Whether you’re taking a sick day, trying to survive a wet weekend, or just feel like a bit of binge watching, Netflix is the answer. If you’re not sure what to watch, Tech Junkie is here to help. We are Netflix addicts and watch whatever we can whenever we can. So if you’re looking for the best shows on Netflix right now, read on!
Also see our article Netflix: How to Delete Recently Watched, and Edit Continue Watching
In no particular order:
35. Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights is worth watching even if you’re not a football fan. It was huge on NBC, and now it’s making the rounds on Netflix. Clever, well-written, and well-acted.
34. Stranger Things
Stranger Things is a grab bag of sci-fi tropes. It’s a bit X-Files, a bit Aliens, a bit E.T., and even a bit Dungeons & Dragons. It’s also more than a bit good, especially if you’re familiar with 80s sci-fi movies and influences.
33. Gracie and Frankie
Gracie and Frankie are two older women who don’t much like each other. Their husbands, on the other hand, are in love–and run away together, leaving the two women to figure out what to do with their lives now. Gracie and Frankie move in together, and an odd-couple comedy ensues as they navigate their shared, strange situation.
32. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Part of this darkly funny children’s book series was made into a movie starring Jim Carrey back in 2004. Now Neil Patrick Harris has picked up the torch as the evil Count Olaf, who makes the lives of three charming orphans a Kafkaesque series of… well, it’s in the title.
31. Penny Dreadful
In the 1800s, “penny dreadfuls” were cheap novels filled wit bloody, lurid, trashy stories. This series embraces the name, mashing up elements from Victorian horror into something that’s gorgeous, scary, sexy, and ridiculous. The story follows a team of Victorian stock characters–including an American cowboy and Dr. Frankenstein–as they fight the forces of evil. A superb performance by Eva Green anchors the show through its twists and turns–her character goes through so many situations that this series could be her entire resume.
Sense8, from the Wachowskis, is exactly what you would expect: rich, undulating, engaging and sometimes a little confusing. It is also excellently written, well executed, and poignant at times. The show follows eight people all over the world who mysteriously begin feeling everything the other seven feel.
29. Sons of Anarchy
No Netflix best show list would be complete without Sons of Anarchy. One of the best shows on any platform, this biker drama has great highs and lows, and loves to build the pressure before letting it all out in a gunfight. Well worth watching.
28. Arrested Development
This show was too funny to last long on network television, but Netflix resurrected it for a fourth season a few years ago. Arrested Development was really a comedy for the binge-watching era, packed with clever call-backs and call-forwards. The whole series is zany in a way most shows don’t have the nerve to be, and tightly put-together in a way most shows can only wish they were.
27. Orange is the New Black
This show plunges you into the weird and depressing world of women’s prisons. Orange is the New Black has received Emmy nominations as both a comedy and a drama, which might give you an idea of the range this show covers between quirky personalities and serious issues like prison overcrowding.
26. Into the Badlands
Sometimes you want great drama, and sometimes you want great fight scenes. Into the Badlands is almost entirely concerned with delivering the latter, following a wandering warrior through a spectacular kung-fu post-apocalypse. It’s always action-packed, and sometimes it makes sense, too.
25. The Flash
The Flash is a good way to get a little superhero action without having to deal with formulaic writing and over-the-top action sequences. A spin-off of Arrow, taking place in the DC Comics universe, The Flash is nicely done with lots going on in each episode.
24. Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife is an unlikely Netflix hit, but a hit is exactly what it deserves to be. Based in post-war England, this is a period drama done as only the Brits can do them. It may seem banal on paper but it’s curiously engaging, even addicting once you start watching.
23. Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones is a Marvel spinoff that has much more depth than the usual fare. Very well done, and nicely acted, it’s also one of the few domestic TV shows that can do subtext well. If you’re looking for something a little deeper than the norm, this could be it. David Tennant, formerly of Doctor Who, anchors the show as hands-down the most frightening villain in the Marvel screen universe.
22. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
This miniseries, based on the acclaimed fantasy novel, takes us back to an alternate Regency-Period England, where two rival magicians bring real magic into the world and try to control its effects.
21. Mad Men
Ah those were the days! Back when men could drink and smoke at work and everything was much simpler–or maybe not. Mad Men is stylish, perfectly paced, and well-acted. If you’re after something without guns or superheroes, this fits the bill perfectly.
20. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
A high-achieving lawyer ditches her career to move cross-country and try to win back her long-gone ex-boyfriend. That could be the weirdest thing going on in this romantic comedy, if the characters didn’t keep breaking into song. That’s right–it’s a smart, funny, modern musical comedy.
19. Breaking Bad
What is there to say about Breaking Bad that hasn’t been said already? It’s a 21st masterpiece that’s as funny as it is poignant and as entertaining as it is shocking. Everyone should watch it.
