The best Netflix TV shows: The only Netflix series you need to be watching
Netflix has made a great push to create engaging, original content for its streaming service. Not only do the likes of House of Cards, Narcos and Stranger Things rival the likes of HBO dramas such as Game of Thrones and True Detective, but Netflix is also helping in the production of original documentaries and films such as Beasts of No Nation and The Circle.
Every month we create a list of the best new content on Netflix, but here’s our pick of the best TV shows you can watch any time of the year. If none of these things resonate with you, take a look at our pick of the best films, documentaries and Netflix Originals on the service. Or you could try to get yourself onto American Netflix, where there’s even more content to sink your teeth into.
For now, though, here’s a list of the best TV shows on Netflix right now.
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The Best TV shows on Netflix:
1. Best Netflix TV shows: Stranger things
Show length: 2 seasons, 19 episodes
Stranger Things is the unexpected ’80s-soaked surrealist horror hit that Netflix dropped on us back in 2016. Following the tale of a young girl with psychokinetic powers who befriends a bunch of outcast young boys, this dark tale takes you to the dark world and beyond. Harking back to the days of Stephen Speilberg’s heyday, Stranger Things is an absolute must-watch, even if it doesn’t sound like it’s up your street.
2. Best Netflix TV shows: Daredevil
Show length: 2 seasons, 26 episodes
This Netflix Original based on the eponymous Marvel character is absolutely fantastic. Having won audiences over with its gritty take on the blind-lawyer-turned-superhero Matt Murdock, Charlie Cox is back in his red leather suit to kick crime’s ass in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.
3. Best Netflix TV shows: BoJack Horseman
Show length: 4 series, 40 episodes
If you thought a show about a world of anthropomorphic animals couldn’t be incredibly bleak, you’d be wrong. Following the tale of washed-up ’90s sitcom star BoJack Horseman, this Netflix original charts his life as he struggles to deal with his own inner turmoil and family issues that have haunted him from the past. Each series becomes progressively darker than the last, but in amongst it all is a wonderful comedy series with a lot to say about the human condition. Move over South Park, Family Guy and The Simpsons, you won’t find a better series making commentary on life.
4. Best Netflix TV shows: Master of None
Show length: 2 seasons, 20 episodes
Starring comedian Aziz Ansari of Parks and Recreation fame, this Netflix Original series follows the life of aspiring actor Dev as he makes his way through New York City life. It may sound a little dry, but with Ansari’s quick wit and a great supporting cast, you’ll become hooked on watching Dev find love, Instagram food and attempt to score roles.
5. Best Netflix TV shows: Archer
Show length: 8 seasons, 93 episodes
Following the exploits of the suave and self-centered spy Sterling Archer as he deals with global espionage, Archer is a riot of laughter full of pop-culture references and crass humour. Don’t let its cartoon aesthetic fool you, Archer is strictly for mature audiences. While it may not sound like your thing on paper – and I’m not going to link to the trailer just in case anyone is offended – it’s really worth looking up if you like base comedy.
6. Best Netflix TV shows: House of Cards
Show length: 5 seasons, 65 episodes
Starring Kevin Spacey in the only role he has reprised in his entire career, House of Cards is into its fourth season following Frank Underwood progress from Democrat party whip to the presidency. It’s dark, involving and wonderfully gruesome. Thanks to this Golden Globe-winning political drama, politics has never been so interesting to watch.
7. Best Netflix TV shows: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Show length: 6 seasons, 148 episodes
Born and raised in West Philidelphia, this Fresh Prince was sent to his aunt and uncle’s in the well-to-do area of Bel Air, Los Angeles after some trouble erupted on a basketball court near his home. From here, his life is flip-turned upside down but he still takes things in his stride while shining a bit of joy into everyone’s lives.
8. Best Netflix TV shows: Chef’s Table
Show length: 3 seasons, 18 episodes
Are you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, or just someone who loves to stare at Instagram feeds of other people’s food? Chef’s Table is most certainly made for you. Each episode goes inside the lives and kitchens of one of the world’s most renowned chefs as they talk about how they perfected their craft. In all honesty, it’s worth watching just for the wonderful food porn on show.
