The Absolute Best TV Shows on Netflix to Binge Right Now
For when 10+ hours of TV sounds good.
Sometimes you just want to settle in and burn an entire weekend watching TV, be it a prestige mystery series or a yuks-filled sitcom. Netflix generally has you covered, although navigating the maze of options to find the right thing to start can eat up a massive chunk of your time. That's where this carefully curated list of the best and most binge-worthy series on offer right now comes in. Classics, genre favorites, hidden gems, new sensations—whatever you seek, it's in here.
One note: Our recommendations below don't include Netflix Originals. In brief, you won't find Stranger Things, Ozark, or any of Netflix's great original docuseries (like Tiger King and Wild Wild Country) on this list because they get their own round ups. Now get some snacks ready and prepare for a marathon.
Arrested Development (2003–2019)
5 seasons, 84 episodes
There's always money in the banana stand, and there are always laughs to be found in Arrested Development, Mitchell Hurwitz's sly, self-aware family sitcom that initially ran from 2003 to 2006 on Fox, with Netflix resurrecting the comedy for two more seasons, which dropped in 2013 and 2018-19, respectively. (The 15 episodes of Season 4 were re-cut by Hurwitz and re-released in 22 parts in 2018 as Season 4 Remix: Fateful Consequences. It was widely panned, so skip it unless you absolutely need to watch all things Bluth.) While the Netflix seasons occasionally devolved into discursive, overly indulgent meta-humor, and received a mixed reception from critics and fans, the show's original three seasons established a freewheeling comic sensibility that influenced many later sitcoms you might love (e.g., Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Community, Archer, Kroll Show). Don't hold the show's obnoxious fans against it. After watching a few episodes, you'll be quoting Tobias Fünke, too.
Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005–2008)
3 seasons, 61 episodes
This Nickelodeon show has been hailed as one of the best animated series of all time, for good reason. Maybe you were part of the generation that was obsessed with it during its initial run, or maybe you've yet to immerse yourself into this world of elemental nations, but there's never a bad time to watch or rewatch this stunning, Western-meets-anime-style series. Avatar: The Last Airbender is an adventure tale that follows the quest of waterbender Katara, her brother Sokka, and a boy they find frozen in an iceberg named Aang, who ends up being the avatar, a reincarnated being who can control all four elements whose job it is to keep harmonic balance between the Four Nations. As they journey through the nations so Aang can master all of the elements and eventually face the totalitarian leader of the Fire Nation, the devastating scope of the world in Aang's absence becomes more and more clear. Don't be mistaken: There's a lot more to this kid's show than you might expect, but Avatar: The Last Airbender makes it look as easy as walking on air.
Better Call Saul (2015–2022)
5 seasons, 50 episodes
It really wasn't all that long ago that Bob Odenkirk, long a comedy icon, was stealing scenes in AMC's Breaking Bad as the scuzzy defense attorney Saul Goodman in his tacky strip mall oval office and off-putting orange and purple ties. Now, he's doing things like showing up in a Steven Spielberg movie, delivering the titular line in Greta Gerwig's Little Women, and becoming a full-on action movie star, and he carries the underrated Breaking Bad prequel (indisputably better than its predecessor) in the series of events that lead to his slow backslide from struggling public defender Jimmy McGill to slimy small-time claims and criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. Told six years before Saul meets Walter White, Better Call Saul is full of "hey, that guy!" moments with the (re)introduction of characters like Gus Fring and Mike Ehrmantraut.
3 seasons, 30 episodes
In Denmark, parliament is known as "The Castle," or Borgen. It's where this political drama takes place—and it's just as watchable as West Wing (without the relentless self-seriousness and trademark Aaron Sorkin banter) and thrilling as House of Cards (for the behind-the-scenes deals made in the government), only more realistic. The series begins on a shocking election night that results in the country's first female prime minister, Birgitte Nyborg Christensen (Westworld's Sidse Babett Knudsen), coming into power, and later documents her reign wrestling with various political issues, idealism, and her waning personal life. The political intrigue from issues pressuring parliament will grip you, but the real brilliance here is in the complex characters (including a spin doctor played by Game of Thrones' Pilou Asbæk). Once you've binged the first three seasons, you'll be excited to learn that Netflix has picked up the show for a fourth season.
