Updated: Best Netflix TV shows: 35 great Netflix television series

Best Netflix shows: 30 great Netflix TV series

Master of None

Netflix’s transition from a DVD rental service to a streaming behemoth has been impressive to watch. The company has sunk so much money and effort into making itself into the number one destination for on-demand content that it isn’t just a place to watch things, it also creates them. So much so that the big TV and movie studios are quite rightly running scared – as you will see with the following best Netflix shows.

And they should be. At CES 2016, Netflix announced it was expanding its reach to 190 countries.

While Netflix slowly makes a land grab for movies, it is perhaps its television output that is the reason most people have an account. There’s a ton of TV content to feast upon – too much to ever consider watching in one lifetime, and more and more of it is in 4K too.

This is why we have created the techradar guide to the best Netflix shows in the UK right now. We will keep this best TV show list constantly updated with the latest television shows that you should be watching and also tell you why.

And with news that Netflix is cracking down on VPN use, if you are in the UK and are accessing the US version of Netflix, your choice is soon to get that bit more limited. All the more reason, then, to browse our extensive list of the best shows available.

If it’s a night in at the movies you want, then head over to our best horror movies on Netflix and best romantic movies on Netflix – there you will find great-quality films to capture or tear out your heart.

1. 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

2. Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica

Before the world was awash with gritty superhero reboots, Battlestar Galactica proved you could take some slightly campy source material and make it into something special. Given it is set in space, Galactica never quite gets the plaudits it should but believe us: it’s not just one of the best sci-fi series ever made, it’s one of the best series full stop. It has the perfect blend of politics and space dogfights, human drama and extraterrestrial exploration. From the perfectly realised mini first season to the last, there’s enough themes in Galactica to fill a university course. Unmissable stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

3. Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul

Vince Gilligan made no secret of the fact he wanted to re-visit the world of Breaking Bad and, while many were apprehensive that it was ‘too soon’, we shouldn’t have been worried. Yes, there was always a fear that Better Call Saul would turn out to be what Joey was to Friends but it has thankfully more Frasier to Cheers. This all thanks to Bob Odenkirk’s portrayal of Saul Goodman, the corrupt lawyer who – despite the world he is in – has his heart is in the right place, even if he is consistently in the wrong place. The second season is currently underway on Netflix.

Seasons on Netflix: 2 (season 2 on-going)

4. Bloodline

Bloodline

Any series that has Coach from Friday Night Lights in it will be watched by techradar – thankfully Bloodline has enough intrigue and plot development to make us keep watching, even when Kyle Chandler isn’t on the screen. Yes it meanders but if you can forgive the slow pace this dark tale of a Florida family really delivers in its final episodes.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

5. Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman

A comedy about a failed ’90s sitcom star doesn’t sound like the most enticing premise for a cartoon. But when that failed star is a horse and is voiced by the brilliant Will Arnett, it turns out to be comedy gold. It takes a handful of episodes for the show to ease into itself, but once it does it doesn’t let up with the cutting comedic cynicism centred around Hollywood and its, well, bleakness.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

6. Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad

More addictive than the meth pushed by Walt and Jessie (apparently, ahem), 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. But that has some way to go reach the highest highs that Breaking Bad offers.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

7. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn nine nine

If you only know Andy Samberg thanks to his comedy songwriting in Lonely Island, then you are in for a treat. Brooklyn Nine-Nine sees Samberg as a New York cop and follows the exploits of him and his team. Give it three episodes and you will be hooked and it’s all because the characters are hilarious and the dialogue first class – especially when it comes out of the mouth of stuffy captain Ray Holt.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

8. Californication

Californication

Even though he is soon to reprise his iconic role as Mulder in another X-Files series, David Duchovny never really rested when the show finished. Instead he jumped straight into Californication, a series that’s about as far away as you can get from chasing aliens. Duchovny is New York author Frank Moody who moves to LA to try and battle a bout of writer’s block, with a heady concoction of womanising, drinking and drugs. The heavy subject matter is given light relief thanks to a breezy script and some fantastic comedy performances.

