The Top 30 Netflix Original Shows Of All Time, Ranked

From 'House of Cards' to 'Stranger Things,' we've ranked the 30 best original series in Netflix's history.


In many ways, Netflix has become a monolith in the television landscape. 

Founded in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail rental service, Netflix officially launched as a streaming platform a decade later in 2007, pioneering the streaming era and arguably becoming its household name. In its golden heyday, Netflix boasted some of the most impressive catalogs for at-home watching and a slew of original shows that signaled a turning point in how we watch TV and even make it. 

It goes without saying that the network’s taken a tumble over the past few years. While the streaming service has managed to hold its own ground against competitors of the likes of HBO and Disney, massive cost-cutting, show cancellations, and subscription price hikes have soured Netflix’s reputation and arguably reduced the quality of its original content. Regardless, Netflix’s legacy still precedes itself, and it’s thanks to a lot of the shows on this list that the streaming giant has been able to become an award-winning, record-breaking content machine.

From the show that started it all, House of Cards, to the show that forever changed how Netflix would make its content, Stranger Things, we’ve taken a look back at the best Netflix original shows released in the past decade and ranked them based on quality, consistency, and their impact on culture. We couldn’t include everything in this list, so some of our honorable mentions include: The Witcher, Glow, Never Have I Ever, Heartstopper, The Umbrella Academy, and Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.

Editor’s Note: For the sake of clarity, we’ve omitted reality TV shows and docuseries from this list. Shows that started out on a different network, like Black Mirror and Money Heist, that then moved to Netflix, were also not included. By Netflix original, we mean series that premiered and were born on Netflix.

30. Big Mouth (2017–)

Starring: Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Jenny Slate, Ayo Edebiri, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Jordan Peele 

When it debuted in 2017, Big Mouth did not seem like the type of series that would have longevity. And that's not a knock on its quality; if anything, it's a testament to it. The show is so anarchic—so aggressively manic in its ability to pack in joke after joke—that one marveled at its ability to keep things feeling new and exciting. "Surely," one would think, "they're going to run out of ideas soon." And although Season 7 spun its wheels a bit (and received noticeably lower reviews than the prior six seasons), the writers have been remarkably consistent and creative. Hopefully Season 8—officially the final season—will finish things strong. When Big Mouth finally goes off the air, it'll be the longest-running scripted series in Netflix history.

We'll miss the teenagers, of course, but we'll miss the motley crew of Hormone Monsters and Magical Creatures even more. They're ugly in all the right ways, and Connie the Hormone Monstress is hilarious and perfect in particular. What makes Big Mouth special is how all the Hormone Monsters and Magical Creatures manage to be sympathetic. None of them are malicious per se; Anxiety Mosquito and Depression Kitty are just doing what they're supposed to do, and it's up to the kids ultimately to make the decisions.

Adolescence is a time of confusion, first and foremost. In a single day, one tries on numerous characters and roles in their journey toward adulthood. It's a grueling, frequently gross process. And Big Mouth never shies away—neither from the gruelingness nor the grossness. This is not a show for the faint-hearted. But then again, neither is adolescence. —Kevin Wong

29. Bridgerton (2020–)

Seasons: 3
Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Jonathan Bailey, Simone Ashley, Phoebe Dynevor, Adjoa Andoh, Ruth Gemmell, Golda Rosheuvel, Julie Andrews

Bridgerton may not be for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great. Based on Julia Quinn’s book series of the same name, the Shondaland-helmed project invites us into London’s ton during its Regency era, when social seasons meant marriage if you were up to the task. At the time of Season 1’s premiere in 2020, Bridgerton was the most-watched original series launch on Netflix, a record it then broke for itself by the time of Season 2’s release. While numbers may not always be indicative of a show’s actual quality, Bridgerton’s record-setting viewership came as a salve for Netflix, serving as a durable franchise the streaming site hadn’t been able to nab for a while. And it doesn’t take much to see why people were so tuned in.

