In 2018, 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. Let’s take a look at what’s available right now.
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 from this great Netflix series
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 so get ready for some more dark humor from this Netflix series.
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 still 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 and fourth raising that number to 6, with each around an hour long (with a few ever longer than that). It’s a must on our best Netflix series list.
Currently there are four seasons available to watch, and the most recent fourth season contained some of its most accclaimed episodes, including USS Callister, which starts out as a parody-homage to Star Trek, but ends up becoming something different. There’s no word yet on if there will be a fifth season.
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.
Two seasons are currently available to watch right now, with a third confirmed, although it may not be released until 2019. This is not only one of the best Netflix series, 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 made its debut 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. A new season has been announced of the reboot, but there’s no word on when it might debut. 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 and Jessica Jones along with one each for Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. A third season of Daredevil, along with a third season of Jessica Jones and two seasons of Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, have already been approved by Netflix. A fifth Marvel TV show, The Punisher, made its debut in the fall. The dark vigilante character made his Marvel-Netflix debut during the second season of Daredevil, but in the new series he is on his own. The Punisher will also get a second season on Netflix.
House of Cards
House of Cards was one of the first original Netflix series, and the first five seasons of this dark look at the politics of Washington DC are still among the best ever shown by the streaming service.
Unfortunately, the allegations of sexual assault surrounding Kevin Spacey, who has played the show’s lead character Frank Underwood, have put a huge shadow over this series, and that’s too bad, as it is still highly entertaining and packed full of drama and surprises. Netflix recently announced that it will produce a six and final season of the show, which will not feature Spacey, but instead focus on Underwood’s wife, played by Robin Wright.
One Day At A Time
Here’s another example of a Netflix series that might actually be better than show that inspired it. The first version of this sitcom was shown on CBS in the 1970s and focused on a white divorced mother who was raising two teenage daughters on her own. For the new series, the divorced mother is Hispanic, and is raising a teenage daughter and son. However, the show is not just the original with a Hispanic cast. It deals with modern issues such as immigration, PTSD (the mother is an Army veteran) and a daughter who starts to realize she is a lesbian. It’s not only funny, but extremely topical. Two seasons are available now and a third is coming in early 2019.
This crime drama is an example of a Netflix series that sneaks up on you. It’s also a showcase for Jason Bateman, who has played a lot of funny roles in comedies, but is able to show he can handle some serious and dark roles as well. He plays financial planner Marty Byrde, who gets involved in a money laundering scheme for a drug load that doesn’t end well, forcing him to take his wife and two children away from the big city of Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks. Bateman, who is also an executive producer and directed four of the first season’s 10 episode, shines in this role, as does Laura Linney, who plays his wife. A second season of this great Netflix series is planned for 2018.
GLOW is an example of a Netflix series that would not have been greenlighted by any other network, and turned out to be a huge critical hit. A fictional show about folks who participated in the very real 1980s pro wrestling group, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling? Yes, that is a show and yes, it is actually very funny, while also making some points about feminism and the women’s movement in that time period.
The first season is available now and a second season is due in 2018.
One of the most recent Netflix series may be one of its most ambitious in terms of scope and visual effects. Based on the novel by Richard Morgan, the show takes place several hundred years in the future, where we have figured out a way to store our memory and conciousness in a Flash drive-live device called a “stack”. Bodies are now called “sleeves” which can be made to upload a human conciousness from his or her stack. The show focuses on a man who has been revived 250 years after his last “sleeve” died to help solve the murder the wealthiest man in the world.
This show deals with big issues, not the least of which is what would it be like to basically live forever, along with some a lot of innovative action scenes. Each episode reportedly costs several milion to make, and all of it is on screen. There’s also quite a bit of graphic violence and nudity so be prepared for that. While the show has received mixed reviews from critics, it already has a lot of fans, and while a second season has yet to be confirmed, we would be surprised if it was not renewed.
Lost in Space
Reboots are the new trend on both regular and streaming TV, and Netflix has its own set of shows that are sequels or remakes of classic hits. The latest such example may be its best. Lost In Space, which debuted in the mid-1960s as a family sci-fi show, is back in a new version that, while more serious than the original, is still highly entertaining.
Fans of the original series, created by Irwin Allen, will find that the basics are still here in the Netflix reboot. The Robinson family, who go out into space to help human kind, get lost on a planet and have to survive. Yes, there is a robot as well, although it comes from an alien species and is not made by the Robinsons. Yes, Dr. Smith is also back, but she (yes, Parker Posey is playing the gender-flipped role this time) has her own agenda in mind that may not agree with the rest of the family. The visual effects on this show rival those in major motion pictures.
Lost in Space is still a family show, but without the campy stuff that found its way into the original series (no talking carrots, in other words). The first season is streaming now, and while a second season has yet to be confirmed, we would be surprised if it didn’t get renewed.
The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale
Netflix is making more of an effort to launch regular talk show-style series. While its Chelsea series, with former E Entertainment network host Chelsea Handler, failed to reach an audience after two seasons, Netflix is trying again with another former E host, Joel McHale. The comedian-actor hosted The Soup on that etwork for many years, as he made fun of the tons of reality shows that were on broadcast and cable TV. Now he is back with The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale (yes, that is the entire title), and it’s basically The Soup, with little to no real changes.
That means if you loved The Soup, you should also love The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale. He still makes fun of shows like The Real Housewives franchise, The Bachelor and others, but with a few more “adult” words thrown in because he’s now on Netflix (in other words, this is not for the kids). He also still has famous actors and comedians drop by to join in the fun. We hope The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale has as long of a run on Netflix as he old show had on E.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The series of children’s books by author “Lemony Snicket” (the pen name for Daniel Handler) has been turned into an excellent children’s TV show at Netflix. The show is executive produced by Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed the popular Men In Black and Addams Famuily movies. Sonnenfeld also directs a number of the episodes of this series, and it shows. A Series of Unfortunate Events seem tailor written for his wild visual ideas.
The TV series is adapting the books directly, which means fans of the novels should enjoy this show, as it recounts the adventures of the Baudelaire children, who have to be sent to their relative Count Olaf following the mysterious deaths of their parents. The villious Olaf, played perfectly by Neil Patrick Harris, is trying to get the kid’s family fortune for himself. The show, like the books, is gothic but not too dark and is perfect family fare. Two seasons of the show are available now, and the third and final season, which will adapt the last books, will be released on Netflix in 2019. Oh, and did we mention this show just won a Peabody Award?
Other Netflix series worth checking out
So that sums up some of our favorite exclusives, but Netflix certainly has plenty of other content, including plenty of older shows from other networks. Here are just a few Netflix series that are not originals but still worth checking out right now:
- Mad Men
- Breaking Bad
- Parks and Recreation
- Freaks and Geeks
- The Office
- 30 Rock
- The Walking Dead
Upcoming original Netflix series
Netflix is reportedly spending a massive $8 billion for creating original content in 2018 and beyond. In the next year we can expect to see a reimagining of the well known horror novel The Haunting of Hill House, a series based on the Dark Horse superhero comic The Umbrella Academy and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a prequel series to the cult hit 1982 film from Muppet creator Jim Henson. And that’s just a glimpse of what we can expect in 2018.
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!