The best Netflix original series that you can stream right now

Nearly every major player in Hollywood now has a streaming service to call their own. So why is Netflix still the king of the hill? Because Netflix had the foresight to heavily invest in creating original content that couldn’t simply be pulled away by a larger studio’s ambitions. Consequently, Netflix has been able to diversify its lineup with an eclectic mix of series from all genres that wouldn’t have even been made just a few years ago.

That’s good news for Netflix subscribers, as it means that there’s still an avalanche of original content to explore, from documentaries, comedies, and dramas to sci-fi, fantasy, animated series, and more. The best part is that they will always be there as long as your Netflix account is current.

To make things easier for you, we’ve assembled the best Netflix original series available right now. And if you want to know the latest additions to the Netflix library, be sure to check out our list of what’s new on Netflix this month, best movies on Netflix, and best shows on Netflix.

The Haunting of Bly Manor

The Haunting of Bly Manor

The Haunting of Hill House was a big hit for Netflix, but that story has been told. Fortunately, Mike Flanagan has reassembled Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel, Carla Gugino, and Catherine Parker for a new series, The Haunting of Bly Manor. This stand-alone horror series doesn’t share any continuity or characters with Hill House, but it is loosely based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw.

Pedretti headlines the series as Dani Clayton, an American hired to be an au pair in London in 1987. Unfortunately for Dani, Bly Manor holds all sorts of dark secrets. Perfect for any viewers who have been itching for a scare.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Genre: Supernatural Horror, Drama, Thriller
Stars: Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Amelia Eve
Creator: Mike Flanagan

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Sarah Paulson on Ratched, a Netflix Original Series

Ratched

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Mildred Ratched was the authority figure whose actions proved to be monstrous and vindictive. Ryan Murphy’s prequel series, Ratched, puts Mildred in the starring role with Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story) in the title role. But rather than soften Mildred’s edges and make her sympathetic, the show goes all-in on her descent into darkness. If anything, she’s an even bigger monster in the series than she was in the movie or the novel that inspired it.

Ratched turns back the clock to 1947, as Mildred makes her mark on a mental health facility while harboring her own hidden agenda. She does have a human side and occasional moments of empathy. But Mildred’s heart was black long before she became a nurse.

Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Stars: Sarah Paulson, Finn Wittrock, Cynthia Nixon
Creator: Evan Romansky

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Locke & Key

Locke & Key

It took quite a long time to bring Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez’s Locke & Key comic book series to television, including failed attempts at Fox and Hulu. However, Netflix found a winning approach to the material, thanks to Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, and Aron Eli Coleite. The series follows the Locke family after the murder of their father, Rendell. Nina Locke moves herself and her children into the Keyhouse, the ancestral family home. While exploring their new home, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode discover that Keyhouse lives up to its name with keys that can unlock other worlds and even the mind itself. But a malevolent force wants to claim Keyhouse and its power for itself. This is a perfect Halloween treat for fans looking for TV horror.

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Genre: Supernatural Horror, Fantasy
Stars: Darby Stanchfield, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones
Creator: Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, Aron Eli Coleite

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Remember Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the charming sitcom with Melissa Joan Hart? This is not that show. Instead, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina shares its name with a horror comic that modernizes Sabrina’s tales of witchcraft with a much harder edge. Kiernan Shipka stars in the series as Sabrina Spellman, a human/witch hybrid who is just starting down her magical path. Will she be one of Satan’s chosen? Or will Sabrina find her own way as a witch? It’s not always an easy journey, especially when the forces of darkness threaten Sabrina and her family. But the upcoming final season will bring Sabrina’s story to its end.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Drama, Supernatural, Horror
Stars: Kiernan Shipka, Ross Lynch, Lucy Davis
Creator: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

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Johnny and Daniel face off in Cobra Kai, now on Netflix!

Cobra Kai

Originally made for YouTube Red, this series sequel to the Karate Kid franchise has found a new home on Netflix. Picking up thirty years after the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, Cobra Kai finds down-and-out Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) desperate to find redemption from his epic loss. To do so, he reopens the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo, reigniting his rivalry with the Karate Kid himself, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), who now runs a successful karate dojo of his own. But all is not roses in Daniel’s life, as he struggles to maintain balance and find peace after the passing of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Stars: Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Martin Kove
Creator: Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg

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Altered Carbon Netflix

Altered Carbon

Richard K. Morgan’s cyberpunk noir novel, Altered Carbon is, like all of Morgan’s literature, high-concept sci-fi that is sleek and sexy enough for a mainstream audience. No wonder Netflix jumped at the opportunity to adapt it.