The early aughts saw a proliferation of period pieces and historical fiction romances, but somewhere along the line Hollywood forwent the genre. In many ways, Bridgerton filled in that gap, at least as far as mainstream viewing goes, and offered something audiences were clearly missing. From the ball gowns to the orchestras, to the burning yearning and unrequited love, Bridgerton is the perfect cozy watch for any hopeless romantic or anyone looking for some quality, escapist storytelling. It’s easy to write it off as a Regency version of Gossip Girl, but that would ignore all its own unique traits that make it exceptionally fun to watch. The show’s spinoff, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, remains one of Netflix’s best offerings in 2023. So unclench, play the first episode, and let yourself fall in love with love. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

28. Sense8 (2015–18)

Seasons: 2
Starring: Aml Ameen, Toby Onwumere, Bae Doona, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Tuppence Middleton, Max Riemelt, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Brian J. Smith

While Sense8 was not the first show to be canceled by Netflix, nor was it the last, it certainly was one of the first that felt the most heartbreaking—so much so that Netflix actually listened to all the trending hashtags and delivered a two-and-a-half-hour finale to compensate for the lack of a third season. Why? Because it was that good. A full-fledged sci-fi drama, Sense8 follows eight strangers from different walks of life who one day realize they all share a psychic connection. Across its two seasons, the show answers the who, what, why, and whens of it all, intimately inviting us into the eight’s lives and the more dangerous implications their connection has.

Apart from its mystery and high-thrills quest, Sense8 was one of the rare shows to actually promise inclusivity and mean it. Each episode could take you across Nairobi, Seoul, Mumbai, London, San Francisco, and back, priding in its multinational cast and fleshing out its characters with the cultural courtesy often overlooked by other shows looking for a quick “representation” check. It also was lauded for its depiction of sexuality, and was hailed for its exploration of LGBTQ themes and characters. At its core, what made Sense8 such a masterpiece was its stellar writing. Sure the high-budget sequences were also a treat. But it was the show’s ability to weave in moments that had you gasping at the edge of your seat, trying to solve the mystery yourself, and crying over its characters’ love lives that made it such a standout in Netflix’s roster. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

27. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015–20)

Seasons: 4
Starring: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane, Jane Krakowski

Sign me up for literally anything Tina Fey is involved in. Teaming up with another equally hilarious woman, Ellie Kemper, Fey created Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt alongside Robert Carlock. The sitcom, which premiered March 2015 on Netflix and ran for four seasons, follows 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt (Kemper) as she adjusts to life after being rescued from a doomsday cult in the fictional town of Durnsville, Indiana. Kimmy and three other women were held captive by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) for 15 years, but when she breaks free she decides to explore her newfound freedom by restarting her life in New York City.

Once there, she befriends her landlord Lillian Kaushtupper (Kane) and her roommate, a struggling actor named Titus Andromedon (Burgess). The show was lighthearted and fun, and Titus quickly became a fan-favorite and Internet staple. The series received 20 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including four nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series and a nomination for Outstanding Television Movie for the 2020 special Kimmy vs. the Reverend. It was one of the first sitcoms in the streaming era that simply worked, and is still beloved by fans. — Karla Rodriguez

26. American Vandal (2017–18)

Seasons: 2
Starring: Tyler Alvarez, Griffin Gluck, Jimmy Tatro, Lukas Gage, Calum Worthy, Travis Tope, Melvin Gregg

Satires are a difficult set of scales to balance. Tip them one way or another, and the whole proposition falls over. Yet American Vandal always found a way to keep its razor-sharp send-up of youth culture, modern technology, and true crime docuseries (like the ones Netflix helped revitalize) in a harmonious tune. Whether it’s a deep dive into Southern California public schools or a Catholic private school with a star-studded basketball team, Vandal managed to not only be funny but also shape a compelling mystery worthy of the genre it was satirizing, from exploration into who drew penial shapes on cars to who spiked lemonade with laxatives. Juvenile yet serious, it’s a special thing to watch unfold. —William Goodman

25. Sex Education (2019–23)

Seasons: 4
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey, Connor Swindells, Aimee Lou Wood

It can’t be understated how monumental Sex Education was for TV when its first season hit Netflix. The teen comedy-drama stood out from its peers in the genre for its unparalleled representation, robust storylines that invited conversations on anything between vaginismus and asexuality, and its commitment to treat its themes with the utmost courtesy to its audience that might be going through similar things. On par with the show’s more serious moments is a string of tender hilarity, with Sex Education’s ensemble infusing the latter with poignant charisma and a boatload of talent.

