There are a lot of great Dark Academia shows and movies on Netflix for fans of the genre or those who are curious about it. Tweed jackets, elbow patches, and twisted journeys of self-discovery — these are the elements at the center of Dark Academia , an aesthetic that has established a presence in movies and television based on specific themes. It isn’t just young people in prep school beige, peering out from behind rows of books; it’s learning taken to its most impassioned, and often violent, extreme . Dark Academia as a genre can often boast beautiful gothic imagery, compelling and dramatic storylines, and an emphasis on studious characters.
Netflix has a vast collection of movies and television series that will have viewers reaching for their sweaters, scarves, and book bags. With the recent release of Netflix original movies and series, Dark Academia has only been growing in popularity, and the streaming giant has raised the bar when it comes to creating–and adding–television series and movies that perfectly incorporate the genre’s moody settings and themes. Whether viewers like mysteries set in the 1800s, supernatural capers involving spell books, or secret societies fullin’ sinisterations, plenty to choose from on Netflix to satisfy any Dark Academic.
The Pale Blue Eye (2022)
One of the most disturbing Dark Academia movies on Netflix is The Pale Blue Eyebased on the novel by Louis Bayard. Set in 1830, the movie sees a detective named Landon (Christian Bale) investigate the murder of a cadet at the West Point Academy. There, he meets an outcast named Edgar Allen Poe (Harry Melling) who helps with the investigation. Poe’s work has an influence on many Dark Academia works, so it is interesting to see him as a character in one, especially with Melling’s committed performance, and the gothic feel of the thriller keeps the tension high until the intriguing reveal of The Pale Blue Eye‘s true killer.
The Magicians (2015-2020)
For fans of blending magic with their scholastic endeavors, The Magicians will take them on an enchanted, angst-ridden adventure accompanying Quentin Coldwater, a student of Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, as he acquaints himself with the realm of magic. Along with his group of grad school chums, Quentin endeavors to not only learn about wielding magic himself as a magician but use it to prevent impending dangers to the institution and humanity en masse. The series is based on the novels of Lev Grossman.
Enola Holmes (2020)
The free-spirited and dynamic younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, the famous consulting detective, finally embarks on her own exciting adventure in Enola Holmes, starring Millie Bobby Brown as the titular Holmes sibling. Well-versed in martial arts, physics, astrology, history, and methods of deduction, she puts all of her incredible skills to work discerning the whereabouts of her missing mother, with no help from her famous older brother. Though her educational background is formidable, it isn’t based on formal training, and thus is dismissed despite its enormous efficacy.
Enola Holmes 2 (2022)
The Dark Academia Netflix movie franchise continues in Enola Holmes 2. The sequel finds Enola attempting to get her own detective business off the ground when she begins looking into the disappearance of a young factory worker. Brown continues to be charming and heroic in this role, ensuring that she will have a great new franchise once. Stranger Things ends. The new movie also has the added benefit of including more of Henry Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes, with great chemistry shared between him and Brown. The movie continues to draw influence from Arthur Conan Doyle’s work while being its own thing as well.
A Series Of Unfortunate Events (2017-2019)
Based on the popular series of books, A Series Of Unfortunate Events focuses on the tragic story of three orphaned children — Klaus, Violet, and Sunny Baudelaire — as they attempt to discern the truth about their parents’ sudden demise. Their only remaining guardian, the mercurial Count Olaf, inspires anything but familial comfort. plots to get his hands on the siblings’ fortune, they are obliged to outsmart him, though his disguises and elaborate plans make it increasingly difficult. The show is based on the series of novels by the clever Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler).
The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
The exciting miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, which has become the toast of Netflix — and chess set makers — chronicles real-life chess prodigy Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) who, after being orphaned by her parents, overcomes a painful struggle with addiction to become the greatest chess player the world has ever seen. One of the oldest and most intellectually rigorous competitive games in the world, the chessboard becomes a parallel for Harmon’s life as she navigates its complexities. Not everything is as black and white, however, as she soon discovers on her j self-actualization and victory.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
A Christmas musical that ignites the holiday spirit in a unique and stylish way, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey follows Jeronicus, an imaginative toymaker as he works towards assembling some of the most awe-inspiring creations of his career, only to be betrayed by his ambitious apprentice. Years later, when the once joyful Jeronicus has all but given up hope on fulfilling his magn opus, his granddaughter appears in his workshop and inspires his ability to create. He rediscovers the spirit of the season and finds new meaning with his family just in time for Christmas.
