There are a lot of good TV shows on Netflix ,But what’s the best Netflix original series? The streaming service has put more and more emphasis into their own programming over the last few years, and with over 100 Netflix originals — between shows and movies — browsing aimlessly can be daunting. If you’re trying to figure out exactly which original show to watch next, here’s a great place to start with a look at a ranked list of the 20 best Netflix series right now.
A throwback and love letter to the early 1980s movies of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter, the Duffer Brothers Stranger Things feels both familiar and new. The first season is about a boy named Will (think E.T.‘s Elliot) who is captured by a The Thing-like creature and trapped in a Poltergeist-like world. His mother (Winona Ryder) recruits the local sheriff to investigate Will’s disappearance. Meanwhile, Will’s dorky, Goonies-like best friends take to their bikes to do some sleuthing of their own and eventually befriend an alien-like girl with telepathic powers (the E.T. of the series). The investigation into Will’s disappearance and the arrival of the telepathic girl all seem to lead back to a power plant operated by a character played by Matthew Modine. It’s great PG horror/sci-fi, like the blockbusters of the early ’80s, but for those who didn’t grow up in the era or aren’t intimately familiar with Amblin Entertainment’s catalog, the series may not hold as much appeal.
Orange is the New Black
Jenji Kohan’s knack for social commentary mixed with humor is perfect for a prison story. Orange Is the New Black is as funny as Weeds in its early years, but Kohan has found a way to infuse poignancy to the overall vibe of her stories. The diverse, engaging ensemble cast is chock-full of fan favorites, and while Orange is the New Black traffics in stereotypes, it also challenges and complicates them. The acting is superb, the writing is brilliant, and the storylines are addictive. More importantly, it forces us to root for people who make poor decisions and appreciate the fact that we all make poor decisions because we’re human. The series will make viewers laugh and think, and every once in a while, it will break viewers’ hearts. It is a smart show, but most of all, it is good, in every sense of the word.
13 Reasons Why
Whether you’ve read the source material or not, Brian Yorkey’s adaptation of the YA sensation will ensnare you. The saga follows Clay (Dylan Minnette), a loner of a high schooler, as he tries to defog his crush’s mysterious rationale for suicide. (Viewer discretion advised: suicide, drinking, and sexual assault.) The heartbreak is real
Friends From College
This show, from husband and wife duo Nicholas Stoller and Francesca Delbanco, looks like an ensemble comedy, but it’s much more of a fucked-up love story. When you hit play, you’ll meet two cheaters and their friends from Harvard, all of whom make some reaaaaaally bad decisions. If you think the characters are unlikable, that’s the point. This is kind of like the 30-minute dramedy version of the anti-hero story Hollywood has been obsessed with, just with an entire group of morally gray characters. The tone can be confusing at times — you’ll see a few genuinely goofy scenes and then buckets of cringeworthy moments — but the stacked cast and the thought-provoking storylines ultimately deliver.
Sex! Drugs! Mer-people! Australia! There’s a world in which Tidelands, a Netflix original from down under, lives up to its pulpy premise and delivers a fun, fast-paced show. Unfortunately, that’s not this world. For all the mystery, the drug-running, the relationships between the “Tidelanders” (mer-people, more or less) and the average humans, the show plods along more than it should. It plays like a show the CW passed on (albeit with some mild nudity), and while the secrets of the Tidelanders are sufficiently intriguing to move the plot along, but there aren’t enough moments of excitement to make it the an irresistible siren song of a show.
Sense8 was a sens8tion. Perhaps not for everyone, but for enough people that creative duo Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s two-season neon blitz of queerness and sci-fi created a fanbase more loyal than almost any Netflix original series. These fans loved their sensates, who were connected to the audience almost as strongly as they were to each other. That loved the characters so much, in fact, that they were able to push for an epic series finale when it was clear that Netflix wasn’t planning to sustain expensive niche sci-fi shows. With collaborator J. Michael Straczynski, The Matrix creators made a multinational, multiethnic, queer-as-all-hell show jam-packed with diversity on all levels and enough multi-layered plotting to keep the massive cast happy, sexy, and interesting.