While the last two seasons of the show arguably didn’t come close to its triumphant first half (a common theme on this list), there still were a couple of episodes that stood out amongst the murkier areas. The seventh episode of Season 2, which sees the girls banding together to help Aimee ride the bus again after a traumatic incident, remains one of the best explorations of sexual assault onscreen and one of the most emotional episodes of TV for that matter. And it’s those exact, triumphing moments that make Sex Education one of Netflix’s best original series ever; one that made us laugh and cry all at the same time. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

24. Love, Death & Robots (2019–)

Seasons: 3
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Topher Grace, Samira Wiley, Nolan North, Michael B. Jordan

Whenever David Fincher is behind a project, you know that you’re about to strike gold. Twisted, marvelously weird gold. An anthology series akin to the likes of Black Mirror, Love, Death & Robots consists of episodes that feel more short films, and that tackle a story related to one or more of its three titular subjects. While not all of its episodes are made equal (some are honestly skippable), the ones that do hit soar to incredible heights that easily make the show one of Netflix’s best. To top it all off, no episode is designed the same way, with each boasting its own unique animation style and infusing its mind-bender of a plot with some of the most impressive world building offered by a Netflix sci-fi flick. Sure there’s a lot of robot sex, but when you get past the initial shock, you’re in for a marvelously wild ride. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

23. Arcane (2021–)

Seasons: 1
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Ella Purnell, Kevin Alejandro, Katie Leung, Jason Spisak

It’s rare for a game adaptation to excel onscreen. And it’s even more rare when the source material is as vast and widely loved as League of Legends. And yet, Netflix somehow managed to break the curse it long helmed and defied all odds through its genre-defying animated series Arcane. Based on Riot Games’ incredibly popular online game League of Legends, Arcane chronicles the story of two sisters, Vi (Steinfeld) and Jinx (Purnell), as they find themselves warped in a larger conflict between the echelons and the oppressed of the city of Piltover.

While Arcane untangles the origin story of two of League’s most iconic characters, you don’t really need to know much about the game itself to enjoy this stunning offering of fantasy and family. From its world-class animation, which is honestly so gob-smacking that no amount of adjectives is enough to describe just how beautiful it is, to its high-stake story, which homogeneously blends the perfect amount of action and heart, Arcane is a criminally unsung testament to the power of animation in storytelling and a refreshing addition to the video game adaptation genre in a timeline that’s arguably been plagued by one too many misses. To many critics, Arcane is considered as one of the best (if not the best) video game adaptations ever made. And its accolade as the first streaming series to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program should come as a no-brainer as soon as you click on the first episode. With its second season expected to be released in Nov. 2024, this is your sign to jump aboard the Arcane hype train. We promise it’s worth the trip. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

22. Dead to Me (2019–22)

Seasons: 3
Starring: Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, James Marsden, Max Jenkins, Sam McCarthy

TV fans tend to gravitate toward shows about female friendships—and I’m one of them. While there are shows like Insecure and Sex and the City and even Grace and Frankie, there aren’t many TV shows that focus on middle-aged women finding new friends. Building new friendships gets increasingly harder as you get older, so the connection between Jen (Applegate) and Judy (Cardellini) in Dead to Me sprouts in the most unfortunate of consequences. Jen's husband recently died in a hit-and-run, and she is determined to find the person who did it. Meanwhile, free-spirited Judy has also recently suffered a tragic loss of her own, so they meet at a support group, and while they could not be any more different, they become fast friends. But there’s a looming secret between them that constantly threatens their friendship. 

The dark comedy contains so many twists and turns that will take viewers for a spin, and it also explores the sometimes funny sides of grief, loss, and forgiveness. The show features a cast that is completely at its best, including a standout performance from James Marsden, who has a dual role as twins Steve and Ben Wood. Dead to Me ran for three tight and flawless seasons, and has one of the most satisfying, fulfilling, and gut-wrenching finales of any Netflix show. Jen and Judy proved to be the most perfect definition of a ride or die. —Karla Rodriguez

21. The Crown (2016–23)

Seasons: 6
Starring: Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton, Emma Corrin, Elizabeth Debicki, Dominic West

A dramatized retelling of the Royal Family’s history was bound to be a hit. Chronicling the life of Queen Elizabeth II from 1947 until 2005, The Crown disguises itself as a tell-all, rehashing just enough of what we know about the family and filling in the gaps with what we wish we’d known. Although the show may be more fiction than fact at some points, historical accuracy is moot when you’re sitting in for all the drama. The Crown allows us to sink our teeth into an otherwise elusive family, unafraid of critiquing the monarchy and its actions, and deliciously plating out conversations we wish we’d eavesdropped on in real life, right to our screen.

