The 100 Best TV Shows on Netflix to Binge Right Now
For when 10+ hours of TV sounds good.
Sometimes you just want to watch 10 hours of TV, whether it's an edge-of-your-seat mystery or a feel-good romantic comedy, and we've got you covered with this round-up of the Netflix's most bingeable series.
From the classics you really should have seen by now to your friends' current favorites, get some snacks ready and prepare for a marathon.
For more recommendations, read our list of the 100 Best Movies Currently on Netflix.
Aggretsuko (2018– )This unlikely Sanrio-sponsored anime series totally succeeds as a standalone project from the branding that might otherwise subsume Aggretsuko, the show about a super-cute red raccoon character who blows off steam from her shitty job by doing death metal karaoke. For anyone who's held down a clock-watching, 9-to-5 office gig, it's impossible not to relate to Retsuko in her day-to-day trials and existential tribulations as a 20-something anxious about her life purpose as she punches numbers into soulless spreadsheets for her literal pig of a boss. More than just office gags, Aggretsuko walks across minefields, too, approaching contemporary women's issues with unexpected finesse. It's a self-aware comedy gem in addictive 12-minute episodes that you'll breeze through until you're caught up.
Altered Carbon (2018–2020)This high-concept sci-fi action series, based on the mindbending novel by Richard K. Morgan, requires both laser focus and suspension of disbelief to give in to its trashy charms. With a super-high budget providing the futuristic flash, Altered Carbon dazzles and confounds right out of the gate, as we're introduced to the concept of sleeving, a nutty process by which human consciousness can be transferred into another person's body. That's the ethically thorny way our super-soldier protagonist, Takeshi Kovacs, arrives 250 years into the future after his own "death," where he is promptly tasked by an ultra-wealthy hedonist with solving the murder of the ultra-wealthy hedonist himself. If you tend to roll with batshit sci-fi set-ups like this until they click, you'll stick around to see how it all ends and be pleased that you did.
American Crime Story (2016– )FX's brilliant award-snatching miniseries began life about O.J. Simpson's murder trial, the event that captivated and changed a nation, along with a second season about the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace. Watch, pause, and rewind to marvel at the killer cast's resemblance to their real-life counterparts, and steel yourself for Cuba Gooding Jr.'s comeback. The Versace edition does similarly excellent work with a stacked cast.
American Horror Story (2011– )Why do people love (many, but not all) Ryan Murphy shows so much? Because they're infused with equal parts camp, drama, suspense, and humor—even this ostensibly scary one. Whether you're watching the Murder House, Freak Show, Hotel, Roanoke, or any of the other of the anthology's seasons, you're in for unforgettable characters, stomach-curdling gore, jaw-dropping plot twists, and brutal finales.
American Vandal (2017–2018)American Vandal, about teen documentarians who investigate the innocence of a classmate accused of vandalism (Jimmy Tatro), is much more than a four-hour dick joke followed by a four-hour poop joke. After the first couple episodes, the phallic material fades into the background, allowing the show to satirize high school and today's criminal justice system in a meaningful way. To pull it off, the co-creators studied the techniques that made them so invested in such true-crime titans as Serial, Making a Murderer, and The Jinx. It's parody, homage, addictive teen drama all wrapped in one—an underrated win for the streaming service that was canceled too soon after its wonderful second season.
Arrested Development (2003–2019)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. While the later Netflix-produced seasons occasionally devolved into discursive, indulgent meta-humor, the show's original three seasons established a freewheeling comic sensibility that many of your favorite sitcoms—Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Community, Archer, Kroll Show—were influenced by. Don't hold the show's obnoxious fans against it. After watching a few episodes, you'll be quoting Tobias Fünke, too.
Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015–2018)If you're a fan of the original Evil Dead trilogy and haven't seen Ash vs. Evil Dead yet, what have you even been doing with your spare time? Set 30 years after Army of Darkness, when the Deadites were neutralized, the demon curse of the Necronomicon is back, baby, and it's up to our skeezy hero Ash Williams (still Bruce Campbell) to do the thing he does best, which is cutting up the possessed. Sam Raimi and crew bring the same dark humor and over-the-top gore to the revived franchise.