Seasons on Netflix: 7

9. Community

Community

Community is the series that just won’t die. And many have tried to kill it. Now its sixth – and final – season is over, we will have to wait to see if the Six Seasons And A Movie fan mantra will actually come to fruition. It was looking rocky for the comedy when Season 4 was announced, without show runner Dan Harmon, but it survived with its dignity almost intact and was back to its best for Season 5. Set in a community college, Community follows a rag-tag group of adult learners and is so packed through with in-jokes, parodies and surreal humour that it’s hard to believe each episode is just 20-odd minutes long.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

10. Daredevil

Daredevil

When it comes to superhero movies, Marvel are bossing DC thanks to the rich tapestry it has weaved with its cinematic universe. Its TV shows, as fun as Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter are, haven’t had the same success as DC’s The Arrow or The Flash. Thankfully Daredevil has come along to change all this. Released in one binge-watching dose, Daredevil is superb television, regardless if you are a superhero fan or not. Matt Murdoch’s (Boardwalk Empire’s Charlie Cox) rise from blind lawyer to vigilante is brutal and steeped in realism. The reason it works so well is that it doesn’t shy away from being violent – each crack and crunch is a world away from Ben Affleck’s terrible movie version. And special mention has to go to Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, his best role since the tortured Private Pyle.

Season two is set to land 18 March and will feature Marvel fan favourites The Punisher and Elektra. This trailer will definitely get you excited for it.

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXyW4Cuwphg

Seasons on Netflix: 1

11. Fargo

Fargo

There was a collective groan by Coen Brothers fans the world over when Fargo the television show was announced. But what could have been darn tootin’ awful ended up being fantastic, thanks to the casting of Billy Bob Thornton who is both funny and psychotic – well, his character is anyway. The series thankfully didn’t retread the movie but added to it, acting as a strange but sublime companion piece. It’s so good, the Coens initially refused to have their name on the show – until they saw it and loved it.

Seasons on Netlflix: 1

12. 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 – and sprinkles superb characters into the mix. 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

13. Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights

“Clear eyes, full heart.” This phrase used by Coach – *cough*, sorry there must be something in my throat – perfectly encapsulates Friday Night Lights the television show. Borne out of a near-forgotten movie, the television adaptation has everything. It’s steeped in teenage angst, has perfectly realised characters and a sports motif that’s used surprisingly sparingly. Apart from the road bump that is the second season – due to a writers’ strike – the show is consistently brilliant television and up there with the best programmes around, even if the only thing you know about American Football is that it’s a poor person’s rugby.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

14. Fringe

Fringe

Not since X-Files has a show managed to balance ‘monster of the week’ storylines with an overarching story that goes beyond this universe and into many more. Fringe was always a shows that never quite gained superstar status but, thanks to stellar casting (which included the late Leonard Nimoy and Pacey from Dawson’s Creek) and mind-bending themes, it was consistently one of the brainiest and craziest things on television. It was thanks to its cult support that Fringe actually had an ending too – and a decent one that managed to wrap all that went before it with a poignant conclusion, even though we were a little sad to let go of Walter Bishop and co.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

15. Homeland

Homeland

Homeland, now in its fifth season, is a very different show now than it was when it first aired back in 2011. Based on the Israeli series Prisoner of War, the first few seasons were based around the premise of a returning war hero that may or not be holding a dark secret. This duplicity has been a running theme since then but the narrative has moved on. What hasn’t changed is the brilliant central performance by Claire Danes as the CIA officer with bi-polar disorder – she’s superb and the glue that holds this sometimes disparate show together.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

16. 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.

Season 4 is just around the corner – as you can see from the trailer, it’s looking even darker.

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvGL42rywPM

Seasons on Netflix: 3

17. Jessica Jones

JessicaJones

And there was us thinking that Daredevil’s subject matter was dark. Jessica Jones is another tale set in Hell’s Kitchen that may be under the Marvel banned but is about as far removed from the bromance of Thor and Iron Man that you are likely to see.

Breaking Bad’s Krysten Ritter is superb as the titular Jones, a private detective with superpowers and super issues. This is nocturnal noir that moves in the same circles as Daredevil – figuratively and literally as both characters will eventually team up in the Defenders. It may not have the bone-crunching violence that Daredevil is famed for, but there’s enough booze, sex and black humour on the screen to make this a cracking comic-book caper that’s strictly adults only.

