Agreed, Netflix surely has the most extensive as well as an astonishingly diverse collection of TV shows and series we’re ever likely to find. But, then again, with new seasons of popular series, reboots of old classics and completely new shows being added almost every other day, it indeed can be pretty easy to get confused between what to binge on and what to avoid.
With genres ranging from the good-old sitcoms to mind-bending sci-fi, and shows varying from cultural obsessions, to the comparatively up-and-coming modern TV-series; we looked through the vast repository of the streaming service, and took a note of the thirty most binge-worthy series there worthy of your time.
So what’s the wait for? Make yourself comfortable, get that large tub of popcorn, and treat yourself to these incredible TV series that you can find on Netflix.
The 30 best binge-worthy series on Netflix:
Ozark is a crime drama television series starring Jason Bateman (who also is the director and executive producer for the series) and Laura Linney as a married couple who relocate their family to the Ozarks for money laundering.
It inevitably drew comparisons to the cult-favourite Breaking Bad for its tonal and thematic similarities but looked closely Ozark is a wholly different ball game—money laundering with the mob, local mafia and cartels adding to its mix. It received largely positive reviews and received 32 Primetime Emmy Award nominations including two for Outstanding Drama Series, with Bateman winning for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series and Julia Garner for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, both in 2019.
Ruthless yet thrilling, intense yet gripping; Ozark is an experience that commands multiple viewings.
29. Russian Doll
This dark comedy follows a woman named Nadia on her journey as the guest of honour at a seemingly inescapable party one night in New York City. She dies repeatedly, always restarting at the same moment at the party, as she tries to figure out what is happening to her. Subsequently, she meets a man who is experiencing the same thing in a different event.
Featuring Natasha Lyonne, Charlie Barnet, Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, and Elizabeth Ashley; Russian Doll received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series.
Well written and executed, we soon find ourselves to be inhibiting Nadia’s world for one repeat night as it swirls through modern art and literature, philosophy and Jewish mysticism until the very end.
Glow revolves around a fictionalization of the characters and gimmicks of the 1980s syndicated women’s professional wrestling circuit Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (or GLOW) founded by David McLane.
Creator Liz Flahive reveals the reasons for making the show: “We wanted to look back on the 1970s, coming out of the women’s movement, and into the 1980s, and ask the question: Did it work? Did things get better?”
With Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel among others in lead roles, Glow was a critical success and was renewed for a fourth and final season, which however got cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing a production shutdown.
The show revolves around the story of Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), the Devil, who abandons Hell for Los Angeles where he runs his own nightclub named ‘LUX’ and becomes a consultant to the LAPD.
Based on the DC Comics character created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg taken from the comic book series The Sandman, who later became the protagonist of a spin-off comic book series, both published by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, Lucifer is well-crafted binge-worthy series that blends in multiple genres well.
26. Two and a Half Men
For those of you who haven’t checked this extremely favoured sitcom yet, it deals with the life of Charlie Harper, a jingle writer who leads a hedonistic, carefree life which changes for the good which completely turns on his head when his good-for-nothing brother, Alan, and 10-year-old nephew, Jake, move into his Malibu beach house.
Two and a Half Men clearly failed to replicate and touch the great heights of its initial success back from the Charlie Sheen days in the later seasons, after he found himself to be replaced by Ashton Kutcher. It still nonetheless is super funny, hilarious, has genuine laugh-out-loud moments, and is definitely binge-worthy.
25. Schitt’s Creek
The six seasons of this family sitcom is a joyride of various emotions altogether. Schitt’s Creek follows the trials and tribulations of the formerly wealthy Rose family when they are forced to relocate to Schitt’s Creek, a small town they once purchased as a joke.
The series was conceived when Dan Levy wondered how wealthy families, as frequently depicted on American reality television, would react if they were stripped of all their money.
Although limited in popularity throughout its first few seasons, the series’ appearance on Netflix after its third season is credited for the show’s sudden rise in stature, attributed to the “Netflix bump” and a dynamic social media presence.
At the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, the series’ final season swept all seven major comedy awards (the first time for a comedy or drama series)—Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Directing for Dan Levy, and setting a record for winning all four major acting categories for O’Hara, Murphy and both Levys.
24. The IT Crowd
This hilariously funny British sitcom is set in a London office centring around three staff members of its IT department, namely, Maurice, Roy and their department head Jen Barber who knows nothing about IT.
It is a bit of a shame that The IT Crowd is not talked more about, because they should: it’s absolutely great. Watching computer geeks (and their non-technical boss) do nothing but sit around in their underground office and asking fusspots “have you tried restarting the machine?” has never been this fun before.
