Our pick of the best Netflix TV shows and original Netflix series right now.
TV shows on Netflix keep getting better as Netflix continues to add to the great catalogue of original series and old favourites.
Trouble is, with so much on offer, deciding on a show to watch can often take far longer than necessary.
That's why we've put together a list of the best Netflix TV shows, so now you can start streaming without wondering whether the show's going to be worth your time.
These are the best TV shows on Netflix right now.
TV show of the week
Related: Best VPNs for streaming video
It's that show you keep seeing pop up in the content categories but never got round to watching. Well, now's the time to finally acquaint yourself with Orphan Black. Netflix has got four seasons of this sci-fi thriller to get stuck into so it should keep you busy for a while.
Orphan Black follows Sarah Manning, who after witnessing the death of a woman who looks identical to her, assumes the woman's identity and begins to learn a lot more than she'd expected about the society in which she lives. Consistently great acting from series star Tatiana Maslany, combined with a compelling storyline make this one worth catching, especially if you've been skipping it thus far.
Related: Best Netflix movies
Best Netflix TV shows
Who doesn't like zombies these days? From the overwhelming success of The Walking Dead to the almost sacred aura that surrounds classic zombie films, everyone's in love with reanimated corpses. And now, Netflix has given you the chance to catch up with the latest attempt to capitalise on the public's love for zombies: iZombie.
This bingeable offering follows a medical student who also happens to be a zombie. In order to survive, she's been feasting on the brains of those unfortunate enough to end up in the morgue. If you thought that was enough to base a show on, think again. She's also good at solving crimes. With all the zombie-based entertainment that has abounded in the last few years, we're surprised it's taken this long for a crime-solving zombie to arrive. But here she is, across two seasons, for you to enjoy.
Line of Duty
If you haven't caught up with what might be the BBC's finest drama in decades (yes, even better than The Night Manager) it's time to get up to speed. An intense police procedural focusing on a police anti-corruption unit, Line of Duty has scored the BBC some of its highest ratings in years.
This week saw the penultimate episode of season three air on BBC Two, and it's shocking ending has fans anxious to see what happens in next week's season finale. Before that airs then, why not use the intervening time to watch season one and two on Netflix? iPlayer should have you covered when it comes time to start season three.
In the wake of new Daredevil and House of Cards seasons comes the less popular, and probably slight less good, Falling Skies. But just because it doesn't have Kevin Spacey breaking the fourth wall or Jon Bernthal (Punisher from Daredevil) consistently refusing to look at anyone when he delivers a line, doesn't mean you should overlook it.
With Spielberg on production duties, you can expect some level of refinement from this post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama. It's also got aliens, who have managed to wipe-out a good segment of the human population. Misanthropes should love this one then, but there's enough here to keep those who still quite like humanity watching. With four seasons to get through, you better get started.
The first ever Netflix sitcom has arrived. And it's actually quite good. Created by Two and Half Men's Jim Patterson and starring Two and a Half Men's Ashton Kutcher, you'd be forgiven if you judged this as a rehash of old material. But even critics are praising this comedic take on rural American living.
Kutcher plays a 34-year-old semi-pro footballer who returns to his family's cattle farm after 15 years away. The usual family dysfunction makes for some decent laughs and despite a somewhat flimsy premise, The Ranch is actually pretty funny. Give it a go.
Related: Amazon Video vs Netflix
If you feel like watching yet another prestige comedy from the Netflix studios, Flaked might be just what you're looking for. Just as with Master of None or Love, Flaked melds comedy with drama to create what are fast-becoming known as 'traumedies'. The jury's still out on just how effective and sustainable this approach is, but there's no denying Flaked is well-produced.
The show follows Will Arnett's Chip, a recovering alcoholic who provides advice to other recovering alcoholics while living a fairly narcissistic existence. There's comedy here, and plenty of drama too. And while it might not be the best example of the current crop of Netflix originals, there's something about Flaked which will keep you intrigued. Give it a try and see whether you've had your fill of 'traumedies' or not.
Related: Best Amazon Prime TV shows
Daredevil (Season 2)
It's time to go back into the depths of Hell's Kitchen, as Daredevil returns for a second season. Following Ben Affleck's abysmal turn as Matt Murdoch, it seemed the character would never recover. But as with most things, Netflix had the answer – rescuing the character from the depths of the bargain DVD bin and putting him into a smart and gritty drama series.
This season we get Jon Bernthal as The Punisher, as well as Elodie Yung as Elektra, and far less of last season's villain Kingpin. Will it work? You'll have to watch and find out.
Related: Best Amazon Prime movies
This comedy series follows a diverse range of characters, all based on creator Dan Harmon's experiences attending a community college. Basically a lawyer is sent back to college, after lying about having a bachelor's degree. In his efforts to woo a classmate from his Spanish class, he starts a Spanish study group which attracts an interesting mix of fellow students.
The cast of comic actors includes Ken Jeong and Chevy Chase and really makes this one worth catching. It was cancelled after six seasons, five of which are currently available on Netflix.
