Netflix hidden gems: The 11 best shows and movies you haven’t seen

Netflix hidden gems
(Image credit: Netflix; WellGo USA)

Looking for the best Netflix hidden gems, the movies and TV shows that goes beyond the wildly popular strange things and melancholy cartoon horse-men? Perhaps you're staying at home and need something to watch, but you've already seen The Witcher and The Crown and you've even finished both seasons of You.

That's where our favorite Netflix hidden gems come in. They include foreign movies that didn't get much attention in America, anime adventures and TV series that were critically acclaimed but ratings-deficient. And with the best Netflix VPN services, you can watch them wherever you are in the world.

We're also tracking on the best series on Netflix (if these are too niche for you), as well as the best family movies on Netflix

Looking to see the latest Netflix has to offer? Check out our calendar of what's new on Netflix this month. 

The best Netflix hidden gems to watch right now


Netflix hidden gems: Cheer

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix produces so many shows that even an original docuseries on cheerleading can fall under the radar. So, meet Cheer: a riveting show that chronicles Navarro College's competitive cheer squad as they flip, fly and rally their way towards a win at nationals. 

Yes, that might all sound like garden variety teen drama material, but Cheer thrives with the stories of athletes both pushing forward and being set back by injury and other adversity. — Henry T. Casey

96% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch Cheer on Netflix

Train to Busan

Netflix hidden gems: Train to Busan

(Image credit: WellGo USA)

The zombie apocalypse is here and terrifying in this Korean horror-thriller. The film is set mostly on a train to Busan, a southern resort city that has managed to hold off the zombie hordes ... or so the passengers hope. The confined space of the train creates a taut, claustrophobic environment. 

The action scenes are smartly choreographed and directed by Yeon Sang-ho — they'll have you jumping in your seat but without too much gore (there's one involving a luggage rack that is particularly intense). With Korean movies moving more into the spotlight thanks to Bong Joon-ho's Parasite, it's the perfect time to check out other great films from the country. — Kelly Woo

93% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch Train to Busan on Netflix

Halt and Catch Fire

Netflix hidden gems: Halt and Catch Fire

(Image credit: Tina Rowden/AMC)

The annals of under-appreciated TV shows has a special place for Halt and Catch Fire. This AMC show about a trio of renegades didn't catch the buzz of Breaking Bad or Mad Men, as it focused on the dawn of the personal computing era, which isn't as sexy as a meth-dealing teacher or a flock of alcoholic ad execs. 

Still, though, you'd be a fool to skip this series which is a fantastic character-driven drama that has a seriously strong female lead in Mackenzie Davis, that most shows would kill for. — Henry T. Casey

90% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch Halt and Catch Fire on Netflix

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Netflix hidden gems: Tiger King on Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

The world is crazy right now, but if you want to escape into something even crazier, check out this absolutely bonkers docu-series about a wildcat collector known as Joe Exotic. He's quite a colorful character who runs a private zoo filled with tigers, lions and other exotic animals (and takes them on the road, plus makes country music videos and all sorts of other insane schemes). 

He's also consumed with rage against his nemesis, Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist and founder of Big Cat Rescue. So much rage that he decides to put a hit out on her. Yeah, you read that right — a murder hit! As I said, bonkers. Need more details? Check out our Tiger King, explained guide for a bit more background. — Kelly Woo

100% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness on Netflix

Obvious Child

Netflix hidden gems: Obvious Child

(Image credit: A24)

Jenny Slate stars as Donna Stern, a struggling comedian who's also hit the skids in her social life, recently getting dumped by a boyfriend who's dating one of her friends. If that wasn't depressing enough, the movie challenges audiences by finding the humor in one of the last third rails: having an abortion. 

