We’ve come a long way from the days of waiting for new DVDs to arrive in the mail. Now you can decide your next show to binge-watch on Netflix with the click of a button.
From entrancing originals to beloved classics, the list of shows to watch on Netflix feels countless. A frustrating algorithm is the only thing standing in your way between you and entertainment. Never fear, dear reader, because we’ll help you out.
We are presenting our list of some of the 20 best shows to binge on Netflix.
It took the world by storm in 2016 and has been one of the best shows to binge on Netflix ever since.
Stranger Things is a love letter to 1980s pop culture. It’s more than inspired by the works of Stephen King and another 80s horror/sci-fi; it’s a perfect homage to it. It all creates an incredibly compelling package, from the soundtrack to the visuals, the storytelling, and the narrative themes.
It makes the most sense that Stranger Things is carried by its terrific cast, particularly the younger kids. They earn every ounce of star power they now have thanks to incredible performances since day one.
If you’re looking for a show to watch on a lazy weekend, Stranger Things is a great place to start.
One of the greatest television shows of all time, Breaking Bad captures an audience as few shows can.
The performance of Bryan Cranston as Walter White is incredibly captivating; he commands the screen even when he’s not participating in a scene.
Cranston alone doesn’t carry the show; the strength of his co-stars and incredible writing helps to keep the viewers entranced with everything unfolding on screen.
There are no bad episodes of Breaking Bad, regardless of what fans may think of a handful of episodes. This makes it an excellent choice for a Netflix binge-watch.
Better Call Saul
What was originally met with cautious indifference quickly became one of the greatest television shows ever.
Better Call Saul not only serves as a worthy prequel to Breaking Bad but also as a testament to brilliant television.
It’s the rare example of a prequel that delivers tension in moments where the outcomes are known. We know Saul Goodman and Gustavo Fring make it through the entire series. Despite this, we’re still captivated during moments when their future is in doubt.
There are also no bad episodes of Better Call Saul, making it an easy inclusion on our list of the best shows to binge-watch on Netflix.
Disclaimer: Season 6 of Better Call Saul is currently not on U.S. Netflix
Comarpsions to You and Dexter are inevitable. Both feature a protagonist who acts as the series’ narrator. Both leads are charming, handsome, and beyond charismatic. Most importantly, both are serial killers.
After its original debut on Lifetime, You obtained overwhelming success on Netflix. Penn Badgley’s performance as Joe Goldberg is both haunting and captivating. He’s clearly a troubled character with a cavalcade of issues to deal with. Yet there’s something about him that’s Ted Bundy-esque; a certain amount of charm you can’t look away from.
You deals with the themes of desire, love, and obsession perfectly. How the show’s story continuously provides enticing twists and turns is beyond remarkable. Few shows can routinely keep things fresh while maintaining their high quality.
The Netflix adaptation of the Gerard Way comic of the same name, Umbrella Academy, is next on our list of the best shows to binge on Netflix.
Our story features a team of adopted sibling superheroes as they deal with saving the world while navigating the dysfunction that is their family.
Umbrella Academy’s balance between character development and superhero moments serves it extremely well. It helps showcase that even the strongest people have their own flaws and trauma they need to address. Other media pieces have tried to tackle these themes, but none have been able to stick the landing like Umbrella Academy.
It helps that the show features the right balance of strong righting, riveting performances, and sensational soundtrack selections alongside what’s happening on screen.
Based on the League of Legends universe, Arcane takes the video game “curse” for movies and television and throws it into the trash. One of the Netflix binge shows you can watch today, Arcane combines beautiful visuals, arresting voice performances, and gripping stories.
The biggest move Arcane makes is not requiring any knowledge of the source material to watch the show. League fans will undoubtedly enjoy seeing their favorite characters in the show, but non-League fans aren’t punished for not understanding the source material.
Arcane shows what’s possible when video game universes can successfully expand and build up their worlds and characters. This makes it an easy addition to our list of best shows to binge on Netflix.
Far from the first ever show to portray characters out of place, Ozark manages to use the strength of its actors to get over its initial hump.
Both Jason Bateman and Laura Linney carry a somewhat slow first two seasons. The show’s story is just enticing enough to keep you interested before being won over by the actors’ performances.