Breaking Bad (2008–2013)
5 seasons, 62 episodes
Despite originally airing on AMC, Breaking Bad is the ultimate Netflix show. Filled with moments of shocking violence and wry humor, the rise and fall of Walter White (Bryan Cranston)—and his co-conspirators Jesse, Skyler, Gus, and Mike—is probably best experienced in wild, indulgent weekend binges. That's what many fans did throughout the show's five-season run, catching up on old episodes on Netflix to prepare for the must-see moments that occurred during its final stretch. With the acclaimed spinoff Better Call Saul now inspiring similar conversations, there's never been a better time to take the dive. You don't just watch this show; it consumes you.
Chappelle's Show (2003–2006)
3 seasons, 28 episodes
Rick James. Clayton Bigsby. Tyrone Biggums. We may never know exactly why Dave Chappelle left these brilliant characters behind, becoming a comedy folk-hero in the process, but be thankful we even got to know them in the first place. You can check in with all of them and more for hours-worth of laughs on Netflix.
6 seasons, 110 episodes
There’s a reason Dan Harmon’s community college ensemble comedy amassed a devoted cult following for its six-season run, despite it nearly always being on the brink of cancelation. The series focuses on a lovable study group of misfits played by both comedy veterans and those then just on the brink of breaking out—including consummate cool guy Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), lovable ditz Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), TV-obsessed Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), anxious genius Annie Edison (Alison Brie), tough-but-firm mother Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), high school jock Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), and the baffling, bored, former CEO Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase)—as they navigate their way through Greendale Community College. It’s a sitcom that’s goofy and delirious, but forever a lesson in how to become a better person.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015–2019)
4 seasons, 62 episodes
Many armchair critics tried to dismiss former YouTube sensation Rachel Bloom's CW series for what they presumed to be a sexist title—a notion she bites back at from the opening credits on. In fact, the series is quietly revolutionary, offering sharp yet subtle commentary about the way women treat each other and themselves, and casually featuring one of the most diverse casts on TV. CXG draws its rom-com antics from heroine Rebecca's compulsive behavior and past traumas, all while satirizing the conventions of musicals with song-and-dance numbers worthy of Sondheim. It's a downward spiral, for sure, but psychosis has never been this entertaining.
Dawson's Creek (1998–2003)
6 seasons, 128 episodes
Oh, Dawson, isn't growing up tough? This new millennium teen drama that aired over on The WB laid the blueprint for many of the coming-of-age series that followed with its earnest portrayal of adolescence. Even if the precocious teens of the fictional New England town of Capeside don't always have it easy, or you're filled with anxiety watching the will-they-won't-they unfold between Dawson (James Van Der Beek) and his best friend Joey (Katie Holmes), it always feels a little bit like coming home tuning into this late '90s/early aughts classic.
Death Note (2006–2007)
1 season, 37 episodes
The sparse world of the shinigami, or death gods, is boring. When shinigami Ryuk drops his "Death Note," or a powerful notebook that can kill anyone as long as the user knows their target's name and face, chaos ensues in the living world. A top high school student named Light Yagami happens to find the deadly notebook, and Ryuk enters the human world to egg on Light, who first experiments with the Death Note for the altruistic goal of eliminating the world of crime, but slowly devolves into a villain as he becomes drunk with power and the idea of becoming a god. This shounen classic is horrific as it deals with a man who slowly transforms from Light into "Kira," a serial killer known the world over, and the police effort to take him down.