Check out our Jessica Jones review

Seasons on Netflix: 1

18. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Initially made on a shoe-string budget, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia first season had a cult following, but low viewing figures meant it was destined to be a one-series wonder. Thankfully, everything changed when Season 2 was eventually green-lit, thanks to some big-time star power. Danny De Vito joined for a 10-episode run that was extended because he loved it so much. He’s still in the show that’s now in its 10th season, bringing with him huge viewing figures. The antics of Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Mac (Rob McElhenney, the show’s creator), Charlie (Charlie Kelly) and Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson) won’t be for everyone – at its darkest the show’s ‘comedy’ themes range from nazism to drug abuse – but stick with it and this deliciously depraved classic will reward you.

Seasons on Netflix: 10

19. The Killing

The Killing

The US version of The Killing is also on Netflix, but the original Scandinavian version is the must watch, and it’s all because of Sophie Grabol. She is simply superb as Sarah Lund, the detective brought into unpick a number of murders that start off as family-centric tragedies and end up having bigger political consequences. The first season is highlight, with a narrative arc that keeps you guessing right until the end but every season is worth your time. This is crime drama at its very best.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

20. Luther

Luther

Idris Elba was a relatively unknown actor when he blew us all away as Stringer Bell in The Wire. After starring in the show his career catapulted him into the A List, but he thankfully never forgot his TV roots. Luther is a cop show with a difference, and that difference is Elba. He brings that bit extra to a cop who is battling both deranged criminals and his own demons. He befriends murderers and breaks rules, all amongst the beautiful but broken backdrop of London’s East End.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

21. Master of None

Master of None

Aziz Ansari was part of one of the best comedy ensembles ever in Parks and Recreation, but in Master of None he proves he can hold his own when he goes it alone. Channeling Louie CK, by way of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Master of None is a fantastic look at being in your 30s in Hollywood and all the trappings that go with it. Ansari plays the fictional Dev but this sitcom comes off as deeply personal and is all the better for it.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

22. Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer

The world’s fascination with real crime seems to be at its highest at the moment and it’s all thanks to the podcast Serial. Now on to its second series, Serial highlights cases of crime in forensic detail. Making a Murderer is in a similar vein. This 10-part series looks at Steven Avery, someone who spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and is then accused of a different crime. The show has been ten years in the making and is gripping stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

23. Narcos

Narcos

Narcos is that wonderful thing: a TV show that doesn’t scrimp on controversy. Based on the exploits of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar, the show examines the criminal’s rise to the top of one of the biggest drug rings the world has seen, while constantly trying to avoid the clutches of the DEA.

Uncompromising, uncomfortable but completely unforgettable, Narcos is exactly the sort of thing that Netflix should be commissioning. It’s also the sort of thing that HBO would have snapped up just a few years ago – which is very telling as to where television is today.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

24. The Office

The Office

While the US Office took nine seasons to tell its ordinary tale of office life, the original UK version was on air for just two six-episode series and a Christmas double, and it’s perfect. Ricky Gervais manages to make the small – office life and the boredom, frustration and romance that can bring – seem big and does it with perfect comedy timing. Gervais and his co-creator Stephen Merchant have produced one of the greatest comedies ever made and as for David Brent… well, we all know one, don’t we?

Seasons on Netflix: 2

25. Orange Is The New Black

Orange Is The New Black

Set to return for a fourth season in June, Orange Is The New Black has consistently tried to oust House of Cards from the Netflix top spot, with its superb tale of life in a women’s prison. It’s so popular that its makers have announced that the show will be running until at least season seven.

What makes OINTB so popular? Well, there’s no show quite like it that can balance comedy and heart-breaking scenes – sometimes in the same episode.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

26. Orphan Black

Orphan Black

Tatiana Maslany may not be able to master a cockney accent but watching her take on multiple roles tin Orphan Black is a joy. The show, now into its fourth season (the first two are streaming on Netflix), manages to bring the premise of cloning to a mainstream audience without veering too much into sci-fi. While Orphan Black took something of a dip in Season 2, it’s worth watching as quality does return to the show. And Maslany is endlessly watchable in any of her many guises.