Better Call Saul (2015– )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. Catch up now before the last piece of the Breaking Bad ouroboros arrives to eat its own tail.
Big Mouth (2017– )In Big Mouth, Nick Kroll and his friends essentially hop into an animated time machine to play much younger versions of themselves, adolescent tweens beginning to date and watch porn, coming to grips with their emotions and sexuality. The show comes stacked with familiar Kroll friends, including John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, Ayo Edebiri (replacing Jenny Slate), Jordan Peele, and Fred Armisen, and plenty others. With a no-holds-barred approach and the freeing format of animation, the show tends to really go there (see: horny Hormone Monsters, singing Michael Stipe tampons, scary Garrison Keillor sex fantasies), placing it in the same taboo-busting league as Netflix's other hit mature cartoons and maturing to be one of the most adept shows about adolescence and mental health.
Black Mirror (2011– )Each installment of Charlie Brooker's addictive anthology takes a current techno-social phenomenon—topics that range from hashtags to five-star ratings—to its extreme and asks whether human nature can coexist with it. Part satire and part (unintentional) prophecy, the series presents an appropriately grim view of the future, one that will definitely make you worry for the next generation and maybe even galvanize you into action. Binge this delicious platter of paranoia cautiously.
Bodyguard (2018)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.
BoJack Horseman (2014–2020)When you write it, it sounds strange: A cartoon (and our favorite Netflix original series) about a talking horse is one of the funniest and most accurate representations of depression that exists in a TV format. But it's true. As you join the title character, voiced by Will Arnett, on his quest for Hollywood and personal redemption, you'll encounter killer visual gags, whip-smart dialogue, complex and deeply flawed characters, and genuine feelings—the kind that'll make you evaluate (and re-evaluate, and re-re-evaluate) your own life.
Breaking Bad (2008–2013)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.
Bridgerton (2020– )Based on a series of well-loved romance novels, Shonda Rhimes' first contribution to Netflix, Bridgerton, is a steamy take on the marriage politics of Regency England. Centered on eligible young bachelorette Daphne Bridgerton and her large and complicated family, it plays like a period piece Gossip Girl with the action narrated by the mysterious Lady Whistledown, voiced by none other than Julie Andrews.
Broadchurch (2013–2017)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."
Chappelle's Show (2003–2006)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.
Chef's Table (2015– )With an explosion of food television comes elevated standards; Netflix's Chef's Table forages for those standards, brings them to the restaurant for dinner service, treats them with respect, turns them into a whimsical play on a dish remembered from childhood, and earns a couple Michelin stars and the admiration of its peers in the process. The point is that Chef's Table and its international (France) and culinary (Pastry, BBQ) spinoffs, from creator David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi), are exceptional food programming that manages to make humans the centerpiece.
Community (2009–2015)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)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.
The Crown (2016– )The Crown is a well-made (and very expensively made) show, with standout performances across its many seasons—Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies taking over, with Imelda Staunton and Jonathan Pryce carrying the series to its eventual conclusion. The series' period costumes are legendary and its sets designed with impeccable attention to detail. Early on, The Crown failed to examine the macro geopolitical shifts that have characterized Elizabeth II's long reign, picking more local ephemera from history—for example, decolonization receives scant attention, but the Great Smog of London merits a multi-episode storyline—but has more recently gotten to the real juice, bringing the doomed relationship between Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles to the fore. Throughout, however, The Crown has remained confident in its soapiness, opulent in every respect, and quite possibly Netflix's best choice for escapism (albeit using a subject that should probably be anything but). If you love royalist porn or British period dramas like Downton Abbey, this will be like a long, slow massage.
