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Best Netflix shows: 30 amazing TV shows that are worth binge watching

Best Netflix shows
(Image credit: Andrew D. Bernstein)

This list of the best Netflix shows includes only the 30 greatest TV series you can watch on the streaming service right now. With well over 1000 Netflix originals to choose from, we've formatted our list of the best Netflix shows so you can see them all on this single page for easy browsing. Find something you want to watch, and get streaming!

We update our list of the best Netflix shows every single week with new suggestions of series to watch. This week we've added Parks and Recreation, an NBC sitcom classic that's available in full on Netflix, along with dessert-related cooking show Sugar Rush, which just debuted its third season. Alongside newer shows, you'll find a selection of long-time binge-watching favorites in our list of the best Netflix TV series below, too, including The Office and The Witcher. 

Here, then, is our list of the best Netflix TV shows in the US. Top up your watch list, and enjoy. Be sure to read our list of best Netflix movies, too, or best Netflix documentaries if you're in the mood for something more factual.

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Parks and Recreation

(Image credit: NBC)

Between The Office, Community and Parks and Rec, Netflix has you covered for a classic rotation of excellent NBC sitcoms. Parks and Recreation is about the parks department of the local government of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, led by the bubbly Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler). This setup is a great framework for a workplace comedy, with the opportunity to bring in countless recurring local characters in a Simpsons-like style. Like the Office, Parks and Rec is presented like a mockumentary, but the show quickly pulls in a different direction, helped by its amazing ensemble cast. 

Seasons on Netflix: 7

Sugar Rush

(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

The third season of Sugar Rush, subtitled Extra Sweet, just dropped on Netflix. This dessert-related competitive cooking show is terrific, easy viewing, with different themed weeks bringing more and more amazing creations out of everyday chefs. With judges including Cupcake queen Candace Nelson and Adrian Zumbo, as well guest judges you'll probably recognize from other Netflix shows you like, Sugar Rush is a great little pick-me-up.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Cursed

(Image credit: Netflix)

Cursed is resolutely not as good a fantasy drama as The Witcher, but this alternative take on the Arthurian legend is perfectly watchable, especially at a time when not much else is releasing on streaming services. After the death of her mother, Nimue (Katherine Langford) teams up with extremely handsome warrior Arthur (Devon Terrell), in a quest to find Merlin. 

At times, it definitely has a young adult literature vibe, but that's okay – while Cursed isn't exactly family entertainment (you do see Merlin's butt), it's less sweary and bloody than Game of Thrones. Curiously, the show is co-created by legendary Batman writer/artist Frank Miller, who was also co-director on the movie Sin City. Here's hoping Cursed season 2 can build on what's here. 

Seasons on Netflix: 3

The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix showed it didn't need to collaborate with Marvel to make a great superhero show, as this quirky adaptation of the Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá-created series of comics proves. In Umbrella Academy, superpowered siblings – the Hargreeves – reunite after their adopted father is murdered, and together face a possible apocalypse. 

With an excellent ensemble cast that includes the likes of Ellen Page and Robert Sheehan, this breezy and fun show almost makes up for the lack of new Marvel content coming to Netflix. The Umbrella Academy season 2 is available now, too, taking the Hargreeves somewhere else entirely, and it's even better than the first season.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Avatar: The Last Airbender

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

Considered one of the great modern animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender is set in a world where some can 'bend' the elements (fire, water, air and earth) to their will. Aang, a young boy and the last of his people, is the 'Avatar', who will journey to harness all four elements and keep the peace between the nations of his world. It's an anime-infused, beautiful-looking series that's worth checking out, even if you feel like you might be a little too old for a kids' cartoon. 

The sequel series The Legend of Korra is coming to Netflix on August 14, too, so you'll have plenty of episodes to get through if it turns out to be your sort of thing.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

The Last Dance

the last dance on Netflix

(Image credit: Jonathan Daniel / Stringer)

Finally released on Netflix in July 2020, The Last Dance is the biggest and best sports documentary of the year. With comprehensive access and unseen footage from the time, this eight-part series focuses on Michael Jordan's basketball career, specifically his final season playing for the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98. 

