Growing up as a child of the 90s, figuring out what to watch was a relatively simple affair. You’d turn on the TV, go to channel 4, and watch the directory go by multiple times before settling on one of say 25 – 35 channels. Maybe I’d record something I really was looking forward to by using the VHS recorder, or I’d watch a movie. That was the extent of things. My how things have changed (and yes, I’m old!).
In 2017, finding things to watch has become both ridiculously simple and overly complex at the same time. Thanks to services like Netflix, you have tons of content laid out before you and you can watch it anytime. This selection is an amazing thing, but it can also make it really hard to figure out what you want to watch. But don’t worry, I got your back. In this guide we’ll keep you updated on the best Netflix series you can binge watch right now.
Due to the sheer amount of shows out there, this list focuses primarily on Netflix series that are exclusive to the streaming service, though we also have a short roundup of our recommended non-original programming as well.
Netflix series – exclusives
Netflix has a growing library of great TV shows that are exclusive to its network, at least in most regions where Netflix is offered. My personal favorites are Orange is the New Black and, to lesser extent, House of Cards. There’s way more out there than that though.
Orange is the New Black
From the same mind that brought us Weeds, this popular comedy/drama follows the exploits of Piper Chapman, whose life is turned around suddenly when her past comes back to haunt her and she is imprisoned over a drug-related crime that happened a decade earlier. The reason this show is on our best Netflix series list is that it is highly addictive, though personally I think it was best during season 1 and 2. The events tend to be fairly realistic for what one would expect from prison life, which isn’t too surprising considering the show is loosely based on the Piper Kerman’s memoir Orange is the New Black.
Currently there are five seasons available, and the show is confirmed to get two more seasons, so there will be plenty more to come from these characters.
House of Cards
I’ll admit that I never got into this one to the extent many of my friends and even family members have. I watched the first two seasons or so and may eventually catch up again, but that’s just me. If you like dark dramas about corruption in politics, it’s hard to ignore this one. Staring Kevin Spacey as a politician with endlessly dark ambitions, the show is packed full of drama and surprises and is a must on any best TV shows on Netflix list.
Right now there are five seasons available, and a sixth season is expected in 2018.
BoJack Horseman follows BoJack, an anthropomorphic horse that used to star in a popular 90’s sitcom called Horsin’ Around. It tells the story of BoJack trying to recapture his fame from years past, as well as all the misadventures he gets into with his friends. I’ll admit that it isn’t the easiest show to get into, but gets a lot better in its second season and really shines in Season 3. It’s definitely a great watch, with its dark, cynical humor interspersed with moments of drama that will tug at your heartstrings.
There are now 4 seasons available, along with a Christmas Special, on Netflix, and a fifth season was just announced for 2018.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt follows Kimmy Schimdt, who is rescued from an underground bunker where she and three other woman were held captive for 15 years by a cult leader. It’s a wonderful story of her trials and tribulations in a world that has changed greatly during her captivity, and how eternal optimism can make facing life’s difficulties easier. A great mix of goofy and intelligent humor makes for a very binge-able show, and I myself finished the entire 2 seasons of thirteen episodes each in a couple of sittings and got through the third in almost as quick of order. Honestly, if you enjoy comedies that are a bit outrageous — you’ll want to give this one a look and is a big one on our best TV shows on Netflix list.
There are 3 seasons currently available, and the show will get a fourth season in 2018.
Master of None
The title is a play on the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none,” and follows Dev, a 30-year old actor in New York, as he tries to figure out his way around life, relationships, and career. It’s a fun, quirky comedy that also tackles deep subject matter that any person in their late 20’s to early 30’s can relate to, and with only 10 half-hour episodes in its first season, it’s a show that you can easily get through in half a day.
Two seasons of Master of None are already in the can, but there’s no word when a third season might debut. However, it’s stil on our best TV shows on Netflix list because it is so funny. I’ll admit I haven’t yet watched this one, though it’s certainly on my list of shows I need to check out.
There’s no denying that we love our technology here at DGiT, but there’s no better showcase of the pitfalls and the dark side of our growing dependence on all things tech than Black Mirror. The first two seasons of this sci-fi anthology series aired in the UK in 2011 and 2013, and was then picked up by Netflix, with its third season releasing online in 2016. As British shows generally do, it’s definitely a case of quality over quantity here, with the first couple of seasons having just 4 episodes, and the third raising that number to 6, with each around an hour long. It’s a must on our best Netflix series list.
All three seasons of Black Mirror are available on Netflix, and a fourth is expected to release this year.
