Best shows on Netflix (January 2018): 60 fantastic Netflix series

Welcome to TechRadar’s constantly updated guide to the best shows on Netflix right now. It’s the most authoritative, in-depth guide to the best Netflix series around, offering all the information you need to make sure that you avoid the clangers and get binge-watching the best television shows available on the streaming platform.

[Update: two new series have entered TechRadar’s best shows on Netflix list. The first is a stone-cold classic – that’s right, the entire 10 seasons of Friends is now available on Netflix for your viewing pleasure. You know, the one that perfectly sums up the entirety of the nineties through Rachel’s haircuts. The other is a new, Netflix Original. The Toys That Made Us is a joyous look back at the greatest toys through the ages and why we’ve never really grown out of them. Lovely stuff.] 

We’ve chosen the 60 best Netflix shows that you need to watch. Whether you are into meth-laced dramas (Breaking Bad), talking horses (Bojack Horseman) or fear-inducing dystopias that are far too close for comfort (Black Mirror) there’s something for you on the list.

Netflix is currently the hottest streaming service on the planet. Not only is it creating fantastic original shows – House of Cards, Orange is the New Black – it is teaming up with the likes of Marvel to adapt famous superheroes for the small screen. And it’s just bought its own graphic novel IP so expect more original comic-book content soon. 

It’s also trialling news things, such as the Puss In Boots choose your own adventure show and is a big advocate for 4K and HDR. Oh, and it finally did something it said it never would – allow you to download many of its shows to watch Netflix offline.

It’s fair to say there’s never been a better time to bag yourself a Netflix subscription and binge watch, so get stuck into our gallery and let us know if your favourite show isn’t on the list.

Want to know more about Netflix’s take on binging? Watch our very own Jon Porter live on the couch discussing his time at Netflix HQ!

10 seasons. That’s how long Friends lasted for, which is pretty short considering the legacy the show has left. Debuting slap-bang in the Nineties, the decade that brought us such delights as The Spice Girls, Beavis And Butthead and Mountain Dew, Friends is a masterpiece of a sitcom that’s based around five friends – the kooky one, the funny one, the cool one, the neat freak and, er, Ross – who live in an apartment block they really shouldn’t be able to afford. And that’s pretty much it for 236 episodes, but it’s an essential watch.

This is a must watch. It’s a fantastic documentary series charting the toys that we all remember and how they have shaped out world. Blending interviews with the creators, the collectors and the toys themselves, each episode charts a popular toy line – Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man and GI Joe – and is packed with brilliant bursts of nostalgia. It’s so good, we are going to watch it all over again. 

Margaret Atwood is having something of a resurgence at the moment, what with the incredible The Handmaid’s Tale adaptation and now this, a superb take on her novel Alias Grace. Grace is another cutting social commentary that’s wrapped in a mystery, centred on servant Grace Marks who is sentenced to life in prison for the apparent murder of her housekeeper. The plot will keep you guessing, the design of the show is sumptuous and there’s even a surprise cameo from David Cronenberg. 

Fresh from giving horror anthologies a new spin with American Horror Story, creator Ryan Murphy has taken this idea and expanded it into the world of crime. The first series of American Crime Story focuses on the very public case of OJ Simpson and the death of his wife Nicole. It’s superb TV, dramatising what was one of the most engrossing true stories to come out of the ’90s. Cuba Gooding Jr is great as OJ but it’s the supporting cast that steals the show. Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer, John Travolta and Courtney B Vance ham it up to the max and it makes for some of the most entertaining television in years.  

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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Archer is now into its eighth season and apart from a few hiccups – season 5’s Archer Vice is particularly grating – it’s a brilliant, adult pastiche of Bond. The plot is simple: Archer is a heavy drinking womanising spy for an agency that’s headed up by his mum. The cartoon charts his antics, alongside his co-workers Cheryl, Cyril, Lana, Pam and Krieger. Featuring many of the cast of Arrested Development, and a  sprinkling of Mad Men, Archer is hilarious, off-kilter fare.

