated Dec 1st, 2022 1:36AM EST
Dahmer on Netflix
Image: Netflix

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Peruse the latest list of Netflix releases either coming soon or now streaming on the platform, and at least one pattern starts to emerge depending on how far back you go. See if you can spot it below.

In Netflix’s Marilyn Monroe movie Blonde, for example, Ana de Armas portrays the iconic starlet in all her doe-eyed, sensual glory — while also not shying away from depicting the physical abuse, sexism, emotional trauma, and rape she suffered over the course of her career. All Quiet on the Western Front, meanwhile, is another new Netflix release now streaming that will make your stomach turn with its visceral depiction of early 20th-century warfare.

The Good Nurse, starring Jessica Chastain, dramatizes the crimes of a real-world serial killer nurse, while Ryan Murphy gave Netflix subscribers the biopic series no one asked for — in the form of a show about Jeffrey Dahmer, one of the most infamous serial killers of all time.

Now streaming on Netflix: Hello darkness, my old friend

I can keep going. The Mila Kunis movie Luckiest Girl Alive resurfaces a young woman’s past trauma, while cops try to catch a killer in The Stranger. The Midnight Club is about patients close to dying, and then we have a lengthy documentary release slate along these same lines.

FIFA Uncovered

, for example, is a docuseries about scandals in professional soccer. Also now streaming is Killer Sally, about a bodybuilder who shot and killed her husband, as well as State of Alabama vs. Brittany Smith — which is itself about a different killing.

It’s almost as if Netflix is saying — with new releases like these and others this fall — you want fun? Warm and fuzzy? Lighthearted? There’s the door; Disney Plus is just down the hall.

And, honestly, with how extremely dark most Netflix new releases seem to be at the moment, can you blame me for my positive reaction to a new Netflix comedy like Blockbuster? Similarly, Enola Holmes 2 was a welcome breath of fresh air, utterly delightful, and built around the kind of playful protagonist that there just doesn’t seem to be enough of on Netflix these days.

Netflix app on a smartphone
In this photo illustration, the Netflix logo in the App Store is seen displayed on a smartphone screen. Image source: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Is this a problem or purposeful? Probably no on both counts — at least, not purposeful in the sense of being an overarching strategy. However, I do find myself these days, more often than not, opening up an alternative streamer when I have some time to kill, and it’s largely for this very reason. Sometimes, I want pure entertainment for its own sake — not to be merely transfixed by some awful thing, like a train wreck you can’t look away from.

More to come

Unfortunately, in addition to these kinds of titles now streaming on the platform, there’s also plenty more coming soon. A sampling:

I am Vanessa Guillen

is a documentary coming on November 17 about a soldier murdered at a US Army base. The Wonder, starring Florence Pugh, is a dark story about a girl who stops eating. 1899 is a new series from the makers of the German-language show titled … wait for it … Dark.

All things considered, Rian Johnson’s star-studded whodunnit Glass Onion can’t get here fast enough!

Oh, wait. That one’s about a murder, too.

More Netflix news

: Netflix Top 10: The most-watched shows in the world right now

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.