We’ve all been overwhelmed by streaming TV choices, only to give up and watch something you’ve already seen. But this curated list of the best shows on Netflix is here to narrow down your choices and help you figure out exactly which titles you want to sample next.
Every high school has its legendary scandals, notorious pranks, and perennial screw-ups. Not every high school has them chronicled in an elaborate docu-series with lavish production values. In this extremely straight-faced mockumentary that’s also one of the best comedies on Netflix, Hanover High senior Dylan Maxwell (Theater Camp star Jimmy Tatro) is assumed to have vandalized 27 faculty members’ cars by spray-painting phallic images on them, and gets expelled for it. When he maintains his innocence, classmates Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck, currently embroiled in another high school mystery in Season 2 of Freeform’s Cruel Summer) decide to film their own investigation. Season 2 takes them to another state, and another equally juvenile high school “crime.”
Following her work as a writer on Breaking Bad, Moira Walley-Beckett took a wild right turn: she adapted Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 young adult novel into this family drama series. Matthew (R.H. Thomson) and Marilla (Geraldine James)—middle-aged, unmarried siblings living together on their family farm—arrange to adopt an orphan boy to help work the property. Matthew is not quite sure what to do when the orphan who arrives at the train station is Anne (Amybeth McNulty), a wildly imaginative girl. Fortunately, they eventually figure out how to be a family.
Amy (Ali Wong) is an entrepreneur in the middle of a protracted negotiation to sell her independent store to a huge home-improvement chain. Danny (Steven Yeun) is a contractor and handyman desperately trying to scrape together enough money to buy a plot of land on which he can build a house for his parents, who lost their motel and moved back to their native Korea. There’s no reason Danny and Amy should ever know each other, never mind end up as one another’s sworn enemies. But after the two have an unfortunate parking lot run-in, they both become obsessed with avenging themselves on each other in this pitch-black comedy.
Hector Belascoarán Shayne (Luis Gerardo Méndez) is an engineer with a beautiful wife and a handsome home…but his soul yearns for something different. He sends away for a course to learn how to become a private detective, although, as the son of leftist political activists, he is careful to tell everyone whose path he crosses that he is actually an independent investigator. And in the Mexico City of the 1970s, there are plenty of people who can use help who may not get it through official legal channels. Each episode is a self-contained mystery, so if you’ve already run through all of Columbo and Poker Face on Peacock and are looking for a new show about a detective who’s kind of a mess, this could be your next Netflix binge.
Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg went through puberty together as middle-school friends, went into comedy as adults…and then (with Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett) co-created this animated sitcom. About kids but not really for them, Big Mouth has become one of the most outrageous comedies on Netflix by delving into such sensitive topics as first periods, masturbation, and sexual identity, and using the filthiest words you’ve ever heard (and some you possibly haven’t) for body parts and fluids. The voice cast features Kroll in roles as varied as protagonist Nick Birch, his classmate Lola, their coach Steve, and a Hormone Monster named Morey; you’ll also hear John Mulaney, Fred Armisen, and Maya Rudolph, among many others — including, starting in Season 4, Ayo Edebiri, breakout star of The Bear, who will co-headline Bottoms on the big screen later this month.
Comedy writer Charlie Brooker stepped out of his primary genre for this sci-fi anthology series. In the style of The Twilight Zone, each episode tells a self-contained story, generally about a dystopic application or evolution of technology we are familiar with. (The titular Black Mirror refers to the look of a TV, computer, or phone screen when it’s turned off.) What if you lived in a bunker and pedaled a stationary bike for hours on end to earn “merits” for your food and entertainment? Can a computer simulation permit our consciousness to outlast our physical forms? What if a popular streaming platform eavesdropped on your phone and turned your life into a drama series starring a CGI Salma Hayek? These are just a few questions raised over Black Mirror’s run; Season 6 arrived this June (and it also stars Ayo Edebiri!).
The titular BoJack (voice of Will Arnett, currently lending his vocal talents to Peacock’s Twisted Metal) was, back in the ’90s, the star of a wildly successful family sitcom called Horsin’ Around. In the 2010s, he’s a has-been barely hanging on to his acting career. As part of a comeback attempt, he hires Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie) to ghost-write his memoir, drawing her into his world of substance use and depression. It really is a comedy! Paul F. Tompkins deserves special note for his work as BoJack’s one-time sitcom rival turned frenemy, a Labrador Retriever named Mr. Peanutbutter.
As a teen, New York state resident Rebecca (Rachel Bloom, who also co-created the series with Aline Brosh McKenna) met Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) at camp. Years later, when she’s a financially successful but personally miserable lawyer, she spots Josh on the street in Manhattan and decides to fix her life by moving to his hometown of West Covina, California. Original songs—most co-written by the late Adam Schlesinger—and production numbers illustrate the mental states of Rebecca and the other characters in her orbit. Consistently low-rated during its run on the CW, it lives on forever as one of the best comedy shows on Netflix. Watch it again—or for the first time—and then go catch her on her live tour, “Death, Let Me Do My Special.”
