As of the first of this month, it’s time to clear away the cobwebs and break out the holly and the ivy. There will always be those who insist November is too early to begin gearing up for the holidays, but—judging by this month’s new and original content on the platform—Netflix certainly isn’t party to that opinion.
November was supposed to be a big month for theatrical releases. Instead, seemingly everything that had been slated to drop in cinemas has been pushed back months, years, or indefinitely. This month, we’ve been deprived of monster blockbuster Godzilla vs Kong, a psychological thriller titled Deep Water meant to be the onscreen debut of real-life couple Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck, and a Will Smith vehicle and tennis biopic King Richard—to name but a few.
This dearth of theatrical releases extends throughout the entire month (and into the uncertain future). The bog-standard date of 25 November, which usually hovers on or just before Thanksgiving each year, is normally put to use by Disney or Pixar to drop their big animated picture for the year. In 2020, that slot was supposed to go to the excellent-looking Raya and the Last Dragon, but the movie’s now been bumped, and viewers will have to console themselves with Disney’s back catalogue.
As long as Disney+ isn’t available in Singapore, however, it’s lucky for viewers that Netflix’s November lineup looks so appetising. This month, you can savour a culinary series on Chinese cuisine or dig into a supernatural K-drama. If you’re already humming Christmas tunes, then perhaps a small-town holiday film starring Dolly Parton or a rom-com series set in a wintry New York City are more your speed. Either way, it’s clear that Netflix is intent on spreading more than a little holiday cheer this month.
1 / 8
Can You Hear Me? Season 2
A French-Canadian export, this coming-of-age dramedy (also titled M’entends-tu?) is perfect fodder for any fans of Derry Girls, HBO’s Euphoria, or Skins UK. Three friends—Fabiola, Carolanne, and Ada—live in a low-income part of Montreal, and rely on one another as they encounter the challenges of growing into young womanhood. An unapologetically fierce look at a side of Canadian youth that international audiences don’t usually get to see, the series has a proud antisocial streak, as each of the girls act out as they struggle to contextualise their place in the world, and be understood. There’s female anger, strains of emotional isolation, and plenty of dark humour to boot. The first season ended with a shocking wallop, and—though it was released in its entirety earlier this year in Canada—the second season promises to capture that same punch-to-the-gut hilarity and heartbreak.
2 / 8
Dash & Lily
Based on the young adult book series by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Dash & Lily features lighthearted romance to spare. The titular Dash and Lily “trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth” as they move around the city at Christmas time. Naturally, one of them is a cynic and the other is an optimist; is there any other way to have young love portrayed onscreen these days? This eight-episode series’ inciting incident will have viewers frantically scanning bookstore shelves for a red notebook of their own, and the rest of it, despite a tried-and-tested premise, will have them falling in love.
3 / 8
This animated series is based on true events—specifically, on the Second World War’s Operation Avalanche, concerning the Allied invasion of Italy in 1944. Following the rough-and-ready 157th infantry regiment, also known as the Thunderbirds, from Sicily to the heart of Germany. Despite forgoing naval and air reinforcements in the name of tactical surprise, the invasion failed to surprise the enemy, and the Allied forces found themselves fighting for their lives. The show will chronicle the bold men on the ground during the war and their choice to stay and fight. It’s certainly a bold choice to produce the series as an animated one. The technology behind the art is cutting-edge; Netflix announced that it’s the first-ever produced in Trioscope™ Enhanced Hybrid Animation, which combines CGI with live-action performance.
4 / 8
The Life Ahead
Screen siren and acting legend Sophia Loren returns to the pictures with this drama, based upon a Romain Gary novel called The Life Before Us. Loren plays Madame Rosa, an aging Holocaust survivor, who befriends a Senegalese orphan after he attempts to rob her. An Italian arthouse tearjerker, Rosa is a haunted figure, an outwardly tough matriarch figure who is hiding deep spiritual wounds. Loren’s performance, her first lead in a film in 16 years, has been hailed as “immaculate” and “magnificent,” and she’s likely to be a serious contender for this year’s Best Actress Oscar. Certainly, if she gets nominated, that would be impressive enough, as she would be the oldest Best Actress nominee ever, at 86 years old. The Life Ahead is all the more incredible for the fact that Ibrahima Gueye, the preteen actor cast to play the motherless Momo, is more than able to emotionally match Loren, stride for stride and heartbeat for heartbeat.
5 / 8
The Crown: Season 4
This show hardly needs an introduction, but its highly anticipated fourth season feels particularly exciting. 10 new episodes will chart the journeys of not only Elizabeth and the members of the royal family we’ve come to know and love, but also those of two other key female players seemingly always gracing the English headlines in the 1980s: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana of Wales. The women, portrayed by Gillian Anderson and Emma Corrin, respectively, weaved in and out of royal life in tumultuous and devastating ways throughout the decade. This will be a prime fixture of the fourth season, but the visually stunning series, with its reported budget-per-episode stretching into the double digits, will also depict major historical events like tensions between the crown and the IRA, the Falklands War, and British rule of apartheid-era South Africa.
6 / 8
Flavorful Origins: Gansu Cuisine
An original documentary now in its third season, Flavorful Origins calls on viewers to join in a delightful culinary romp through China. Uncovering the stories behind the creative masterminds who come up with the dishes featured, the show is a 20-part series that spent its first season in Chaoshan and its second in Yunnan. The show is centered around the idea that each area of China possesses unique traditions, ingredients, and cooking techniques that define and represent the characteristics of that part of the country. The closeups of sticky noodles, steaming broth, thick beef, and glistening desserts will have you pausing the show only to make a quick roundtrip to the kitchen.
7 / 8
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
Magic, music, memories—and the Queen of Nashville now rendered the Queen of Christmas. Dolly Parton’s new holiday movie, which will feature 14 original songs from the legendary country singer, sees her playing an angel trying to teach a woman the meaning of the holiday, community, and Christmas cheer. The woman in question, a rich and coldhearted businessperson named Regina, is played by Christine Baranski, of The Good Wife and Mamma Mia! fame. That match already has a whiff of “made in heaven” about it, but add an eclectic group of goodhearted townspeople and Parton’s own songbird proclivities, and you have a surefire Christmas winner.
8 / 8
The Uncanny Counter
Adapted from the popular webcomic, The Uncanny Counter snagged K-pop star Kim Se-jeong and popular actors Jo Byung-gyu and Yum Hye-ran to round out its cast. The team of “Counters” in the show pose as employees at an ordinary noodle restaurant in order to cover up their true identity: a group of elite demon hunters. Using their abilities—super strength, advanced healing, and memory-reading—they work together to defeat evil spirits descending upon the planet in search of eternal life.
Available from 28 November