The talking heads here include Jordan himself, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, who each discuss their role in the team's unstoppable run. Even if basketball isn't really your thing, the insight here into what made such a successful team is fascinating, as are the unpleasant clashes behind the scenes. It's one of the best Netflix documentaries you can watch right now.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Dark

(Image credit: Netflix)

Dark is a dense, time travel-infused show that's utterly enthralling once you've given it a chance. We recommend watching all three seasons of this now-complete Netflix sci-fi show in one extended session over the course of a few weeks, just so you can follow the events of what's going on closely. We also advise not reading much else about it: go in and be surprised by how well-plotted and cast this German-language series is.

This is the best Netflix show to watch right now if you're looking for a drama that'll give your brain a workout.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Unsolved Mysteries

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix's latest true crime entry is a revival of a US TV staple, and it's on the trashier fringes of the genre. Unlike the original show, which focused on urban legends as well as crimes, this just focuses on cases involving real people, usually with some additional curious element to generate more audience theories about what's going on. It feels like it's been designed to turn everyone into armchair detectives – and while that comes across as a little irresponsible, Unsolved Mysteries is still an entertaining watch on Netflix. 

Seasons on Netflix: 1

New Girl

(Image credit: Fox)

Netflix US hasn't had Friends all year, but if you're missing that sitcom, New Girl is probably its closest relative on the streaming service. With a surprisingly prolific 145 episodes, New Girl (at first) is about Jess (Zooey Deschanel), who moves in with three unusual housemates after her boyfriend cheats on her. Those housemates are Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Winston (Lamorne Morris).

New Girl can get a little repetitive, especially with that many episodes under its belt, but later seasons are mixed up by the return of pilot episode star Coach (Damon Wayans Jr) and the addition of Megan Fox to the cast when Deschanel takes maternity leave. This is one of the best Netflix shows if you just want something light and fun to have on in the background.

Seasons on Netflix: 7

Halt and Catch Fire

(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

Halt and Catch Fire is about the earliest days of computing, and a group of geniuses challenging IBM at their own game. Really, though, it's the basis for an intense character-led period drama set in the '80s, with a fantastic ensemble cast (Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy and Mackenzie Davis, among others). 

Halt and Catch Fire is often compared to Mad Men, since both aired on AMC in the US, and each is a period drama about an important American industry with similarly deep character development. Unlike Mad Men, though, it was immensely overlooked during its initial run, and is definitely one of the best Netflix shows around right now, even if it's fair to call it a hidden gem.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

Hannibal

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Television)

Netflix US has added all three seasons of Hannibal to stream, and you're in for a treat if you've never seen it. While this crime thriller was cancelled after season 3, that doesn't actually matter: this adaptation of Thomas Harris' books about cannibal Hannibal Lecter tells a complete story. FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) works closely with psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) to solve cases involving serial killers, while Lecter commits heinous crimes in secret. 

What starts as a stylish procedural, though, becomes a more complex, serialized show in season 2. By season 3, which adapts the Red Dragon story, Hannibal becomes wonderfully avant-garde, essentially crafting a bizarre and bloody romance between Graham and Lecter. Creator Bryan Fuller imbues this show with his own sense of style, and the fantastic supporting cast features the likes of Laurence Fishburne and Gillian Anderson.  

Seasons on Netflix: 3

The Witcher

(Image credit: Katalin Vermes/Netflix)

Netflix's first big fantasy series is an adaptation of The Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski, which were already adapted into a series of popular games. If you were disappointed by the end of Game of Thrones, it's a treat. Henry Cavill plays monster hunter Geralt of Rivia in a story that spans decades and wars between nations, though the best parts of season 1 are the monster-of-the-week episodes that see Geralt facing off against a dark creature. These usually have twist endings, too, and they're a treat.

The Witcher doesn't quite feel like 'prestige' TV in the way Game of Thrones tried to be, but that's not a bad thing. This is an enjoyable, funny fantasy series that still looks extremely expensive. With a great supporting cast and a well-drawn world, there's plenty to be excited about in The Witcher season 2, which is in the works for 2021. And if you're struggling to follow the show's unusual time-hopping structure, check out The Witcher timeline to figure it all out.  