Haunted Mansion director Justin Simien had an indie hit in 2014 as the writer-director of the feature film Dear White People, following students of color at a predominantly white Ivy League college; he returned to the story in 2017, adapting his own work as a series that became one of the best dramedies on Netflix. Logan Browning stars as Samantha White, who delivers hard truths to her classmates via her college radio show, from which the series derives its name; Brandon P. Bell reprises his film role of all-American Troy Fairbanks; Giancarlo Esposito serves as narrator for the first three (of four) seasons.
The Troubles, as experienced by residents of Derry, Northern Ireland, is the backdrop of this sitcom set in the mid-1990s. Primarily, though, it’s about four teenaged girls (and one English boy mistakenly enrolled in their all-girls’ school) getting up to typical teen shenanigans: trying to raise money for a school trip to Paris; battling censorship at the school paper; and sneaking out of town to see a boy band. Keep an eye out for Nicola Coughlan, one of the many Barbies of the big-screen Barbie.
In 2015, the Icelandic network RÚV débuted Trapped (2015), a classic Nordic Noir: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson stars as Andri Ólafsson, the chief of police in a northern Icelandic town whose job gets harder when a dismembered human torso is found just in time for a blizzard to render the town entirely inaccessible to anyone outside it. A second season found Andri working a political assassination case. And after a long (COVID-related) delay, season three arrived on Netflix in late 2022, retitled Entrapped. This time, the murder that kicks off the action exposes the tangled relations between a pacifist commune and a biker gang. The chilly setting and short run make this one of the best bingeworthy shows to stay in with on an oppressively sunny afternoon.
Getting chosen for Reese Witherspoon’s book club has smoothed the path for series adaptions—Tiny Beautiful Things, The Last Thing He Told Me, and Daisy Jones & The Six are all success stories from this year alone—and so it was with Tembi Locke’s bestselling memoir From Scratch: A Memoir Of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home. Zoë Saldaña stars as Amy Wheeler, who’s relocated to Florence to find her voice as an artist; her path is redirected when she meets and falls in love with Lino (Eugenio Mastrandrea), a sexy chef. If you’ve already run through both seasons of The Bear, try this: it’s one of Netflix’s most delicious romances.
If you’ve finished your Emmy-nomination prep and are looking to dive deeper into the careers of The White Lotus’s Season 2 cast, start with Giri-Haji. The limited series, the title of which literally means “Duty/Shame,” revolves around Kenzo (Takehiro Hira), a Tokyo police detective who travels to London to try to find his brother Yuto (Yōsuke Kubokoza) before suspicion that he has killed the relative of a yakuza member touches off a gang war. Will Sharpe (who played Ethan in The White Lotus opposite Aubrey Plaza’s Harper) appears in a supporting role as Rodney, a sex worker who becomes part of Kenzo’s investigation; no spoilers, but here he definitely never worries that his wife is cheating on him with a charismatic frenemy!
One of the shows that put UPN on the map and survived to the CW era, Girlfriends—created by award-winning Moesha producer Mara Brock Akil—revolves around four friends in Los Angeles. Lawyer Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross) is the hub to whom the other characters are all connected. Toni (Jill Marie Jones) is a real estate agent who’s been Joan’s friend since high school; Lynn (Persia White) roomed with Toni and Joan at UCLA, and despite her five post-graduate degrees has struggled to zero in on a career; and Maya (Golden Brooks) starts out as Joan’s assistant. If you’ve never watched the show, or just haven’t revisited it since its series finale in 2008, dig in: there are eight big seasons of this outstanding comedy series waiting for you.
The same year that saw the release of Logan, with a screenplay by Scott Frank, Netflix dropped one of its best crime shows, Godless. Frank wrote and directed the series, and also re-teamed with executive producer Steven Soderbergh, who had directed Frank’s screenplay for Out Of Sight nearly 20 years earlier) The seven-episode miniseries is set in La Belle, a Colorado town mostly peopled by women following a catastrophic mining accident that killed most of La Belle’s male residents; further crisis ensues when an outlaw on the run is pursued to La Bell by his former gang. Frank would receive further acclaim a few years later with his next Netflix miniseries: The Queen’s Gambit.)
Adapted by Alice Oseman from her graphic novel of the same name, Heartstopper tells the story of British high school students Charlie (Joe Locke) and Nick (Kit Connor). Charlie has been out—and not by his own choice—for the past year before meeting Nick, and since Charlie believes Nick is straight, the two start as platonic friends…but over the course of the first season, their relationship evolves. Catch up as fast as you can: Season 2 drops August 3, with the third already in the works.
