Updated: Best Netflix TV shows: 25 great Netflix television series in Australia

Best Netflix TV shows: 25 great Netflix TV series

It’s been a long time coming (like, a seriously long time) but Netflix has finally arrived on Australian shores, giving Australians unfettered access to all of the critically-lauded Netflix Originals shows. Not only that, users also have access to a wealth of other licensed material.

Sure, Netflix also streams movies, but its television output is perhaps the reason most people have signed up for an account. There’s nothing quite like firing up Netflix and binge-watching a series at your own pace. Getting instant access to entire seasons of House of Cards from day one is half the appeal.

This is why we’ve created the TechRadar guide to the greatest TV shows on the Australian version of Netflix right now (in no particular order). We’ll keep this best TV show list constantly updated with the latest television shows that you should be watching and also tell you why.

1. Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer

True crime stories are so hot right now, evidenced by the immense popularity of the podcast Serial and HBO’s The Jinx. Netflix’s original series Making a Murderer however, is probably the hottest of them all, documenting and recounting the trials of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, two working-class Americans accused of the murder of 23-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach. Over its 10 episodes, the show exposes the failings of the Wisconsin justice system in blood-boiling detail. Having spent 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Steven Avery is exonerated based on new DNA evidence. However, shortly after his release, he becomes the prime suspect in Halbach’s murder, and Avery is put through the ringer once again by law enforcement figures that seem to have it out for him. What follows is an anger-inducing sequence of events that involve forced confessions, unconvincing (and possibly planted) evidence, dodgy lawyers and a complete presumption of guilt from almost everyone involved. Compelling, infuriating and tragic, we guarantee you won’t be able to stop watching Making a Murderer once you’ve started.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

2. Marvel’s Daredevil

Daredevil

When Marvel revealed that it would be creating several Netflix shows tied directly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fanboys (like me) were over the moon. The fact that it would start by bringing Daredevil back to life (Evanescence pun completely intentional) after the much-maligned Ben Affleck film was more than we could have ever hoped for. This isn’t some low-level player – Daredevil is a genuine fan favourite. And if you ask us, ‘The Man Without Fear’ is probably better suited to being the star of a series rather than another movie – especially as he’ll eventually team up with Netflix’s other Marvel heroes Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage in the Netflix miniseries, The Defenders.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

3. Arrested Development

Arrested Development

If it wasn’t for Netflix, Arrested Development would have stayed as a three-season wonder. The streaming giant decided to take a gamble and fund a fourth season of Mitchell Hurwitz’s brilliant family comedy and we are glad it did. While splitting the family up for most of the season meant some of the spark had disappeared – this was done to fit in with the actors’ busy schedules – the fourth season proved that there was still a lot to like about the dysfunctional Bluth family. Filled with season-long in-jokes, perfect site gags and spot-on wordplay, Arrested Development is a comedy that needs to be watched on repeat – and even then you will find something new to laugh at.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

4. Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones on Netflix

In retrospect, it would seem impossible for Marvel to surpass its last Netflix Original series, Daredevil, with a show about a hard drinking ex-superhero that’s little known outside of comic book circles, but that’s pretty much what it’s done with Jessica Jones. Though the show doesn’t quite reach the action heights of Daredevil, Jessica Jones manages to be even more compelling in terms of story and character. Based on the comic Alias by Brian Michael Bendis, the show sees private investigator Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), bar owner Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and celebrity Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) do battle with a mind-controlling creep named Kilgrave (David Tennant), whose incredible obsession with Jessica is causing everyone around her to die. Dark, violent and quite sexual for a Marvel show, Jessica Jones is required viewing for fans of the MCU.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

5. Mad Men

Mad Men

Arguably the finest show on television, Mad Men is a brilliant time capsule that takes us on a journey through the ever-changing landscape that was 1960s America. Over the years, we get to see the country evolve through the eyes of the people who work at a swanky New York advertising agency – most notably our lead character Don Draper (John Hamm), a damaged individual with a hidden past and a drinking problem who is constantly engaging in infidelity. Through the show, we get some insight into the slow rise of power for women in the workplace while facing overt sexism, race relations and the evolution of the American family during the most tumultuous period in American history. Truly an outstanding, must-watch show.

Seasons on Netflix: 6

6. Marco Polo

Marco Polo

Netflix’s answer to Game of Thrones, Marco Polo is the most epic and expensive Netflix original series to date. With a budget of $US90 million, the show is packed with big scale battles, thousands of extras, incredible locations and lavish sets. Set during Marco Polo’s time in Mongolia under Kublai Khan, the series follows the famed Venetian’s adventures as he navigates through Khan’s Imperial City. You can guarantee that there will be blood, betrayal, intrigue and heaping helpings of sex and nudity. Hey, we told you it was like Game of Thrones!

