The best Netflix TV shows (January 2020): discover the best Netflix series
Updated: the best Netflix TV shows you should be watching.
Netflix is home to so many excellent TV shows these days, which means it was tough for us to come up with a list that didn't run into the hundreds for our best Netflix TV shows guide. But we did it, and thousands of you have already had your say about the best Netflix series around.
Below you'll find the Netflix TV shows you should all check out, even if it's just for a one-episode taster. And if you fancy a film, take a look at our best Netflix originals or best movies on Netflix guides instead.
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We hope you’re sitting comfortably. Already have a favourite? Vote below!
The best Netflix TV shows, as voted by you
1. LuciferStream Now (Netflix)
Lucifer was originally a Fox production. The show was cancelled. But its horde of “lucifan” followers were so passionate, Netflix was persuaded to give it an all-new afterlife. Well, to take on the fourth season.
Lucifer Morningstar is a free agent who consults with the LAPD. He also happens to be the devil. The series is propelled by a so-slick-it’s-greasy lead performance by Tom Ellis. And for those who like a little weight behind their TV concepts, the character comes from Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed The Sandman comics.
2. Stranger ThingsStream Now (Netflix)
Every now and then a piece of pop culture explodes so brightly, you feel you’re missing out if you end up just one episode behind the rest of the people at your office. Stranger Things was one of these cultural grenades back in 2016.
It’s a supernatural mystery that follows a gang of kids teleported (not literally) right from an 80s adventure movie. Stranger Things is drenched in Steven Spielberg charm. It’s also funny, scary and deliciously moreish. The third season of Stranger Things arrived on July 4, 2019 and although there's less mystery – we know a little about The Upside Down and the Mindflayer now – it's possible the best season yet, with fantastic acting, tension, just enough horror and a whole load of 80s nostalgia.
3. After LifeStream Now (Netflix)
This latest effort from Ricky Gervais is the perfect vehicle for the British comic’s particular brand of shtick. After his wife dies tragically, a near-suicidal Tony (Gervais) resolves to live without restraint, saying and doing whatever he wants - no matter how painful or offensive that might be to the people around him. You either love or hate Gervais, but a lot of people seem to think After Life is the best thing he’s done since The Office.
4. Black MirrorStream Now (Netflix)
Black Mirror is from the fevered brain of Charlie Brooker and boy does it turn a harsh light on technology and the potential dystopian futures that might only be a few years awa. The first two series were three episodes long and contain some fantastic episodes - including The National Anthem. Season 3 and 4 were boosted to six episodes apiece and if you haven't seen San Junipero then grab the tissues and watch season 3's immaculately told love story. A Christmas special and Bandersnatch, an interactive episode, are also included as is the brand-new fifth season, which stars Miley Cyrus as a future pop star. Bizarre, brilliant and sometimes brutal, Black Mirror is as subversive a TV show there is right now.
5. The Umbrella AcademyStream Now (Netflix)
Based on the comic book series by Gabriel Bá and Gerard Way (who once fronted emo band My Chemical Romance, fact fans), The Umbrella Academy is a delightfully off-kilter take on the superhero genre. At its heart is a dysfunctional family of super-powered misfits, who must put their differences aside and come together to avert the impending apocalypse. Any series that features ’90s R&B star Mary J. Blige as a dog mask-wearing assassin has to be worth a look.
6. The Good PlaceStream Now (Netflix)
The creators of The Good Place have announced that the show is to end after Season 4, which is a real shame as this is one of the funniest and cleverest comedies around. Set in the afterlife and, well, saying more would be spoiling things. The main ensemble comprises the likes of Kristen Bell and Ted Danson and the whole thing is one big philosophical conversation.
7. UnbelievableStream Now (Netflix)
Unbelievable is the latest hard-hitting US drama to land on Netflix, based on the true story of Marie Adler. With a cast that includes Toni Collette, Merritt Wever and Kaitlyn Dever, the series tells the tale of a teen accused of making a false rape allegation and the two detectives who chance upon her rape case whilst investigating a new pattern of attacks. It's a gritty, hard-hitting series that will keep you holding on until the very last episode to see how things pan out. It's got the right pace, right cast and carries a truly harrowing message.
8. Better Call SaulStream Now (Netflix)
There was a lot of trepidation when it was announced that Breaking Bad was getting a prequel, and even more so that it was to be a comedy. It turns out, though, that when Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan started writing the show, it turned into something entirely different. Shot at a glacial pace (especially when compared to Bad), Saul is a superb comedy drama that has the DNA of its meth-infused sibling but is its own thing entirely. The entire cast is top notch, but Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn are mesmerising as the legal eagles who go about things in very different ways
9. Chilling Adventures of SabrinaStream Now (Netflix)
Based on the Archie comic book series, and less so on the 90s TV show Sabrina The Teenage Witch, this Netflix Originals series may look like a kids show, but it's got all the right ingredients to make it a dark and compelling binge watch for all ages. It follows the story of Sabrina Spellman, a half-witch, half-human, who feels like she doesn't quite fit into the devil-worshipping world of her coven or the local high school for humans either. The first season is entertaining, but it isn't until the recently-released second season that it gets much more unsettling and addictive.
10. The WitcherStream now on Netflix
Based on the hit series of books by Andrzej Sapkowski - which have also spawned a successful series of games - The Witcher is one of the biggest budgeted TV shows on Netflix. Henry Cavill is Geralt, the Witcher, someone who travels the Continent hunting monsters that threaten the world. It's a lot of fun and perfect for those looking for a Game of Thrones replacement. There are just eight episodes, but if the show is a success then expect it to run and run.