Seasons on Netflix: 8

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Arrested Development is one of the best comedies ever made. So it made sense that Netflix would want to resurrect it for a fourth season. While it wasn’t perfect – primarily because most of the cast were too busy to get into the same room – it was great to see the Bluth family back. Full of in-jokes, jokes that run for entire seasons and more, well, jokes, this is essential TV. And the good news is that a fifth series has been commissioned.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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Babylon is a cutting satire on policing in the UK. Written by the folks behind Peep Show, it focuses on a bumbling commissioner (James Nesbitt), Brit Marling as a PR person trying to modernise the force and firearm officers on the ground. It’s both hilarious and dramatic in equal fashion, making it one of the most highly original shows on British TV in recent years. 

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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On paper, the idea of a show that mines the early life of Hitchcock psycho Norman Bates is pretty terrible. But over the course of a number of seasons Bates Motel has proved to be a hit. Focusing, with a lot of unease, on the relationship between Norman (a brilliant Freddie Highmore) and his mother (Vera Farmiga) acting more like a psychological thriller than outright horror. The best thing about it is how it manages to keep you guessing as to what is going to happen next, even though the story it is building up to is one of the most famous of all time.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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Season 4 of Black Mirror is out now and is the darkest, most varied season of the show yet. Comprising six episodes of varying (almost feature) length, Charlie Brooker has concocted another dose of dystopian satire that riffs off everything from Star Trek to, well, schlock-horror The Driller Killer.

Before Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker was best known for his snarky looky at the news in Weekly Wipe and his fantastic, caustic look at meeja types in London’s Shoreditch. Now the show has given him superstar status. For good reason, it’s fantastic TV with each episode taking on a different dystopia topic, mostly framed around technology going very long. The third season was commissioned by Netflix and is in 4K, with most of the episodes being feature length.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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‘Clear eyes, full heart’. That’s Coach’s mantra in Friday Night Lights, a fantastic show that everyone should watch – even if you have absolutely no interest in American Football. Kyle Chandler is the coach of a small time football team, who moves to the fictional Texas town of Dillon, a place obsessed with the sport. Over the course of five seasons, the show paints a fantastic picture of America through the lens of sport. 

Seasons on Netflix: 3

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Better Call Saul is better than Breaking Bad. That’s a sentence we never thought we would write, but it’s now three seasons and it is flawless TV. It doesn’t have the menace or fear that propelled Walter White in Breaking Bad, instead it takes its time to paint a picture of Saul Goodman, someone that was in Bad mainly for comic relief. In his own show, though, creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have created a well-rounded, means well character whose descent into criminality is a slow burn. Although some characters have started to appear from Breaking Bad, the show doesn’t beg for the appearance of Walter White or Jesse – it’s now it’s own thing and we can’t wait for Season 4.

Seasons on Netflix: 3 

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Yes, Bojack Horseman is hilarious. Yes, it’s the best thing Will Arnett has done since Arrested Development. And, yes, it should be the next thing you watch if you are into anthropomorphic comedy about a once great TV star who has fallen on hard times. It’s all of that but it’s also a pretty accurate portrayal of depression and should be celebrated as such.

This may make it sound like the saddest show ever. It’s not but it’s far more weightier than most of the cartoon comedies doing the rounds on Netflix at the moment.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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Breaking Bad is must-watch TV and one of the reasons Netflix has risen to the popularity it has. Before Breaking Bad, Netflix was seen as a fairly decent streaming service. After it got the rights to show the final season of Breaking Bad in the UK, Netflix propelled itself to superstardom. Not bad for a show that’s ostensibly about a high-school teacher with cancer who goes on to sell meth to pay for his hospital bills. 

It goes without saying, if you haven’t yet spent time with Walter White and Jesse – do so now! But, be warned, the show is as addictive as the stuff Walter is peddling. 

Seasons on Netflix: 5

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Is The Crown Netflix’s crowning glory? Not quite, but it is a sumptuous look at one of the world’s most famous families: the Royal family. Charting the early years of the relationship between the Queen (Claire Foy) and Prince Philip  (former Doctor Who Matt Smith), the show was written by Peter Morgan and, at £100 million, is one of the most expensive TV series ever made. Which means there’s enough pomp and ceremony to keep those pining for a Downton Abbey replacement happy.