Seasons on Netflix: 1

7. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

One of the funniest shows to hit TV in years, Brooklyn Nine-Nine stars Andy Samberg as an immature goofball who also happens to also be a brilliant NYPD detective. The show revolves around the many cases (and shenanigans) that Samberg and his equally hilarious co-stars get wrapped up in under the watchful eye of their stern Captain. Quick-witted and full of heart, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a new comedy classic.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

8. Arrow

Arrow

If you can’t get enough of your superheroes, then you need to make it your mission to watch Arrow. Based on DC’s Green Arrow comic book, the show follows Oliver Queen, a rich pretty boy who is marooned on an island for several years and then returns to his home in Starling City with a new agenda – to shoot arrows into every scumbag that failed his city. Arrow might veer into soap opera territory from time to time, but you have to admire the show’s commitment to reaching as high as it can. It also exists in its own DC TV universe, so expect to see some guest appearances from The Flash and other DC heroes (and villains) of note.

Series on Netflix: 2

9. BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman

The best way to approach BoJack Horseman, is to let it slowly grow on you. Chances are you won’t be blown away by it from the first episode, but once you get hip to its rhythm, you’ll likely find it to be one of the best animated comedy shows since Bob’s Burgers. Will Arnett voices BoJack, a washed-up ’90s sitcom star who spends his days being bitter about his failures alongside perpetual houseguest, Todd (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul). Things get complicated when his cat girlfriend and agent Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) hires ghost writer Diane (Alison Brie) to pen BoJack’s memoir. Filled with hilarious characters that could only exist in drawing-form, BoJack Horseman is a real winner.

Series on Netflix: 1

10. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Star Wars The Clone Wars

Sure, It’s easy to disregard Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It’s a Star Wars kids show set during the prequel trilogy (you know, the trilogy that everyone hates), so obviously it doesn’t seem like something any self-respecting adult would want to watch. How wrong you would be to assume that, as Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the best the series has been since the original trilogy. Each episode is like an epic mini-movie, with immense scope, fantastic production values, brilliant art design and tight direction. The entire series is available in HD on the service, including a Netflix-exclusive 13 episode season entitled ‘The Lost Missions’.

Seasons on Netflix: 6

11. Suits

Suits

You’ve never seen a lawyer show like this before. Suits mostly avoids the ‘courtroom drama’ angle that law shows usually take, and instead focuses on the dealings behind the scenes. Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) is a brilliant man with a photographic memory who is wasting his life away as a petty drug dealer, until lawyer-extraordinaire Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) hires him to work at the most prestigious law firm in New York. Let’s hope no one finds out about his lack of a law degree. Absolutely addictive.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

12. House of Cards

house of cards

If there ever was a poster boy for Netflix, House of Cards would be it. Funded completely by the streaming service, Cards’ first season boasted direction by David Fincher and acting by Kevin Spacey and was addictive television. The reason: Netflix positively wanted you to binge watch, putting all episodes up at once. Now in its third season, Netflix’s Card trick is still impressive and shows just how far Netflix has come, given it’s shot in both 4K and HDR.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

13. Master of None

Master of None on Facebook

One of the freshest and most enjoyable shows Netflix has put out to date, the semi-autobiographical Master of None sees comedian Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) play Dev, a character much like himself who is trying to navigate his family, friends, acting career and love life in New York City. Hilarious and thoughtful, Master of None gives Dev the opportunity to reflect on difficult subjects like like racism and misogyny in a way that’s warm, funny and eye-opening – no easy feat! Master of None also has an amazing soundtrack, and some wonderful supporting turns from Noël Wells, Eric Wareheim, Kelvin Yu and Ansari’s own scene-stealing parents, Shoukath and Fatima.

Seasons available on Netflix: 1

14. Firefly

Firefly

After he had produced the perfect female lead in Buffy and before he was Hulk smashing with The Avengers, Joss Whedon created a short-run sci-fi series that has spawned not only a massive cult following but, quite astonishingly, a movie. The reason it was such an underground success was because Firefly takes the Star Wars framework of making space messy, where everything is a little rough around the edges – including the crew. It even has its own Han Solo in the form of Nathan Fillion’s Malcolm Reynolds. Whedon’s witty words permeate the whole of Firefly, which is not so much a space opera but a space rock opera.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

15. Spartacus

Spartacus

Before he was the showrunner for Marvel’s Daredevil, Steven DeKnight worked on the gratuitously violent and sexual series Spartacus. At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s nothing more to the show than meat-headed beefcakes fighting and screwing in a 300-aping manner, but there’s so much more going on – we follow Spartacus (the late Andy Whitfield and his replacement, Liam McIntyre) as he is taken into slavery and forced to do cruel and unimaginable things in the gladiatorial arena, just waiting for the day that he can finally get his revenge on slave-owners Batiatus (John Hannah) and Lucretia (Lucy Lawless). All of this culminates in one of the most satisfying season finales in recent memory. Be warned – this show is filled with grotesque violence and an immense amount of sex and nudity. It’s like Game of Thrones times ten.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