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9. Best Netflix TV shows: Fargo
Show length: 3 seasons, 30 episodes
Inspired by the Coen Brothers film of the same name, Fargo follows the tale of Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) as he tries to deal with, and cover up, the murder of his wife before the police of Bemidji, Minnesota, catch up with him. Thankfully, Billy Bob Thornton’s character Lorne Malvo is there to help. The next two seasons tell a different tale, but all wrapped up with the same level of intrigue.
10. Best Netflix TV shows: Cooked
Show length: 1 season, 4 episodes
Love food? Then you’ll love Cooked, the documentary series from food critic Michael Pollan. It follows Pollan as he travels the world, exploring how cooking transforms food, brings people together and shapes our world.
11. Best Netflix TV shows: Black Mirror
Show length: 3 seasons, 13 episodes
From the mind of Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror is a bleak look at our lives when technology takes hold. The first two seasons deal with especially dark themes, while the Christmas Special puts its own special twist on A Christmas Carol. The Netflix-commissioned third season isn’t quite as tight as the first two, but there’s certainly some extra-special episodes in there. If you want to chill yourself about the role technology plays in our lives, give this a go.
12. Best Netflix TV shows: Durarara!!
Show length: 1 season, 24 episodes
Mikado Ryūgamine yearns for the exciting life of the big city, but he gets more than he bargained when he moves to Ikebukuro district of Tokyo. Here he discovers that more supernatural elements are at play in the region, with a dullahan running loose across the city. Add in a cast that includes a superhumanly strong man, a crafty information broker and a mysterious gang known as “The Dollars”, and this seemingly slice-of-life anime transforms into something different altogether.
13. Best Netflix TV shows: Arrested Development
Show length: 4 seasons, 68 episodes
Following the formerly wealthy Bluth family after a messy investigation into company fraud, this US sitcom – which is shot more like a documentary – exposes the highs and lows of how dysfunctional family life can bring people together. Its cult-like fan status has brought it much acclaim and, despite being cancelled by Fox, Netflix picked it up for an extra two seasons – of which one is still in production.
14. Best Netflix TV shows: Steins;Gate
Show length: 1 season, 25 episodes
Based upon a Japanese visual novel of the same name, Steins;Gate is a mind-bending tale of time-travel, cause and effect. This may sound like a cop-out, but it’s storyline is so important to the series as a whole that it’s really just best if you watch it for yourself.
15. Best Netflix TV shows: The Thick of It
Show length: 4 seasons, 23 episodes
Based upon the inner workings of the British government, Armando Iannucci’s comedy has not only cleverly satirised politics, but managed to predict some events despite the series’ penchant for absurdity. Also, don’t say I didn’t warn you about just how much swearing there is in the show. Not for the easily offended.
16. Best Netflix TV shows: Making a Murderer
Show length: 1 season, 13 episodes
Steven Avery, a man from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, was wrongly imprisoned for 18 years for the rape and attempted murder of Penny Beernsten. Upon his release, he sues the Manitowoc police force for their negligence in the crime, it’s here that – after Teresa Halbach goes missing – Making a Murderer charts how the Manitowoc police department manipulated evidence to pin the blame on Avery. It may not be a completely fair and balanced documentary, but it provides a fantastic look into just how broken the US legal system can be.
17. Best Netflix TV shows: Sword Art Online
Show length: 1 season, 25 episodes
Set in world where virtual reality is far more commonplace and advanced than the headsets we have today, Sword Art Online follows Kirito Kirigaya as he embarks on a journey into the newly released Sword Art Online VRMMORPG (virtual-reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game). However, all is not as it seems as the game’s creator traps everyone within the virtual world. If you die in Sword Art Online, you die in the real world and your only hope of escape is completing the game.
18. Best Netflix TV shows: American Vandal
Show length: 1 season, 8 episodes
From the creators of SNL, American Vandal takes the crime documentary that’s become so popular on TV and streaming services like Netflix and turns them on their head.Do. Here begins a journey to clear his name and uncover the truth.