Dirty John (2018– )
2 seasons, 16 episodes
Dirty John is an anthology thriller series about love gone very, very wrong. The first season draws its material from a 2017 longform article by The Los Angeles Times and its subsequent podcast of the same name, relling the sordid tale of a serial grifter (Eric Bana) and the extremely trusting woman he targets (Connie Britton). It fairly faithfully follows the podcast's arc, but Bana and Britton bring a nuanced human touch to every maddening detail. The second season is similarly binge-worthy and tense, if not more sensationalized, bringing to life the story of Betty Broderick. Amanda Peet is unrecognizable and striking in the role, as she brings a nuance to a woman whose reputation was deduced by the media as "a woman scorned"—making her performance alone worth watching.
Documentary Now! (2015– )
3 seasons, 21 episodes
IFC's Documentary Now! pokes fun at the precious self-seriousness of documentary filmmaking, thanks to SNL vets Bill Hader and Fred Armisen (and a regal Helen Mirren introduction). Docs in the show's crosshairs include everything from Nanook Revisited ("Kanuk Uncovered") to History of the Eagles ("Gentle & Soft: The Story of the Blue Jeans Committee"), the latter a parody of an Eagles documentary that's pretty funny in its own right. Which is why the true brilliance of Documentary Now! comes less from imitation and more from the same sauce that makes any doc memorable: Human existence is fascinatingly absurd.
Downton Abbey (2010–2015)
6 seasons, 52 episodes
Inside the Downton Abbey estate, a high-society British family jostles against the hired help, but this early-20th-century period piece is no ordinary history lesson. Between arranged betrothals, sabotage among the support staff, an influenza epidemic, cancer scares, risky pregnancies, love triangles in perpetual motion, and even murder, the series is a soapy blast dressed up in 1900s finery.
Friday Night Lights (2006–2011)
5 seasons, 76 episodes
Sure, the television adaptation of the movie adaptation of the book veers frequently into sentimentality, outright conservatism, and cheap melodrama, but it's these qualities that make it an essential piece of American television. High-school football serves as the perfect medium to explore the 21st-century American experience, and the qualities above are part of the deal. With knockout performances from Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, it's almost too easy to get sucked into the Dillon Panthers' football life.
Gilmore Girls (2000–2007; 2016)
7 seasons, 153 episodes (+4 episode reboot)
This Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino series is an indisputable aughts classic. Netflix gave Gilmore Girls the reboot treatment in 2016—but before you watch the four-episode follow-up, you can catch up with this wisecracking mother-daughter duo with the entire series that started it all. The show takes place in the quirky small town of Stars Hollow and features a dynamic supporting cast so fully fleshed, you'll feel like a local after your first hour. For extra credit, the Gilmore Guys podcast dissects the series episode by episode, providing a present-day watercooler for your thoughts on an over-20-years-old show.
8 seasons, 172 episodes
Everyone wishes they had a crew like Joan, Lynn, Maya, and Toni. While we may not get the luxury of embracing Joan's maternal instincts or the opportunity to laugh at Maya's sassiness IRL, the warmth and the hilarity of the series and its characters (including honorary girlfriend William) from Mara Brock Akil (Moesha, Being Mary Jane) makes us feel like we're part of the bunch. The beloved comedy is a riot of a sitcom and an update to the format with its multidimensional Black women characters.
Good Girls (2018–2021)
4 seasons, 48 episodes
TV fans can't get enough of a good antihero. We've seen domestic types take a dark turn in shows like Breaking Bad, and even given a comedic flair in Weeds—which is the same route that the moms-behaving-badly series Good Girls goes down. The show from Jenna Bans (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal) finds three mothers—sisters Annie (Mae Whitman) and Beth (Christina Hendricks) and their best friend Ruby (Retta)—who, under desperate circumstances, plan a robbery and plummet into a life of crime. It's a recipe for disaster for the suburbanites, and extremely fun to watch given the characters' likeability and the ways they're forced to navigate gender dynamics in a whole other world (see: working with the gang leader/eye candy Rio). While the first season gets off on a wonky foot, it's a rare, watchable network TV show that feels intended for streaming.