Dark (2017–2020)Dubbed the German version of Stranger Things, this foreign supernatural drama following a boy who goes missing is an absolute mind fuck. While the show sees comparisons to the Duffer Brothers’ ode to ‘80s sci-fi, Dark is in a league of its own, following several families each with secrets of their own as they deal with a disappearance that shakes their eerie German town and might be a hint to a greater looming threat. There’s a handful of twists and turns, time travel (and lots of it), and a terrifying feeling you can’t shake until you see the entire series through.
Dawson's Creek (1998–2003)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.
Dead to Me (2019– )In Liz Feldman’s Dead to Me, Christina Applegate’s Jen is grieving the recent death of her husband, who was killed in a hit-and-run, and reluctantly joins group therapy. That's where she meets Linda Cardellini’s Judy, who's also grieving, and the two form an instant bond. But by the end of the first episode, it's clear that both of these women, whose chemistry is the kind of snarky friendship you crave in your own life, are hiding something. The 30-minute dark comedy moves effortlessly between registers, from lighthearted to deadly serious, with a plot-turning twist thrown into every episode for good measure. If you enjoy watching adults say "screw it, I'm doing what I want," this is definitely for you.
Dear White People (2017– )Justin Simien's scorching send-up of post-racial America transitioned smoothly from its film form to a series, with Logan Browning stepping in for Tessa Thompson. As in the movie, the streaming version follows a diverse group of students pushing back against discrimination at a mostly white Ivy League school. Contrary to what the trolls want you to believe, Simien's work is not white-genocide propaganda; it's an illuminating look at what equality means in the 21st century. As he's explained already, "I'm a storyteller. My job isn't to protect your feelings. It's to show you who you are. Sometimes that will be joyful. Sometimes it'll hurt."
Derry Girls (2018– )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)Based on the 2017 longform article by The Los Angeles Times and its subsequent podcast, Dirty John tells the sordid tale of a serial grifter (Eric Bana) and an 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.
Disenchantment (2018– )Be forewarned: Matt Groening's Netflix series is not like his others. It's doesn't try to be joke-for-joke funnier than The Simpsons, nor does it relegate the ventures of its own universe to singular episodes like Futurama. Disenchantment takes an episode or two to settle in, but once you've come around on the drunken shenanigans of Princess Bean (Broad City's Abbi Jacobson) and her unlikely sidekicks—Elfo (Nat Faxon), a spacey, naive elf, and Luci (Eric Andre), a cat-like demon who curses Bean on her arranged wedding day—prior expectations dissipate. Disenchantment is more like the streaming equivalent of The Princess Bride on mushrooms.
Documentary Now! (2015– )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.
The End of the F***ing World (2017–2019)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– )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.
Fauda (2015– )Fauda, an action thriller about an elite team of undercover Israeli commandos working in Palestine, is in the upper tier of Netflix's foreign-language shows, a frantically paced and politically charged melodrama filled with sequences of white-knuckle suspense straight out of Homeland or 24. But unlike those spy dramas, Fauda spends nearly as much time on the private lives of Palestinians as it does on its gun-toting heroes. It's got a moral complexity that its more simplistic American counterparts often lack.
The 4400 (2004–2007)Produced by The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, this underrated sci-fi series imagines what would happen if 4,400 people suddenly vanished from the face of the planet in the early 20th century... then flashed back into reality decades later. The mystery unfolds through the eyes of some superlative performances, including Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali as a US Air Force pilot who disappeared but somehow has a daughter in the present.
Frontier (2016–2018)A showcase for the charismatic brutality only Jason Momoa can muster, Frontier is a rollicking Netflix and Discovery Channel Canada co-production about the (literally) cutthroat 18th-century North American fur trade. The adventure series has more in common with breezy syndicated fare like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys than it does with Momoa's star-making Game of Thrones, but if you squint hard enough at the right moment you'll swear that it's Khal Drogo himself cutting off that poor sap's ear.
Gilmore Girls (2000–2007; 2016)This Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino series is an indisputable aughts classic. If the first seven years spent in the quirky small town of Stars Hollow wasn't enough Rory and Lorelai Gilmore's fast-talking banter wasn't enough, there's a four-episode Netflix revival to fill the nostalgia hole. On top of Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham's iconic performances as daughter and mother, Gilmore Girls 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 a show nearly two decades old.