18. Better Call Saul
Anyone who has seen Breaking Bad will recognize Saul in this spinoff as a shady lawyer trying to make it good in New Mexico and falling in with the bad guys. It is easily as good as Breaking Bad, which is a nice change for a spinoff and a high bar to clear.
17. The Walking Dead
This tale of brutality and survival in the zombie apocalypse has had its ups and downs, but the high points–especially in Season 4–were some of the best and most intense on TV. Netflix doesn’t have the most recent season, but maybe that’s for the best–consider stopping with “The Distance” in Season 5 to leave the show at a satisfying endpoint.
16. Malcom in the Middle
This dysfunctional-family comedy explores how much trouble a family of mostly dim but mostly well-meaning people can get into. Malcom, the middle child in the family, is a genius and hates it; his three brothers have problems of their own. As a double-take inducing bonus, Malcom in the Middle features Bryan Cranston as the hapless father, before he made a more sinister impression on Breaking Bad.
15. Dear White People
This well-written new series blends funny, heartfelt college hi-jinks with some incisive social commentary. Based on the movie by the same name from 2014, Dear White People follows students of color at an overwhelmingly white Ivy League school, with all the social awkwardness and political tension that brings.
14. The Get Down
Baz Luhrmann, who directed Moulin Rouge and the 1996 Romeo + Juliet, brings his bombastic style to this series about New York City’s music scene in the 1970s. That’s right–another one of the best shows on TV right now is a musical. What a time to be alive.
13. 13 Reasons Why
This heart-wrenching Netflix Original series is based on the bestselling novel by Jay Asher. In it, a teenage girl commits suicide, and one of her classmates receives a box of recordings detailing the thirteen reasons she did it. The answers will uncover a lot of dirty secrets.
12. Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation takes a little while to warm up, but once it does this Office spinoff takes on a wonderful personality of its own. It’s humorous, lighthearted, and full of sincerity. It’s a modern day Friends without the bad haircuts.
11. The West Wing
Do you feel nostalgic for a bygone era when politics was all about smart people talking fast? So what if it was never quite the way Aaron Sorkin imagined it. The West Wing is a modern classic, perfect for binge watching. Cleverly done, well-acted, and full of comedic moments as well as dramatic ones, it is Aaron Sorkin at his best.
This brilliant (adult) animated comedy starts out about a bumbling spy in a goofball James Bond-style universe. Then after four seasons, just when most comedies would start going stale, the show completely changed its premise. After eight seasons and several more genre shifts so far, Archer has managed to stay fresh and funny.
9. American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson
This series dramatized the “trial of the century” that split America in 1994. It goes into surprising and compelling depth with the celebrity politics and legal complications that made O.J. Simpson’s trial so bizarre. It’s an illuminating look at this moment in American history, but also a tremendously engaging drama in its own right.
Dexter isn’t for the faint of heart but it’s clever, darkly funny, and very engrossing. Whoever thought of a serial killer working as a detective is a genius, and Michael C. Hall is brilliant in his role.
7. Black Mirror
This acclaimed anthology show looks at the terrors of modern technology. Each episode explores a different way that human nature and near-future science can go horribly wrong. It’s thoughtful and scary–a series of too-plausible dystopian warnings.
6. The Magicians
It’s Harry Potter, but for disaffected Millennials–The Magicians is a more cynical, adult take on the “magic boarding school” trope. Based on a series of popular novels, the series follows a group of grad students as they try to sort out their ennui while exploring fantasy worlds and dealing with interdimensional horrors.
Lost was the best thing on TV for a while. It’s very well written, with great characters, good storylines, nice locations and plenty of mystery. Despite some disappointments, this is definitely binge-worthy watching.
4. House of Cards
House of Cards is the series that made Netflix, not the other way round. Clever, funny, and slick, this is one of the best Kevin Spacey possible to have. If you watch one thing on Netflix, let it be House of Cards.
3. Nurse Jackie
Nurse Jackie is dark, bleak humor at its best. Edie Falco is a drug addicted nurse trying to hold it together through a dissolving marriage, changes and stresses at work, and coping with middle age. Awesome show.
2. Jane the Virgin
This show is part Days of Our Lives, parts Arrested Development. It’s a hilarious whirlwind of plot twists–starting with the title character, Jane, getting implausibly artificially impregnated–with a surprising amount of heart. Jane the Virgin draws heavily on telenovela tropes, but it can win you over even if you’re someone who thinks Juegos de Fuego is a flavor of salsa.
Luther is another Brit import, and how all cop shows should be. It is dark, gritty, mean and intense. It takes hold of you and doesn’t let you go until it is good and ready to. Luther is an unlikely star of Netflix, but once you watch it you’ll know why.
Or, if you don’t have time for a full series, maybe you should check out the best shows on Amazon Prime and the best movies on Netflix.