While the show’s last few seasons were arguably half-baked (an expected demise considering its thundering first three seasons, and Claire Foy’s departure from the show), The Crown was still an overall triumph, filling in as Netflix’s lauded familial, political drama post-House of Cards and proving that the streaming giant could still make “serious” and critically acclaimed shows. Had the show been able to keep the momentum of its first three seasons across all six, it would have had a much higher spot on this list. Perhaps it was audience disinterest. Perhaps it was Queen Elizabeth’s passing in real life. But its final season arrived to no noise, quietly sending off what could have been one of Netflix’s most memorable series ever. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

20. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (2019–)

Seasons: 2
Starring: Tim Robinson

It’s still perplexing that a series as out there as I Think You Should Leave not only exists, but is as seemingly popular as it is, with there being a solid chance you’ve come across one of its many sketches as meme fodder on the Internet. Nevertheless, it comes down to the commitment of creators Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin to trust in the fact that their unique brand of left of center will find an audience. It’s very much the spiritual successor to beloved cult series like Mr. Show or Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! in the sense that if the humor hits your wavelength, it’ll be some of the funniest, most quotable material around. —William Goodman

19. The Marvel Defenders Saga (2015–19)

Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, Defenders

Seasons: 13 across 6 different series
Starring: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, Jon Bernthal, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Carrie-Anne Moss, Simone Missick, Elodie Young, Elden Henson, Deborah Ann Woll, Scott Glenn, Jessica Henwick

Netflix’s command of the culture was so strong that Marvel decided the best home for their assortment of street-level characters was to bring them to the streamer. Throughout a staggering 13 seasons, 6 series, and 4 years, The Defenders Saga unfolded to high highs (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and most of Luke Cage) and low lows (Iron Fist and The Defenders) that represented the best and worst of Netflix’s then-bloated requirements for streaming series. Nevertheless, the Defenders Saga is still held in high esteem for its dedication to filming on location in New York, perfectly cast actors (notably Cox, Bernthal, Ritter, and D’Onofrio), and incredible fight sequences. Even now, as Disney folds the characters into the main MCU, the actors behind these roles are so memorable that they can’t be recast, which further speaks to the impact these shows have on those who watched. —William Goodman

18. Dark (2017–20)

Seasons: 3
Starring: Oliver Masucci, Karoline Eichhorn, Jördis Triebel, Louis Hofmann, Maja Schöne, Lisa Vicari

Initially hailed as the German-language version of Stranger Things, Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese’s Dark became much more complicated than just a missing children in a weird town story. The series eventually ballooned and transformed into an epic that transcended space and time. Dense and cerebral, Dark’s musings on the cyclical patterns of human nature aren’t for everyone, but among its die-hard fans, the series is regarded as some of the best science fiction in recent memory, culminating in a tremendous finale. Dark also proved that no matter the language, Netflix viewers will show up in droves as long as the story remains compelling, setting the stage for future successes like Squid Game. —William Goodman

17. The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

Seasons: 1
Starring: Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, Henry Thomans, Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino 

Mike Flanagan is a horror veteran, and while he’s continued to craft exceptional horror anthologies for Netflix each Halloween, none have come close to his initial triumph, The Haunting of Hill House. Set between alternating timelines, the miniseries follows one family’s turbulent history as they grapple with both internal and external demons. The show packs just enough fright to have you a little bit scared of going to bed alone that night, but just enough heart to have you invested in a story that transcends mere fear factor.

The Haunting of Hill House may be a ghost story, but it’s also more doubly a story about grief, loss, family, and finding a way to overcome it altogether. To top it all off, the series contains exceptional visual storytelling and powerhouse performances from its entire ensemble, with Easter eggs, one-take shots, and even jump scares coming together perfectly to craft some of the most claustrophobic yet captivating scenes in the horror genre. Following Hill House’s success, Flanagan made the smart decision of turning the miniseries into an anthology, adding The Haunting of Bly Manor to its roster (which some would argue is even better than its predecessor) and confirming his status as one of the best ghost storytellers of our generation. Who else can make you cry and shriek all in the same episode? —Yasmeen Hamadeh

16. Lupin (2021–)

Seasons: 3
Starring: Omar Sy, Ludivine Sagnier, Antoine Gouy, Soufiane Guerrab, Shirine Boutella, Etan Simon