Season three is where the show gets into true Netflix binge-watch status. In addition to continued award-worthy performances, the show’s narrative and tension reach unparalleled heights. Not since House of Cards has a show’s twist and turns been so entertaining, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.
One of the greatest sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld changed how TV comedies would be made.
Often referred to as “a show about nothing,” Seinfeld lacks character development and doesn’t emphasize season-long storylines, though the latter does exist on occasion. Instead, the comedy is derived from dealing with the everyday troubles of their lives.
None of these circumstances feel phony or contrived for television. Are you waiting for a table at a restaurant? Dealing with relatives and their quirks? The perils of adult dating? Immediately regret your decision to quit your job? These are all things we deal with daily. Additionally, they’re plot points in the show.
The true mastery of Seinfeld is how relatable everything is. The amount of times you’ll go, “wow, I wish I could do that,” is beyond numerous, helping to deepen the quality of its humor.
After a quiet yet entertaining debut on YouTube, Cobra Kai’s arrival on Netflix helped to launch the series as one of the best shows to watch on Netflix.
Acting as a sequel to The Karate Kid movies, the series features the return of Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. This time, however, our protagonist is Lawrence, and the story focuses on re-opening the Cobra Kai karate dojo.
The true strength of the series is how it showcases character development for the franchise’s leads. In addition to the on-screen journeys of LaRusso and Lawrence, we learn about what happens in the years between releases. Ralph Macchio and William Zabka continue to own their performances as these beloved characters.
While Cobra Kai looks to move beyond its karate roots and focus more on the journey of its characters, it continues to be engaging and entertaining.
A modern-day anthology series inspired by The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror is never afraid to tackle social and contemporary issues of the current age.
While the series has slowed recently in terms of its releases, there’s still plenty to watch and love, making it a perfect choice for your next Netflix binge-watch.
How Black Mirror tackles the themes of each episode balances the right amount of subtlety and heavy-handedness. The commentary is obvious enough that you won’t mess up what each episode is trying to say, but the impact knows how to stick the landing. Episodes stay without you after viewing, causing you to reflect on what you watched and what the modern-day world is truly offering.
Black Mirror is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an anthology series that makes you question the world around you.
Love, Death, and Robots
Tim Miller’s animated anthology series has won Primetime Emmys for its first two volumes, with an upcoming nomination for Volume III.
Love, Death, and Robots lets its creativity shine. Every episode shares a common theme of love, death, or robots. Beyond that, the series tackles specific narratives and stories exclusive to each episode. Think of it as a more focused, animated version of Black Mirror that offers new ways to convey select themes.
Unlike Black Mirror, the quality of Love, Death, and Robots has grown with each volume. The stories, animation, and themes continue to press the issue, finding new creative and, at times, disturbing ways to tell its story.
You better believe that the worldwide streaming phenomenon of 2021 makes our list of best shows to binge on Netflix.
Few shows are as honest, brutal, and upfront as Squid Game; this isn’t a series for the faint of heart. Yet its social commentary lands at the perfect time during both the COVID-19 pandemic and Great Resignation.
Unlike other dystopian stories, Squid Game’s messaging feels right at home in the early 2020s. There’s no off-screen apocalypse or world-changing event that’s ripped from fantasy. These are real issues that real people deal with daily, looking for real solutions.
Squid Game offers those solutions, showing just how far people will go for them.
The biggest compliment I can give Ugly Delicious is that I immediately sought after the dishes each episode featured.
The David Chang documentary is an easy choice as one of the best shows to watch on Netflix. Of course, I love everything about food, so I’m a little biased here. Still, food isn’t the sole star of the show here.
As Chang dives into the featured cuisine of each episode, we also learn about its history. One standout episode, in particular, deals with the history of Vietcajun cuisine. The way Ugly Delicious details the roots of traditional Cajun food and goes into how Vietnamese influences have helped create a subgenre that’s just as delicious will make you salivate.
And, if you’re like me, run to the nearest place you can get a Vietnamese Cajun seafood boil.
The newest series on our list of best shows to binge on Netflix, The Sandman is the television adaptation of the Neil Gaiman comic.
