Have you been looking at lists of the best Netflix shows lately without finding what you're looking for? You might just be in need of some easy viewing. Sure, you could catch up on that really worthy prestige drama that swept the Golden Globes a few years back, or you could just watch yet another episode of that trashy cooking show you like.
Luckily, the Netflix catalogue runs deep. Its library of originals covers every genre imaginable, from bad fantasy (Bright) to bad sci-fi (The Cloverfield Paradox), alongside the great stuff we all know and love. Below, we decided to pick some of our favorite Netflix guilty pleasures, including reality TV and cult comedy you might want to check out.
If you enjoy this feature, you might want to check out our list of the best hidden gems on Netflix, too.
Love is Blind
Netflix’s Love is Blind is the epitome of trash TV. The show is meant to be an ‘experiment’, testing whether two people can truly fall in love and agree to get married without ever seeing each other. But how does it work? All the show’s contestants ‘date’ each other in pods, which are essentially rooms that connect to one another but are only separated by a translucent wall. They can’t see one another, and they can only connect by talking. The aim is for couples to fall in love and for one of them to propose, only then can they see what one another looks like before going on holiday, moving in together, meeting their future in-laws and eventually walking down the aisle. Oh, and it all happens within just over a month.
The first episode suggests Love is Blind will be just another dating show but, once the couples leave the pods, the true drama and entertainment comes into play. There are tears, tantrums, a lot of booze and some unexpected twists and turns. Your heart breaks for some contestants and you’ll be shouting through your TV at others. It’s total trash and I love it. – Vic Hood, Gaming Writer
Nailed It! is a baking show in which three amateur bakers try their best to recreate complicated masterpieces made by professionals – and inevitably fail horribly. But Nailed It! isn’t cynical – far from it – it’s a hilarious tribute to the efforts of amateurs, as we all know we’d be just as competent as these contestants in the real world.
Unlike all other baking shows, the traditional elitist idea of cakey creation isn’t baked-in – instead, Nailed It! shows baking as a hobby for all, no matter your skill or funds. We share in the victories and successes of these amateur bakers because, unlike in other shows where the contestants may be professionals or people with a firm grasp of the science of baking, these are just regular people who love cake. – Tom Bedford, Staff Writer – Phones
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
This offbeat sketch comedy from The Lonely Island arguably doesn't count as a 'guilty pleasure', but I can't figure out where else to put it. It's too weird for our best Netflix shows list, but I nonetheless think it's worth watching for a certain type of comedy fan. Like all sketch shows, too, its jokes are hit-and-miss, and even the ones I laugh at are hard to justify to other people. But it is extremely easy viewing.
This is the perfect Netflix show for background entertainment, as you only tune into the jokes that you find funny. Each episode is less than 20 minutes long, and there are only six of them. You'll probably watch the entire season in one afternoon. You could even fit an episode in as a break if you're working from home, assuming your employer isn't too strict about 15-minute breaks. A second season is coming this year. – Samuel Roberts, Senior Entertainment Editor
I mentioned this in our list of Netflix series to distract you while you're stuck at home, but since this cake-making competition show is firmly categorized under 'guilty pleasure', I will give it a shoutout here too. Each week, contestants make elaborate, themed cakes to wow a panel of experts, including cupcake master Candace Nelson and Australian chef Adrian Zumbo.
Honestly, I've watched most of this show through osmosis, as my partner has seen every episode at least twice, but it's very enjoyable. It sources guest judges from other Netflix shows (Love is Blind's Vanessa and Nick Lachey, for example). The drama comes in watching a cake almost fall over as it was thrown together a little too quickly. – Samuel Roberts, Senior Entertainment Editor
Fireplace For Your Home (Fireplace 4K)
What can I say, I’m a sucker for a faux 4K fireplace. They’re way less hassle than a real fire – especially when your abode, like mine, doesn’t have a chimney. No soot. No smoke. No chopping wood in the yard. No risk of setting the whole place on actual fire. Just good, solid on-the-couch relaxment as I use my phone to crank my smart thermostat up to Sub-Saharan levels.
Whether it’s the soothing crackle of Classic Edition, or the alpine-lodge feels of Birchwood Edition, warmth has never looked so good splashed across my 65-inch, 4K TV.
Yeah, that’s right, my fireplace is bigger than your fireplace. Get over it. – John McCann, Deputy Editor
My guilty pleasures tend to be cartoons or anime series aimed at children. As someone without any children, I don’t really have an excuse, but when I need a guilty pleasure, some bright colors and fast animation – without much pesky plot to pay attention to – they usually do the trick.
Cannon Busters hit Netflix in 2019, as a TV adaptation of a manga series of the same name. It also heavily pays tribute to Cowboy Bebop (even the title of the show sounds similar), which should provide a treat to anyone fond of the classic space-Western anime.
Created by LeSean Thomas, Cannon Busters is a show packed full of highly entertaining, if thinly-sketched characters. It involves a bull-shaped mecha that turns into a Cadillac, an immortal thief who dies almost every episode, a demon emperor, and an overly-trusting robot who tries to befriend every hustler, villain and monster that she comes across.
The dubbed dialogue is comically overdone, story threads are poorly tied together, and most character motivations are half-drawn, but it’s still a joyful experience – with a kickass opening credits song that makes even the slower episodes feel worth watching. They’re only 20 minutes long, anyway. – Henry St Leger, Home Tech Writer
Love, Death and Robots
This beautiful animated anthology show comes from David Fincher and Deadpool director Tim Miller, and the novel element is that Netflix shows the episodes in a random order for whoever is watching. So your first episode might be Three Robots, about a trio of robotic pals exploring the world after humans have been wiped out. Or maybe it'll be something else! Like all anthology episodes, the quality varies wildly between episodes.
The 'guilty pleasure' aspect of Love, Death and Robots is that I consider it a slightly problematic fave, in that it's a little...hornier than it needs to be. But I can't dispute that the animation is gorgeous, and none of the episodes are that long, so it's well worth checking out for sci-fi fans. – Samuel Roberts, Senior Entertainment Editor
Kath & Kim
If you’ve already worked your way through the Absolutely Fabulous back catalogue, the next sitcom on your watch list should be Kath & Kim. This Australian cult-classic sitcom provides neat 20-minute slices of laugh-out-loud absurdity, as it follows the suburban life of Kath Day and her spoiled daughter Kim in their Victoria home.
The first season sees Kath preparing to marry ‘purveyor of fine meats’ Kel Knight, while Kim moves back in with her mother after her two-month long marriage breaks down. Almost unbearably silly, it’s the perfect distraction from the stresses of everyday life, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new comedy to binge. – Olivia Tambini, Staff Writer
I'm too old for teen dramas, frankly, I'm probably closer to the age of the parents in Riverdale than I am the high school kids. And this show is resolutely not as good as The OC, my preferred teen drama from my younger years. But this is the very definition of a guilty pleasure: Archie Comics via The CW, with all the soap opera-style nonsense you'd expect, like a teacher-student affair and other eyebrow-raising horrors I won't go into here.
I'm only halfway through season 1, and I've got it on my second screen, which is the level of attention I feel Riverdale deserves. I can't deny it's a beautiful-looking show, though, with a cool cast of recognizable faces playing the adults (like the late Luke Perry and Twin Peaks' Mädchen Amick). I can see why it's become such a hit.
Will I make it through more than one season, though? Or is this like Gossip Girl, where one set of episodes will turn my brain into mush, and I'll move on with my life? Either way, Netflix US has three seasons of this to enjoy, while Netflix UK has all four seasons to binge. – Samuel Roberts, Senior Entertainment Editor