Saturday Night Live star/writer. Detroiters star/co-creator. The Characters star/writer. All of Tim Robinson’s truly superlative work in comedy has led us all to this: one of the most confidently unhinged sketch shows in recent memory, and among the best comedy shows on Netflix. Each episode is well under a half-hour, so it will take you no time at all to learn the origin of such memes as “We’re all trying to find the guy who did this” and “I don’t even want to be around anymore.” After a desperately long wait, the third season finally hits the platform May 30.
Those of us raised on David Copperfield specials may, rightly, be suspicious of the camera tricks that could be employed in translating magic illusions to the screen. But even if your rational mind knows that magic isn’t real, Justin Willman can make you believe! And, in addition his skills as a prestidigitator, Willman is a legit comedic performer — and you don’t have to take my word for it: alt-comedy legends Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (aka Tim and Eric) are among the show’s executive producers. The last season dropped in the spring of 2020, the show hasn’t officially been cancelled, so if enough readers watch it, maybe they’ll make more!
Comic Mo Amer re-teamed with Ramy Youssef—the star and creator of Ramy, in which Amer plays the titular Ramy’s cousin—to co-create Mo. In this semi-autobiographical dramedy, Amer plays Mohammed “Mo” Najjar, a Palestinian refugee seeking asylum as a path to U.S. citizenship, and navigating life in Houston, Texas. As with Ramy, Mo comes from beloved indie production company A24.
How did Pablo Escobar go from a comparatively low-level smuggler to one of the world’s most notorious drug kingpins to…uh, his death at the hands of an international law enforcement task force (spoiler)? Steve Murphy—a real DEA agent, since retired, who worked on the case—is portrayed here by Boyd Holbrook, who also narrates the story of the DEA’s investigation into Escobar (Wagner Moura); Murphy’s DEA colleague Javier Peña is played by future Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal. The series was followed by a companion series, Narcos: Mexico, in 2018.
Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) is a brainiac at her high school; the highly supervised daughter of Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan), a first-generation Indian immigrant, dermatologist, and recent widow; and possibly the horniest teenager Sherman Oaks, California has ever known. When we first meet her at the start of her sophomore year of high school, Devi has resolved not only to have sex, but for her first partner to be Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnet), unquestionably the coolest and most desirable boy at her school. Devi’s carnal ambitions evolve quite a lot over the show’s first three seasons, as does its most important love story: the one that develops between mother and daughter. The show’s final season drops in June, so make sure you’re caught up to see how one of the funniest and sweetest family sitcoms on Netflix wraps up its run.
Samin Nosrat’s cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat was a runaway bestseller, a critical hit, and a multiple award winner. Turning her framing device into a documentary series was the logical next step. Each of the four episodes in Netflix’s take covers one of the titular topics, and doubles as a travelogue: “Fat” brings Nosrat to Italy; “Salt” to Japan; “Acid” to Mexico; and closes with “Heat” in Berkeley, California, and at the legendary Chez Panisse, where Nosrat’s career began. Even if you don’t have the resources to take similar journeys yourself, there’s still lots to learn for the home cook; it’s one of the best educational shows on Netflix.
When his boss is poisoned and hospitalized, Adam Lawrence (Charlie Cox) is promoted from deputy to Chief of the British spy agency MI6. Adam’s excitement about his new position is soon replaced with suspicion when he deciphers a code and arrives at a meeting to find Kara (Olga Kurylenko), a Russian spy he knows quite well, and who has a secret mission for Adam to complete during his tenure.
In 1989, a jogger was raped in New York’s Central Park. Five young Black and Latino men were wrongly accused and all served time in prison. Years later, a man who was incarcerated on unrelated charges confessed to the jogger’s assault, and the so-called Central Park Five were ultimately exonerated. This acclaimed docudrama tells their story, and is accompanied by a stand-alone special in which Oprah Winfrey interviews the exonerated men. Joshua Jackson, whose colead role in Paramount+’s series remake of Fatal Attraction kicks off April 30, costars as Michael Joseph, who represented defendant Antron McCray. Jharrel Jerome, newly headlining Prime Video’s surrealist I’m A Virgo, won an Emmy for his performance as Korey Wise; Joshua Jackson, star of Paramount+’s series remake of Fatal Attraction, costars as Michael Joseph, who represented defendant Antron McCray.
Based on Beau Smith’s comic book series of the same name, Wynonna Earp introduces viewers to the titular character (Melanie Scrofano) on her 27th birthday: that’s when she learns that she now has the power to destroy the reincarnated miscreants originally killed by her famous ancestor, Wyatt. So basically what we’re dealing with here is a contemporary supernatural western that also happens to be loaded with hot queer characters. What’s not to like?