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 cover only the shows that didn't originate with Netflix—meaning, largely those licensed library shows that sometimes leave the platform when their deal expires, in addition to a few series (like You) that began life elsewhere and were subsequently given new season orders by Netflix. In brief, you won't find Stranger Things, Ozark, or any of Netflix's other great scripted original shows or original docuseries (like Tiger King and Wild Wild Country) because they get their own lists. Now get some snacks ready and prepare for a marathon.
Aggretsuko (2018– )
3 seasons, 30 episodes (+1 special)
This anime series, sponsored by Sanrio, the Japanese company behind Hello Kitty, totally succeeds as a standalone project from the branding that might otherwise subsume it. The show, short for Aggressive Retsuko, follows a super-cute red raccoon character who blows off steam from her shitty office job by doing death metal karaoke. For anyone who's held down a clock-watching office gig, it's impossible not to relate to Retsuko as a 20-something anxious about her life's purpose as she punches numbers into soulless spreadsheets for her literal pig of a boss. Aggretsuko is a self-aware comedy gem with addictive 12-minute episodes that you'll breeze through quickly, leaving you waiting for the impending Season 4 like the rest of us.
American Crime Story (2016– )
2 seasons, 19 episodes
FX's awards-snatching anthology series began life as a brilliant one-off about the O.J. Simpson murder trial, the mid-1990s event that captivated and changed the nation. Watch it and marvel at the cast's resemblance to their real-life counterparts, and steel yourself for David Schwimmer's saying "Juice." The second season, which aired in 2018 and dealt with the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace (Édgar Ramírez) by spree killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss), also had a stacked cast. (The anthology's third season, Impeachment, focusing on the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky scandal, hits FX this fall, but it's unclear when or if that will arrive on Netflix.)
American Horror Story (2011– )
9 seasons, 103 episodes
Why do so many people love Ryan Murphy shows so much? Because they're infused with equal parts camp, drama, suspense, and humor—even this ostensibly scary FX pseudo-anthology series. The nine seasons to date (Season 10, titled Double Feature, begins August 25 on FX) are designed to stand on their own, with unique stories, but as the installments go on, they link up in certain ways that will reward completists. Expect unforgettable characters, stomach-curdling gore, jaw-dropping plot twists, and brutal finales—fun!
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.
Babylon Berlin (2017– )
3 seasons, 28 episodes
This bingeable German mystery co-created by Run Lola Run's Tom Twyker and based on a series of novels introduces us to combat soldier-turned-homicide detective Gereon Rath (played by Volker Bruch) as he attempts to navigate around various forms of corruption and deal with his own PTSD during the wacky Weimar Republic days. It's as watchable and thrilling as political neo noirs come.
Better Call Saul (2015– )
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.
Billy on the Street (2011– )
5 seasons, 54 episodes
It's a game show for people who think game shows are stupid! The frenetic Billy Eichner mixes celebrity guests, unsuspecting strangers, and wild one-off games to create a delightfully addictive and fast-paced show that doubles as a broad takedown of celebrity culture writ large. Come on, who wouldn't want to watch Rachel Dratch try to escape from Margot Robbie's Hollywood moment?
1 season, 6 episodes
This action-packed British thriller will have you gasping for air after each of its six episodes. Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) stars as David Budd, a war veteran and member of the Protection Command tasked with serving as the personal bodyguard of Britain's Home Secretary, Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes). Various conspiracies and personal relationships intersect at a dizzying rate in a story that's about the ways in which power is used and abused in contemporary Western society.
Borgen (2010– )
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.
3 seasons, 24 episodes
The murder of a young boy stirs up a media frenzy and divides a tight-knit English coastal town, and the proper order of things is further disrupted by the unfiltered hotshot inspector (David Tennant) who arrives just in time to take on the baffling crime and vex a local detective (Olivia Colman) who wanted his job. The episodes of all three seasons mix in the main protagonists' complex personal lives with the well-paced investigation, ensuring that Broadchurch unfurls in a way that'll have you texting your friends to say, "I'm too sick to go out tonight" and automatically clicking "Next Episode."