Lupin is the platonic ideal of television. Similar to the approach of the BBC’s reimagining of Sherlock, the Omar Sy–fronted series recontextualizes and updates Maurice Leblanc’s beloved novels for a modern-day audience to thrilling effect, managing to thread the needle between episodic installments and an overarching narrative. Blending micro and macro stories is always a highwire act, but Lupin makes it seem effortless, especially when you take Sy’s delightfully charismatic leading performance into play. Captivating in every frame, it’s no wonder why the series became Netflix’s most-watched non-English series when it first debuted. —William Goodman

15. Blue Eye Samurai (2023–)

Seasons: 1
Starring: Maya Erskine, Masi Oka, Darren Barnet, Brenda Song, George Takei, Randall Park, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Kenneth Branagh

It’s hard to drop a debut season and make an immediate impact, yet that’s precisely what Blue Eye Samurai did when it dropped last fall. We hadn’t finished the series in time to include it on our best of list for 2023, but that oversight is corrected here, as the first season cements itself as not only one of Netflix’s best animated series but one of its best shows, full stop. Created by husband and wife team Michael Green and Amber Noizumi, the series is a lushly rendered blend of 2D and 3D animation styles, telling the tale of Mizu, a samurai of mixed-race heritage who is deemed an outcast, as she pursues her father on a quest for vengeance. Sure, revenge tales are a staple of storytelling, but they’re rarely this well, ahem, executed thanks to Green and Noizumi’s excellent characterization and the cast’s superb voice acting. —William Goodman

14. Wednesday (2022–)

Starring: Jenna Ortega, Christina Ricci, Gwendoline Christie, Emma Myers, Luis Guzmán, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Back in the '90s, Wednesday Addams was the coolest girl we'd never met—smart, dry-witted, and charming despite her best efforts not to be. Wednesday, as played by 10-year-old Christina Ricci, stole every minute of screen time she had, playing her with a dour, deadpan morbidity that quickly became her definitive iteration. The fact that Jenna Ortega stepped into this specific characterization so seamlessly was one of the best surprises of 2022.

Ortega portrayed the teenaged Wednesday as well as anyone could have hoped, bridging a generational gap between Addams fans and catapulting the show to become Netflix’s most-watched English-language series ever. Add in the supporting characters, especially Wednesday's roommate Enid (Myers), who "wolfed out" at the best possible time, and we’re all eagerly looking forward to Season 2. While Wednesday’s first season had the perfect blend of mystery and macabre, and even nabbed a slew of nominations plus a viral TikTok trend (aka Netflix’s dream), the network is privy to a sophomore slump, so there’s no telling how great the show’s actually going to be in its grander scheme. Stacked against other shows on this list, Wednesday still has a lot to prove, so hopefully the next season won’t disappoint. —Kevin Wong

13. Russian Doll (2019–22)

Seasons: 2
Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, Elizabeth Ashley, Charlie Barnett, Chloë Sevigny

A time-loop drama that was released years before this trope became oversaturated, Russian Doll benefits from Natasha Lyonne's deadpan performance. Her character, Nadia, is 36 going on 56. And when she begins dying and looping back to the night of her birthday party, it forces her to confront how much she's detached herself from other people, and how she might have to save someone else in order to save herself.

The second season is a different animal entirely. Rather than escaping a time loop, Nadia goes back in time (thanks to a wormhole-traversing 6 train) and inhabits the lives of her mother and grandmother. A meditation on generational trauma, Russian Doll proved it had more than one trick up its sleeve. And the creators reportedly have even more tricks, should Netflix do the right thing and order a third cycle. —Kevin Wong

12. When They See Us (2019)

Seasons: 1
Starring: Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, Ethan Herisse, Jharrel Jerome, Marquis Rodriguez

​​Perhaps no other show on this list has had as much real-life cultural importance and impact as When They See Us. The crime drama miniseries was created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix, and it told the compelling story of the 1989 Central Park jogger case, from the perspective of the five boys whose lives were changed forever. The show, which was released in 2019, explores the lives and families of the five Black and Latino male suspects who were falsely accused and then prosecuted on charges related to the rape and assault of a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. After spending time in prison, the five men, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, and Raymond Santana, had their convictions vacated in 2002, and the city ultimately agreed in a legal settlement to pay them a combined $41 million. 