In addition to staying faithful to its source material, The Sandman is carried by strong performances from the entire cast. While it runs the risk of alienating those unfamiliar with the graphic novel, The Sandman is still able to tell an uncompromising vision of its story.
Some have critiqued that the show’s CGI clashes with the art style of the original comic, but this is ultimately a minor critique. The Sandman is a well-paced story that knows not to overstay its welcome.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
One of the greatest and most influential comedy shows of all time is also one of the best shows to binge on Netflix.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus does more than launch the careers of six incredibly talented comedians but also helps set the stage for the sketch comedy genre of television entirely.
Without Flying Circus, there is no Saturday Night Live.
Monty Python’s humor is legendary because of its timeless nature. Is it British and quick-witted? Absolutely, but it also respects the intelligence of its audience, letting the jokes land on their own without forcing things.
Unless we’re talking about sketches like the man with a tape recorder up his nose, that’s just stupid fun.
Be sure to toss a coin to your Witcher before your next Netflix binge-watch.
Focusing on the events that pre-date the video game trilogy, Netflix’s The Witcher adaptation is peak fantasy entertainment. Henry Cavill was made to play Geralt of Rivia and completely nails the role with his performance.
Where The Witcher truly succeeds is using its source material to its advantage. In the same way Game of Thrones delivers a unique spin on the fantasy genre, so does The Witcher. Its themes and visuals are darker, tapping into its mythology as it develops the world and characters.
Arrested Development’s strength as a comedy becomes obvious on multiple viewings. Not only do the jokes you miss due to their rapid-fire nature stand out, but so do the constant breadcrumbs the original three seasons lay.
Everything that happens in Arrested Development has a purpose, a meaning, and a reason. Jokes, lines, and deliveries that elicit a humble chuckle on your first viewing will later result in hearty laughter on your second viewing.
That’s not to say you need to re-watch Arrested Development, but more that you’ll want to. The casting is all perfect; Jessica Walters and David Cross completely steal the show, which is impressive considering the strong performances of Will Arnett, Tony Hale, and Portia de Rossi.
Honestly, it’s easier to say the entire cast steals the shower, the first three seasons are perfect, and you need to stop what you’re doing and watch Arrested Development right now.
The fact that we only got two seasons of Mindhunter proves why we can’t always have nice things.
David Fincher’s series is a fantastic glimpse into the psychological world of criminal profiling. It blends the worlds of true crime and fiction effortlessly, anchored by gripping dialogue and the sharp focus Fincher is known for.
Mindhunter manages to be as engaging and entertaining as it is chilling. Its dialogue is on-point, keeping you coming back for more.
Sadly the show is currently on hiatus after two seasons. After a binge-watch on Netflix, you’ll be with the other fans in clamoring for more episodes.
Puberty is an awful time in everyone’s life. It’s only natural we look back at it and derive the humor from those awkward years. That’s what Big Mouth does, using raging hormones to create plenty of big laughs.
Later seasons of the Nick Kroll-created show dive into puberty’s more serious side effects. Not everything results in moments we can look back on and laugh at. There are real consequences to our actions as we grow from kids to adults. Big Mouth is never afraid to tackle these moments, and the show is better for it.
The way Bojack Horseman combines its sharp, witty, and non-stop humor with its serious, mature, and incredibly moving narratives is a sight to behold.
Washed-up 90’s star Bojack Horseman has to navigate through his life as he quickly realizes the demand for his second act isn’t there. We look at his life, friends, family, and loved ones and quickly realize that the real meat of the show isn’t its constant barrage of humor; it’s how the animated series tackles mental health, addiction, relationships, and trauma.
Bojack Horseman’s ability to blend these moments successfully helps its standout moments shine much brighter. Each season features an episode that isn’t afraid to push boundaries. Season 3’s Fish out of Water tells a better story with nearly no line of spoken dialogue than other shows could even dream of. Season 6’s Free Churro is a “one-take” monologue that balances dealing with loss, trauma, pain, and suffering before setting up a punch line at the end of the episode.
There will never be another Bojack Horseman.
The next time you’re looking to find a show to binge on Netflix, hopefully, you can use this list as a recommendation.
Did we leave anything off? What’s your favorite show to watch on Netflix? Sound off in the comments below, and keep the conversation going!