One popular line of criticism has it that Narcos romanticizes the violence and degradation associated with the Colombian drug wars—and drug culture in general—and I would agree that the excellent Wagner Moura plays kingpin Pablo Escobar so engagingly that he becomes a sort of Walt White-esque antihero. And the rhythms of the documentary-style narration are fast-paced in a way that’s reminiscent of Guy Ritchie, whipping us along at an almost breakneck speed. Nevertheless, this valid criticism misses the important point that we are watching a work of fiction based on historical figures—not a real documentary. And when viewed that way, Narcos is one of the most successful shows on TV, in how it managed to flesh out some very dark characters and tell a complicated story with such urgency and clarity.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
After living underground in a cult for 15 years of her life, Kimmy Schmidt is finally exposed to the real world. She decides to make up for her lost years through the cultural, eye-opening streets of New York. Kimmy’s character develops through the help of her new friends– a gay Broadway wannabe, a street-smart landlady and an out-of-touch socialite. Navigate through the streets with Kimmy in this heartwarming and hilarious series. Two big thumbs up to Netflix.
Dear White People
Deriving from the film, also titled Dear White People, we follow a group of underrepresented students in their fight for racial, social and political equality at the predominantly white Ivy League college of Winchester University. This series is very much relevant in today’s society by harshly, but appropriately addressing the issues revolving around race in the aspects of society and politics. Along with these issues, Dear White People sheds light on gender roles, sexuality and basically the whole rollercoaster of college. Through its blunt reality and crude humor, Dear White People is definitely a must see. #STAYWOKE
Master of None
Aziz Ansari’s Master of None is a post-racial dating and relationship sitcom about millennials. Like the better dating sitcoms of the past, the series still manages to capture the anxieties of dating, of new relationships, and of settling down, only it successfully brings in texting and social media into the mix naturally and without calling attention to itself. It also explores intimacy without resorting to gender stereotypes or relationship clichés. It’s new, and unique, and most of all, it is kind. It’s a good series about genuinely good people, and the chemistry between Ansari’s character and his love interest (Noel Wells) in the first season is electric. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but Master of None is funny in its observations, clever in its writing and honest in the depiction of its characters. It’s a truly great sitcom and something of a roadmap to dating for a new generation.
A British import licensed in America exclusively by Netflix, Peaky Blinders is roughly the UK equivalent of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, taking place in the same time period and covering similar terrain. It’s got British gangsters, and while bootlegging and gambling are involved, so is the IRA, Peaky has one thing that Boardwalk does not, however, and that’s the piercing, intense Cillian Murphy, who plays something akin to Prohibition-era Boyd Crowder. The show also features Tom Hardy as a phenomenal recurring character in seasons two and three (along with Noah Taylor). It’s a short series, and it is addictive, violent, and intense as hell.
At once intimate and sweeping, The Crown presents an inside view of the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II, played by Claire Foy, and the first few years of her reign. John Lithgow is featured as the indomitable Winston Churchill, struggling with the ignominy of age at the end of his career. Churchill’s support and mentorship of Elizabeth, despite his limitations, creates an important emotional center around which various historical events turn. Elizabeth’s relationship with her husband, Prince Phillip (Matt Smith) is also wonderfully explored; his role as consort is one that he by turns delights in and rebels against. The production spared no expense in painstakingly recreating the physical environments and rigid protocols that constrained and defined the royal family. The challenges posed by modernity and the post-colonial period are filtered through the Palace’s political structure, in which despite her role, Elizabeth’s personal needs and wishes are continually subsumed to protocol and appearance. This series will appeal to anyone who enjoys costume drama, but it is also a fascinating exploration of the post-WWII period and the development of a monarch who managed to maintain and even expand the popularity and stability of the British Monarchy against significant odds.
While the second season doesn’t quite live up to the near-perfect first, that freshman outing offers slow-burning greatness, doling out revelations about the Rayburn family incrementally. The series follows the Rayburn siblings, John (Kyle Chandler), Meg (Linda Cardellini), Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) and Danny, portrayed by the Emmy-nominated Ben Mendelsohn, who gives one of this decade’s best television performances It’s Danny who’s the powder keg, the black-sheep brother who returns home to hotel business and upends the entire family, outing their secrets and putting them all in danger. Bloodline is a stressful series. It seems designed not to entertain, but to give viewers a panic attack. It’s a series that demands to be binged, not because the viewer wants to find out what’s next so much as not pushing through means living with these characters’ anxiety that much longer.
Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley returns as a scumbag we can’t help but swoon over in this Lifetime drama that’s now been handed off to the streaming platform. Badgley plays Joe Goldberg, a seemingly-sweet guy who works at a bookshop in the city and courts a beautiful blonde named Beck (Elizabeth Lail). Unfortunately, that’s where the rom-com portion of this thriller ends. You see, Joe’s “courting” includes stalking the object of his affections, breaking into her apartment, holding her boyfriend hostage, and peeping in on her most intimate of moments. And that’s only in the first episode. If anything, this show is proof that the modern dating world can be a terrifying hellscape.
