This list is continually updated to reflect recent Netflix availability as TV shows are frequently added and removed.
Netflix has a treasure trove of awesome movies that you can stream right now, but if you’re looking for more than just a two-hour commitment, it’s also got a boatload of great TV shows you can delve into to keep yourself occupied for days, or even weeks on end. If you just finished a good series and you need a new one to fill the void, Netflix is the place to go. Nothing beats a weekend-long marathon with no commercials, so without further ado, we give you our tightly-curated list of the best Netflix Instant TV shows.
New for September
Crossovers are not a new concept — superheroes have been doing it for decades — but Penny Dreadful’s Gothic milieu helps it stand out, particularly in the television landscape. The show is a who’s who of 19th century icons, including Victor Frankenstein and Dorian Gray, as well as several original characters. The show begins with stately adventurer Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) and his compatriot, the psychic Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), recruiting American gunslinger Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) to investigate the disappearance of Murray’s daughter, Mina. The case takes them to dark places, but all of them carry their own secrets that may be darker still. True to it genre roots, Penny Dreadful takes things slow, building relationships between characters and coyly unfurling its mysteries. The show’s unique atmosphere and mastery of tone set it apart from everything else on television.
Poverty and comedy have a strange history together. Shakespeare’s comedies overwhelmingly focused on commoners, and the most famous sitcoms — i.e. The Simpsons, Roseanne, All in the Family — tend to follow blue-collar Americans. Into this tradition steps Shameless, a very tragic comedy that explores life on the rough side of the tracks through the Gallagher family. Father Frank (William H. Macy) is an unreliable alcoholic, and his six children often have to fend for themselves. Stepping into her transitory father’s role is eldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum), who must balance her family’s many problems with her own needs. An American adaptation of a British series, Shameless maintains the original’s cross-cultural themes of addiction and class struggle, while embracing a distinctly American setting.