This engrossing series is set more than 300 years in the future, in a world where death has effectively been conquered. Technology allows humans to store their entire consciousness on a disc-like device called a “stack,” enabling them to switch bodies practically at will. Once, however, there was a revolution against this immortalization of society, spearheaded by a group called Envoys, who believed true death was the only thing keeping the world from becoming hopelessly corrupt and destructive. Takeshi Kovacs is the only surviving soldier of that group, his mind imprisoned for centuries until wealthy businessman Laurens Bancroft boots him back up, offering to resurrect Kovacs as himself if he’ll do something for Bancroft: Solve Bancroft’s murder.

Altered Carbon is complicated and can be difficult to follow, especially when Kovacs moves from Joel Kinnaman’s body to Anthony Mackie’s body between seasons, but it’s deeply provocative and enjoyable sci-fi.

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Genre: Sci-fi & Fantasy
Stars: Tamara Taylor, Martha Higareda, James Purefoy
Creator: Laeta Kalogridis

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American Vandal Netflix

American Vandal

After 27 cars in the high-school faculty’s parking lot are vandalized with crude phallic images, the school’s resident slacker and class clown is expelled, but when two fellow students initiate a documentary-style investigation into the incident, everyone becomes a suspect in this surprisingly compelling and hilarious series. A satire of true-crime documentaries like Making a Murderer and SerialAmerican Vandal is a mockumentary that manages to channel much of the same “Did he really do it?” uncertainty into its story, while also offering a very funny and impressively clever spin on the typical docuseries format.

Much like the true-crime series that inspired it, the first season of American Vandal is packed with narrative twists and turns that keep the audience guessing. It’s supremely binge-friendly as you push to discover the next revelation in this seemingly minor incident that consumes the lives of the characters involved in it. The first season of the series earned rave reviews, prompting Netflix to commission a second season, which premiered to even more critical acclaim. Sadly, that might be the last we see of the series, as Netflix abruptly canceled it in October 2018 as part of a wave of cancellations of projects Netflix co-produced with other studios.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Griffin Gluck, Tyler Alvarez, Jimmy Tatro
Creator: Tony Yacenda, Daniel Perrault

Watch on Netflix

Atypical

Atypical

On its surface, Atypical is a traditional family sitcom that hits all the right charming notes with its coming-of-age narrative and characters who are easy to cheer for despite (or because of) their relatable flaws. Look a bit deeper, however, and the Netflix Original series about a high-functioning autistic teenager and his family becomes a remarkably thoughtful exploration of what it means to be “normal” in the modern world. Keir Gilchrist plays Sam, the show’s protagonist, whose pursuit of love and the trials and tribulations that go along with it serves as the foundation of the series’ narrative, and shapes the experiences of his family as they try to find the balance between being supportive and allowing him — and themselves — to be independent. Michael Rappaport and Jennifer Jason Leigh play Sam’s parents, while Brigette Lundy-Paine portrays his supportive sister.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Keir Gilchrist, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Rapaport
Creator:Robia Rashid, Seth Gordon

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Away

Away

The world’s first manned mission to Mars will be led by an American woman: Emma Green (Hilary Swank). Emma has worked her entire life for this goal, but as the launch approaches, she must reconcile with her decision to leave behind her husband (Josh Charles) and teenage daughter (Talitha Bateman) at a crossroads in their lives. Working with a team of international astronauts, Emma is more motivated than ever, but the personal dynamics and pain of leaving her family behind create a tension that she can’t control, making her decision to leave Earth an increasingly complex one.

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Hilary Swank, Josh Charles, Talitha Bateman
Creator: Andrew Hinderaker

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Big Mouth

If you can handle a little bit (OK, a lot) of potty humor, you should enjoy Big Mouth. The animated series follows two seventh-graders, Nick and Andrew (series creator Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, respectively), as they struggle with their burgeoning sexuality, represented by a grotesque, crass “hormone monster” (also voiced by Kroll), whose base desires cause turmoil and frustration for both boys. Their friends Jessi (Jessi Klein) and Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) also struggle with puberty to varying degrees, as does Andrew’s crush, Missy (Jenny Slate/Ayo Edebiri).

On its surface, Big Mouth is quite crude, but that humor belies the show’s nuanced, relatable exploration of adolescence and physical maturation. The series deftly handles the difficulties of middle school life, including common misconceptions held by kids about their sexuality and their bodies.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Nick Kroll, John Mulaney
Creator: Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett

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Black Mirror

Black Mirror

What happens when technology goes too far? That’s not an unreasonable question to ask oneself in 2019, and Black Mirror (originally broadcast on British Channel 4, before being acquired by Netflix) is a wildly entertaining, if depressing, answer to that question. Most of the episodes of this chilling anthology series ponder hypothetical eventualities resulting from the unchecked advancement of technology, often charting courses that are disturbingly well-connected to the way we work and live today.