Comedy Bang Bang
This is why Netflix is so cool. You get great US shows that would never find their way onto UK TV stations. For once we're not at the mercy of terrestrial TV executives deciding what the British public will and won't like. Case in point: Comedy Bang Bang.
Why is Comedy Bang Bang so cool? Well first, it's got Reggie Watts, who mixes his impressive musical talent with Andy Kaufman-esque comedy to create something completely unique. On top of that, it's got Scott Aukerman - the guy responsible for one of the best live comedy shows in Los Angeles: Comedy Death Ray at the Upright Citizens Brigade. He also created that show on Funny or Die with Zach Galifianakis: Between Two Ferns. No idea what we're talking about? Then watch this show and find out.
Guests on this chat show parody include Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame, Seth Rogan, and Paul Rudd among others. Also, one Netflix reviewer felt moved to offer the following précis: "This will distract you from the pain of being alive... until you run out of episodes."
This is a new offering from Judd Apatow, comedian Paul Rust, and 'Girls' writer Lesley Arfin. The show balances comedy and drama and follows the relationship between two seemingly unsuited 20-somethings. It's one of those easily bingeable offerings which might just be your next obsession. All 10 episodes are available now so get to it!
If you're yet to catch up with Homeland, we suggest you make it your next TV series to binge-watch. The first two seasons are the best, but even after that, Homeland is a realistic and sober look at post-9/11 United States intelligence.
Ok, that sounds dry. But it's really not. Great performances from all involved, especially Claire Danes as the brilliant but neurotic CIA agent Carrie Mathison, make this essential viewing. Both Danes and co-star Damian Lewis won Emmys for their performances, and some of the plot turns will certainly shock you.
As we all await the new seasons of House of Cards and Daredevil, we find ourselves in the Netflix dead-zone. There's not a whole lot of original series coming out at the moment, which is fine because it gives us time to go back through our absurdly large list of stuff to watch.
And when doing so, we recommend checking out House. If you've never witnessed Hugh Laurie's turn as the caustic yet brilliant Dr House, you definitely should. Like a lot of series, this one kind of peters out around the seventh season, but up until then, it's genuinely great and more than deserving of a pre-House of Cards catch-up.
Tortured novelist moves to California and deals with writers block by indulging all his vices. It's a decent premise made better by David Duchovny who takes this comedy drama to the next level. There's seven seasons on Netflix right now and there's loads of raunchy stuff going on so you really don't have an excuse not to watch.
Making a Murderer
Technically a documentary, Making a Murderer's ten episode structure makes it more of a TV show, what with the supreme binge-watchability and all.
If you haven't seen it yet, go and watch it now. Making a Murderer is in-depth, moving, shocking, scary, heart-warming, intriguing, and will probably have you shaking with rage by the end. The series tells the story of Wisconsin native Steven Avery and his frequent run-ins with the law which eventually get him locked up for life. Don't worry, that's no spoiler. What will blow your mind is the collaboration between all levels of law enforcement and local authorities to ensure Avery's continued misfortune. We won't say what that entails, but needless to say it's beyond shocking.
Making a Murderer has been compared to the massively popular Serial podcast, and one of the most celebrated documentary series of last year 'The Jinx', for its investigative style. Everyone's talking about it so you better get watching and catch up.
House of Cards
We know, this one goes without saying, but we’re starting off easy. If you haven’t seen Kevin Spacey snarl at other actors for three seasons you haven’t lived. This guy embodies the cynical Congressman Francis Underwood in a way that’s almost slightly too unnerving.
Although the show loses its way somewhat after the first season, it’s worth watching all the way through for the great performances, both from Spacey and the supporting cast (Robin Wright’s icy Claire Underwood is at once despicable and compelling).
It’s based on an English series which ran on the BBC in the early 90s. But it’s better. So watch it.
We're throwing these in TV shows, although they're technically stand-up comedy specials. Bill Burr has a big following in the US but has yet to become a household name in the UK. Which is a shame, because this guy is considered the 'comedian's comedian' among American stand-ups.
His mix of surprisingly insightful observations and untempered Bostonian rage will appeal to those who like their comedy straight up and angry. There's several stand-up specials available on Netflix now, including his most recent 'I'm Sorry You Feel That Way'.
We’re lumping these two shows together for two reasons. First, they both take place in the same universe, the Marvel one that is, and second because they take place in the same neighbourhood. Hell’s Kitchen, New York, is the setting for both Daredevil and the newer, but equally awesome, Jessica Jones.
Both shows represent Marvel’s attempts, in tandem with Netflix, to be a bit more like their rival, DC, and introduce some grit into the previously somewhat light-hearted Marvel universe.
Daredevil feels as though the writers have concocted a crime show with a great story before adding in the comic book licence. It makes for an intriguing series that holds up against any of the best hour-long premium dramas you’ve seen elsewhere.
Jessica Jones, only recently released, will also keep you watching. It maintains a similarly dark tone (which gets darker as the series goes along) and has some great writing. Also Doctor Who – no, not the sweary guy from The Thick of It – is in it and he’s actually quite good.