The second season is now on Netflix and is a nice improvement on the first series.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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The Confession Tapes does well to fill a Making A Murderer shaped hole. It’s a documentary about six true crime cases where the confessions in question may not be all that they seem. Melding in-depth interviews with the actual tapes is inspired and making each episode a separate case (except for the first two episodes which cover one bigger case) means that this is endlessly bingeable.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

When it comes to superhero movies, Marvel are bossing DC thanks to the rich tapestry it has weaved with its cinematic universe. Its TV shows, as fun as Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter are, haven’t had the same success as DC’s The Arrow or The Flash. Thankfully Daredevil has come along to change all this. Released in one binge-watching dose, Daredevil is superb television, regardless if you are a superhero fan or not. Matt Murdoch’s (Boardwalk Empire’s Charlie Cox) rise from blind lawyer to vigilante is brutal and steeped in realism. The reason it works so well is that it doesn’t shy away from being violent – each crack and crunch is a world away from Ben Affleck’s terrible movie version. And special mention has to go to Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, his best role since the tortured Private Pyle.

Daredevil season two is out now and adds Elektra and Punisher into the mix. With new showrunners on board, the show has shifted slightly tonally but the brutality of the fight scenes are still there – you just need to check out Episode 3 to see what we mean.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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This is a far from festive addition to Netflix for December but it’s certainly a must-watch. Dark is a German-language supernatural thriller in which the disappearance of two children in a small town brings the fractured relationships and dark pasts of the people living there to the surface. 

Adding a touch of Scandinavian crime thriller to American drama, this is 10-part series is already generating talk of a second series so it might be one to jump on early.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

There’s a reason Iron Fist isn’t on our Best Shows on Netflix list: it’s terrible. Which is such a shame as the rest of Netflix’s Marvel series have been hard-hitting, explosive delights. Thankfully The Defenders sees the Marvel TV universe fighting fit once more, with the mini series proving that all of the characters are better together – yes, even glowy fist man. Given its limited episode run – it’s a lean eight episodes – it’s a little strange that it takes a good three episodes to get going but once it does, and mostly because of Sigourney Weaver, it’s great.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Mackenzie Crook was one of the breakout stars from The Office, swapping his brilliant performance as the hapless Gareth for Hollywood roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and Game of Thrones. But it’s on home soil where he fares best.

The Detectorists, written by and starring Mackenzie, is a warm, brilliant comedy. Based around the lives of a group of metal detectorists, it features brilliant writing, acting and characters – in any given episode, you will either be in tears of laughter or poignancy. 

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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Following in the footsteps of fellow ‘mumblecore’ members the Duplass brothers – whose brilliant Creep was a Netflix exclusive – Joe Swamberg has hit Netflix with a candid and considered look at sex and relationships.

Easy is an eight-episode look at relationships in Chicago. There’s a different subject for each episode, although each life portrayed eventually overlaps in the show in some way. 

Cast-wise, Easy has some surprisingly big names. Malin Akerman and Orlando Bloom star in one vignette, while the likes of Emily Ratajkowski, Marc Maron and Dave Franco also make an appearance. 

Don’t go into Easy expecting explosive drama or high-tense action, but as a realistic look at other people’s love lives it’s a great, if slightly meandering watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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There was a collective groan by Coen Brothers fans the world over when Fargo the television show was announced. But what could have been darn tootin’ awful ended up being fantastic, thanks to the casting of Billy Bob Thornton who is both funny and psychotic – well, his character is anyway. The series thankfully didn’t retread the movie but added to it, acting as a strange but sublime companion piece. It’s so good, the Coens initially refused to have their name on the show – until they saw it and loved it.

The second season is also now on Netflix and surpasses the first. The plotline veers away from the original film, but the heart of Fargo is still very much in this TV show. The second series flips back 27 years before the events of the original.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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Unfairly cancelled after just one season, Freaks and Geeks was the starting point for many AAA comedy actors, directors and writers careers of today. Set around two factions of kids trying to get by in a typical US school: the freaks and, well, the geeks. 

James Franco, Seth Rogan and Jason Segel are fantastic as part of the geek ensemble – Franco playing the heart throb, Rogan the monosyllabic beer fiend and Segel, the loveable stoner. While the geeks include Silicon Valley’s Martin Starr and a superb John Francis Daley. But it’s Lind Cardellini who’s standout, playing Lindsay Weir, the math kid who decides to rebel. 