The show’s production value keeps getting better, and the third and fourth seasons — produced by Netflix — include a bevy of household names, from Jesse Plemons to Gugu Mbatha-Raw (whom creator/writer Charlie Brooker uses to great effect). The first two seasons — including the epic holiday special White Christmas  are also must-see programming. The series broke new ground in late 2018 with the release of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, a stand-alone movie that features an interactive, “choose-your-own-adventure”-style narrative that broke new ground for the medium.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Alice Eve, Michael Kelly
Creator: Charlie Brooker

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BoJack Horseman

Despite lukewarm reviews for its first season, BoJack improved dramatically and received critical acclaim for the following three campaigns. The animated show centers around BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett), a washed-up ’90s sitcom star (and actual horse-man) trying to find happiness and reclaim his former fame. Anthropomorphic half-breeds are the norm, and the show milks much of its humor by simply playing off stereotypes associated with the characters’ animal halves.

The show’s true strength lies in its sincerity, however, as BoJack struggles to deal with his insecurities in a town rife with celebrity and its many vapid failings. Paul F. Tompkins (Best Week Ever), Alison Brie (Community, GLOW), and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) provide excellent voice support in a series that flips from hilarious to depressing with impressive grace.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris
Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg

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Chef's Table

Chef’s Table

This documentary web series introduces viewers to top culinary minds across the world, offering insight into the day-to-day experiences and responsibilities of renowned chefs. Each episode focuses on a different restauranteur and blends together personal stories with culinary content to great effect. The show’s traditional documentary presentation can be a bit stuffy at times, and the narratives can be unevenly balanced in favor of emotional backstories, but most viewers should enjoy and appreciate some insight into the wide world of fine dining.

The quality of each episode hinges largely upon the personality of the chosen chef, and some — notably Massimo Bottura in the first season, Dominique Crenn in the second, and the brash Ivan Orkin in the third — are more camera-friendly than others. Still, the series is a welcome departure from the competition-focused cooking shows that dominate cable and network TV. If you like this, Chef’s Table France is also worth checking out.

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Genre: Cooking
Stars: Dan Barber, Massimo Bottura
Creator: David Gelb

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The Crown

The Crown

The Crown is perhaps the best show on television right now, period. Easily the most celebrated British period piece since Downton AbbeyThe Crown follows Queen Elizabeth II — the still-reigning Queen of England, at 93 years old — across different periods of her life, beginning with her 1947 marriage to Prince Philip of Edinburgh. Reception to the series has been overwhelmingly positive, as nearly every aspect of the show — acting, production value, historical accuracy — has been widely praised.

The series’ interesting format sees Netflix recasting the role of Elizabeth and other characters season-to-season; Claire Foy starred in seasons 1 and 2 alongside Matt Smith (Dr. Who) and Vanessa Kirby, while Olivia Colman (Peep Show) will be taking the royal reins in season 3 (with Helena Bonham Carter set to portray Princess Margaret). Netflix plans to produce a total of 60 episodes over six seasons.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Claire Foy, Vanessa Kirby, Olivia Colman
Creator: Peter Morgan, Andy Harries, Stephen Daldry

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Cursed

Based on Thomas Wheeler’s bestselling book of the same name, Cursed reimagines the legend of King Arthur through the eyes of Nimue, a young woman destined to become the Lady of the Lake who bestows the legendary sword Excalibur upon Arthur. In this tale, Nimue and Arthur have a much more nuanced shared history. After her mother’s death, Nimue finds an unexpected partner in Arthur, who is a humble mercenary on a quest to deliver an ancient sword to the wizard Merlin. Through the course of her journey, Nimue discovers she has extraordinary powers of her own, becoming a target of the terrifying Red Paladins and King Uther. It’s a coming-of-age tale set within a classic story with electrifying action and provocative themes.

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Katherine Langford, Devon Terrell, Daniel Sharman
Creator: Tom Wheeler, Frank Miller

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Charlie Cox in Daredevil

Daredevil

The first in a slew of Marvel shows to hit Netflix over the past few years, Daredevil works largely on the strength of Charlie Cox’s performance in the title role. Cast in a similar vein as Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, this series shows a darker side to Marvel Studios’ colorful cast of superheroes. The blind vigilante spends his days protecting New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen as a lawyer, and his nights doing the same in a much more tangible (and violent) manner.

