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 January
Like many fantasy and sci-fi shows, The OA begins with a central mystery: a woman named Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling), who’s been missing for seven years, makes a public reappearance when she jumps off a bridge. Her parents and law enforcement wonder where she’s been, why she has strange scars on her back, and why, despite being blind as a child, she can now see. The show is not immediately forthcoming with answers, either. The OA (as Prairie calls herself) is dodgy about her story, and more focused on a mission for which she needs the help of five townsfolk. Not bound by the conventions of television, The OA flits from genre to genre, gradually revealing a mind-bending spectacle with some majestic imagery and a bit of poetry to it. Although the plot can take some questionable turns, and viewers may find the pace agonizingly slow, the show’s ambitions make it worth watching.
Guillermo del Toro is not a name people typically associate with kid’s shows — the director often draws on fairy tales and folklore for his stories, and even his most accessible films have grotesque or disturbing elements. His recent animated series, Trollhunters, is a much lighter tale, however, one that combines elements of Scandinavian folklore and superhero comics for a show that’s heavy on action and fantasy. The series follows Jim Lake (Anton Yelchin), a teenager who finds an amulet that grants him magical powers. Jim also learns that there is a world inhabited by trolls, hidden from humanity, and he must use the powers of the amulet to protect both humans and trolls from dark forces. What really stands out about Trollhunters is its style; the show is beautifully animated, and the designs of the trolls and other creatures are as strange as anything del Toro has ever done.
White Rabbit Project
Those still mourning the end of MythBusters should be happy to learn that Netflix has produced a spiritual successor. White Rabbit Project is hosted by the MythBusters “Build Team” — Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci — and follows them as they conduct experiments centered around various historical topics, including jailbreaks, World War II weaponry, and scams. The first episode, for example, finds the three building gadgets to simulate superpowers. The hosts have an obvious and endearing enthusiasm for their work, though their humor can be grating. For people who like to see engineering at work — or who simply want to see things explode — White Rabbit Project is a fun, educational reality show.