The Good Place (2016–2020)
4 seasons, 53 episodes
Created by Parks and Rec mastermind Michael Schur, this whimsical comedy sends the World's Most Selfish Woman, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), to the afterlife. More specifically: the titular Good Place, something like heaven minus all the religious stuff. Things go swimmingly until Eleanor realizes she's been mistaken for someone else—a glitch in the system that sends the utopia into a downward spiral. It's tons of fun seeing Bell and her onscreen soulmate Chidi (William Jackson Harper) try to fool everyone into believing this Eleanor can be a good person and deserves to stay. As we've already noted, "By the time you get to the incredible season finale, it's clear you've been sent straight up to TV heaven." Or, as Eleanor herself might put it: This show is forkin' good!
Happy Endings (2011–2013)
3 seasons, 57 episodes
In a perfect world, this joke-a-second ABC sitcom about six neurotic best friends living in Chicago would have blossomed into a generation-defining, Friends-like hit. Instead, it was cancelled after three seasons. Was it too weird? Too manic? Was the world just not ready for "Elisha Cuthbert, sitcom star"? Now is your chance to find out.
How to Get Away With Murder (2014–2020)
6 seasons, 90 episodes
With a title like that, you know this one's bound to be juicy. Created by Peter Nowalk under the Shondaland umbrella, the show about criminal defense attorney and law professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) and her inner circle of law students who become entwined in a murder is a legal thriller with a kick. Over its long, multi-Emmy-nominated run, the show yielded a steady stream of convoluted mysteries, incredible performances, and unpredictable twists as Annalise and everyone around her worked to evade the law, shed light on government conspiracies, and made peace with their inner demons along the way. Meaning, this network show couldn't be more binge-worthy.
The IT Crowd (2006–2013)
4 seasons, 25 episodes
The traditional, "three-camera" stage sitcom can be done well. Cheers, Seinfeld, and Frasier all mastered it. But by the 2000s, the notion of shooting comedy in front of a live studio audience was all but dead—at least in America. The IT Crowd, starring Chris O'Dowd (Bridesmaids), Richard Ayoade, and Katherine Parkinson as a lowly tech team residing in the basement of a major British corporation, proved there was still joy to bouncy dialogue and silly sight gags in a modern setting. Tremendously goofy and heartfelt, this show could easily replace hanging out with your actual friends.
Jane the Virgin (2014–2019)
5 seasons, 100 episodes
Yes, the title, the premise, the plotlines on this CW series are all ridiculous. But it's a telenovela—it's supposed to be over the top. What's truly unbelievable about Jane is how many serious, controversial issues it makes palatable without moralizing (#ImmigrationReform). Somehow, a melodrama about an accidentally artificially inseminated virgin raising a baby while flitting back and forth between the vertices of a love triangle, which takes place in a world populated by drug lords, secret twins, evil professors, and a police department conspiracy—manages to strike the simplest emotional and comic beats week after week. Jane deserves praise for its bilingual storytelling, strong female relationships, and uncommon mastery of a narrator's chryons... but ultimately, we watch it because it's just plain fun.
The Legend of Korra (2012–2014)
4 seasons, 52 episodes
Despite being critically acclaimed, this sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender, set around the 1920s, hasn't received as much outpouring love from fans. While the successor did have high expectations to live up to, those who tuned in and do ride for Korra as much they do for Aang know that the series from the same creators is just as breathtaking, and its ability to touch on a variety of sociopolitical issues in fewer episodes than Avatar had is even more impressive. It's the perfect binge for once you finish Avatar, taking place after Aang's reign to follow the latest master of all elements, Korra, as she faces unrest in Republic City where the gears of a revolution are just starting to turn.