In the series, DuVernay showcases their humanity and how, after years of being villainized and known as the Central Park Five, the public began knowing them as the Exonerated Five. The series features an ensemble cast, including Jharrel Jerome, Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, Jovan Adepo, Michael K. Williams, Joshua Jackson, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, and more. Jerome won an Emmy for his intense portrayal of Korey Wise and firmly cemented himself as an actor to watch. According to Netflix, the miniseries was streamed by over 23 million viewers within its first month of release. —Karla Rodriguez

11. Master of None (2015–21)

Starring: Aziz Ansari, Eric Wareheim, Noël Wells, Lena Waithe, Kelvin Yu, Alessandra Mastronardi, Naomi Ackie

Fans of Parks and Recreation’s Tom Haverford received a gift when Aziz Ansari created Master of None. The hit show may not be a high-budget action or drama series, but the quietness and intimacy of it, and its humor, make it special. The comedy follows Ansari, who plays the role of Dev, a New York–based actor who is struggling to figure out what he wants to be and who he wants to be with. The series, which is loosely based on Ansari’s life, reveals glimpses of Dev's younger years and explores current aspects of his life, including modern etiquettes of dating, and being young and single in the city. The show also gave us one of the best holiday episodes on TV with Season 2’s Episode 8, titled “Thanksgiving,” featuring an outstanding performance from Erica Mena.

The show is laugh-out-loud funny, but it also balances out the awkwardness of Dev’s life with some reflective and profound moments that explore family, love, and even racism. The show only ran for three seasons, unfortunately. The third season, titled Master of None Presents Moments in Love, was a departure from the first two and took almost five years to arrive. Ansari barely appears in Season 3, and instead of focusing on Dev, it follows the marriage between Denise (Lena Waithe), who was Dev’s friend in the first two seasons, and her wife, Alicia (Naomi Ackie).

Ansari was accused of sexual misconduct in early 2018 after a woman said he was too forward on a date. It was at the height of the #MeToo movement, and Ansari reflected on the situation during a stand-up for Netflix, in which he said it made him take a pause. Perhaps the allegations are what drove him to work mainly as a director and behind the scenes on Master of None’s third season, but whatever the reason the show suffered because of it. The first two delivered some of the richest episodes of a comedy that was smart, hilarious, and perfectly cast. If you need a lighthearted, feel-good show that also makes you think, Master of None is the way to go. —Karla Rodriguez

10. The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

Seasons: 1
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Camp, Moses Ingram, Isla Johnston, Christiane Seidel, Rebecca Root, Chloe Pirrie, Akemnji Ndifornyen, Marielle Heller, Harry Melling, Patrick Kennedy, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Marcin Dorociński

Here’s how utterly compelling The Queen’s Gambit is: In the last quarter of 2020, a large portion of the population became obsessed with chess to a point unseen since Bobby Fischer’s reign over 50 years ago. Helmed by writer, director, and Hollywood stalwart Scott Frank, Gambit is undoubtedly one of the tightest, most compelling, and best miniseries on any platform, let alone Netflix. Anchored by Anya Taylor-Joy’s magnetic performance and Frank’s crackling scripts, The Queen’s Gambit pops and surges with the same kinetic energy that makes the best sports dramas endlessly rewatchable. —William Goodman

9. Beef (2023)

Starring: Steven Yeun, Ali Wong, Joseph Lee, Young Mazino, David Choe, Patti Yasutake

Watch horrible people do horrible things to each other. That's the premise of Beef, which manages to be a drama, a pitch-black comedy, and a meditation on being an unseen minority in American society. Between this and Everything Everywhere All at Once, indie production company A24 has put its full weight behind Asian-American stories that depict us with complexity and honesty—where we're allowed to be flawed and vulnerable, and ultimately human. That's why it's important to have Asians behind the camera and in front of it; there's less pressure to be perfect if we know we'll get another shot.

Everyone in Beef is flawed, and no one is happy. Danny (Yeun) is a working-class contractor who's lonely and isolated from his community and his church. Amy (Wong) is upwardly mobile, but she feels unsupported and humiliated by her husband, her mother-in-law, and wealthy people who control her future. When these two people get involved in a road rage incident, it gives them both an outlet for their anger and repressed rage.