Created by Paul Feig, who recently tried his hand at rebooting GhostBusters, and written by Judd Apatow, the show is great antidote to the whimsical teenage world of Dawson Creek and the like.  

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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The Get Down has a lot to live up to. It’s the most expensive Netflix show ever made – knocking Marco Polo of that perch – thanks to its creator Baz Luhrmann’s vibrant style that suits the show’s premise. And that premise is a doozy: The Get Down charts the beginnings of hip-hop in the 1970s, telling the tale through the eyes of young rapper Ezekiel. Bombastic in its approach and beautiful to look at, The Get Down is a potent mix of fictional characters and real-life stars of the hip-hop scene, including Grandmaster Flash who also produced the show. All 12 episodes are available to binge now – you’ll either love or hate it!

Netflix recently revealed that this will be the only season of The Get Down as it’s cancelled the show – which we reckon is a big mistake as it’s a great watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 1 (part one and two)

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Alison Brie already proved she had comedic chops in Community but GLOW cements her as a comedy genius who can turn on the seriousness when she needs to. In GLOW (gorgeous ladies of wrestling) she plays Ruth Wilder, a struggling actress in ’80s LA who turns to women’s wrestling to make a star of herself. The show is a look at the underground sensation of ladies wrestling, with all the wit and gender stereotype reversing you would expect from the maker of Orange Is The New Black. It’s a great, highly original watch, with a superb cast that includes British singer Kate Nash.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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This seven-part mini series is a Western with true grit. It may be called Godless but it starts off wordless, with an intro that leaves you both breathless and wanting more. Netflix may be touting that Jeff Daniels and Jack O’Connell bring star presence here but this is a series about a town dominated by strong women, after a mining accident takes most of the male population. And it’s the women who shine, especially farm owner Alice Fletcher – played by Michelle Dockery. Despite the premise, much of the dialogue does go to the blokes but that is the only black on a series that plays out like one long Western – complete with 2:39:1 aspect ratio. Lovely stuff.

TV comedy is in a good place right now and, funnily enough, The Good Place is a perfect example of that. Starring Ted Danson and Kristen Bell, this off-the-wall comedy focuses on a recently deceased woman who is sent to a heaven-like utopia called the Good Place completely by accident. In order to stay there she goes to any lengths to hide what a terrible person she was when living. 

Season 1 has already aired in the US to great acclaim and now it’s coming to the UK through Netflix with new season 2 episodes being added each week in line with their US release. 

A great cast, clever writing and an original concept make this a must-watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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Him & Her is one of the best British sitcoms in years. Based around the lives of a bored, lazy but happy 20-something couple, the show’s plot is slight but it manages to get laughs out of the most mundane happenings. Sarah Solemani is fantastic as Becky whose love for Steve (Russell Tovey) never falters, despite her parents disliking him. And Kerry Howard as Laura, Becky’s sister, is the most hateful character since, well, ever.

All four series are now on Netflix and are an essential watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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Homeland, now in its fifth season, is a very different show now than it was when it first aired back in 2011. Based on the Israeli series Prisoner of War, the first few seasons were based around the premise of a returning war hero that may or not be holding a dark secret. This duplicity has been a running theme since then but the narrative has moved on. What hasn’t changed is the brilliant central performance by Claire Danes as the CIA officer with bi-polar disorder – she’s superb and the glue that holds this sometimes disparate show together.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

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The IT Crowd ended its run after four series and a special, not because of failing ratings but because the people starring in it just got too big. Richard Ayoade (who plays the brilliantly awkward Morris) was to leave to become a director, while Chris O’Dowd (slacker Roy) was headed for Hollywood. This meant that the show ended on a high rather than a ratings slump. Created by Father Ted’s Graham Linehan, the IT Crowd is a harmless, hilarious take on life in the world of IT and thoroughly deserves its cult status.

Initially made on a shoe-string budget, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia first season had a cult following, but low viewing figures meant it was destined to be a one-series wonder. Thankfully, everything changed when Season 2 was eventually green-lit, thanks to some big-time star power. Danny De Vito joined for a 10-episode run that was extended because he loved it so much. He’s still in the show that’s now in its 11th season, bringing with him huge viewing figures. The antics of Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Mac (Rob McElhenney, the show’s creator), Charlie (Charlie Kelly) and Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson) won’t be for everyone – at its darkest the show’s ‘comedy’ themes range from nazism to drug abuse – but stick with it and this deliciously depraved classic will reward you.