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Queer Eye

Queer Eye

(Image credit: Netflix)

Need a dose of feel-good TV to help cope with today's rocky political landscape? Check out Queer Eye, a show about being the best you with help from five of the coolest dudes on the planet. The show will gets its fifth season in 2020 and we're still loving the premise of taking people stuck in a rut and hoisting them to the self-respecting, self-loving person we all want to be. Season 5 is now available.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

American Crime Story

(Image credit: FX Networks)

Both seasons of FX's American Crime Story are among the best shows on Netflix, though they're listed under separate entries depending on the case they're based on. The first, The People Vs OJ Simpson, digs deep into the shocking murder trial, including the legal teams on both sides. It features an amazing ensemble cast, notably Sarah Paulson, Sterling K Brown, John Travolta and an excellent David Schwimmer. 

The second, meanwhile, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, is about the murder of the famous fashion designer by spree killer Andrew Cunanan (brought to life in scary, thrilling fashion by Darren Criss). The series then flashes back to show what happened to Cunanan's previous victims.

It's fair to say each has a slightly trashy veneer, and you never really feel like you're watching something entirely factual. But they're engaging interpretations of shocking events from recent history, and each is used to shed light on the world we live in now. 

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Dead to Me

Dead to Me

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix’s near-constant output of new programming can occasionally bury gems in the deluge, and the dark comedy Dead to Me is one of those hidden beauties. It’s near-impossible to discuss what makes Dead to Me so special without spoiling it but suffice to say it takes the concept of two grieving widows forming a friendship and twists it into something fresh and thrilling. Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini are the leads, and carry the show even during its rare misses in tone, delivering a layered look at the bonds between women and how solidarity can triumph even in the darkest of times.

The show is overflowing with smart comedic writing, crisp visuals and more than its fair share of surprises. Dead to Me has been renewed for a third and final season, so now's a good time to catch up.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

(Image credit: Netflix)

The latest documentary on Netflix to make you ask, "how is this real?", Tiger King takes you behind the scenes of a big cat tourism attraction, and it's eye-opening. What starts as a documentary about an eccentric with a lot of big cats in cages and a hunger for fame quickly escalates into darker and more serious territory.

You won't see where this is going over its seven episodes, and you'll never forget the range of characters you'll get to meet in this series. It's the most talked about documentary show in years, making Tiger King a must-see, even if its final follow-up episode with Joel McHale is worth skipping.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Money Heist

(Image credit: Tamara Arranz Ramos)

Don't let the strangely goofy name put you off. Money Heist, or La Casa del Papel as it's known in Spanish-speaking countries, is a thrilling heist drama about a group of criminals brought together by an enigmatic figure called The Professor to rob the Royal Mint of Spain. With dense characterization, big twists and career-making performances, this is an unusual and clever heist show that'll grip you right away. 

While it's been a huge hit with a Spanish-speaking audience for the longest time, Money Heist has now found a big audience in the English-speaking world, too. A new set of episodes just dropped on Netflix, meaning you've got 31 episodes to watch if you've never seen it before, divided over two separate overarching stories about the same set of characters. 

Whatever you do, make sure you switch the default dub off and listen to the original Spanish audio with subtitles. This series could be the best Netflix show you've not seen yet.

Seasons on Netflix: 2 (divided into four parts)

Community

(Image credit: NBC)

The NBC cult comedy favorite from the co-creator of Rick and Morty has landed on Netflix, and it's picking up an all-new audience about a decade after it originally aired. This sitcom about a community college study group starts as a more conventional show about its educational setting, but Community reaches the next level when it starts experimenting with pop culture parodies and high-concept episodes.

If you're new to the show, keep watching until season 1's action extravaganza 'Modern Warfare', which firmly establishes Community's identity for later years. Some seasons are fantastic (2, 3 and 5), some are just quite good (1 and 6) and one is worth avoiding entirely (4). This is a perfect binge watch for this moment. Get on it. 

Seasons on Netflix: 6

Ozark

Ozark

(Image credit: Netflix)

Ozark was hit by comparisons to Breaking Bad early on, for its tale of a seemingly good guy who's dragged into deep criminal activities. But it's a very different beast, not least in its visually distinctive titular setting. By its third season, it's forged its own path as a family drama. 