Girlboss (2017)Co-produced by Charlize Theron and helmed by Kay Cannon, this streaming series takes its name from Sophia Amoruso's memoir but fictionalizes the entrepreneur's rocky rise to the top. Britt Robertson plays Amoruso, the young shoplifter-turned-mogul who founded popular fashion retailer Nasty Gal. "It felt like every story was about a flawed man, which is totally fine," Cannon has said. "But I was really starving to create a story about a woman." Think something along the lines of Wolf of Wall Street. While Netflix ultimately canceled this series, we wholly recommend watching the self-contained first season, which tethers episodic joy into what ultimately feels like three feature-length films.
GLOW (2017–2019)It's odd that it took so long for someone to make a fun comedy about professional wrestling. Where Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler turned the plight of a washed-up grappler into a Sisyphean struggle in spandex, GLOW, which was inspired by a real-life wrestling women's wrestling promotion from the '80s, takes a sunnier but still no-holds-barred approach. Community's Alison Brie excels as an actress who gets cast by a washed-up filmmaker (Marc Maron) to play the villain in the rag-tag operation, but, like producer Jenji Kohan's Orange Is the New Black, it's the side characters, like Britney Young's second-generation brawler Machu Picchu and Betty Gilpin's all-American Liberty Belle, who really help this show get over. It's one of the few pieces of pop culture that actually captures this "fake" sport's very real appeal, making its untimely cancelation one big bummer.
The Good Place (2016–2020)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!
Grace and Frankie (2015– )Netflix users of a certain age have likely overlooked this dramedy from Marta Kauffman (Friends) and Howard J. Morris (The Starter Wife), about two septuagenarian friends (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) who shack up together after their husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) announce they're in love and intend to marry. With notes of The Odd Couple and The Brady Bunch—both couples have grown kids as equally knocked out by the news—Grace and Frankie is down-to-earth viewing that's rich with observational wit on the progressive notion of being true to one's identity, and the time-worn cliche that everyone gets older with age. If you've indulged in the low-key, picture-perfect comedies of Nancy Meyers (It's Complicated, Something's Gotta Give), give this one a try.
Great British Baking Show (2010– )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)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.
Hannibal (2013–2015)A reinvention of author Thomas Harris's cannibalistic super-villain Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelson) from Pushing Daisies showrunner Bryan Fuller, Hannibal is by no means comfort viewing. That is, unless you find imagery like a body covered in mushrooms or an unnerving stag-man beast oddly soothing. Ever since it first aired on network TV, though, it's remained an extremely daring procedural—and with just three seasons, it's one that's absolutely worth picking up a fork for. Even with the amount of bloodshed and bone chilling terrors, you'll devour it.
The Haunting of Hill House (2018) & The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)Netflix has found tremendous success with spooky shows and movies, and with Gerald's Game director Mike Flanagan as showrunner, The Haunting of Hill House delivers a creepy mystery that's even better as a family drama. Based on Shirley Jackson's novel of the same name, Hill House is a must-watch for any horror fan looking to get a fix from Netflix's ever-widening horror catalog. While it's not as terrifying as the first season, Flanagan turned this show into an anthology, and followed it up with the Turning of the Screw-inspired second season The Haunting of Bly Manor, which is also worth a watch.
How to Get Away With Murder (2014–2020)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)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)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.
I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson (2019– )I Think You Should Leave is easily the most bingeable series on Netflix, with just six sketch-based episodes clocking in at fewer than 20 minutes each. It's also really fucking funny. The brilliance of ITYSL comes from its ability to turn mundane, everyday situations—like a birthday party or sitting on an airplane—into absurdist masterpieces peppered with poop and fart jokes. Plenty of memes have come out of its perpetually relevant satire, but that kind of dense, nonsensical humor colors every sketch with a refreshing goofiness that's difficult to find anywhere. Where else will you see a guy dressed as a hot dog crash a wiener car into a store, then turn the debacle into a theft mixed with a commentary about watching porn on phones?
