Rom-com movies and romantic dramas tend to be the most prevalent offerings on Netflix. But for fans who want love stories that play out at a more deliberate pace, there are also romance TV shows. It’s a genre that goes back to the early days of network television, and it continues to the present with series like Grey’s Anatomy. Netflix’s big contribution to the genre is that it has gone to places that network shows couldn’t go, like the gay teen romance Heartstopper, or series from around the world like A Perfect Story and If Only.
Netflix still has a lot of new series on the way, even during the writers’ and actors’ strike in Hollywood. But that’s also where the international series come in to boost the lineup even before the pipeline of new American shows runs out. If you’re looking for a good love story in these waning summer weeks, then check out our roundup of the best romance shows on Netflix right now.
A Perfect Story is a Spanish romance series that follows an heiress, Margot (Anna Castillo), and a working-class guy, David (Álvaro Mel). Margot’s hard work isn’t taken seriously by her family and she feels trapped by her engagement to Filippo (Mario Ermito). As for David, he’s got three jobs just to make his ends meet.
When Margot flees her own wedding, she ends up in a bar where David is working as a bartender. From there, a friendship begins to bloom, but can they find love and move on together?
Heartstopper season 1 was a slow-burn romance between gay teenager Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and his best friend in school, Nick Nelson (Kit Connor). In season 2, Charlie and Nick are in a real romantic relationship, but Nick is having some real trouble finding a way to come out to his friends and teammates on the rugby team.
While Charlie and Nick are on solid ground with each other, there are still obstacles ahead that are getting in the way of their happiness, especially Charlie’s ex-boyfriend, Ben Hope (Sebastian Croft).
Time-travel stories are often built around regret and an attempt to change something that went wrong. In If Only, everything went wrong for Emma (Megan Montaner), and it’s not just one thing she would change. It’s everything, but especially her failing marriage with Nando (Miquel Fernández).
Inexplicably, Emma finds herself reliving the past decade of her life. And this time she doesn’t have to commit to a dead-end relationship with Nando. She can find someone new to love. But just because Emma has lived through her life one time doesn’t mean that she’ll get everything right the second time.
Most shows aren’t built to run for nearly two decades, but Grey’s Anatomy is a rare breed. And Ellen Pompeo’s Dr. Meredith Grey has been there since the beginning. This month, Netflix is adding Grey’s Anatomy season 19, which finds Meredith finally ready to move on from Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital while sorting out her romantic relationship with Dr. Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman).
Because of Meredith’s reduced role this season, five young doctors were added to the mix: Dr. Simone Griffith (Alexis Floyd), Dr. Benson “Blue” Kwan (Harry Shum Jr.), Dr. Jules Millin (Adelaide Kane), Dr. Mika Yasuda (Midori Francis), and Dr. Lucas Adams (Niko Terho). Their intersecting career ambitions and romantic pursuits breathe new life into the show. And who’s to say how many more seasons it can run?
On Bridgerton, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) is so self-assured and in control that it’s a little disconcerting to see the young Queen Charlotte (India Amarteifio) decades earlier in the prequel series, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Early in this show, young Charlotte becomes the queen when she marries King George III (Corey Mylchreest).
Unfortunately for Charlotte, love and marriage isn’t as easy as marrying into the royal family. George’s penchant for secrecy and his growing mental illness threaten his reign even as he and Charlotte struggle to make their marriage into a true union.
Spinoffs are always tricky because it’s hard to make a supporting character into a lead. XO, Kitty largely avoids that problem by taking Anna Cathcart’s Kitty Song Covey out of the familiar confines of the To All the Boys trilogy. Kitty thinks she knows everything she needs to know about love, but she’s in for a rude awakening.
Much to the surprise of Kitty’s long-distance boyfriend, Dae (Choi Min-young), Kitty uproots her life and moves to South Korea just in the hope of finally finding the true love that has eluded her. Kitty has a lot to learn, and she might get her heart broken along the way.
Do you think that Sex and the City is racy? Then you haven’t seen Valeria, the Spanish romantic comedy/drama series that is ending its three-season run on Netflix. Much like HBO’s iconic series, Valeria follows four female friends, Valeria (Diana Gómez), Carmen (Paula Malia), Lola (Silma López), and Nerea (Teresa Riott). Together, they navigate their late ‘20s as they search for love and fulfillment in their lives.
Season 3 picks up with Carmen heading to the altar while Valeria’s romance with Victor (Maxi Iglesias) hits the skids. Fortunately, it’s not long before Valeria sparks a new love connection with Bruno (Federico Aguado), a writer who shares many of her passions. But Valeria and her friends will have to face some serious questions before they can find the happiness they are looking for.
Sometimes, romance means intense passion, and that’s just what Billie (Sarah Shahi) realizes she was missing in Sex/Life. While suffering a midlife crisis, the former psychology Ph.D. candidate, mother, and housewife can’t seem to stop thinking about her ex-boyfriend Brad (Adam Demos).
He lives a fast-paced, exciting life that’s very different from Billie’s life with her strait-laced investment banker husband. While her husband Cooper (Mike Vogel) tries to make her feel as sexually satisfied as she once did with Brad, their twisted, emotional states create a messy situation. Sex/Life isn’t your traditional romance, but it’s provocative, steamy, and erotic.
It’s difficult to believe that Netflix’s cheesy, weird, trashy social experiment is already on its fourth season. Thirty singles from a different state in America join each season to “meet” other singles, talking to them from separate enclosed pods without ever seeing one another. After courting multiple people, they decide who they made connections with and talk more.
If they ultimately decide this person is “the one” and want to propose marriage (and it’s accepted), the two finally get to meet in person. From there, they go on vacation together, live together, meet one another’s families, and discover if it is truly meant to be, all while planning their weddings. The concept is completely backward, but there are enough raw, romantic moments intertwined with the juicy drama to keep you hooked the entire way through.
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