The Haunting Of Bly Manor (2020)
From television horror hit-maker Mike Flanagan, The Haunting of Bly Manor is hailed as one of the scariest Dark Academia shows on Netflix. The series is the follow-up to Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House and features much of the same cast from that show. Taking inspiration from the works of writer Henry James, the show follows a young governance who is hired by a man to care for his orphaned niece and nephew at the Bly estate. Once there, the young woman finds strange occurrences that hint at dark secrets. Like Flanagan’s other shows, The Haunting of Bly Manor will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
Peaky Blinders (2013-2022)
Based on the real-life Shelby family, who built an empire of gambling and bootlegging from the ashes of the war and a ruined England, Peaky Blinders displays the raw talent and resourcefulness that can result from education found in the gritty streets of Birmingham. The popular series follows the main protagonist Tommy Shelby on his rise through his family’s hierarchy and the criminal hierarchy of Birmingham. than he ever dreamed; to the English aristocracy, where his street smarts are pitted against the nobles’ book learning to astonishing results.
The Irregulars (2021)
When even the famous consulting detective Sherlock Holmes can’t solve the case, a group of misfits who live on the streets of gritty Victorian London are called upon to lend their talents to its shadowy machinations by his esteemed associate Dr. John Watson. This is Holmes’ as fans have never seen before, and the eccentric characters are as unique as the series of supernatural capers they help solve. Viewers will enjoy helping “The Irregulars” solve their puzzles as much as the intriguing setting, which vacillates between the criminal and the royal palace.
Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet Of Curiosities (2022– )
Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro has played with the Dark Academia genre before in Crimson Peak and other projects, but he has a lot of fun embracing it in this twisted Netflix series. Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is an anthology horror series that features eight separate stories that are told with that gothic feel placed within modern settings. Other filmmakers such as Vincenzo Natali, Ana Lily Amirpour, and Jennifer Kent helm some of the other stories. as Andrew Lincoln and Dan Stevens. While perhaps not as impactful as some of Guillermo del Toro’s best movies, it is a strong anthology series for fans of the filmmaker.
One of the overlooked Dark Academia movies on Netflix is 2020’s Rebeccaan updated adaptation of the novel by Daphne de Maurier which was famously adapted in 1940 by Alfred Hitchcock. This new version from director Ben Wheatley stars Lily James and Armie Hammer as a newlywed couple who arrive at the husband’s estate where the new wife finds battling with the memory of his first wife. The movie doesn’t hold up to the Hitchcock version, however, Lily James gives a strong performance that compliments the gripping combination of Dark Academia and film noir vibes.
The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina (2018-2020)
Based on the popular comic book series “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a much darker story of a young woman’s coming of age, juggling schoolwork and love with mastering her gifts in magic. While Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) tries her best to live a normal life as a half-human, half-witch, forces of darkness begin to threaten not just her, but her friends, lovers, and family (which, like the much lighter-hearted ’90s television series based around Sabrina Spellman, includes Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda).
The Umbrella Academy (2019-2023)
When their father dies unexpectedly, a group of special orphans–all born on the same day–reunite after years apart to discern the mystery of his demise. In another life they were superheroes, but after so long spent harboring grudges they’ll have to Learn how to be a family again as adults, even as their powers threaten to increase their divisions. The Umbrella Academy may focus on themes of abandonment, loss, and personal accountability, but there’s plenty of hilarity amidst the morose thanks to the idiosyncrasies of the beloved main characters.
When the possibility of joining Ares, a secret society from the Dutch Golden Age appears, an ambitious and curious college student decides to accept the invitation and leave her difficult home life behind her. She joins other “novices” but in an elaborate initiation ceremony, being part of Amsterdam’s elite proves disturbing when novices begin to go missing, and she starts unraveling a dark secret at the heart of the prestigious society. Full of intrigue, plot twists, and striking imagery, this Dutch series straddles horror and drama in a way that is elegant and provocative.
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