Marty Bryde (Jason Bateman) moves his family to the Ozarks in Missouri, where he has to launder $500 million for a drug lord who threatens his family, including his wife, Wendy (Laura Linney). This dark, adult series is a dramatic breakthrough role for comedy veteran Bateman, who also directs episodes in each season. You've got to be in the right mood for it, but if you enjoy shows like Fargo, you'll find this a compelling watch.

Ozark is one of the most underrated series on Netflix, and is worth watching just for Wendy's character development and Linney's performance.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Better Call Saul

(Image credit: Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC)

Breaking Bad prequel spin-off Better Call Saul has almost been around for as long as its predecessor, with its fifth season airing right now on AMC. You probably caught the first few episodes of season 1 in the wave of hype around Breaking Bad's finale, but it's worth giving later seasons of this spin-off the same level of attention. 

Jimmy McGill's transformation into Saul Goodman is a steady, delicate character study that brings in a whole ensemble cast of memorable new faces, notably Jimmy's older brother Chuck (Michael McKean). It also gives us more time with Breaking Bad favorite Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), and other iconic figures from that series which we won't reveal here. Carrying slightly more dark humor than the preceding series, it's absolutely worth catching up on before it ends in 2021 with Better Call Saul season 6

Seasons on Netflix: 4

You

you season 3 release date

(Image credit: Netflix)

Based on the novels of the same name, You can definitely be called a guilty pleasure, but it's thrilling TV. Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) stalks, manipulates and even murders in the name of winning over the women he's obsessed with. Somehow, thanks to a combination of great performances and excellent scriptwriting, this show manages to make you care for its extremely problematic leads. 

Netflix actually acquired the show from cable network Lifetime where it was a minor hit, and transformed it into a sensation. The first two seasons are available now, and You season 3 is aiming for a 2021 release date.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Sex Education

Netflix's Sex Education

(Image credit: Netflix)

Starring Gillian Anderson and Asa Butterfield alongside a slew of previously unknown actors, this British comedy is a treat. It's about the students, parents and teachers of Moordale Secondary School, where Butterfield plays Otis, the son of sex therapist Dr Jean Milburn (Anderson). He teams up with Maeve (Emma Mackey) to open their own in-school sex education clinic, and help fellow students out with their various issues.

It's a very empathetic and heartwarming show that expertly explores topical issues around sexual identity and gender, and it's really funny to boot. Sex Education season 3 is due to film this year, assuming that's possible with the health crisis, so you've got plenty of time to catch up.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

The Office

(Image credit: Deedle-Dee Productions / Reveille Productions / Universal Television)

The Office is one of the most popular shows on Netflix US, years after it went off the air. And 2020 is the last year it'll be on the service: NBC's new streaming platform Peacock has the rights after that. But that's still most of a year that you can spend binging of the best modern sitcoms. The Office is built on the bones of the UK original, but it spins off in entirely different directions almost straight away, and is definitely less emotionally challenging to rewatch. 

With 20-minute episodes, compelling season-long arcs and memorable characters, you can easily lose an entire weekend to watching The Office on repeat. Later seasons aren't nearly as strong, but you've got well over 100 must-see episodes to watch here. 

Seasons on Netflix: 9

Peaky Blinders

(Image credit: Robert Viglasky/Netflix)

Peaky Blinders follows the Shelby crime family, led by patriarch Tommy (Cillian Murphy), in post-war Birmingham (UK). With double-crossings, family drama and political machinations aplenty, this is a proper 'prestige' show that's designed to mythologize British history in the way that Deadwood does for American history.

While the series begins in 1919, later seasons jump forward years at a time. Originally planned as a five-season show, Peaky Blinders season 6 is now in the works, likely for 2021. 

Seasons on Netflix: 5

The Crown

The Crown: Season 3

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Crown was Netflix's first big swing at a British prestige drama, the likes of which normally come from the BBC. The show's enormous budget results in a lavish depiction of the life of Queen Elizabeth II, first played by Claire Foy, and most recently portrayed by Olivia Colman in season 3, with a killer ensemble cast to boot. 

Even if you have mixed feelings about the royal family in real life, this honest-feeling show is well worth watching. A fourth season is filming now, and two more seasons featuring Imelda Staunton as the Queen are planned, too. 