This crime epic chronicles the rise of the cocaine trade in Colombia and the gripping real-life stories of drug kingpins of the late ’80s in this raw, gritty original vigour. Also detailed are the actions taken by law enforcement as they battle in the war on drugs, targeting notorious and powerful figures that include drug lord Pablo Escobar. As efforts are made to control cocaine, one of the world’s most valuable commodities, the many entities involved — legal, political, police, military and civilian — find themselves in conflict.
One of the most popular and talked-about series on Netflix of all-time, Narcos is bone-chilling, brutal and brilliant.
Fargo is inspired by the eponymous 1996 film, which was written and directed by the Coen brothers. The Coen’s were impressed by its script and agreed to be named as executive producers. The series follows an anthology format, with each season set in a different era and location, with a different story and mostly new characters and cast, although there is minor overlap. Each season is heavily influenced by various Coen brothers films, with each containing numerous references to them.
Creator Noah Hawley agreed that this takes place before the events of the film, but he believes all the stories connect: “I like the idea that somewhere out there is a big, leather-bound book that’s the history of true crime in the Midwest, and the movie was Chapter 4, Season 1 was Chapter 9 and this is Chapter 2,” he said. “You can turn the pages of this book, and you just find this collection of stories. … But I like the idea that these things are connected somehow, whether it’s linearly or literally or thematically. That’s what we play around with.”
21. Rick and Morty
An adult animated sci-fi sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for Cartoon Network’s late-night programming block Adult Swim, Rick and Morty follows the misadventures of cynical mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his good-hearted but fretful grandson Morty Smith, who split their time between domestic life and interdimensional adventures.
The series originated from an animated short parody film of Back to the Future, created by Roiland for Channel 101, a short film festival co-founded by Harmon and has been acclaimed by critics for its originality, creativity and humour.
“We were sitting on the floor, cross-legged with laptops and I was about to get up and go home and he said, ‘Wait, if you go home, it might take us three months to write this thing. Stay here right now and we can write it in six hours.’ He just had a premonition about that.”
20.The End of the F***ing World
The End of the F***ing World follows James (Alex Lawther), a 17-year-old who believes himself to be a psychopath, and Alyssa (Jessica Barden), an angry classmate who sees in James a chance to escape from her tumultuous home life. They embark on a road trip across England and begin to develop a relationship after a series of mishaps.
The programme has been praised for its writing, execution and subject matter, as well as for Lawther’s and Barden’s performances. Both series were nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series, with the second series winning in 2020, as well as receiving a Peabody Award in 2019.
Dark represented the first German original series produced for Netflix. It went on to receive critical acclaim, with praise for its tone, visuals, acting, casting, musical score, and the ambition and complexity of its narrative.
This science-fiction thriller focuses on the aftermath of a child’s disappearance and follows characters from the fictional German town of Winden as they pursue the truth. They follow connections between four estranged families to unravel a sinister time travel conspiracy which spans several generations. The series explores the existential implications of time and its effect on human nature.
Marvel’s Daredevil is rightly considered to be among the best works on any superhero character. It follows the life of Matt Murdock, who manages to overcome the challenges that he faces due to him being blind since childhood and fights criminals as a lawyer and the masked vigilante – Daredevil. It is the first in a series of shows that lead to The Defenders crossover miniseries.
Creator Drew Goddard pitched a new Daredevil film to Marvel, but Marvel was not looking to create an R-rated film, and Goddard did not want a “watered-down version” of the character, as he also explained in 2015: “I went into Marvel and talked to them about making it as a movie a couple of years ago, long after the Affleck movie. But what we all sort of realised is that this movie doesn’t want to cost $200 million.
“The thing about Matt Murdock is, he’s not saving the world. He’s just keeping his corner clean. So it would feel wrong to have spaceships crashing in the middle of the city. But because of that, Marvel on the movie side is not in the business of making $25 million movies. They’re going big, as they should.”
17. Sex Education
Starring Asa Butterfield as an insecure teenager and Gillian Anderson as his mother, this hugely critical and commercial success follows the story of Otis Milburn, who is ambivalent about sex even though, or perhaps because, his mother is a sex therapist who is frank about all aspects of sexuality. After inadvertently assisting the school bully with his sexual performance anxiety, Otis sets up a sex advice business with Maeve—a confident but troubled classmate—to help their fellow students with their sexual problems.
The second season follows Otis who, after finally securing a relationship with Ola, is hit with the reality and pressures of a high school romance. That romance is further tested by the introduction of new students who challenge the status quo at Moordale High and a chlamydia outbreak that causes students to question and struggle with topical issues.
