The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Netflix in April

Every month, the streaming service adds a new batch of titles to its library. Here are our picks for April.

Idris Elba, left, and Caleb McLaughlin in Netflix’s “Concrete Cowboy.”
Credit...Aaron Ricketts/Netflix

Every month, Netflix adds movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of April’s most promising new titles. (Note: Streaming services occasionally change schedules without giving notice. For more recommendations on what to stream, sign up for our twice-weekly Watching newsletter here.)

‘Worn Stories’ Season 1

Starts streaming: April 1

For over a decade now, the journalist and historian Emily Spivack has been gathering anecdotes about the everyday objects — clothing especially — that people find meaningful. Now Spivack and the “Orange Is the New Black” creator Jenji Kohan have produced “Worn Stories,” a docu-series adapting the author’s 2014 book of the same name. Each of the eight half-hour episodes contains short reflections on how we dress and why, peppered between longer slice-of-life segments about everything from work uniforms to the appeal of nudism. The clothes themselves — or the lack thereof — are just a hook, allowing the show’s creative team to spend some time with a diverse collection of likable people who explain their passions.

‘Concrete Cowboy’

Starts streaming: April 2

The coming-of-age drama “Concrete Cowboy” is set in a predominately Black neighborhood in Philadelphia where a handful of residents maintain a rickety old stable. The “Stranger Things” actor Caleb McLaughlin plays Cole, a teenage troublemaker whose mother kicks him out of their Detroit home, sending him to live in Philly with his horse-trainer father (Idris Elba). There, Cole discovers a sense of community and purpose, while trying to avoid the temptation to make some easy money with the local drug dealers. The director Ricky Staub co-wrote the script with Dan Walser, adapting a Greg Neri novel. The plot hits some standard “wayward kid tries to go straight” beats, but the fine cast (also including Lorraine Toussaint and Clifford Smith, known as Method Man) and the lovely images of horses framed against an urban landscape work together to establish an unusual and inviting world.

‘The Serpent’

Starts streaming: April 2

In the British crime drama “The Serpent,” Tahar Rahim plays the globe-hopping con artist and serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who for a few years in the mid-1970s went on a spree across eastern Asia, drugging and swindling tourists. Billy Howle plays Herman Knippenberg, a Dutch diplomat who took it upon himself to look into what happened to a young couple from his country who’d crossed paths with Sobhraj. The eight-part mini-series jumps around the timeline, cutting between Knippenberg’s investigation and his quarry’s methods of persuading wide-eyed youths to follow him into the dark. The show’s detailed location shooting and its well-chosen ’70s rock soundtrack help set the scene for the story of a mysterious man who exploited others’ idealism and gullibility.

‘Coded Bias’

Starts streaming: April 5

In this unsettling documentary, the director Shalini Kantayya warns about the dangers of artificial intelligence — not because our machines may one day rule the world, but because they’ve been programmed to reflect the prejudices of their creators. Kantayya and her crew conducted interviews with a variety of people who’ve studied the inherent weakness of AI, from the inability of some facial recognition software to recognize darker skin to the tendency of some algorithms to exclude women from their results. Though often shocking, “Coded Bias” is ultimately as lively as it is cautionary, collecting fascinating stories of the everyday heroes who are trying to identify our broken systems before they get catastrophically worse.

‘Thunder Force’

Starts streaming: April 9

Melissa McCarthy joins up with the director Ben Falcone, her husband and frequent collaborator, for this superhero farce about what happens when ordinary people gain extraordinary powers. Octavia Spencer plays a scientist who has developed a chemical formula to enhance human abilities. McCarthy plays her long-estranged childhood best friend who accidentally takes a dose of that secret juice. The two team up to challenge a gang of supervillains played by Bobby Cannavale and Jason Bateman, among others. They also commiserate over the aches and pains of middle age, while rediscovering the bond they had as kids. Expect to see some broad but sweet comedy here, aimed at the audiences who enjoyed McCarthy and the writer-director Falcone’s “Tammy” and “The Boss.”

‘Arlo the Alligator Boy’

Starts streaming: April 16

The former “American Idol” contestant Michael J. Woodard voices the title character in “Arlo the Alligator Boy,” an animated musical about an optimistic but lonely young reptile who travels across America on a quest to find his family in New York City. Along the way he meets some other outsiders — voiced by Mary Lambert, Jonathan Van Ness, Haley Tju, Brett Gelman and Tony Hale, among others — and has a series of wacky adventures, scored to catchy songs by Alex Geringas and the film’s director, Ryan Crego. Fast-paced and cheery, this movie lays the groundwork for the upcoming Netflix series “I Heart Arlo,” pitched to young kids who like the simple designs and slapstick comedy of Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

‘Shadow and Bone’

Starts streaming: April 23

Based on Leigh Bardugo’s popular series of novels, “Shadow and Bone” is set in a highly stratified fantasy world where the existence of rampaging monsters makes simple tasks like long-distance communication and supply-gathering difficult. Jessie Mei Li plays Alina Starkov, a soldier whose superpowers could be the key to freeing her friends — and foes — from the daily fear of gruesome death. Created by Eric Heisserer (screenwriter for “Lights Out,” “Arrival” and “Bird Box”), the series follows the books’ lead, presenting a complex mythology featuring mystics and gangsters, all dressed as though they just stepped out of early-20th-century Europe. The action sequences are effects-heavy and pulpy, but the story is mainly about the politics and the treachery attending the arrival of a potential world-saving savior.


Starts streaming: April 29

“Yasuke,” set in the 16th century and very loosely based on the historical records of an African-born samurai, is the latest animated project from the writer-producer LaSean Thomas, who has previously worked on the likes of “The Boondocks,” “Black Dynamite” and “Cannon Busters.” LaKeith Stanfield voices the title character, a masterless swordsman who reluctantly gives up a life of drinking and brooding to escort a sickly, mystically powered little girl on a long journey. With its sinewy Flying Lotus score and its science-fiction elements, the six-part “Yasuke” is a unique kind of martial arts anime — as much a low-key character study as it is a violent and stylish action-adventure.

Also arriving:

April 1

“Prank Encounters” Season 2

“Tersanjung: The Movie”

April 2

“Just Say Yes”

“Madame Claude”

April 5

“Family Reunion” Season 3

April 7

“Snabba Cash” Season 1

“This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist”

“The Wedding Coach” Season 1

April 8

“The Way of the Househusband” Season 1

April 9

“Night in Paradise”

April 10

“Don’t Be the First One” Season 1

“The Stand In”

April 13

“My Love: Six Stories of True Love”

April 14

“Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!”

“The Soul”

April 16

“Barbie and Chelsea: The Lost Birthday”

“Fast & Furious: Spy Racers” Season 4

“Into the Beat”

“Ride or Die”

April 21

“Zero” Season 1

April 22


April 30

“The Innocent”

“The Mitchells vs. the Machines”

“Things Heard and Seen”