One Day at a Time
A remake of a 1970s sitcom produced by 94-year-old iconic television producer Norman Lear, One Day at a Time manages to not only match its predecessor but miraculously improve upon it. This updated version centers on a Cuban America family headed by a single mom (Justina Machado) raising three kids with the help of her mom (Rita Moreno). It’s broad jokes and laugh track feels somewhat out of place on the streaming service, but the jokes still land and more importantly, the characters connect in an honest way as they attempt to live on a modest nurse’s salary and maintain their Cuban heritage while adapting to modern progressivism (much like Fresh Off the Boat). It’s more poignant sitcom than it is funny, but it’s a warm, loving look at difficulties of single parenting that resonates as much in 2017 as it did in the ’70s.
House of Cards
The highly bingeable political series is the grandfather of Netflix original programming, and now with five seasons under its belt, it’s had a lot of highs and plenty of lows. The first season is impeccable, as we see the beginning of Frank Underwood’s ascent to power from Speaker of the House to eventual President of the United States. The series, however, hits some rough spots, especially in season three when Underwood and his wife Clare (Robin Wright) turn against each other. The series is best when the two are working together.It’s beginning to run out of political room to maneuver. Still, the series is never short on twists, turns, and the occasional huge surprise. The supporting cast — which includes Molly Parker, Michael Kelly, Reg E. Cathey, Constance Zimmer, and Corey Stoll, among others — is always excellent, even if their storylines often run into dead ends.After former star Kevin Spacey’s alleged sexual misconduct against 15 accusers, and replacing him with his wife, Claire (Robin Wright), which leads to one of the most misconceived denouements one could imagine for a series of its profile.
Grace And Frankie
Grace And Frankie‘s first season started streaming on Netflix back in 2015 and the third season was recently added to the streaming service. This series is super hilarious and is not to be missed. When their husbands share that they are in love with each other, the two women become unlikely and surprising friends. They accept each other’s differences and their own and it is a really charming story. This unlikely duo deal with circumstances that you would probably expect in an old-school sitcom but with a new, modern approach. Plus there is the fact that the actors are top-notch, from Jane Fonda to Lily Tomlin to Sam Waterston to Martin Sheen. So guess what you are going to be doing this week? Watching Grace And Frankie! What would you do if you were in their situation? That is something that you are going to be asking yourself!
Following the inspiring book by Sophia Amoruso, #Girlboss is a comedic series that is one of Netflix’s latest originals. Her story inspires young girls and women who want to do more with their life and is an empowering look at not giving up on your dreams. Sophia Amoruso has seriously gone through hell and back to start her business and she has so many amazing stories that have changed her life for the better and she has been a huge inspiration for many who want to do the same. She managed to take her career from nothing to something and it is really awesome. We are very excited to see this series which premiered on April 21st, 2017 (if you haven’t already watched, what are you waiting for?). Based on the trailer alone, it looks like you’ll be inspired and also laughing since this show is definitely super funny. It’s the perfect balance in our minds.
The Get Down
There’s a ton of hype around this Netflix original and for good reason. The Get Downis a short series that focuses on the life of youth detaching from the typical disco scene and trying to make it in the MC rapping world in an era where this type of musical expression wasn’t even valid unless you were performing in an underground community. While you might think this show isn’t for you just because it’s a musical drama, you would be totally wrong! This series takes its musical concept and completely shapes it in a brand new way. So you can definitely curl up on the couch and get started on your binge. Get ready to get down to the amazing music throughout this series! You will be so glad that you gave this one a try and will soon be telling all your friends about it.
The name and the description may have you assuming that this is a typical network procedural: FBI agents interview psychopaths in order to catch murderers. But Mindhunter is as much Mad Men as it is Law & Order. Produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron, the story follows two real-life agents, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff, the original King George III in Hamilton on Broadway) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), along with consulting psychologist Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) in the FBI’s nascent Behavioral Science Unit. Joe Penhall’s series is based on a similarly titled true crime book. Interviewing and cataloguing convicted serial killers (a phrase the trio invents) leads to them helping on active cases, but it also affects each of their personal lives in different ways. Cameron Britton is particularly unforgettable as notorious murderer and necrophiliac Edmund Kemper