This David Fincher produced psychological crime thriller television series created by Joe Penhall, is at once an extremely disturbing and brutal record of imprisoned serial killers as the FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), along with psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) try to understand how they think, with the hope of applying this knowledge to solve ongoing cases.
The character of Holden Ford is loosely based on FBI agent John E. Douglas, on whose book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit the show is based. The character of Bill Tench is based on pioneering FBI agent Robert K. Ressler. Wendy Carr is a fictional character based on psychiatric forensic nurse researcher Ann Wolbert Burgess, a prominent Boston College nursing professor who collaborated with the FBI agents in the Behavioral Science Unit and procured grants to research serial murderers, serial rapists, and child molesters.
Loosely based on the story of two high school girls in Rome involved in an underage prostitution ring, Baby is an Italian teen drama streaming television series that throws into light the lives of students at an elite high school in Rome who engage in prostitution.
Now extended to three seasons, Baby is gritty, honest, and overt in its portrayal of the depth of human complexity, executed with great writing, cinematography and sound.
Focusing on Jim Gordon’s early days with the Gotham City Police Department, this prequel series based on Batman also subsequently includes the Bruce Wayne character and the origin stories of Batman’s rogue’s gallery.
Overcast and gritty, it puts up a convincing display as one of the better representations of the fictional vigilante outside of the cinema. The unique style and tone also help to elevate Gotham, as it truly immerses you in the over-the-top, yet a somewhat grounded city, which begins with gang wars, and ends with psychotic dummies and magical plants.
13. Orange Is the New Black
Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, about her experiences at FCI Danbury, a minimum-security federal prison, Orange Is the New Black is Netflix’s most-watched original series.
It was widely acclaimed throughout its run and has received many accolades. For its first season, the series garnered 12 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, winning three. A new Emmy rule in 2015 forced the series to change categories from comedy to drama. For its second season, the series received four Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, and Uzo Aduba won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
12. Bojack Horseman
One of the most popular and influential shows of our times, Bojack Horseman has firmly established itself as a favourite among the current generation with its philosophical themes relating to depression, failure, stardom, existentialism and the meaning for life. BoJack Horseman has contributed to the rise of the “sadcom”, a tragicomic format that balances humour and sadness.
This tragicomedy tells the story of an anthropomorphic horse named BoJack Horseman, the washed-up star of a 1990s sitcom who plans his return to celebrity relevance with an autobiography to be written by ghostwriter Diane Nguyen. He also has to contend with his agent Princess Carolyn, roommate Todd Chavez, and former rival Mr Peanutbutter, as well as his struggles with depression and addiction.
Another sci-fi work from the bags of the Wachowski sisters, Sense8‘s first season introduced a multinational ensemble cast, with Aml Ameen, Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Tuppence Middleton, Max Riemelt, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, and Brian J. Smith portraying eight strangers from different parts of the world who suddenly discover that they are “sensates”: human beings who are mentally and emotionally linked.
Freema Agyeman, Terrence Mann, Anupam Kher, Naveen Andrews, and Daryl Hannah also star. In the second season, Toby Onwumere replaces Ameen. The show explores issues related to identity, sexuality, gender, and politics that its creators felt had been rarely addressed on television. Its central theme is an embrace of empathy across difference.
According to the Wachowskis, the origins of Sense8 date back several years before the announcement of the show to “a late-night conversation about the ways technology simultaneously unites and divides us”.
10. The Haunting of Bly Manor
Created by the go-to man of modern horror movies Mike Flanagan, The Haunting of Bly Manor is loosely based on Henry James’s work, particularly his 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw and is the follow-up series to The Haunting of Hill House, being the second entry in The Haunting anthology series.
“The story tells of a young governess hired by a man to look after his niece and nephew at the family country house after they fall into his care. Arriving at the Bly estate, she begins to see apparitions that proceed to haunt the premises.”
Arguably one of the best TV shows of all-time, this modern adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson.
Sherlock was nominated for numerous awards including Emmys, BAFTAs and a Golden Globe, winning several awards across a variety of categories. The show was also honoured with a Peabody Award in 2011. The third series became the UK’s most-watched drama series since 2001.
8. American Crime Story
Several historical and high profile murder cases are reenacted with proper factual evidence, official records and background information that gives a different insight into the famous murders in this American anthology true crime television series developed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.
The first season, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson, presents the murder trial of O. J. Simpson, based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson. It premiered on February 2, 2016. The second season, subtitled The Assassination of Gianni Versace, explores the murder of designer Gianni Versace by spree killer Andrew Cunanan, based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History.
7. Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Undoubtedly a cult-classic from the old times, Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British surreal sketch comedy series created by and starring the comedy group Monty Python, consisting of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam, aka the “Pythons”.
The series stands out for its use of absurd situations, mixed with risqué and innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines.
Their comedy is often pointedly intellectual, with numerous erudite references to philosophers and literary figures and their works. The team intended their humour to be impossible to categorise and succeeded (although, by their perspective, failed) so completely that the adjective “Pythonesque” was invented to define it and, later, similar material.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus has become an influential work on comedy as well as the ongoing popular culture.
6. Peaky Blinders
Peaky Blinders features an ensemble cast, led by Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Joe Cole and Paul Anderson starring as the gang’s senior members. Sam Neill, Tom Hardy, Paddy Considine, Adrien Brody, Aidan Gillen, Charlotte Riley, Sam Claflin and Anya Taylor-Joy also have recurring roles at various junctures of the series.
It has had a tremendous cultural impact in the UK, with particular praise for its stylish cinematography and charismatic performances and the “ever-so-cool” Cillian Murphy.
5. Better Call Saul
As a spin-off and a prequel of Vince Gilligan’s previous series, Breaking Bad, we primarily follow Jimmy McGill’s (Bob Odenkirk), an earnest lawyer and former con-man, metamorphosis into a greedy criminal defence attorney known as Saul Goodman.
The series premiere held the record for the highest-rated scripted series premiere in basic cable history at the time of its airing, and has received critical acclaim, with particular praise for its acting, characters, writing, direction, and cinematography; many critics have called it a worthy successor to Breaking Bad and one of the best prequels ever made, with some deeming it superior to its predecessor.
4. South Park
Another cult-classic adult animated television series, South Park was developed by created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone from The Spirit of Christmas, two consecutive animated shorts. The latter became one of the first Internet viral videos, ultimately leading to its production. The pilot episode was produced using cutout animation, leading to all subsequent episodes being produced with computer animation that emulated the cutout technique.
It follows the lives of four young, school-going boys, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick, who live in South Park set out on various adventures.
It remains one of Comedy Central’s highest-rated shows and is slated to air new episodes through 2022. Since 2000, each episode has typically been written and produced in the week preceding its broadcast, with Parker serving as the primary writer and director. A one-hour special episode, titled “The Pandemic Special”, premiered on September 30, 2020.
3. Jessica Jones
This Netflix original chronicles the life of one of the darker Marvel characters, the mysterious Jessica Jones. Just like Daredevil, it is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sharing continuity with the films of the franchise, and is the second show that led to The Defenders crossover miniseries.
Krysten Ritter stars as the titular character of Jessica Jones, a former superhero who opens her own detective agency.
Praised and critically acclaimed for its realistic depiction of issues like PTSD, sexual assault and rape, showrunner Melissa Rosenborg said that ‘we very aware this is the first female superhero Marvel’s ever introduced as a lead. But there was never the intention of, “this is an issue series, we’re dealing with issues.’ While issues of sexual assault and women in power are all issues that I certainly feel very passionately about taking on, the show’s all about exploring the inner workings of Jessica Jones and her ensemble.”
2. Gilmore Girls
Gilmore Girls focuses on the relationship between single mother, Lorelai Gilmore, and her daughter Rory, who live in Stars Hollow, Connecticut, a small fictional town filled with colourful characters. The series explores issues of family, romance, education, friendship, disappointment, and ambition, along with generational divides and social class.
Now a cult-classic with a dedicated fanbase, Gilmore Girls is best remembered for its witty dialogue, cross-generational appeal, and effective mix of humour and drama.
Series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has summarized the core of Gilmore Girls: “I think the theme was always family and connection. I always felt like the underlying thing about Gilmore was that, if you happened to be born into a family that doesn’t really understand you, go out and make your own. That’s what Lorelai did. She went out and she made her own family. The ironic twist in her life is that then this daughter that she created this half family for, likes the family that she left. It was a cycle of crazy family.”
1. The Big Bang Theory
This legendary sitcom followed the lives of four socially awkward friends: Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj, which take a wild turn when they meet the beautiful and airy Penny. Much of the series focuses on science, particularly physics. The four main male characters are employed at Caltech and have science-related occupations, as do Bernadette and Amy. The characters frequently banter about scientific theories or news and make science-related jokes.
Over time, supporting characters were promoted to starring roles, including neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler, microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski, experimental physicist Leslie Winkle, and comic book store owner Stuart Bloom.
Nonetheless, The Big Bang Theory still packs generous dollops of geeky jokes and sexual innuendo ensuring that we fall in love with it all over again.