Netflix is producing more original series than ever before, and they’re not limiting themselves to a single genre. From children’s programming to dark dramas, the site has something for everyone. The sheer number of Netflix originals available can make choosing one to watch a daunting task. You can always sort all original series by Rotten Tomatoes scores and just pick out the highest-rated, but there’s more than a little disagreement between fans and critics over what constitutes the best of the best. For me, the top Netflix shows are the ones you learn about via word of mouth, or better yet, the ones you stumble upon entirely by accident.
This list is totally unscientific, but in my humble opinion these 15 Netflix series are just a little bit more entertaining than the rest. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re infinitely bingeable. And isn’t that the mark of a truly great Netflix series?
15. Santa Clarita Diet
An ordinary, suburban family’s world is rocked when the mom (played with zeal by Drew Barrymore) wakes up one morning and discovers that she’s a zombie. She’s no lurching member of the undead though. Her cravings for human flesh actually make her feel more alive than she has in years. Of course, she’s also decomposing, which isn’t ideal — but you take the good with the bad in this weird, bloody, and addictive family comedy.
14. One Day at a Time
The updated version of the ’70s classic follows a Cuban American family led by Penelope, a war veteran and single mom. Using a traditional multi-camera format, One day at a Time explores topics like PTSD, sexuality, and religion even as its providing laughs. Hands down the best reason to watch is EGOT winner, Rita Moreno, who plays Penelope’s vivacious mother. Morena is a comedic force of nature even as the show touches on complex topics.
Dark is a German sci-fi series set in a creepy small town where a child’s disappearance forces the secrets of four families to the surface. The series is partly grounded in the real pain of losing a child, but there’s a puzzle box element to it, as well. The story unfolds across multiple timelines and involves just enough sci-fi goodness to keep genre fans enthralled.
12. Dear White People
College radio host Sam has no problem calling out the entitlement of her rich, white Ivy League classmates. However, her life is more complicated than her radio show initially suggests. The show explores the college experience from Sam’s point of view, and in the process serves up satire, real talk about race, and an all-around entertaining series.
Think Breaking Bad if Walter White’s family had been on his scheme from the start and you have Ozark. Starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, the series follows Marty as he relocates his family after a money-laundering scheme goes wrong. In order to pay back the money, he has to bring his family in on his scheme, and it actually ends up bringing them closer together.
10. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Kimmy spends 15 years as a mole woman in an underground bunker. That hardly sounds like the beginning of a hilarious sitcom, but it is. Kimmy moves to New York where she meets the one of a kind Titus who teaches her to survive in the real world (and occasionally do Beyoncé impersonations).
9. Master of None
Dev is a 30-year-old struggling actor who doesn’t have a clear idea of what he wants out of life. The show embraces his indecision, and uses it to craft experimental episodes that are nothing short of brilliant. From episode to episode, you don’t know if you’re going to get a romantic comedy, a heartbreaking coming out story, or Seinfeld-esque guide to social media. And yes, that’s a major part of this unique comedy’s appeal.
8. Orange Is the New Black
Orange Is the New Black is now in its sixth season, and the women’s prison drama is still sharp in its exploration of life for the inmates. The privileged Piper Chapman is the gateway to a world full of women from a variety of different backgrounds who all have a story to tell.
7. Bojack Horseman
In the ’90s, Bojack was the biggest sitcom star in Hollywood. Now his career is washed up, and his life is depressing, to say the least. Bojack Horseman is smart, irreverent, and the only show about a talking horse that might make you have an existential crisis (sorry, Mr. Ed).
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are a disparate bunch. There’s Alison Brie’s Ruth, a struggling actor who’s looking for a place to belong, and her former best friend Debbie (Betty Gilpin), a soap actress trying to move on from her failed marriage. There’s also a badass stunt woman named Cherry, a woman from a wrestling dynasty, and Sheila, who dresses as a wolf at all times. Together, they make a weird family that you will love spending time with — especially if you grew up watching wrestling.
Mindhunter is the type of series that Netflix was made for. It’s a slow burn drama that rewards binge-viewing by taking you along for the ride as an FBI agent delves into the psychology of serial killers. Dense, dark, and haunting, this underrated Netflix original should be near the top of your must-watch list.
4. The Crown
Queen Elizabeth II’s fascinating life unfolds in The Crown. The lush period drama brings to life the triumphs, tragedies, and scandals of the British royal family with expert precision. Whether you love period dramas or not, this series is so well-crafted you won’t be able to look away.
3. American Vandal
True crime series are expertly skewered in this satire. Set at a high school where a costly prank leads to the wrongful expulsion of a student, a sophomore embarks on a journey to find the true perpetrator of the crime.
2. Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones is a hard-drinking private investigator who tries her best not to care about anyone or anything. She also has superpowers. Led by Krysten Ritter, this isn’t your average superhero series. Instead, it’s a remarkably grounded series about a woman who can’t escape her dark past.
1. Stranger Things
Believe the hype. Stranger Things is a dizzying throwback to ’80s pop culture, a coming of age tale, and an addictive sci-fi series that will make you believe in the genre again. From the super-powered Eleven to poor Will Byers, Hawkins, Indiana is overflowing with lovable characters and monsters that are sometimes all too human. Netflix has its share of great shows, but this crowd-pleaser might just be its best.
Source: Official Roku Website