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Mindhunter

Mindhunter on Netflix

(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

David Fincher is no stranger to Netflix, since he directed the first ever episode of House of Cards, 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 later the early '80s, and sees its trifecta of lead characters interviewing famous serial killers in often tense encounters.

Fincher is extremely hands-on, too, directing four episodes of season one and three of season two. Unfortunately, Mindhunter season 3 is on "indefinite hold", but we're hopeful for its eventual return, given that this is some of the director's best work to date. 

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Stranger Things

Stranger Things on Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

When it comes to TV and movies, the '80s is the nostalgia decade of the moment. Filmmakers can't get enough of Ghostbusters, shell suits and Sony Walkmans.

Stranger Things is another brilliant homage to this era. Leaning heavily on Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen 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 third season hit last year and it was fantastic, and each subsequent set of episodes just deepens your investment in these kids' stories and friendships. Season 4 of Stranger Things is now filming.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Dear White People

Dear White People

(Image credit: Netflix)

If you like your cultural analysis with a dose of humor, Dear White People is the show for you. Starring Logan Browning at the conflicted Sam White, Dear White People navigates the tricky grounds of race relations in America in the post-Obama-but-yet-not-post-racism era. 

The first few episodes back away from hitting on anything too heavy but come episodes five and six, you get a biting sense of why this show is so needed at this point in our history. Funny, clever and dripping in wit, Dear White People isn't so much an attack on American ideals as it is a series about exploring, explaining, defending and deliberating the issues facing people of color in the US.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Russian Doll

Russian Doll

(Image credit: Netflix)

Orange Is The New Black's Natasha Lyonne stars in this dark comedy as Nadia, who keeps dying and reliving her 36th birthday party in a surreal time loop – much like Groundhog Day. 

With its cynical and witty examination of living and dying, Russian Doll switches rapidly between laugh-out-loud hilarity and devastating sadness - it's a must-watch. In June 2019, Netflix announced it had renewed Russian Doll for a second season, which is well-deserved. 

Seasons on Netflix: 1 

Bojack Horseman

BoJack Horseman

(Image credit: Netflix)

Bojack Horseman has just completed its six-season run, and, well, its finale left one of our writers in tears for most of a weekend. 

Following the life of washed up actor Bojack as he struggles with alcoholism, toxic relationships, and family issues, the series is just as heartwarming as it can be heartbreaking. For those who are worried it may be too dark for them, fear not - there's loads of slapstick humor, word play, and stunning animation to keep everything balanced.

Seasons on Netflix: 6

Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black

(Image credit: Netflix)

Orange Is The New Black has wrapped its seven-season run, and it's a superb tale of life in a women's prison. It was one of the first big Netflix originals, along with House of Cards and Arrested Development season 4, and it ran for so long simply because it was very popular. 

That being said, the show is dark. Tensions and issues with the US prison system brought to the forefront and while the comedy from the first few seasons remains throughout, it's slathered with a fair bit of drama. 

Seasons on Netflix: 7

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad on Netflix

(Image credit: AMC/Sony)

More addictive than the meth pushed by Walt and Jesse, Breaking Bad is brilliant binge-watching television. The initial plot is simple: a straight-laced teacher is told he has cancer and to make sure he leaves his family with the best possible life, he turns to drug making and dealing. 

There's method to his madness as he ends up being pretty good at it. Creator Vince Gilligan has created such a good group of characters, he is currently mining the same world again with Better Call Saul, which arguably reaches similar heights and is also available on Netflix, as mentioned. Netflix also released a movie sequel focused on Jesse in late 2019, El Camino. 

Seasons on Netflix: 5 (and one movie)

The Chef Show

(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

Netflix has a pretty amazing selection of original cooking shows, and this is just one highlight from a range of winners like Sugar Rush, Ugly Delicious and Chef's Table. FIlmmaker Jon Favreau and chef Roy Choi, who previously collaborated on food truck movie Chef, cook a whole host of meals across America, and explore different food cultures embedded in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. 

Favreau's contacts mean an unbeatable range of special guests, too, from Avengers cast members to director Robert Rodriguez. It's just a really breezy, fun cooking show, with lovely stop-motion animated sequences to set the scene. Season 3 has arrived, and it features Spider-Man director Sam Raimi among the guests.

Seasons on Netflix: 3