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 October
Luke Cage opens on a Harlem barbershop, the clients and barbers talking about the New York Knicks, the value of taking Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth pick in the draft, and whether Pat Riley or Phil Jackson is the greater coach. The first words out of the titular superhero’s mouth?
“’Cause the Knicks played like men when Pat Riley was head coach.”
It is a strangely specific way to begin a show about a crime-fighting superhuman, but an appropriate one given Luke Cage is not merely about heroes and villains slugging it out. This is a show about life and politics in Harlem as much as anything else, one which pits the old-school virtues espoused by Cage (Mike Colter) against the rapacious business practices of local mob boss “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali). Rooted in black culture, the show also draws heavily on rap and funk music, as well as the literary heritage of Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin.
Joe Swanberg’s eight-episode anthology, Easy, explores the many incarnations of romance, with almost every episode presenting a different story set in Chicago. One story follows a long-married couple trying to spice up their love life, another a pair of artists whose personal and professional lives collide after a night together. The stories are heavily improvised, with a focus on interactions between characters, rather than plot. As expected of an anthology series, not every episode of Easy is great, but at its best it is one of the most intimate, honest explorations of love and sexuality around.
Following a series of murders in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) arrives to supervise the investigation. The killer, Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), is a family man and therapist, trying to maintain his personal and professional lives while hunting young women. Unlike many police procedurals, The Fall makes its villain known very early.
Thus, for the audience, the tension comes not from trying to guess the killer’s identity, but from watching the detective and murderer go about their days, never knowing who is about to get the upper hand. The Fall is a psychological procedural, focusing more on the lives and motivations of the central characters than finding clues. A simmering detective story, to be sure, but one well worth the time investment.