The show’s action sequences are fun, and amiable supporting performances from Elden Henson (The Mighty Ducks) and Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood) bring some comic relief and heart to the bleak setting, but as usual, the real stars of the show are the villains. Vincent D’Onofrio is excellent as the deranged Kingpin, while Jon Bernthal’s turn as the Punisher — which earned him his own Netflix series — is as convincing as it is visceral. Sadly, the series was canceled by Netflix shortly after the debut of the critically acclaimed third season as part of its efforts to reduce the number of series it co-produces with other studios.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Action & Adventure
Stars: Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll
Creator: Drew Goddard

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Dark

Dark

As the only foreign-language entry on our list, Dark would merit some curiosity at the very least, but it’s here not because it’s German, but because it’s awesome. A Stranger Things-esque setup — missing children from a small town, supernatural occurrences, mysterious laboratories — will have you thinking you know what to expect, but trust us, you don’t. The town of Winden lives in the shadow of eternal clouds, lending Dark a more macabre vibe than Stranger Things, which peppers in comic sequences and lots of nostalgia.

Dark weaves together multiple storylines amid complex relationships endemic to small-town life, even outside the good, old U.S. of A. If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted romp or a satisfying romance arc, move on — this is not the show for you. But if you love serious shows with a flair for the dramatic (and a heaping helping of despair), check this one out.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Louis Hofmann, Oliver Masucci, Jordis Triebel
Creator: Baron bo Odar, Jantje Friese

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The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

More than three decades after Jim Henson first introduced audiences to the magical land of Thra in The Dark Crystal, Netflix returned to the world of Skeksis, Gelflings, and other fantastic creatures with this 10-episode prequel series that chronicles the events leading up to the 1982 film. Like the original film, Age of Resistance features a cast composed almost entirely of puppets, with the Jim Henson Company teaming up with Netflix to produce this visually stunning adventure that follows a group of Gelflings who discover the Skesis’ dark secret and must stoke the fires of rebellion throughout Thra.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Taron Egerton, Lena Headey, Anya Taylor-Joy
Creator: Louis Letterier, Lisa Henson, Halle Stanford

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Dead To Me

Dead To Me

When Jen’s (Christina Applegate) husband dies in a tragic hit-and-run, she becomes determined to solve the crime. When she meets optimistic free spirit Judy (Linda Cardellini) at a grief support group, their polar opposite personalities strike up an unlikely friendship. As they bond over wine and a shared affinity for The Facts of Life, Judy realizes that she holds the key to a shocking secret that may destroy Jen’s life. It may also be the key for Jen to move on with her life, though. Dead to Me is a dark comedy that explores the entertaining sides of grief, loss, and forgiveness. It’s about maintaining your sense of humor in the face of tragedy.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Linda Cardellini, Christina Applegate, Edward Asner
Creator: Liz Feldman

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Dear White People

Dear White People

After Justin Simien’s 2014 film of the same name earned rave reviews, Netflix commissioned the young director for a multiseason TV series, featuring the same characters (recast) and an altered storyline. The series is about Black students at a predominantly white (and fictitious) Ivy League college, Winchester University, who work to try and find both group and individual identities while carving out a place within the school’s ecosystem. Logan Browning stars as Sam White, a student who runs a radio show titled Dear White People, which causes some controversy among the student body.

Thanks to Simien’s expert touch, the show deftly handles the nuances of identity, romance, education, and socialization with plenty of comedic moments, helping to inform viewers of all colors about other points of view without ever seeming judgmental or vindictive.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton
Creator: Justin Simien, Yvette Lee Bowser, Devon Shepard, Stephanie Allain, Julia Lebedev

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Easy

Easy

This anthology series, created by mumblecore hotshot Joe Swanberg (Win It All), provides a template for relatable and realistic depictions of love and sex in the 21st century. Despite a star-studded list of performers — including Orlando Bloom, Emily Ratajkowski, and Dave Franco, to name a few — Swanberg manages to make you forget that you’re watching someone famous by crafting characters that are deep, yet not too complicated to fit into a 30-minute window.

Each vignette catalogs the struggles of a couple or group of people in contemporary Chicago, where gender roles and language barriers are equal obstacles for people seeking happiness. The show’s brevity prevents most of the stories from reaching any sort of satisfying conclusion, but it’s a sincere collection of not-so-tall tales that most will find familiar and engaging. If you watch both seasons, there are even some neat callbacks.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Malin Akerman, Jake Johnson, Orlando Bloom
Creator: Joe Swanberg

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Fear City: New York vs. the Mafia

An intense docuseries on the “Golden Era of the Mob,” Fear City is true crime for gangster movie aficionados. Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, the “Five Families” of the New York mafia — Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese — had a seemingly insurmountable grip on the city, with their hands in unions, politics, law enforcement, and practically everywhere else. This three-part series from Sam Hobkinson (Don’t F**k with Cats) goes deep on New York’s massive endeavor to take down its most formidable mob bosses. Using interviews with law enforcement officials and ex-mafia associates, unearthed surveillance recordings, news footage, and archival material, Fear City paints a terrifying, engrossing portrait of the mob’s brutality, excess, and ubiquity.