The Magicians (2015–2020)
5 seasons, 65 episodes
Most fantasy fans grow up dreaming that one day they’ll be whisked away to some sort of supernatural academy, where they’ll learn that they possess special abilities and are destined to hone their skills in a fantastical world they never knew was real. In SyFy's drama The Magicians, yet another one of these universes is made into reality when a young man named Quentin enrolls in the mysterious Brakebills University for Magical pedagogy, a college for magicians. Based on the Lev Grossman novel of the same name, the series inhabits an imaginative world and documents all of the dangerous conflicts that loom within it.
6 seasons, 127 episodes
When it was released in the '90s, Moesha was a much needed sitcom about a Black teenage girl finding her way in the world, and after all this time it's remained one of the most beloved sitcoms to ever air on TV. Much of that is owed to the star power of R&B star/actress Brandy Norwood in the titular role, bringing a relatability to the high schooler as she navigates her widower father's new marriage to her high school vice principal and the typical woes of adolescence. While many sitcoms border onto treacly when they fumble through tougher issues, Moesha handles those moments with grace and remains as necessary a watch today as it was when it first hit UPN.
Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969–1974)
4 seasons, 45 episodes
If you have a hankering for absurdist British humor, Monty Python remains the cream of the crop. Their original sketch comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus is where it all began, and the skits laced with innuendos, surrealist bits, and shockingly highbrow references are always worth a rewatch—the "It's" man and Pepperpots will never not be funny.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
1 season, 26 episodes
For years, part of the mythos of Hideaki Anno's seminal series Neon Genesis Evangelion was that it was nigh-impossible to watch legally in the United States. Thankfully, Netflix snagged the rights to it, indoctrinating a new generation to Anno's world of trauma, depression, self-hatred, and robots. Neon Genesis Evangelion takes place in a world in which giant monsters known as Angels threaten humanity's existence. Teenager Shinji Ikari gets wrapped up in the fight against the Angels after his estranged scientist father, Gendo, suddenly summons him to pilot an Eva unit, a giant robot able to hold its own against an Angel. Shinji eventually (and reluctantly) agrees, implicating himself in a plot that will change humanity as he knows it. While the end of the original Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series is confusing and shocking at best, it's not the true end of the series. Two follow up films—Evangelion: Death (True)2 and The End of Evangelion—are essential viewing after watching the TV series; both are also currently available on Netflix.
New Girl (2011–2018)
7 seasons, 146 episodes
Zooey Deschanel goes full-on "quirky Zooey Deschanel" in this 20-something buddy comedy, playing the new roommate in an apartment full of bros. With freshly dumped elementary school teacher Jess Day moving into the home of several men who would rather do the bare minimum than make their apartment/lives function, New Girl is the quintessential setup for clashing personalities, burgeoning relationships, and ridiculous "mess-arounds." The cast is hysterical, and the individual bonds between characters keep you coming back to apartment 4D—as the show goes on, the classic will-they-won't-they that unfolds between Jess and her curmudgeonly bartender roommate Nick (Jake Johnson) will have you desperate to find space in Winston's galactic-sex-portrait-painted closet to move on in, too.
One Piece (1999– )
4 seasons, 130 episodes available on Netflix
This long-running pirate anime is well on its way to hitting the thousand-episode mark, with no signs of slowing, meaning One Piece can very well last you for years if you decide to take the plunge, which you should. Following the seafaring quest of Monkey D. Luffy, a kid with big dreams of becoming the Pirate King, and his ragtag crew looking for the mythical One Piece treasure, this Toei Animation series is uniquely paced with mini arcs throughout each of its marathon seasons, mimicking that of its serialized manga, breaking it up into manageable chunks of episodes that make diving in less daunting. With the first four adventures available on Netflix, you can learn if the One Piece is a treasure of power and gold or, as the bit goes, if the real treasure was the friends you made along the way.