Season on Netflix: 2

27. Person of Interest

Persons of Interest

From the mind of Jonathan Nolan – Inception writer and brother to Christopher – this twist-ridden series is as high concept as it gets. A computer algorithm offers up ‘people of interest’ to a crack crime-fighting team which consists of former Jesus Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, last seen chewing the scenery as Lost’s big bad Benjamin Linus. While the first season is a little by the numbers, this show has blossomed into something of a must watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

28. Scream: The TV Series

Scream

Scream was the ultimate ’90s horror franchise. It held a blood-stained mirror up to the genre, played with convention and made you guess right up to the end who the killer was – all the while telling you exactly who the killer was throughout the movie. Its sequels meant it lost lustre due to diminishing returns, but the TV show sees the franchise back to its heyday.

In Scream: The TV Series, the mask is scarier, the victims have been updated for the YouTube generation and the show proves that you can stretch the ‘man in the mask’ horror genre into episodic chunks and it will still work. Again, this showcases Scream’s ability to mess with conventions to create something entirely new.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

29. Sense8

Sense8

The Wachowski siblings have been more miss than hit lately – Cloud Atlas was brave but flawed, Jupiter Ascending was just flawed – but Sense8 sees something of a return to form for the directing duo.

Yes there are problems with Sense8 but this uneven show is brilliantly high concept and packed with interesting characters. Well, eight characters in all, from different parts of the globe that are connected in a variety of ways.

The disparate batch of characters means this is a show that has a lot in keeping with Cloud Atlas, where different genres nestled uneasily against each other. But it’s a brave show and one that suits the lavish cinematography the Wachowskis are famed for.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

30. Sherlock

Sherlock

Sherlock is a show that has been drip-fed to it audience over a number of years. This is partly due to its stories working better as three-episode arcs but also because its main stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have become bonafide superstars during its run, so pinning them down is somewhat difficult.

Cumberbatch is superb has the modern day Sherlock, but the show works because of a potent mix of scriptwriting (thanks to Doctor Who’s Stephen Moffat), deft direction and a fair bit of challenging the viewer. Superb stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

31. Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy

There’s very good reason Sons of Anarchy is the highest rated show on FX ever – its Shakespeare-esque plot (think Hamlet on bikes), following the tumultuous lives of a motorcycle gang, has everyone who watches it gripped. The show ended in 2014 after seven glorious seasons – although later seasons could never quite reach the glory days of one to three – and is perfect fodder for those looking for another Breaking Bad-style fix.

Seasons on Netflix: 7

32. The Thick Of It

The Thick Of It

The Thick Of It is perfect satire. It is the closest we will ever get to the machinations of politics, until they decide to let cameras roll 24/7 at Number 10. From the ever-sweary Malcolm Tucker to the string of forever-wrong MPs he has to protect with his profanities, The Thick Of It manages to show the world what an omnishambles a government in charge can be, with hilarious consequences.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

33. The Trip

The Trip

The Trip is the perfect gig for Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and one that must have been too good to pass on. Based on the flimsy premise that hyper realised versions of the two comedians drive around rural England eating in the best restaurants as food critics, the show shouldn’t work but it really really does. Completely unscripted, each episode is strewn with movie star impressions and passive-aggressive jokes, where the two try to one-up each other. Director Michael Winterbottom manages to hold the show together with clever editing and cinematography and manages to add subtle plot through phone conversations with Steve and Rob and their respective families.

The second season has also landed on Netflix and it feels like a sumptuous main course. Italy is the setting and its beautiful surroundings seems to have made the pair more relaxed about life, while still bringing the funny.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

34. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Someone escaping from a Domesday cult shouldn’t be a recipe for comedy but Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt manages to squeeze the funny out of this premise. Created by Tina Fey and starring Ellie Kemper as the title character, the show sparkles with wit and is the right side of kooky – unlike some other shows *cough* New Girl *cough* we won’t mention. There is already a second series in the works and if the positive reviews are anything to go by, there will be plenty more.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

35. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp

Wet Hot American Summer

The prequel to a film sequel that no one watched, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is both fantastic and utterly stupid. It has a cast list to die for – most of Mad Men are in there as is Ant Man’s Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper – and focuses on the goings on at the first day at camp.

These goings on include X-Files style conspiracies, homoerotic dancing, long lost rock singers, journalists going undercover and government hit men. In the original film the cast were in their 30s and were playing 17 year olds. In the prequel, the same cast is now in their 40s and are playing their characters’ younger selves. If you can get your head around that, then you are going to love the show.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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