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Genre: Documentary
Creator: Dimitri Doganis, Bart Layton, Adam Hawkins, Jon Liebman

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GLOW

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: A down-on-her-luck actress in the mid-1980s (Alison Brie) finds surprising fulfillment when she joins a low-budget women’s wrestling program run by a seedy, dishonest director (Marc Maron). Oh, what’s that? You’ve never seen anything like this? Duh. GLOW — which stands for Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling — was a real show in the mid-’80s that featured wrestling (of course), wacky and colorful characters, and crazy comedy sketches.

Netflix’s take on it sees the ladies of GLOW battling their issues while trying to come together and produce a successful show. It’s a dangerous premise, but one that works incredibly well thanks to dedicated performances from Brie, Maron, and Betty Gilpin. British rocker Kate Nash, Sydelle Noel, and Britney Young are also excellent in supporting roles. In August 2019, the series was renewed for a fourth and final season, but Netflix then reversed its renewal decision due to the pandemic, in effect canceling the series.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Alison Brie, Marc Maron, Betty Gilpin
Creator: Jenji Kohan, Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch

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Godless

Godless

Two-time Oscar nominee Scott Frank (Out of SightLogan) created this Western drama for Netflix,  and the miniseries went on to earn a pile of Primetime Emmy Award nominations for its epic, seven-episode story arc. The series is set in a small mining town during the 1880s, after a mine accident causes the death of nearly all of the town’s male residents. The remaining women are doing just fine, though, until a gunslinger arrives in town on the run from his former mentor, the bloodthirsty leader of an outlaw gang.

The film features Jeff Daniels as the cruel, aforementioned leader of the gang hunting for their runaway member, but it’s Downton Abbey actress Michelle Dockery and Nurse Jackie vet Merritt Wever who are the show’s real standouts. They play a pair of pioneer women who don’t need any men to handle their business. Daniels, Dockery, and Wever all earned Emmy nominations for their performances, with Daniels and Wever both winning in their respective categories. The series boasts some stunning cinematography, brilliant dialogue, and compelling action scenes to go along with its strong performances all around.

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Genre: Western
Stars: Jeff Daniels, Jack O’Connell, Michelle Dockery
Creator: Steven Soderbergh, Casey Silver

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The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House

This terrifying series from Mike Flanagan, the writer and director of criminally underappreciated horror films Oculus and Ouija: Origin of Evil, offers a new spin on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name. It follows a family who moves into an old house intending to renovate it, only to experience one scary paranormal event after another before a mysterious tragedy forces them out of the haunted manor. The story unfolds through a mix of timeline-hopping explorations of each family member’s experiences at Hill House and how the trauma of those encounters shapes their lives and eventually brings them back to where it all started.

Beautifully shot, expertly paced, and filled with the sort of subtle callbacks that encourage multiple viewings, The Haunting of Hill House is one of the best horror tales to debut on any screen — big or small — in recent years. Oh, and if you don’t believe us, just consider that Stephen King himself described the series as “close to a work of genius.”

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Timothy Hutton
Creator: Mike Flanagan

Watch on Netflix
High Score

High Score

The behind-the-scenes stories of the video game industry are widely known to gamers who are deeply immersed in that world. However, High Score still has some surprises for even the most hardcore gamers, with its insightful examination of the industry’s early days as an entertainment art form. From the rise of the arcades, the console wars between Nintendo and Sega, the advancement of 3D graphics, fighting games, and more, High Score is a terrific crash course in video game history. It even features the voice actor behind Mario, Charles Martinet, as the narrator who walks us through every episode.

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Charles Martinet
Creator: France Costrel

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Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones

Krysten Ritter shines as antihero Jessica Jones, who rejected her superhero persona after a traumatic experience at the hands of Kilgrave (David Tennant), and now runs her own detective agency. Like Daredevil, the series is darker and more grounded than Marvel’s cinematic efforts, though it’s missing some of the goofy lighthearted qualities that Daredevil brings. Jessica Jones is thematically heavier, as the characters deal with topics like rape and PTSD. As with Daredevil, the villain is the sizzle of this first season — Tennant conjures perhaps the best performance of any on-screen Marvel bad guy this side of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki.

The show’s structure is uniquely suited for the future inclusion of guest heroes; Luke Cage figures prominently in the first season, while season 2 has its own intriguing new characters to build upon. Both Jones and Cage (along with Daredevil and Iron Fist) featured heavily in Netflix’s crossover series The Defenders.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Action & Adventure
Stars: Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, David Tennant
Creator: Melissa Rosenberg

Watch on Netflix

Lost in Space

Lost In Space

The latest adaptation of Irwin Allen’s landmark 1960s sci-fi series, Lost In Space is centered on the Robinson family, which has taken to the stars together, courtesy of a program aimed at finding a new home for humanity. Of course, their craft veers off course and they end up in a new galaxy entirely, which leads — as you might expect — to a series of dangerous scenarios in which the family must work together to survive. Toby Stephens (Black Sails) plays army-dad John Robinson, whose wife Maureen (Molly Parker), is the expedition leader. The kids are played by Taylor Russell, Mina Sundwall, and Maxwell Jenkins, with support from Parker Posey, Ignacio Serricchio, and others.