Outlander (2014– )
5 seasons, 67 episodes
Starz's historical time travel fantasy, based on Diana Gabaldon's long-running book series, has made plenty of headlines for being perhaps the steamiest show currently on TV, but it's a lot more than heaving cleavage and tartan-clad Scottish strongmen. It's mostly that, but it's also a riveting drama about a WWII military nurse Claire (Caitriona Balfe) who gets transported back in time to the Scottish highlands of the 1700s, where she meets and falls in love with Jamie (Sam Heughan), a dashing warrior with hair out of a shampoo commercial. You'll be amazed at how many times one person can say "sassenach" in one episode of a TV show.
Riverdale (2017– )
6 seasons, 100 episodes
Riverdale, the weirdest, scariest town in the country, populated by a bunch of high schoolers and almost as many serial murderers. The show, based on the Archie comics, remixes the beloved series into a surrealist teen soap. Archie Andrews and his friends Veronica, Betty, and Jughead spend their days navigating a town of bloodthirsty parents, violent gangs, and power-hungry cheerleaders while constantly pairing up with each other in different fashions every season. Six seasons in, don't ask us what's going on in that show anymore, just let the vibes roll over you.
Schitt's Creek (2015–2020)
6 seasons, 80 episodes
Any time you have the chance to watch a comedic genius flexing the full range of her abilities, you should take it, and Catherine O'Hara flexes hard as Moira Rose in Schitt's Creek. The story of the formerly wealthy Rose family's struggle to adjust to life running a motel in a small Canadian town they bought for their son as a gag back in the early '90s gives her and co-star/series co-creator Eugene Levy ample material to work with. Also living with their grown children David (Daniel Levy, the show's co-creator and Eugene's real-life son) and Alexis (Annie Murphy), who still share a room in the motel—it's the perfect vehicle for the cast's whip-smart comedic instincts, while doubling as a roast of the extremely wealthy.
9 seasons. 180 episodes.
Often imitated but never duplicated, Seinfeld became the blueprint for what an American sitcom could be. The "show about nothing" chronicled the exploits of New York comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his friends, hapless George Costanza, outgoing Elaine Benes, and manic Kramer, on their absurd exploits as they navigate their way through living in the big city, creating farcical situations out of simple miscommunications and neuroses. Famously difficult to stream, the show is now on Netflix, so you can treat yourselves to classics like "The Soup Nazi," "The Comeback," and, of course, "The Contest."
Sister, Sister (1994–1999)
6 seasons, 119 episodes
For many non-twins of the world, the idea of having a built-in best friend who was just like you was the ultimate fantasy. For '90s kids everywhere, the comedy Sister, Sister made that wishful thinking that much more reasonable, about a pair of identical twins played by Tia and Tamera Mowry who were separated at birth and coincidentally reunited as teenagers. As family comedies go, this one, anchored by the lovable performances by the Mowry sisters, their parents, played by Tim Reid and Jackée Harry, and even their pesky neighbor Roger (Marques Houston) ("Go home, Roger!"), is funny as it is wholesome, seeing two families come together to make one. One rewatch of an episode for nostalgia's sake and you'll be smiling ear to ear (and with the theme song stuck in your head).
11 seasons, 134 episodes
A remake of the popular British series of the same name, Shameless follows the patriarch (William H. Macy) of a dysfunctional family as he tries, with very modest success, to keep everyone's lives from totally falling apart. As he struggles to stay sober, his daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) takes the reins on raising her five siblings with much disdain for her dead beat dad. Disaster ensues and fires are frequently put out with scrappy plans, giving the show a dramedic leaning that makes bingeing very doable.