A new, 12th season, has finally landed on Netflix, after airing in the US earlier this year. The show has also been renewed for two more seasons, which will make it the longest running live-action comedy series on TV ever. Impressive stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 12

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And there was us thinking that Daredevil’s subject matter was dark. Jessica Jones is another tale set in Hell’s Kitchen that may be under the Marvel banned but is about as far removed from the bromance of Thor and Iron Man that you are likely to see.

Breaking Bad’s Krysten Ritter is superb as the titular Jones, a private detective with superpowers and super issues. This is nocturnal noir that moves in the same circles as Daredevil – figuratively and literally as both characters will eventually team up in the Defenders. It may not have the bone-crunching violence that Daredevil is famed for, but there’s enough booze, sex and black humour on the screen to make this a cracking comic-book caper that’s strictly adults only.

Check out our Jessica Jones review

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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Netflix struck true crime gold with How To Make a Murderer and its done the same again with The Keepers. This time the case in question is the murder of a nun in 1969 in Baltimore. The case remains unsolved and this documentary series goes back to the scene of the crime, speaking to witnesses and people who worked on the case.

This is a meticulously researched series, and one that has been in the works longer than Making a Murderer. It shows, too. Each episode ends on a new piece of evidence and by the end you’ll be horrified with just how this case remained unsolved for so long. Gripping stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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Luke Cage is the latest addition to Netflix’s impressive and growing Marvel TV show offering. Marvel has created a rich cinematic universe and although some of its TV shows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter) have struggled to stay on their feet others like Jessica Jones and Daredevil have flourished.

Luke Cage is more in the same vein as Jessica Jones and Daredevil, with less light-hearted superhero fun and more hard-hitting themes, violence, and grit.

After making his debut in the first series of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage is getting his own show which sees him swap Hell’s Kitchen for Harlem, delving into his origins as a hero. Viewers who lamented the fact that they didn’t get to see more of him in Jessica Jones will enjoy the opportunity to find out more about what makes his character tick here. Don’t worry if you haven’t watched Jessica Jones, it’s not a requirement to understand or appreciate anything about Luke Cage.

The first season in its entirety is on Netflix now, making it perfect to settle in and binge watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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Idris Elba was a relatively unknown actor when he blew us all away as Stringer Bell in The Wire. After starring in the show his career catapulted him into the A List, but he thankfully never forgot his TV roots. Luther is a cop show with a difference, and that difference is Elba. He brings that bit extra to a cop who is battling both deranged criminals and his own demons. He befriends murderers and breaks rules, all amongst the beautiful but broken backdrop of London’s East End.

Seasons on Netflix: 4 

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Five series of Mad Men have arrived on Netflix. While it may not be the full set – there were seven in all – there’s enough here to bing watch and get caught up in Matthew Weiner’s modern TV classic. On the face of it, Mad Men is about advertising execs – lead by the ever-conflicted Don Draper – in the Sixties but it’s much much more. Each episode lingers, taking time to tell its tale, but it’s worth the wait. Superb television.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

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Aziz Ansari was part of one of the best comedy ensembles ever in Parks and Recreation, but in Master of None he proves he can hold his own when he goes it alone. Channeling Louie CK, by way of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Master of None is a fantastic look at being in your 30s in Hollywood and all the trappings that go with it. Ansari plays the fictional Dev but this sitcom comes off as deeply personal and is all the better for it.

The second season improves on what is a fantastic first season. Dev is now in Italy, making pasta and trying to forget about acting. It’s not long before he heads back to New York, though.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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The world’s fascination with real crime seems to be at its highest at the moment and it’s all thanks to the podcast Serial. Now on to its second series, Serial highlights cases of crime in forensic detail. Making a Murderer is in a similar vein. This 10-part series looks at Steven Avery, someone who spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and is then accused of a different crime. The show has been ten years in the making and is gripping stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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David Fincher is no stranger to Netflix, he’s heavily involved in House of Cards as producer and directed the first episode, but Mindhunter is Fincher going, well, full Fincher. It’s based on John Douglas’ book of the same name and charts the life of an FBI profiler whose job it is to track serial killers.