There's something liberating about watching Steven Yeun get a role where he can be a shiftless bastard. And Ali Wong? This woman has been on fire since 2016, when her Baby Cobra stand-up special hit Netflix. Beef dares to be dirty and engage in behavior unbecoming of a model minority. It's angry, lean, and mean. It knows when to be funny and when to dial it back and dwell in the darkness. It's got an emotional climax, where Amy and Danny, having lost everything important to their structured lives, commiserate at the rock bottom of it all. It's won eight Emmys and three Golden Globes so far. And it deserves every bit of praise that people have for it. —Kevin Wong

8. Ozark (2017–22)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz, Skylar Gaertner, Julia Garner

Ozark is an antihero narrative about Marty Byrde (Bateman), a financial adviser who gets in deep with a major drug cartel, and who must launder millions of dollars to clear his debt. He moves his entire family to the Missouri Ozarks, which gives plenty of opportunity for run-ins with the local color—a dangerous, violent band of “small-town,” “close-knit,” “All-Americans.” Few people can escape an upbringing like this, but some try—like Ruth Langmore (Garner), who’s a heartbreaking case study in potential. Such intelligence. Such great instincts of self-preservation. What could have been, had life given her a better set of circumstances?

One of my favorite things about Ozark is that there is little unqualified triumph—very few times that we can point to and say, “Man, Marty is the MAN.” Marty is not like Walter White in Breaking Bad, or Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, or Vic Mackey in The Shield. Those were smart guys—guys that were uncommonly good at their jobs. 

Marty is not good at his job. He's a coward, and a disloyal coward at that. He's almost never in control. He's constantly in over his head with the cartel. And it's through a combination of opportunism and dumb luck that he manages to skate by. It's not as "fun," per se, as seeing a vicarious power fantasy. But it's a lot grittier and more real. And the same could be said for the ending, which didn't satisfy everyone but stayed true to the show's mantra that money and power corrupt all. —Kevin Wong

7. Mindhunter (2017–19)

Seasons: 2
Starring: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv, Hannah Gross, Cotter Smith, Stacey Roca, Cameron Britton, Michael Cerveris

David Fincher’s second Netflix series is a perfect reflection of his obsessive attention to detail and features tremendous performances and some of the best directing of any show on the streamer. Showrun by Joe Penhall, Mindhunter tracks the birth of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit as they speak with serial killers to identify and better hunt future murderers. Rarely has a show that’s almost exclusively people talking to one another in rooms felt so engaging, thrilling, and tense, thanks in large part to the visual template Fincher establishes. Maybe we’ll get Netflix to pay up for a third season one day. —William Goodman

6. BoJack Horseman (2014–20)

Seasons: 6
Starring: Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Alison Brie, Paul F. Thompkins, Amy Sedaris

Filled to the brim with ideas, BoJack Horseman starts as an excellent examination of Hollywood and celebrity culture before shifting into an emotionally wrenching exploration of depression, trauma, addiction, self-destructive behaviors, and so much more. Oh, and its lead is an anthropomorphic horse. Anchored by superlative voice acting from Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Alison Brie, Paul F. Thompkins, and Amy Sedaris, the show is rich in complexities and is more often than not an animated drama than it is an animated comedy. It’s reductive to categorize this as one of Netflix’s best series, so let’s give it the praise it rightfully deserves by stating it as one of the best animated shows of all time. —William Goodman

5. Narcos (2015–17)

Starring: Wagner Moura, Pedro Pascal, Boyd Holbrook, Damián Alcázar

There’s a lot to unpack with this one. Many documentaries, series, and films have tried to capture the ruthlessness of the rise and fall of drug lord Pablo Escobar, but none have had the cultural footprint Narcos managed to create. The show was everywhere in 2015, dominating social media with discussions over its episodes, clubs with remixes of its theme song, and even memes thanks to a pouting Wagner Moura. But the attention Narcos got wasn’t always necessarily coming from the right place. In many ways, the first season of Narcos failed the very people it was dealing with the most, painting Escobar as this mythic Achilles and inadvertently leading unbeknownst audiences to wanting him to win. This huge oversight was ultimately corrected by the show’s second and third seasons, with Narcos’ writers taking the show’s reception in Colombia into account and shifting its tonal focus into a tragedy rather than an epic.

