The one new show to watch on Netflix right now

A scene from Archive 81 on Netflix showing the character Melody standing by a painting while holding a camcorder
(Image credit: Netflix)

Each month brings new shows to watch on Netflix, and January 2022 is no exception. But unless you trust the service's algorithm to know what's right for you — or you have the time to hunt through the entire catalogue — you might need a helping hand finding the best stuff to watch.

Fear not, because we've trawled through all 109 Netflix additions for January 2022 to bring you the one new show we'd recommend watching. And just in case that's not to your taste, we've added a couple of back up options from very different genres. 

So read on for our top new Netflix show this month — and if you're not just looking for recent additions, head over to our list of the 63 best shows on Netflix right now.

The one new Netflix show to watch this month

Archive 81

Archive 81 is one of the freshest, most interesting series to hit Netflix in a while (well, several weeks at least). It's best described as a creepy sci-fi horror, but that doesn't really do justice to the way it blends genres, jumping between genuine jump scares and character-driven drama with ease. That it manages to feel original while using the relatively tired found-footage schtick is even more impressive.

It follows archivist Ben (Mamoudou Athie) in the present day as he restores a collection of videotapes recorded in 1994 by student filmmaker Melody (Dina Shihabi). The series jumps back and forth between the timelines, but the threads quickly entwine as the unsettling story develops. 

It's received a warm welcome from both critics and fans, with Rotten Tomatoes awarding it an 88% Certified Fresh score from the professionals, and 69% from audiences. Over on IMDb, it has a 7.6/10 rating — which is pretty decent as these things go.

All of which suggests that Archive 81 could easily return for a second season — assuming it doesn't become yet another Netflix cancelled show. So, will that happen? Well, without giving anything away, the first eight episodes leave plenty of scope for the show to continue. 

Plus, it's (loosely) based on a successful podcast which has itself run for 48 episodes, so there's plenty more material to work with. Showrunner Rebecca Sonnenshine certainly has ideas about how it could continue, telling Entertainment Weekly that “It was always meant to keep going. We are always thinking about season 2.”

We'll certainly have our fingers crossed that it does return, but if you're checking out the first season, a word of warning: watch with the lights off at your own risk. 

Streaming now

Back-up options

After Life season 3

Is Ricky Gervais really going to end his hit comedy-drama After Life after just three seasons? Yes he is — so all the more reason to make sure you don't miss the final round of episodes. And while the critics have been divided on whether it lives up to the excellent first two seasons (it has a 43% score on Rotten Tomatoes), fans will no doubt want to know how it ends. 

The overriding theme, unsurprisingly is, grief and how you move past it, with Gervais' lead character Tony struggling to cope with the death of his father and wife. But with his previously platonic friendship with nurse Emma (Ashley Jensen) seemingly getting more complicated, will Tony's story finish on a happy note? 

Streaming now

Ozark season 4

Ozark season 4 promises to be so packed with incident that it's been split into two seven-episode runs, rather than having just the usual 10 instalments; or maybe Netflix just wants to spin it out for a bit longer. Either way, the first half starts on Friday, so buckle up and get ready for the fun.

Although fun may be in short supply here, given that the Byrdes family are beset by trouble on all sides. Will their dealings with drugs kingpin Navarro lead to their downfall, or will family issues be a bigger problem? Things don't look good for them either way, but then again this was never going to be nice, stress-free finale for everyone's favorite suburban money launderers.

Streaming from January 21

Looking for something else to watch this weekend? Love MMA? We've got all the UFC 270 live stream info for Ngannou vs Gane. And next month two big movies are coming to Hulu, straight from theaters.

Marc McLaren

Formerly Editor in Chief (U.K.) on Tom’s Guide, Marc oversaw all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage, and was also responsible for the site’s U.K.-focused output. He is now U.K. Editor in Chief on TechRadar. Marc previously edited the tech website Stuff and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, games, TVs, cameras and much more. He also spent years on a music magazine, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun, and on a car magazine. An avid photographer, he likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). When he gets time, he also enjoys gaming (console and mobile), cycling and attempting to watch as much sport as any human can. He's also fallen in love with Wordle over the past six months and is the author of our today's Wordle answer column, in which he supplies hints and strategy tips for the mega-popular word game. Given he's completed every single Wordle so far and only lost once, and analyzed every Wordle answer in search of patterns, he's well qualified to help you safeguard your streak.