It’s set in the ’70s and all 10 episodes of the show ooze appeal. It’s a sinister mashup of Silence of the Lambs and Mad Men and stars the superb Anna Torv – of Fringe fame. 

Fincher directs four episodes and the whole thing has been written by Joe Penhall who wrote the screenplay for The Road. 

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Narcos is that wonderful thing: a TV show that doesn’t scrimp on controversy. Based on the exploits of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar, the show examines the criminal’s rise to the top of one of the biggest drug rings the world has seen, while constantly trying to avoid the clutches of the DEA.

Uncompromising, uncomfortable but completely unforgettable, Narcos is exactly the sort of thing that Netflix should be commissioning. It’s also the sort of thing that HBO would have snapped up just a few years ago – which is very telling as to where television is today.

The third season is available now on Netflix. We’re not one to offer up spoilers but it’s fair to say that it’s all change for Narcos in season 3.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

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The OA rounds off what has been an exceptional year for television on Netflix. Co-created by and starring the ever-brilliant Brit Marling, the show consists of eight episodes that rival Stranger Things for, well, strangeness. 

Marling is a blind woman who comes back after disappearing for many years. Her sight is restored and she has a tale to tell. Although there are eight episodes they vary wildly in length – from 70 minutes to 30 minutes. The whole thing has been made to make you feel uneasy and it does a great job of that.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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Orange Is The New Black consistently tries to oust House of Cards from the Netflix top spot, with its superb tale of life in a women’s prison. It’s so popular that its makers have announced that the show will be running until at least season seven.

The show has finally returned for a fourth season and things of gotten very dark! Racial tensions and issues with the US prison system are the main plot points for season four and while the comedy is still there, it’s slathered with a fair bit of drama.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

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Netflix’s latest TV drama has been tipped as the next Breaking Bad, but it doesn’t quite deserve that accolade. One of the main reason is that Jason Bateman’s Marty Byrde has already broke bad, helping a Mexican cartel to fudge their figures. This means the descent that was so brilliant in Walter White isn’t really seen here. But that doesn’t mean that show isn’t worth a stream – it’s a tense, occasionally terrifying watch that mashes stereotypes and cultures as the Byrde family leave their home in Chicago for the Ozarks in Missouri. 

Also, Jason Bateman is always worth a watch, even when he isn’t winking at the camera Arrested Development style. But the real scene stealer is the ever-brilliant Laura Linney. She acts, directs and produces in this series, proving she’s the real star of the show.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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All nine seasons of Peep Show are now on Netflix – and if you haven’t seen the show, then you are in for a treat. Charting the rather mundane lives of two flatmates Jez (Robert Webb) and Mark (David Mitchell), the show is a wry look at adults trying and failing to be adults. 

All shot in first person – hence the name – Peep Show doesn’t shirk from sex, drugs and political incorrectness but it does it all in such a brilliantly British way, that you don’t mind at all when you are watching some of the most awkward TV moments, including one of the characters serving up a dead dog for dinner. 

Don’t ask, just watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 9

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From the mind of Jonathan Nolan – Inception writer and brother to Christopher – this twist-ridden series is as high concept as it gets. A computer algorithm offers up ‘people of interest’ to a crack crime-fighting team which consists of former Jesus Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, last seen chewing the scenery as Lost’s big bad Benjamin Linus. While the first season is a little by the numbers, this show has blossomed into something of a must watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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The Punisher was meant to just play a bit part in Netflix’s Marvel world. But Jon Bernthal’s depiction of Frank Castle, the vigilante war veteran was so good in Daredevil: Season 2 he’s been given his own show. The new show is a surprisingly muted introduction into the world of The Punisher. Not as gung-ho as we were expecting and there’s actually some tender moments between Frank Castle and Marvel regular Karen Page. What ensues is a movie about revenge and redemption that is sometimes too dark for its own good but is far more entertaining that the turgid Iron Fist.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

As its third season nears, it’s a perfect time to get into Rick and Morty. The show on its most linear level focuses on the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson. But it’s oh so much more. It’s a meditation on sci-fi tropes, a pop culture cauldron, a high-concept cartoon that’s endlessly quotable and also a show that contains more than its fair share of fart jokes. It’s endlessly bingeable and very funny – all thanks to its creator, Community’s Dan Harmon.