While it’s the same old take on The Swiss Family Robinson at its core, the series’ special effects, set design, and cinematography are all top-notch, lending a sense of legitimacy to the many perils faced by the Robinsons and company. Perhaps more importantly, the family dynamic — especially with the three children and the robot Will befriends — feels real, turning this from an also-ran space sitcom into a pretty great show.

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Toby Stephens, Molly Parker, Ignacio Serricchio
Creator: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Kevin Burns, Neil Marshall, Marc Helwig, Zack Estrin

Watch on Netflix
Lucifer

Lucifer

Lucifer is very loosely based upon the comic book that inspired it, but it has won a devoted fandom. Tom Ellis headlines the series as Lucifer Morningstar, the former Lord of Hell. Lucifer got bored living among the damned and he decided to move to Los Angeles and open his own nightclub. However, Lucifer soon found himself taken with LAPD Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), a woman seemingly immune to his charms.

There is a police procedural baked into Lucifer that isn’t present in the comic. But there’s also a slow brewing love story between Lucifer and Chloe. Lucifer never hides who and what he is, but Chloe doesn’t initially believe him. Now that the truth is definitively out in the open, Lucifer and Chloe face new obstacles in the penultimate season.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Genre: Fantasy, Drama,
Stars: Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro
Creator: Tom Kapinos

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Master of None Netflix

Master of None

If you’ve never seen an episode of Master of None, you might be surprised to see star/creator Aziz Ansari depart from his trademark style of comedy — namely, loud, ridiculous, and goofy — and try on an outfit that looks new, but somehow feels broken-in. The show follows Dev Shah (Ansari), a not-so-famous actor living in New York (then, later, Italy), who is simply trying to get by. Master of None offers a unique and honest take on comedy that’s less reliant on punch lines and more situational — it’s Louie, with a millennial twist.

Some episodes are funny, while some are sad, but the majority of them feel well-written and natural. Noël Wells and Eric Wareheim (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) provide some help off the bench, and while the acting can occasionally feel a bit strained (especially in the first season), Ansari’s crisp writing and relatable performances (he won a Golden Globe for his efforts) truly carry the show. Aziz’s real parents also appear as Dev’s parents in several hilarious segments, displaying comedy chops that must be hereditary.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Aziz Ansari, H. Jon Benjamin, Eric Wareheim
Creator: Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang

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Mindhunter

Why do we obsess over serial killers? Perhaps it’s because we don’t truly understand what makes them tick. That’s the hook for Mindhunter, a crime drama that is executive produced by David Fincher (Fight Club, Gone Girl) and Charlize Theron. Jonathan Groff (Glee, Hamilton) and Holt McCallany play FBI agents tasked with interviewing and assessing serial killers to build personality profiles that might help solve ongoing and future cases. Aside from Anna Torv (Fringe), a largely anonymous cast takes the stage here, as the pair of agents investigates and interviews characters based on real killers from the mid-late 20th century, including one Ed Kemper.

Mindhunter is largely a bleak affair, with a general sense of dread pushed forward by creepy performances and graphic crime scene photos. Still, it’s a curious subject and one which informs the detective work done by characters in modern cop dramas. If you liked NightcrawlerZodiac, and Silence of the Lambs, you’ll like Mindhunter. 

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv
Creator: Joe Penhall

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Narcos

Narcos

Yes, Pablo Escobar is played out, and the show takes its fair share of historical liberties. However, any quibbles with this series can easily be pardoned thanks to some brilliant performances by Wagner Moura (Escobar) and Boyd Holbrook (Steve Murphy), the latter of which is on his way to becoming a bonafide action star thanks to turns in the excellent Logan and The Predator.

Narcos details Escobar’s rise to wealth and power as the face behind one of the largest drug cartels of all time, based out of Medellin, Colombia. Moura oscillates between dedicated family man and ruthless kingpin with alarming ease, while DEA agents Murphy and Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal) work to capture the elusive patron. If you’re unfamiliar with Escobar’s story, this is a riveting (if not wholly realistic) look into the man, and the chaos he wrought upon an entire continent during his heyday. The third season follows a sister cartel after Escobar’s death (uh … spoilers?). The popularity of the series even led to a spinoff series, Narcos: Mexico, in 2018.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook, Juan Pablo Raba
Creator: Chris Brancato, Eric Newman, Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro

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On My Block

Saying that Hollywood has issues of representation would be the world’s biggest understatement, but with On My Block, Netflix is working to remedy those issues. The show follows four high school freshmen — all people of color — in a witty, relatable coming-of-age story that culminates in some tensely dramatic moments. Monse (Sierra Capri) is a tomboy with deep-seated feelings for one of her close friends, Cesar (Diego Tinoco), who’s trying to balance an unstable home life against the social demands of school and his feelings for Monse.