Jane the Virgin (2014–2019)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.
Jessica Jones (2015–2019)Like Veronica Mars and many standout British crime series, Jessica Jones follows a private investigator searching for the answer to her own mystery. The difference is that Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) has superhuman strength... and crippling PTSD from a run-in with Kilgrave (David Tennant), a troubled man with mind-control powers who forces the heroine to commit heinous acts against her will. Jessica Jones meanders in the as Jessica sloooowly unravels the past, but the frightful conceit, all-too-real social parallels, and Ritter's roaring performance made this the high-water mark for Marvel's ill-fated Netflix projects.
The Keepers (2017)True-crime docs are a dime a dozen these days, but The Keepers takes the genre to another level by dealing in both micro and macro layers of a story involving sexual abuse, murder, police corruption, and the Catholic Church. At its center is the strange disappearance and death in 1969 of a schoolteacher nun named Sister Cathy Cesnik, a case that continues to be investigated by her former students, whom the filmmakers follow. Numerous shocking twists are revealed over the course of the seven-episode series, as the haunting mystery turns disturbing exposé and then circles back around again.
Lady Dynamite (2016–2017)Maria Bamford's semi-autobiographical, surreal spin on mental illness in Hollywood was a sleeper hit for Netflix. The comedian's self-aware hijinks share obvious DNA with Arrested Development: Mitch Hurwitz and Pam Brady are executive producers; there are sight gags, wordplay, and mockery of LA idiocy galore; and it features countless comedy-world cameos, extended fantasy sequences, and genuine self-introspection. It'll take you a few episodes to get invested, or even to wrap your head around WTF you're watching. But once you're hooked, you're hooked.
The Last Dance (2020)Even if you couldn't care less about basketball, you'll be captivated by this lengthy ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and his legacy. Yes, it's worth watching for the memes alone, but Jason Hehir also crafted an incisive portrait that examines the intensity (and, in some cases, the insanity) of a person who is deemed "the greatest," framed by the Chicago Bulls' 1997-98 season with a team full of all stars (Scottie Pippin, Dennis Rodman, etc.) in their run for the NBA title. There's a pizza conspiracy, sick dunks, and, of course, Space Jam.
The Last Kingdom (2015– )If you like Game of Thrones, but wish it had less magic, The Last Kingdom is for you. Set in medieval England, it pits Danish invaders (aka VIKINGS) against the divided kingdoms on the British Isles. At the center of it all is Uhtred, an English noble captured and raised by the Vikings, but who subsequently fights for the English in battles that help "medieval" live up to its reputation as a time when the brutality of humans was perpetually on display in bloody hand-to-hand combat.
Love, Death & Robots (2019– )There's a certain artistry to making entertaining, effective, and imaginative short films, and Netflix's animated series Love, Death & Robots blends all three of those strengths with some really crazy sci-fi. The title pretty much says it all: every episode will have elements of love (read: sex—the show is very rated R), death, and/or robots, and sometimes a combination of all three. From a tourist party of androids traipsing through a post-apocalyptic Earth, to a monster fighting ring where the monsters are powered by human minds, to an ancient civilization thriving in a couple's refrigerator, to a beautiful fable about an artist in the future who only paints using one shade of blue, Love, Death & Robots is a multifaceted collection of some of the most exhilarating and inventive storytelling out there.
Master of None (2015– )Master of None is a comedy that examines the anxiety of unlimited choice, that slow drip of dread that starts every time you fire up your Apple TV or look up restaurant recommendations on your phone. Sounds bleak, right? Thankfully, the series, which was co-created by stand-up Aziz Ansari and former Parks and Recreation writer Alan Yang, is able to find laughs in the often mundane problems of well-off city-dwellers. Past sexual misconduct allegations against Ansari will likely complicate the show's plotlines about online dating and modern love for many viewers, but individual episodes like Season 1's "Parents" and Season 2's "Thanksgiving" still stand out as some of the most thoughtful, incisive comedic storytelling Netflix has to offer.