After a one-night stand, Donna discovers she's with child, and her local planned parenthood clinic only has openings on Valentine's Day and her mother's birthday. A strong, emotional and challenging film, Obvious Child may not be an obvious must-watch, but it's rewarding nonetheless. — Henry T. Casey

91% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch Obvious Child on Netflix


Netflix hidden gems: Castlevania

(Image credit: Netflix)

The history of video games adapted to other formats is very hit-or-miss, but don't be afraid of Netflix's animated adaptation of the Castlevania franchise. Instead, sit back and enjoy this bizarre — and at times violent — thrill ride that explains how Vlad Dracula Tepes became the mythical monster we all know, and re-introduces vampire-hunter Trevor Belmont. 

And while its first season is a brisk 92 minutes (spread across 4 episodes), its well-reviewed second season is twice as long, at 8 episodes of about 24 to 28 minutes a piece. And Castlevania season 3 runs 10 episodes, so you can get plenty of vampire fighting goodness. — Henry T. Casey

90% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch Castlevania on Netflix

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Netflix hidden gems: Blue Is the Warmest Color

(Image credit: Wild Bunch)

This erotic romance film tore through art house theaters in 2013, but it's not exactly prominently promoted on Netflix. Adèle (Exarchopoulos) is an introverted 15-year-old high-school student, who seems depressed until crosses paths with a mysterious, blue-haired woman, who she finally meets after a prolonged gap of time, during which Adèle's interest turns into fantasy and attraction. 

Soon after they meet, flirtation begins and Adèle and Emma become a couple, even though Adèle's friends leave her, marking her as a social outcast for her sexuality. That's just the beginning of this rich, intense film, though, as much of the film spends time with Adèle and Emma as their relationship gets increasingly rocky. — Henry T. Casey

90% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch Blue Is the Warmest Color on Netflix

The Toast of London

Netflix hidden gems: Toast of London

(Image credit: Channel 4)

The feeling of your dignity slowly eroding as you're forced into work you once thought below you is the creeping feeling at the crux of The Toast of London. The series stars The IT Crowd's Matthew Berry as Steven Toast, a middle-aged stage actor who takes himself far too seriously considering his past and present. Three seasons can be binged on Netflix, and Berry says a fourth is to come soon. — Henry T. Casey

80% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch The Toast of London Netflix

The Toys That Made Us

Netflix hidden gems: The Toys That Made Us

(Image credit: Netflix)

You can easily figure out when someone grew up by learning which toys they love, and it's that deep connection that fuels this documentary miniseries from Netflix. Episodes in the first season focus on the histories of action figures from properties such as G.I. Joe and He-Man, as well as the Barbie and Star Wars phenomenas. 

Its second season covers Transformers, Hello Kitty, Star Trek and LEGO, while its new third season explores everything from Power Rangers to My Little Pony, and even pro wrestling toys. — Henry T. Casey

100% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch The Toys That Made Us on Netflix

Kung Fu Hustle

Netflix hidden gems: Kung Fu Hustle

(Image credit: Sony/Everett)

How well do you know your neighbors? Kung Fu Hustle imagines a world wherein an apartment complex needs to be defended from a local gang, and its best bet are a trio of retired fighters who are more than proficient in kung fu. As funny as it is dramatic and action-packed, this film is the spiritual successor to writer-director-star Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer, which just left Netflix. — Henry T. Casey

90% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch Kung Fu Hustle on Netflix

The Dragon Prince

netflix hidden gems - the dragon prince

(Image credit: Netflix)

The good word about The Dragon Prince, the latest show from writer Aaron Ehasz (Avatar: The Last Airbender) has already spread around the Tom's Guide offices, as have both the first and second seasons of the show. While his previous show bore some resemblance to Lord of The Rings, this new project certainly feels related to Game of Thrones (and the show runners don't shy away from jokes to that regard). 

The show's unique animation style — one half 2D anime, the other half 3D cartoon — flourishes and gives The Dragon Prince a feel that's all its own. A third season has been confirmed. — Henry T. Casey

100% Rotten Tomatoes

Watch The Dragon Prince on Netflix

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.