Ruby (Jason Genao) is a whip-smart smooth talker, Jamal (Brett Gray) is a nerd on a quest, and Olivia (Ronni Hawk) is trying to make things work after her family is deported. The series treats ethnic and cultural divides with grace, showing how difficult it is to grow up as a young person of color in America.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft
Creator: Sierra Capri, Jason Genao, Brett Gray

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Orange is the New Black season 1

Orange Is the New Black

This dramedy is the crown jewel of Netflix’s original program list — judging by critical reception, at least. Orange Is the New Black received dozens of nominations and awards for its portrayal of an all-female prison. It follows Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), who goes to prison 10 years after smuggling drug money for her girlfriend. The show has been praised for its thoughtful representations of a diverse group of prison inmates, and for exploring issues relating to race, sexuality, and emotion within a controlled, female-dominant environment. Few programs are willing to dedicate so much time to women, and few combine humor with sincerity as flawlessly. The seventh and final season of the series was released in July 2019.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Taylor Schilling, Jason Biggs, Kate Mulgrew
Creator: Jenji Kohan

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Laura Linney and Jason Bateman in Ozark

Ozark

Jason Bateman has had as interesting a career as anyone in the limelight. He burst onto the Hollywood scene in the early 1980s as a young heartthrob, starring in stuff like Teen Wolf Too and The Hogan Family before experiencing a major career renaissance in the late aughts. Ozark marks a different look for Bateman than many have seen, as he plays a financial planner-turned-money launderer who relocates his family to the remote Ozark mountains in Missouri to avoid attention from the law.

Unsurprisingly, the law finds him anyway, and Marty (Bateman) must scramble to stay afloat while paying off debts to a Mexican cartel. Laura Linney is awesome as Marty’s wife, who gets caught up in the scheme, and Julia Garner is particularly good as the odd local girl Ruth Langmore. Though Ozark will naturally draw comparisons to Breaking Bad, its scope isn’t nearly as grand (yet), but Bateman seems to improve with each passing episode.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner
Creator: Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams

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Russian Doll on Netflix

Russian Doll

This critically acclaimed series features Natasha Lyonne as a woman who finds herself stuck in a time loop, reliving the night of her birthday and dying over and over again, only to wake up at the same earlier point in the night. Lyonne co-created the series along with Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, and the first, eight-episode season received high praise from critics and audiences alike, as well as 13 Primetime Emmy Award nominations. The show’s setting amid the nightlife of New York City, the colorful characters that drift in and out of the life of Lyonne’s character, and the deep dive it takes into the psychological aspects of her experience make it so much more than just another Groundhog Day story.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez
Creator: Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler

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Sense8

Sense8

A sci-fi drama from some of the genre’s greatest storytellers might seem like an easy win, but there was nothing typical about this groundbreaking show from Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski. The series follows a group of eight individuals from around the world who suddenly find themselves connected mentally and emotionally. They can experience each other’s lives and draw upon the knowledge and talents they each possess. On the run from a mysterious government agency rounding up these “Sensates,” they must find a way to protect themselves and continue to live their lives, both as individuals and collectively.

While the premise might seem straightforward, Sense8 stands out for its diverse international cast and globe-spanning locations that allow them to experience the world through each other’s eyes. As beautiful as the series is visually, it reaches even greater heights with its willingness to explore the world and the human experience through its characters’ hearts, and show the myriad ways we can love and be loved by those around us. The series was abruptly canceled after its second season due to the high cost of its international filming, but a fan campaign prompted Netflix to greenlight a two-hour series finale that tied up the story’s loose ends.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Jamie Clayton, Brian J. Smith, Jeronimo Best
Creator: Lana Wachowski, J. Michael Straczynski, Lilly Wachowski

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best british netflix shows sex education

Sex Education

Asa Butterfield plays the son of a renowned sex therapist — played by X-Files star Gillian Anderson — who finds himself thrust into a similar role with his teenage classmates, who are all either having or trying to have sex, but rarely enjoying it. The show debuted in January to positive reviews and was renewed for a second season just a month later. Wonderfully acted by a fantastic cast, the British series also stars Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Connor Swindells, and Kedar Williams-Stirling, but it’s worth seeing just for Anderson’s performance as the loving, no-filter mother of Butterfield’s character.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa
Creator: Laurie Nunn

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Stranger Things

Stranger Things

This throwback sci-fi series set the world ablaze in the summer of 2016, igniting a bonfire of nostalgia while simultaneously telling a gripping story that gets more exciting with each episode. When 12-year-old Will Byers goes missing in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, his mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder, in a comeback performance), thinks she’s losing her mind, believing that Will has been taken by supernatural forces. Meanwhile, Will’s friends work to find and rescue him, with the help of a mysterious young girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who appears seemingly out of nowhere.