We’ll forgive you if you’ve yet to catch up on Netflix’s dramatic exploration of the rise and fall of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. This Netflix original flew somewhat under the radar upon its release and certainly hasn’t garnered the following its rival shows (see above) have. But we’re throwing it in here for its interesting mix of history and dramatism.
This is the television version of an historical novel. If you know nothing about the Colombian drug trade and Escobar’s rise to the top, you will learn a lot from this series. Yes, you can learn while you watch TV, and this story is a genuinely exciting one, made all the more compelling because it’s true.
The acting is also top notch and the production values are up there with the best. So give it a try, you might learn something between snacking and struggling to breathe.
Related: Netflix 4K review
Master of None
This one is probably more of a hit in the US, but that’s what’s cool about Netflix – you can discover things you otherwise would never have stumbled across.
Aziz Ansari should be familiar to fans of stand-up comedy. You can watch all his stand-up specials on Netflix already. But following his triumphant Madison Square Garden gig, Aziz was offered his own show, again developed entirely by Netflix, and subsequently stepped into the acting world.
Although the acting is tenuous to say the least, the observations in Master of None are often inspired, and it’s take on the various struggles facing those in their late-20s/early-30s are wholly original. It’s also pretty funny and for fans of the more esoteric end of the comedy spectrum, it’s got Eric Wareheim. If you don’t know who he is, YouTube ‘Tim and Eric’ and sort your life out.
This has the 'TrustedReviews Deputy Editor Five Star seal of approval'. He loves it, and he wants you to love it too. Just listen to Andy Vandervell gush about his favourite show: “It’s a comedy cross between James Bond, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Arrested Development. I mean, what more do you want? Just watch it.”
So there you have it. Check out this irreverent animated show about a self-centred spy whose only motivation is the luxury lifestyle that comes with the job. It’s good, apparently.
Arrested Development’s Will Arnett stars as BoJack Horseman. He’s literally a horse-man who lives in a fictionalised version of Hollywood where creature-people like him are the norm. Having starred in a 90s sitcom, BoJack Horseman is now a fully washed-up Hollywood hack who still has a heart of gold. It’s both hilarious and dark at the same time, and definitely warrants a watch from fans of similar animated comedy shows such as Family Guy.
There’s two seasons available now, both of which have won over critics, and a third on the way. There’s also a Christmas special which is worth checking out.
Those looking for mindless entertainment will appreciate little-known US comedy series ‘The League’. It’s about a group of friends with questionable personality traits who all participate in a fantasy football league, which for us Brits may sound like a wholly unexciting premise but it actually makes for some hilarious moments.
The League isn’t going to win any awards for production values or innovative ideas but once you see the group making fun of the hopeless Andre (see above), you’ll be hooked.
American Horror Story
Season one and two of this creepy drama series are worth watching. American Horror Story tells a different tale each season, from haunted houses to doomed asylums. Hollywood vet Jessica Lange steals the show across every one of those seasons, effortlessly inhabiting each character the writers throw at her and adding a certain dignity to the grisly proceedings.
The consensus seems to be that season two is the best. It’s certainly the most terrifying, but we recommend season one just as highly for its strange melding of horror, teen drama, and comedy. It’s unlike anything you’ll have seen before so give it a try.
If you haven’t seen it… what are you doing? We don’t want to hear excuses, it’s on Netflix for god’s sake. There’s no way to avoid it. Watch it. Then come back and read the rest.
W/ Bob and David
This one may prove to be a divisive choice. For the uninitiated, US comedians Bob Odenkirk (you’ll recognise him as Saul from Breaking Bad) and David Cross used to have a comedy series called Mr Show. It was kind of an American version of Monty Python, but obviously not quite as good. Still, in the late 90s Mr Show gained an almost cult following for representing the ‘alternative’ side of American sketch comedy.
Netflix, in their quest to demonstrate their coolness, has since brought the two comedians back together for a four episode run of surreal, irreverent sketches that touch on everything from terrorism to time travel. It’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, especially if you’re one of those people who has convinced themselves that American’s ‘don’t get our comedy’. But hey, this ain’t the BBC. It’s Netflix. Try something new and stop complaining.
Idris Elba does a lot of squinting in this gritty crime drama from the BBC. He’s squinting at everything in an effort to seem thoughtful and brooding. He’s even squinting in the picture for the first episode. And to be honest, it works.
This is the role that really introduced Elba to a British audience after his fantastic turn as Stringer Bell in US series The Wire. And although the show seems to go from deep character study to adopting the narrative of a Hollywood blockbuster in the space of two seasons, it’s drab aesthetic is powerful and scores one for the Brits in what is a Netflix swimming with US media products.
F is for Family
This is a comedy series which is new to Netflix. Developed and written by Bill Burr (that American comedian we mentioned earlier) the show centres on a family and is based on Burr's stand-up comedy. Political correctness is said to be the main target of what are sure to be some pretty risque gags. Try it yourself and see whether F is for Family can stand up against long-time animated comedy mainstays like Family Guy and South Park.
So there you have it. More than enough to keep you contented. Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this list over the coming weeks and months with the latest additions deserving of your attention.
Got any suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments box below.