Love (2016–2018)Romantic comedies can often feel more like fantasy with their meet cutes and perfect endings rather than depicting an attainable relationship. Rather than falling into these tropes, Love, an aptly named Netflix original series, feels almost too real. The series with co-creator Judd Apatow at its helm follows two flawed individuals, addict and wise-cracking Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and people-pleasing Gus (Paul Rust), who organically meet and inevitably fall for each other despite being seemingly wrong for each other. With its Apatow antics, Love is equally smart and hilarious as it is raw, and you’ll find yourself rooting for these two fuck-ups, watching episode after episode to see what their fate as a couple is.
Making a Murderer (2015–2018)What begins like a standard-issue Dateline episode about Steven Avery, a rural Wisconsin man wrongfully convicted of rape, turns, over the course of its 10 episodes, into a sharp, twin rebuke of unchecked law enforcement and the entire criminal justice system.
The documentary team behind this essential Netflix binge, which rivals The Staircase and Serial Season 1 in its capacity to inspire righteous anger and rabbit-hole quests for the truth, details how justice for Avery and his nephew, tragically swept up in the deplorable affair, has most definitely not been served. With Season 2 complicating the case, prepare to be enraged all over again.
Maniac (2018)This trippy series, directed by True Detective Season 1 helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga, follows two troubled people who sign up for the trial of a drug that promises to be better than traditional talk therapy. Suffice to say things do not go as planned. Emma Stone and Jonah Hill star as the two guinea pigs, and their stories become increasingly intertwined as they float from dream world to dream world attempting to confront and destroy their inner demons. Much of it reads as nonsense, but it's beautifully shot and features a hilarious take on Freudian dynamics between Justin Theroux's Dr. James K. Mantleray and Sally Field's Dr. Greta Mantleray.
Mindhunter (2017–2019)David Fincher loves serial killers. The director of Seven, Zodiac, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo launched Netflix into the world of original television when he applied his dark, brooding aesthetic to a different kind of sociopath: obscenely ambitious politician Francis Underwood, focal point of House of Cards. But where House of Cards felt a bit like a desperate child crying out for attention, Mindhunter arrived fully mature, concerned more with exploring the depths of headlines already written than creating new ones. The show follows a young, self-assured FBI agent, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff); his mentor, Bill Tench (Holt McCallany); and psychologist-turned-consultant Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) as they establish a division of the Bureau tasked with solving a "new kind of crime" that lacks what most law enforcers think of as rational motives. In short, they're inventing what will become the famous "FBI profiler" department. As the series develops and explores more cases (Season 2 focused on the Atlanta Child Murders), the social and personal continue to generate tension, while the signature interview scenes reveal the extent of humans' capacity for violence—and the limitations of human knowledge.
Nailed It! (2018– )Your favorite bad-cooking competition show is one cooking show you can relate to from your couch, so you can settle in for another exciting season of non-chefs decidedly not nailing it. Dig in!
Narcos (2015–2017)This thriller is a treat for history buffs, unpacking the horrifying, drug-laden history of Colombia during the reign of legendary kingpin Pablo Escobar. As Escobar, Wagner Moura is both terrifying and captivating, and his opposition, two DEA agents fighting their way through a convoluted mystery, give a scarily real sense of the American efforts to end the war on drugs. Narcos' mix of archival footage and contemporary fictionalization keeps you engaged, and reminds you that a literal genocide had to happen just so yuppies could blow coke in the Hamptons during the '80s (only kind of kidding).
Narcos: Mexico (2018– )Binged all of Narcos? May Netflix interest you in the similar—but different!—Narcos: Mexico? As the name suggests, the action centers around Mexican cartels, as opposed to the Colombians in the original, and features more star power in Diego Luna and Michael Peña. Tracking the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel, Narcos: Mexico is in many ways the same show as its predecessor, so it will come as a welcome spinoff for fans of the original.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
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.