The mystery gets deeper and darker as the show goes on, while more and more members of the Hawkins community get drawn into the creepy tale. Few shows have been as willing to let children drive the story, and Stranger Things is better for it. The show is a clear homage to Spielberg coming-of-age films and ’80s horror, and superb performances across the board make this a must-watch. The third season of the series was released in July 2019, and a fourth season is in development.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown
Creator: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer

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The Toys That Made Us

The Toys That Made Us

There wasn’t always a toy market that catered to kids and collectors. Everything changed in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us offers deep dives into the origins of Star Wars toys, Transformers, Barbie, Lego, Star Trek, Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more.

Many of the people who brought these toys to life share the story of their creation, while fans around the world share their collections and their thoughts on the toy lines as well. There are even some occasionally heartwarming moments, including a reunion between two partners who had an acrimonious split several years before. This show is magic, in its own way. And we love it.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Donald Ian Black
Creator: Brian Volk-Weiss

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Trollhunters

Created by Guillermo del Toro, Trollhunters‘ story is fairly run-of-the-mill for a cartoon series (ostensibly for kids), but its masterful animation and voice acting set it apart from contemporaries. When 15-year-old Jim Lake (the late Anton Yelchin) finds a magical amulet, he’s transformed into the Trollhunter, a magical being tasked with the protection of a world of trolls that is hidden beneath the fictional town of Arcadia. Jim must balance his real-life responsibilities with his new identity, battling evil gum-gum trolls and making friends in the process.

Superb vocal support is provided by Kelsey Grammer (Frasier), Jonathan Hyde (Jumanji), and Fred Tatasciore. The series was renewed despite Yelchin’s untimely death shortly after production ceased. Three seasons are currently available and del Toro has indicated that Trollhunters (not to be confused with the film Trollhunter) is just the first arc of a three-part animated saga he has planned. The first of those three spinoff series, 3Below: Tales of Arcadia is now available to binge, too.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Ron Perlman, Steven Yeun
Creator: Guillermo del Toro

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The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy

The story goes like this: 43 women give birth on the same day, at the same exact time, despite not showing any signs of pregnancy beforehand, and seven of the children are adopted by an eccentric billionaire who turns them into a team of child superheroes known as The Umbrella Academy. The group eventually disbands in their teenage years, only to reunite as adults when their adoptive father dies. Old wounds resurface and the team members find themselves at odds with each other again, only to be forced to overcome their differences to stop the world from ending.

The Netflix series was a hit when it debuted in February 2019 and has already been approved for a second season, with cast members Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Justin H. Min, Cameron Britton, and Mary J. Blige all expected to return. The show is based on the comic book series of the same name created and written by Gerard Way of the band My Chemical Romance and illustrator Gabriel Bá.

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Genre: Action & Adventure
Stars: Tom Hopper, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Eden Cupid
Creator: Steve Blackman, Mike Richardson, Keith Goldberg, Jeff King

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

As far as ridiculous show concepts go, this one certainly stands out. Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper, The Office) spent 15 years of her life trapped in the basement of a lunatic cultist with three other women, before being rescued by police. After escaping, Kimmy immediately moves to New York City and attempts to adjust to the outside world.

The Tina Fey-produced show received 11 Emmy nominations for its first two seasons and critics have praised Kemper’s “unbreakably” optimistic turn as Kimmy, which mixes a sunny demeanor with a host of mental demons stirring just below the surface. Many of the plotlines thrive due to committed performances from the hilarious Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), and Carol Kane (Annie Hall, Taxi). Each new season doubles down on the wackiness, and the series returned for its final story arc in January 2019.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski, Lauren Adams
Creator: Robert Carlock, Tina Fey

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The Witcher

The Witcher

One of Netflix’s most successful series to date is also one of its most ambitious. Based on the video game franchise and book series of the same name by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher is steeped in mythology and history and yet seems to move much more naturally than a fantasy contemporary, Game of Thrones. The series follows a link of destiny formed between a monster hunter (a witcher) called Geralt of Rivia and princess Ciri, a young woman who was cast from her home when it was razed by an enemy force. Following protagonists Geralt, Ciri, and the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg, the story moves across multiple timelines until merging by the end of the season. As Geralt hunts terrifying beasts and tries to find acceptance in the world, his relationship with the equally misunderstood Yennefer and the lost princess Ciri may be his ultimate hope.

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, Jodhi May
Creator: Lauren Schmidt

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