The Sinner (2017–2021)
3 seasons, 24 episodes
In the first episode of The Sinner, Jessica Biel’s character Cora Tannetti stabs a man to death in broad daylight with her family sitting nearby. Why she erupted in such a violent act is just the first mystery in this Golden Globe-nominated series about what drives average people to commit heinous crimes. As Cora awaits arraignment in court, a detective feels compelled to understand what fueled her rage, revealing an immensely troubled past. The way the series unfolds, will keep you on your toes, as you’re led by an unreliable narrator into a history of events that constantly evolves from fact to fiction, while constantly remaining horrific as the truth begins to surface. After the first installment, only Bill Pullman's detective Harry Ambrose carries over from season to season, as it turns into an anthology but continues to focus on cases that drive ordinary people to commit heinous acts.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)
7 seasons, 178 episodes
After a string of The Original Series-inspired movies and miscalculations on how to revive the sci-fi franchise for television, Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek boldly went where no concept had gone before with The Next Generation, a shinier, headier, all-around better (yeah, we said it) saga in the United Federation of Planets' history. Led by Patrick Stewart and helped by an iconic supporting cast, The Next Generation followed the TOS mission to speculate about and empathize with social issues of the day, filtered through a lens of A-grade sci-fi writing that stands the test of time.
15 seasons, 327 episodes
Who knew that a show about two brothers who hunt demonic beings would run for 15 years and become so popular it had all of Tumblr in a chokehold while it was on? Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) drive around the country in their shiny Impala looking for escaped residents of Hell and rogue mythological figures, constantly being sent to the Bad Place themselves and crawling back out again. An X-Files of Biblical proportions (Armageddon has been prevented at least five times over the course of the show), Supernatural is a monster-of-the-week show with a classic rock soundtrack.
30 Rock (2006–2013)
7 seasons, 139 episodes
Tina Fey's workplace sitcom was so good for so long that it's easy to take it for granted. Since it went off the air in 2013, comedies have gotten stranger, more dramatic, and more formally ambitious. But have they gotten any funnier? We'd argue no. Between Jack Donaghy's Bush-era conservative zingers, Tracy Jordan's endlessly absurd one-liners, Kenneth's disturbing hillbilly antics, and Jenna Maroney's deranged celebrity narcissism, the show delivered perfect jokes at an exhilarating pace. What's more innovative than that?
The Untamed (2019)
1 season, 50 episodes
Infamous practitioner of the dark magical arts Wei Wuxian is resurrected 16 years after his death and reconnects with his soulmate, the honorable and well-liked Lan Wangji. But things get complicated when Wei Wuxian begins to remember his past life, and the web of manipulation and betrayal that led to his untimely death. The Untamed was a sensation in China and has gained cult status in the West, and while the webcomic it's based on has overt LGBTQ+ themes centered around the romance between its two main characters, the adaptation has just enough subtext to slip past the Chinese censors.
The Vampire Diaries (2009–2017)
8 seasons, 171 episodes
Here's the pitch: not one, but two hot vampire brothers. While it premiered back in 2009 at the sparkly peak of Twilight mania, this supernatural teen soap has more in common with co-creator Kevin Williamson's witty '90s work—Dawson's Creek and Scream—than it does with Stephenie Meyer's po-faced novels. Based on a series of books by YA writer L. J. Smith, the show brings you into the inner life of a newly orphaned high-schooler named Elena (Nina Dobrev) who gets pursued by sultry, good vamp Stefan (Paul Wesley) and his equally sultry, evil bro Damon (Lost's Ian Somerhalder). There are love triangles, complicated mythology, crazy plot twists, and countless scenes where yokels get bit in the neck by pale guys with great hair. But it's the wry, almost Buffy-like comic tone that keeps you coming back.
Wynonna Earp (2016–2021)
4 seasons, 49 episodes
Wynonna Earp is a faster, sexier, funnier show than it has any right to be. The pitch is simple: the great-great-granddaughter of legendary gunslinger Wyatt Earp must lead the charge against an army of zombies. A hero fighting the undead? A badass woman in charge? If you love action TV, this one's for you. Earp totes a gigantic, legendary magic pistol called Peacemaker. She has a bumbling, moronic Justin Bieber-lookalike as a sidekick/comic relief. There are several love triangles with the undead. One of those love triangles happens to involve Doc Holliday in the present. Perhaps the best summary of the show is this one-liner in its pilot: "I am the girl. With the big-ass gun." If you can't get on board, you may not like fun.