Call My Agent! (2015–2020)
4 seasons, 24 episodes
The premise of this French farce (whose final season hit Netflix in early 2021) might have you thinking of Entourage, but instead of a faction of Hollywood bros' misadventures, be relieved that this spastic and funny series focuses on a cadre of Parisian agents attempting to save their flailing business while confronting realities like sexism, ageism, and the gender pay gap in movies and TV. Call My Agent! (aka Dix Pour Cent) finds a way to balance tabloid-esque fluff with sweetly emotional windows into the main characters and splicing in real actors (such as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Isabelle Huppert, Monica Bellucci, Jean Dujardin, Juliette Binoche, Jean Reno and Sigourney Weaver, among others) playing themselves.
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.
Derry Girls (2018– )
2 seasons, 12 episodes
Teen shows are often good for some laughs, but few are as goddamn hysterical as Derry Girls. The Channel 4/Netflix co-production about Catholic schoolgirls in the '90s living through the end of the Northern Ireland Troubles is all about their own, unfiltered teenaged troubles, and outright laugh-out-loud hilarious. The entire cast and their quirks are near perfect; after a quick binge, you'll find there's no other fictional crew you'd rather kick-back with.
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.
The End of the F***ing World (2017–2019)
2 seasons, 16 episodes
Somehow, a show about a teenager who's convinced he's a psychopath and wants to find his first human kill manages to come off as a charming love and coming-of-age story. The tone demands a lot of the audience: Can you empathize with the human struggle of a kid who wants to kill, kill, kill? It's a compelling premise that tackles the question with necessary nuance.
Evil (2019– )
1 season, 10 episodes
This CBS series—created by Robert and Michelle King, the shepherds of The Good Wife franchise—gained new life when it hit Netflix being a procedural with a supernatural bent and an addictive overarching narrative. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) is a forensic psychologist who gets a gig assisting a priest-in-training David Acosta (Mike Colter) tasked with figuring out whether people are experiencing religious phenomena or whether there is an earthly explanation for their possessions. The Kings manage to walk the line between funny and creepy extremely well, making this a must watch.
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.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009–2012)
5 parts, 64 episodes
Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric try to use alchemy to bring their mother back to life and fail, stripping Alphonse of his physical form, and robbing Edward of an arm and a leg, which he replaces with metallic prosthetics. From disaster, Fullmetal Alchemist is born. Their quest to get Alphonse’s real body back is an action-packed ride that spans the entire continent, draws in the entire army they’ve enlisted in, and exposes the shadows that hide within. Long anime tend to have rather uneven productions as resources and staff get spread thin, but this show’s consistently outstanding action set pieces defy the norm, as the iconic effects animation by Yoshimichi Kameda ensure to burn themselves into your retinas. The series had previously been adapted into anime with the more conceptually ambitious yet flawed Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), also available on Netflix, but Brotherhood's complete tale offers a much more rewarding experience.
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!
Great Pretender (2020)
1 season, 23 episodes
Makoto Edamura is Japan's greatest con-man. Or at least, that's what he thinks until he's bested by Laurent Thierry, a suave and masterful gentleman thief who eyes up the young Edamura to join his globe-trotting crew as his apprentice. Traveling the world from San Francisco to Singapore, London and beyond, Edamura learns the tricks of the trade as he cons the criminal elite's most dastardly plutocrats while growing up along the way, all tinged with the same sense of humor that you'd find in any of the Ocean's movies. Directed by Hiro Kaburagi (91 Days, Speed Grapher) and written by screenwriter Ryota Kosawa, Great Pretender is a death-defying, high-wire heist drama packed with a dazzling art design, beautiful vistas, and an infectiously jazzy score.
Great British Baking Show (2010– )
9 seasons, 90 episodes
If you still haven't indulged in this confectionary UK delight, clear enough room for a multi-season binge. It's a mix of charm and no-holds-barred cooking criticism as judges and hosts navigate a sea of bakers vying to become the next masters of dough-proving, top-glazing, and edge-icing. (God forbid Paul Hollywood finds a soggy bottom.) There's something absolutely pure about Great British Baking Show, making it one of the nicest—and we mean that as a plus—reality shows ever to hit television.
Halt and Catch Fire (2014–2017)
4 seasons, 40 episodes
Man, if you like how pseudo-psychotic, bold, and impossibly ahead-of-the-game Tom Hardy is on Taboo, you'll love Lee Pace on Halt and Catch Fire. Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers' period saga sends the actor to Texas in the '80s, where he plays a tech visionary hell-bent on disrupting the computer revolution. Along with a top engineer (Scoot McNairy), a prodigy (Mackenzie Davis), and his new employer—Cardiff Electric—Pace & Co. race to clone and tweak IBM's processor to make more efficient, portable PCs. Loosely inspired by Compaq's real-life IBM rivalry, Halt and Catch Fire delivers with complex character relationships and top-notch acting (shout-out to the always-underrated Toby Huss). It's one of the TV greats of the 2010s.