Stranger Things has been the talk of the town since the show dropped last summer. There are many shows I’d say are must see TV, but I’d recommend Stranger Things to everyone, particularly if you are fan of 80’s style mystery and suspense. From supernatural forces and shady government agencies to small town heroics, the show has it all, underscored by excellent acting and and a background score that really sets the mood. If there is a show you should catch up on right now, it is Stranger Things.
One season is currently available on Netflix, with the second season set to release in late October. This is not only on best Netflix series list, but it one of the best TV shows period.
13 Reasons Why
Okay, so this one isn’t for everybody by any means. Very much a high school drama, 13 Reasons Why is based on a bestselling book by Jay Asher and follows the aftermath of Hannah Baker’s suicide. The subject material is obviously a little somber, though the show does a good job of making the experience worth watching with moments of mystery, drama, and even bits of light humor from time to time. In the show, Clay Jensen receives a box of cassette tapes that detail why Hannah chose to end her life. In the recording, Hannah reveals that anyone watching these tapes is at least part to blame for her decision. Overall, this is a great show that does a solid job of tackling a pretty dark premise and is worth checking out if you enjoy these kinds of dramas.
13 Reasons Why was designed to be a “one-off” mini-series more than a recurring series, that said, it’s popularity reached such a high point that it has now been renewed for a second season, though it has yet to debut. It’s also a big addition to our best Netflix series list.
One of the most expensive series that Netflix has ever produced, The Crown is also one of the most ambitious and acclaimed shows on the service. It follows the reign of the current queen of England, Elizabeth II, from her beginning in 1947 to 1995. Actor Claire Foy received tons of great reviews for playing the role of Queen Elizabeth II in her early years, as we see her deal with her new role as leader of England. It’s a truly epic show and needs to be on any best TV shows on Netflix list.
It was no surprise that The Crown got picked up for a second season, and it will make its debut on Netflix in December 2017. The overall plan is to have the show run six seasons, with the main characters, including the Queen, to be replaced by older actors every two seasons as the show moves through all of Queen Elizabeth II’s years on the throne.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return
The original Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran for 10 seasons in the late 1980s and early 1990s, first on Comedy Central and then on Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy). It remains one of the most unique and funny shows on TV, as a captive human on a space ship, and his robot friends, are forced to watch really bad movies and make jokes about them. The original creator and host of the series, Joel Hodgson, launched a Kickstarter campaign to revive MSt3K in 2015, and it ended up with over $6 million sent from its fans to make 14 new episodes.
Netflix picked up MST3K: The Return and it made its debut in April 2017 and it quickly went on our best TV shows on Netflix list. New host and captive Jonah Ray still makes fun of bad movies with robots Tom Servo, Crow and Gypsy, and while there are some small differences in the new version, it’s still the same basic premise and fun to watch. Netflix has yet to announce if it will bring MST3K back for another season, but if you have never watched the show, you can catch the new season, plus 20 episodes from the original run, on Netflix.
Marvel TV on Netflix
Comic book movies and TV shows have seen an unprecedented resurgence over the last decade or so, and things have only gotten better and better. Marvel may be on top in the movie space and DC has conquered the TV space with their superhero slate on the CW, but when it comes to streaming, it’s Marvel TV all the way.
Netflix and Marvel have been able to take comic book properties that may not have been household names and made them must-watch TV, with shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. All of these characters team up in the recently launched eight episode event series The Defenders. All the shows are dark and gritty and down to earth, so aren’t really suited to a binge-watching model, but still manages to capture your attention throughout. All of them are worthy of any best Netflix series list — though if you’re not into comic book-themed shows, it might not be your cup of tea.
Two seasons of Daredevil are available, along with one each of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. A third season of Daredevil, along with second seasons of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, have already been approved by Netflix. In addition to the recent team-up show The Defenders, you can expect to see yet another Marvel series, The Punisher, make its debut this fall. The dark vigilante character made his Marvel-Netflix debut during the second season of Daredevil, but now he will be on his own.
Other shows worth checking out
So that sums up some of our favorite exclusives, but Netflix certainly has plenty of other content, including plenty of shows that are syndicated from live TV. Here are just a few worth checking out right now:
- Mad Men
- Breaking Bad
- Parks and Recreation
- Freaks and Geeks
- Arrested Development
- The Office
- 30 Rock
There are a ton of other great exclusive shows on Netflix, and your own best Netflix series list could be much different than ours. Let us know what shows you think need to be on the list in the comments!