Seasons on Netflix: 3 (new episodes streaming every Tuesday)

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Slathered with a fantastic dose of black comedy, Santa Clarita Diet stars Drew Barrymore are the stereotypical TV mum, with one difference: she likes eating people. This brand-new show on Netflix is a great send up of the family sitcom, taking all the tropes that make Modern Family and the like so successful, then turning them on their head, and then eating their head. And be warned: when things are eaten it’s all very grizzly. Timothy Olyphant also stars as the dad who is happy for his wife to be a flesh eater. 

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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The Wachowski siblings have been more miss than hit lately – Cloud Atlas was brave but flawed, Jupiter Ascending was just flawed – but Sense8 sees something of a return to form for the directing duo.

Yes there are problems with Sense8 but this uneven show is brilliantly high concept and packed with interesting characters. Well, eight characters in all, from different parts of the globe that are connected in a variety of ways.

The disparate batch of characters means this is a show that has a lot in keeping with Cloud Atlas, where different genres nestled uneasily against each other. But it’s a brave show and one that suits the lavish cinematography the Wachowskis are famed for.

A Sense8 Christmas special helped fill the gap before the second season – but now the second season is here and proves that the show is developing into something great. Unfortunately, the second season will be the last as Netflix has decided to pull the plug on the show.

Seasons on Netflix: 2 (plus a feature-length Christmas special)

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Sherlock is a show that has been drip-fed to it audience over a number of years. This is partly due to its stories working better as three-episode arcs but also because its main stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have become bonafide superstars during its run, so pinning them down is somewhat difficult. 

Cumberbatch is superb has the modern day Sherlock, but the show works because of a potent mix of scriptwriting (thanks to Doctor Who’s Stephen Moffat), deft direction and a fair bit of challenging the viewer. Superb stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Wow, well we didn’t see this one coming. The Sinner is a fantastic murder mystery tale that will have you wanting to watch it in one sitting. The premise is centred around a mother who kills someone out of the blue and tries to understand why such a thing would happen. Jessica Biel is stunning in the central role but it’s credit to the makers of the show who not only keep you guessing throughout its 8 episodes but also manage to unravel an unpredictable backstory that offers reasons behind the motive.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

There’s very good reason Sons of Anarchy is the highest rated show on FX ever – its Shakespeare-esque plot (think Hamlet on bikes), following the tumultuous lives of a motorcycle gang, has everyone who watches it gripped. The show ended in 2014 after seven glorious seasons – although later seasons could never quite reach the glory days of one to three – and is perfect fodder for those looking for another Breaking Bad-style fix.

Seasons on Netflix: 7

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Now celebrating its 50th year, Star Trek is a movie and TV phenomenon that has no signs of slowing down. The original series, The Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space Nine have all landed on Netflix but it is the first two series that are the best.

Watching it now, the original Star Trek maybe full of creaky sets and suspect acting but the show was bold, colourful and slathered in ’60s sci-fi innovation. The first series is superb, with perhaps the greatest-ever TV double act: William Shatner’s Kirk and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock. Kirk is all bluster and pomp, Spock is cool, calm and authoritative.

Unlike the original series, the Next Generation took a few seasons to get things right but it still fantastic viewing. Patrick Stewart is effortless as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the rest of the crew are – including Data, William T Riker and Geordi La Forge – up there in stature with the original crew.

Seasons on Netflix: 3 (Original Series); 7 (The Next Generation)

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Star Trek Discovery is yet another Netflix exclusive that looks set to be a smash hit. Set before the exploits of the Starship Enterprise, the show is filled with Roddenberry characters. But while the original series had shades of light this is a much darker look at space exploration. Sonequa Martin-Green is great as the first officer who has a past inartistically linked to Star Trek characters of the past – we can’t wait to see where this series goes.

Seasons on Netflix: 1 (episodes weekly)

It was inevitable that Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle would eventually get cancelled by the BBC. But at least we got four series of absolute genius from one of the UK’s finest comedians. Three of those seasons are now on Netflix, with subjects for each 30-minute episode ranging from the global financial crisis, satire and London. Lee’s comedy is not for everyone but his observations are always spot on and utterly hilarious.