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.
Itaewon Class (2020)
1 season, 16 episodes
For an introduction to the intimidatingly extensive world of Korean dramas available on Netflix, Itaewon Class makes for a good, recent starter series. Like a well-made soap opera, the series follows Park Sae-ro-yi (Park Seo-joon), a young man with a troubled past who owns a struggling pocha (a Korean gastropub) in the wealthy neighborhood of Itaewon in Seoul, and those around him, including his rowdy gang of employees, a perfectly loathsome bratty rich kid, and a sociopathic Instagram influencer. Like the majority of K-dramas, buckle in for hour-long episodes full of tense exchanges, scenes in the rain, and redemption arcs.
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.
Peaky Blinders (2013– )
5 seasons, 30 episodes
Cillian Murphy stars in this early-20th-century period drama as Thomas Shelby, a World War I vet-turned-patriarchal crime boss who wants to up his family's social and financial status in England. The Shelbys' story plays out as historical fiction, loosely inspired by the exploits of real-life gangs based in Birmingham around the late 1800s and early 1900s. Rivaling bands of thugs clash for underworld influence here in a way that is not unlike on Game of Thrones just on a less fantastical scale: high-stakes political power plays, shady back-room dealings, and gritty tussles abound, with enough blood to rival the Red Wedding. (The show's name comes from the razor blades stitched in the Shelbys' flat caps, after all.) And if you still miss GoT, take comfort in appearances from Locke (Noah Taylor), Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig), and the Night King (Richard Brake).
3 seasons, 26 episodes
Focusing on the queer ball communities as well as the upper crust businessmen of New York in the 1980s, Pose was destined to be an important show from its debut, especially considering it features the largest regular cast of trans actors ever on TV. But the show from Ryan Murphy proved to be even more fabulous than anyone anticipated, with thanks to nuanced storylines and incredible performances from talent like Janet Mock and Indya Moore. It's an ode to an overlooked community, keying in on the story of an ambitious dancer named Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), but Pose is also a testament to resilience, and one of the most joyful viewing experiences in recent TV memory.
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.
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– )
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.
Terrace House (2012– )
14 seasons, 150 episodes across all versions
This Japanese reality show is, at its essence, a more polite version of MTV's Real World; six strangers—three men and three women—live together, while going about their normal lives. No new jobs or challenges; just livin' life. The twist is that panel of another six people watches the same cuts of their days as we do and provides commentary, predicting villains and rooting for budding couples. It's kind of like Netflix Xanax, but that's not to say there's no drama. It's just that it's usually more muted, philosophical, and existential than the senseless screaming you see elsewhere. In fact, many episodes, thanks to the panel, offer a sort of moral or sense of inspiration. Confused about where to start? Try beginning with Opening New Doors, featuring fan-favorite cast members, then moving onto Tokyo 2019-2020, then Boys & Girls in the City, which ran from 2015-2016. (You can skip right over Aloha State.)
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?
Toast of London (2012– )
3 seasons, 19 episodes
Point blank: Matt Berry is hilarious. So, watching him play a washed up theater actor in the ridiculous Toast of London is pure joy, even if it means (or, rather especially if it means) his character is flailing through life. As the titular Steven Toast, Berry fumbles through attempts to make it big as a star of the stage, taking up odd jobs when his auditions fall through and ignoring the concerns he should really be focusing on in his personal life. It's outrageous and irreverent, but that's showbiz, baby.
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.
You (2018– )
2 seasons, 20 episodes
Oh, You—you are the beautiful trash of Netflix, the junk food that millions of binge-seeking viewers simply couldn't resist. Originally a Lifetime series that went mostly under the radar during its cable run, You picked up a huge following when it hit Netflix in 2018, and continues on as a Netflix original that retains its trashy form. What's all the fuss about? Penn Badgley stars as Joe Goldberg, an attractive, sensitive book lover who happens to be an obsessive serial killer. You'll follow along his inner monologue as he murders his way to the hearts of the women he becomes obsessed with using his signature mix of next-level stalking and timely violence. It's ridiculous, but Joe remains oddly irresistible.