16. Narcos

Narcos on Netflix

Narcos, the newest Netflix Original, tells the true story of the world’s most infamous drug lord, Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), and the DEA agents (Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal) tasked with taking him down. This riveting crime drama plays like a cross between City of God and Goodfellas, employing a voiceover-based narrative that gives you an unprecedented look at the ins and outs of Colombia’s drug trade. Though a monster of a man, Moura’s portrayal of Escobar imbues this murdering drug trafficker with a real human side, earning the character sympathy despite his horrible actions. Violent, sexy, well-written and immaculately acted, Narcos is truly one of the best shows of the year.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

17. Orange is the New Black

Orange is the new Black

It may have never reached the heady heights of House Of Cards, but Orange Is The New Black is another show that proves Netflix is now up there with HBO when it comes to offering decent programming. Set in a woman’s prison, Orange doesn’t shirk the big issues of violence and rape but manages to mix these with a heady dose of black humour. Oh, and its first series was actually more popular than Cards which is a surprise as Netflix’s advertising has always been very Spacey heavy.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

18. Danger 5

Danger 5

This South Australian-made comedy series is an absolute gem that lovingly spoofs WWII spy movies with a ’60s twist in its first series, then picks up again in the neon-soaked, synth-scored ’80s for its second series. Danger 5 is an elite team with one mission in mind: kill Hitler. Everything else is just a retro-tastic bonus. I mean really, how can you not love a show that features Nazi dinosaurs, miniature sets, a lion-headed ninja, and Adolf Hitler as a Ferris Bueller-esque new kid at a John Hughes-style high school?

Seasons on Netflix: 9

19. The Fall

The Fall

Serial killer shows are all the rage these days, and The Fall is one of the best around. Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) is on the hunt for a vicious serial killer in Belfast. Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan of Fifty Shades of Grey-fame) seems like a loving family man on the outside, but he also happens to be the killer that that Stella is tracking. How many women will Paul kill before Stella can catch him? Seriously intense viewing.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

20. Misfits

Misfits

Think of it as Skins with superpowers. A group of sexed-up, troubled British youths are all doing community service together when a crazy storm rolls in and gives each of them powers they can barely comprehend. Will they use those powers for good, or will they use them to get into more mischief? Great writing and a great cast (some of which go on to appear in Game of Thrones) make this show highly recommended.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

21. Top Gear

Top Gear

Okay, so the show may be in limbo at the moment due to Jeremy Clarkson’s offscreen bad behaviour, but there’s no denying that Top Gear is a remarkably entertaining programme. It’s easy to get swept up in the show’s various car challenges, test drives, stunts and celebrity appearances, even if you aren’t a car enthusiast. This is all due to the infectious camaraderie between the show’s three hosts – Richard Hammond, James May and the aforementioned Clarkson are a cheeky trio and are completely responsible for making a show about cars absolutely addicting.

Seasons on Netflix: 7

22. Chef’s Table

Chef's Table

From the makers of the incredible documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi comes this six-part Netflix Original miniseries that takes us into the lives (and kitchens) of six of the world’s most celebrated chefs. Get an inside look at the artistry behind the creation of some of the most breathtaking dishes imaginable, and then start to wish you had the unlimited resources required to travel around the world, visiting each of these incredible restaurants. Mouth-watering and awe-inspiring.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

23. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

Wet Hot American Summer

Reviled on initial release and then rediscovered as a cult classic, the 2001 film Wet Hot American Summer is the kind of satirical comedy that leaves most people scratching their heads. Those in the know, however, see it as an absolutely pitch-perfect, gobsmackingly hilarious spoof of the summer camp movies of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Many of the actors in the original film went on to become huge stars (Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler), so it should be considered a minor miracle that all of these people were wrangled back almost 15 years later to star in a prequel series for Netflix. If you haven’t seen the original movie, you might want to stream it on Netflix before watching the show, but if you have seen it and love it like we do, you’ll be over the moon with Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

24. Vikings

Vikings

Praise Odin! We finally have a brutal and (mostly) historically-accurate show about Norse culture that would make Thor proud. Vikings takes us on a journey through Scandinavian/European history as Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a man who may or may not be a direct descendent of Odin himself, rises up the viking ranks and searches for new civilisations alongside his band of viking brothers. Best watched with a pint of mead in your hand.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

25. Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks

On the list of shows that were tragically cut down before their prime, Number 1 is Firefly. Number 2, however, is Freaks and Geeks, the show that served as a launching pad for some of our favorite stars in comedy today. Brash, mischievous and hysterical, James Franco, Jason Segel and Seth Rogen provide a perfect counter-balance for the tepid (and completely loveable) Linda Cardellini. The show scores the last spot on our list and in our hearts because at the end of the day we’ve all been Cardellini’s character, Lindsay. We’ve all been picked on, called a nerd and genuinely loved something – whether that’s cellphones, computers, televisions, whatever. And just when you think you’ll never fit in, the right group of people somehow find their way into your life.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

 

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