When it comes to TV and movies, the ’80s is the nostalgia decade of the moment. Whether it’s Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special that plays like a Steven Spielberg film, if Spielberg still made films like he did in the Eighties, or The Goldbergs and Red Oaks mining the decade for laughs, filmmakers can’t get enough of the shell suits and Sony Walkmans.

Stranger Things is another brilliant homage to this era. Leaning heavily on Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King – so much King – the story revolves around a small town, a group of friends, a missing person and a dodgy science lab. Writing anything else would give away the myriad twists in a show that is full of brilliant creepy fun.

The second season continues the brilliance of the first and you’ll be pleased to read that the quality has not diminished. In fact everything’s been ramped up – the horror is more horrific, the homages more on the nose and the creatures are, well, you’ll have to find out for yourself but you will not be disappointed.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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The Thick Of It is perfect satire. It is the closest we will ever get to the machinations of politics, until they decide to let cameras roll 24/7 at Number 10. From the ever-sweary Malcolm Tucker to the string of forever-wrong MPs he has to protect with his profanities, The Thick Of It manages to show the world what an omnishambles a government in charge can be, with hilarious consequences.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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As catchphrases go, “Yes, I can hear you Clem Fandango” should be up there with the best. If you haven’t witnessed Toast of London the you are in for a treat. It’s about the life of a struggling actor who dreams of being on the stage but has to make ends meet as a voice over artist and whatever else his terrible agent (a superb Doon Mackichan) throws at him. Matt Berry is fantastic as Steven Toast, one-part Larry David to two-parts Larry Olivier, the middle aged actor who consistently fails to make it big.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

The Trip is the perfect gig for Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and one that must have been too good to pass on. Based on the flimsy premise that hyper realised versions of the two comedians drive around rural England eating in the best restaurants as food critics, the show shouldn’t work but it really really does. Completely unscripted, each episode is strewn with movie star impressions and passive-aggressive jokes, where the two try to one-up each other. Director Michael Winterbottom manages to hold the show together with clever editing and cinematography and manages to add subtle plot through phone conversations with Steve and Rob and their respective families.

The second season has also landed on Netflix and it feels like a sumptuous main course. Italy is the setting and its beautiful surroundings seems to have made the pair more relaxed about life, while still bringing the funny.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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Someone escaping from a Domesday cult shouldn’t be a recipe for comedy but Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt manages to squeeze the funny out of this premise. Created by Tina Fey and starring Ellie Kemper as the title character, the show sparkles with wit and is the right side of kooky – unlike some other shows *cough* New Girl *cough* we won’t mention.

Season Two of Kimmy Schmidt has arrived and is fizzing with the same energy of Season One and there’s not long to wait for Season Three – it’s out 19 May.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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The prequel to a film sequel that no one watched, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is both fantastic and utterly stupid. It has a cast list to die for – most of Mad Men are in there as is Ant Man’s Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper – and focuses on the goings on at the first day at camp.

These goings on include X-Files style conspiracies, homoerotic dancing, long lost rock singers, journalists going undercover and government hit men. In the original film the cast were in their 30s and were playing 17 year olds. In the prequel, the same cast is now in their 40s and are playing their characters’ younger selves. If you can get your head around that, then you are going to love the show.

Its TV sequel Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later has also arrived and follows the gang 10 years after they left school. 

Seasons on Netflix: 2 (First Day Of Camp / 10 Years Later)

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Netflix shows no sign of slowing down when it comes to creating its own original content. The following shows will be out later in the year and all of them have had A Lot of money spent on them and big stars attached…

The Dark Crystal

  • Out TBA

We may soon have a new must-have watch in our best shows on Netflix guide! Do you remember Dark Crystal, the fantasy, puppet-filled adventure from the brilliant mind of Muppet creator Jim Henson? It’s set to make a comeback as an all-new prequel TV series thanks to Netflix. It’s vaguely slated to be “coming soon” to the service, but you can get a sneak peek in the trailer.

Jessica Jones: Season 2

  • Sometime in 2018

Krysten Ritter recently revealed that Jessica Jones: Season 2 will be more ‘bingeable’ than season one. Quite what that means we don’t know but it does point to a faster-paced than the first fun but stretched instalment. Alongside Ritter, Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) is back and the action takes place after The Defenders show, which debuts in August.