By Season 2, the sheer weight of the war against Escobar is brought to an unprecedented helm, with each episode showcasing the moral depravity, bloodlust, and cataclysmic number of victims trailing behind Escobar’s every step. Grounding it all is Moura, who gives a performance of a lifetime, seamlessly embodying a self-proclaimed Robin Hood only to find that he is actually an unhinged vulture cornered into a tight space. While the contentions of narco-dramas are rightfully worth criticizing, and Narcos falls privy to many of the genre’s pitfalls, the show is still one of Netflix’s best-acted, most entertaining, and dynamic offerings that holds up on a rewatch. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

4. Squid Game (2021–)

Seasons: 1
Starring: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Hoyeon, O Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi, Kim Joo-ryoung

Netflix’s strategy to diversify its programming with international series played off in spades with Squid Gamethe most-viewed show in the history of the streamer. Bolstered by a captive audience during the pandemic, the gripping tale of a Hunger Games/Battle Royale–style game show is elevated by superlative performances from Lee Jung-jae, Hoyeon, Park Hae-soo, and countless others. Despite the binge model, episodes of Squid Game are so individually tense that it might be difficult for some to tear through the series all in one go, and yet the series is so propulsive and well executed that it’s hard not to fire another one up to watch immediately. Hopefully, the show can retain its titanic momentum when its sophomore season debuts later in 2024. —William Goodman

3. House of Cards (2013–18)

Seasons: 6
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Jayne Atkinson 

The show that started it all has to have a top-tier placement on this list. Despite its nosedive in quality and its late-season pivot after the rightful removal of Kevin Spacey in the wake of his alleged sexual misconduct (Spacey was later found not guilty in 2023), Netflix doesn’t exist in the form it does today without a smash hit like House of Cards. The show proved that the steamer could do more than curate smash hit content—they could create it themselves. And House of Cards swiftly became the first television series from a streaming service to ever be nominated for an Emmy. Anchored by a gripping pilot helmed by David Fincher, electric writing from creator Beau Willimon, and a top-tier cast, House of Cards proved the streamer had the goods to strike out on their own, changing the television landscape in the process. —William Goodman

2. Orange Is the New Black (2013–19)

Seasons: 7
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Michael Harney, Michelle Hurst, Kate Mulgrew, Jason Biggs, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Natasha Lyonne, Samira Wiley

Orange Is the New Black, to me, is what made Netflix what it is today. The show was one of the first that kickstarted the binge-watching era, and it cemented the streamer as the future of TV. The series starts off following Piper Chapman (Schilling), a public relations executive with a career and a fiancé whose past suddenly catches up to her. Based on the memoir of the same name by Piper Kerman, the show chronicles Piper’s decade-old relationship with a drug runner named Alex (Prepon), who comes back to haunt her and ruins her seemingly perfect life in New York. 

Now in her mid-30s, Piper is sentenced to spend 15 months in Litchfield Penitentiary, a minimum-security women's prison in Connecticut, for her association with Alex, who she then has to face in prison. The Netflix original series uses Piper’s story as the hook to get people to watch, but as she makes her way through the corrections system and adjusts to life behind bars, the story shifts focus to the eccentric friends and enemies she meets as she adjusts to her new life. Each one of the women has a unique story, and it’s one of the few shows still to this day that humanizes women of color and gives them a voice.

All of OITNB’s endearing and outspoken characters bury themselves inside your heart (Poussey’s death is still so soul crushing), and make you reflect on the corruption and injustices people deal with within the prison industrial complex. The series had a whopping seven seasons, which is way more than most Netflix series get, and it is by far one of the streamer’s most consistent shows. The cast went on to bring home Emmys, including two for breakout star Uzo Aduba, who played the beloved Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, and another for Best Casting in a Comedy. The show also introduced us to other talent like Laverne Cox, Danielle Brooks, and Diane Guerrero, and began the resurgence of the great Natasha Lyonne. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Orange Is the New Black is one of Netflix's most impactful and important shows to date. —Karla Rodriguez

1. Stranger Things (2016–)

Seasons: 4
Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Joe Keery

If House of Cards proved that Netflix was a viable platform, Stranger Things cemented the streamer’s legacy and ability to generate home-spun hits. The nostalgia-fueled series quietly debuted before going on to become a full-on global phenomenon thanks to its captivating plot and ability to suck viewers in an upside of its own, wherein you just have to watch the next episode. A hodgepodge of influences, all of which are lovingly worn on its sleeve, comes together to create something that’s revitalized the career of Winona Ryder and made household names of many of its young cast members, including Millie Bobby Brown.

Capable of producing quieter character-driven moments and spectacle-driven set pieces that Spielberg would be proud of, Stranger Things might not have the thematic density of some of Netflix’s more prestigious series. But it doesn’t need to, as it functions as an endlessly engaging romp through a visually rich world that continues to surprise, shock, and reveal itself to us as we desperately hit the next episode button to see what’s in store. —William Goodman

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