11. Jessica JonesStream Now (Netflix)
And like that, the Marvel TV universe has ended with the release of Jessica Jones: Season 3. It's a fitting end to the story of Jessica Jones, but not the entire arc of what went before it. But, we don't care, the best thing of Marvel on the small screen has been Jessica Jones. Her dark past, the brilliance of David Tenant in the first series, her relationship with her sister in the second, everything about the show is great - and her ability to swig back the whisky and continue working is nothing but superhuman, so we have to also applaud her for that.
12. The CrownStream Now (Netflix)
Now Season 3 of The Crown is here, the series has undergone a time shift, with Claire Foy's queen being replaced by the brilliant Olivia Coleman. If you're new to the show, you have two superb seasons to catch up on, which recount the romance between Prince Philip and Elizabeth, and so much more. This is a lavish soap opera that's well worth your time.
13. The Dark Crystal: Age of ResistanceStream now (on Netflix)
This is superb fantasy. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is the sort of thing Netflix should be doing - expanding on things from our childhood and making them better. Using practical effects and packed with a cast that includes Jason Isaacs, Natalie Dormer, Alicia Vikander, Taron Egerton and Mark Hamill - this is a fantasy prequel story unlike no other and should help you get over your Game of Thrones fix.
14. GLOWStream Now (Netflix)
GLOW is one of the best shows on Netflix right now. It's a heady mix of spandex and weighty issues. Set in the 80s and loosely based on the true events of the TV show, this is a neon-lit look at what happens when woman start to dominate in what was a men-focuse world, with fantastic results. Season 3 has just begun.
15. Lost in SpaceStream Now (Netflix)
Based on the 1965 series of the same name (which was actually a reimagining of the novel, The Swiss Family Robinson), this modern-day reimagining of the space adventure is a must-watch for science-fiction fans. Sure some of it can feel a little cheesy at times, but it's full of alien adventures, gorgeous visuals of space and lots of edge-of-your-seat tension as the Robinson family battle all of the things space throws at them.
16. Sex EducationStream Now (Netflix)
The new season of Sex Education has landed. The series follows a group of young people trying their best to navigate sex, friendships, relationships and their own identities. It's been written with a lot of input from sex and relationship experts and young people, so it feels fresh, genuine and extremely watchable.
17. It's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaStream Now (Netflix)
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia first aired back in 2005, which means it's been running for 15 whole years! The latest season was released at the end of 2019, so if you're looking for a dose of laugh-out-loud comedy we recommend taking a trip to Paddy's Pub in South Philadelphia.
18. Russian DollStream Now (Netflix)
Russian Doll takes the classic Groundhog Day conceit and runs with it, not stopping for breath until it crashes into a hip New York party. Natasha Lyonne plays Nadia, a hard-living programmer who finds herself dying and repeating the same day again and again (and again). What could have been tired and formulaic fare turns out to be one of the freshest and funniest shows of recent times. Let's hope this same energy is maintained for the recently-announced second season
19. Santa Clarita DietStream Now (Netflix)
This TV show, which was sadly cancelled after its third season, has a concept that sounds cooked up by some drunk friends in a bar. Joel and Sheila Hammond are a normal suburban couple, until Sheila becomes a zombie.
Santa Clarita Diet explores the bizarre and frequently hilarious unwinding of this high-concept premise. Drew Barrymore is brilliant in the lead, flesh-munching role. Why was it cancelled if it was so good? Like most shows that end up canned, Santa Clarita Diet just didn’t attract quite enough eyeballs. But it deserves yours.
20. Love, Death & RobotsStream Now (Netflix)
This animated sci-fi anthology series certainly isn’t for the young or easily offended. These 18 short stories are packed full of the kind of sex, violence and downright surreal subject matter that would make your parents tut. There’s a lot of talent behind the series, including executive producers David Fincher and Tim Miller (he of Dead Pool fame). If nothing else, it shows Netflix tries to cater to all markets, no matter how niche.
21. The OAStream Now (Netflix)
We’ve had a fair amount of craziness in our Netflix series round-up so far, but The OA takes the loony biscuit. The first season was an unexpected combination of abduction escapes, mysterious powers, fledgling cults, and thwarted romance - all with a curious supernatural undertone. Part II is set to be no less strange, as we find out where Britt Marling’s quasi-angelic space cadet warped off to during the dizzying Part I finale.
22. Star Trek DiscoveryStream Now (Netflix)
The current iteration of the sprawling Star Trek franchise appears to be ticking along nicely. Season 2 of Discovery has introduced a new captain (Kirk’s predecessor Captain Pike), as well as a certain pointy-eared science officer, who has been given some retconned history by series protagonist Michael Burnham. All in all, Star Trek Discovery is a much slicker and more action-packed take on Gene Rodenberry’s sci-fi universe than you might be used to.
23. RiverdaleStream Now (Netflix)
Season 3 of this oddball coming of age drama is now airing, offering yet more campy teenage kicks. For those who haven’t encountered Riverdale before, it’s a modern take on the classic Archie comics, but with a good deal more sass and a whole bunch of weird goings-on. This season appears to see the gang encountering a strange cult and indulging in some nerdy Dungeons & Dragons-like role playing.
24. CollateralStream Now (Netflix)
If Secret City hasn’t sated your desire for shady political dealings in non-US locations, we’d direct your attention to Collateral. David Hare’s four-part police drama hit the BBC around this time last year, but as a co-production with Netflix it’s now available to stream on the latter service. There’s a stellar cast in tow, headed by Carey Mulligan and backed by John Simm, Billie Piper and Saskia Reeves.
25. Formula 1: Drive to SurviveStream Now (Netflix)
The globe-hopping circus that is Formula 1 can be a tough one to penetrate for the uninitiated. With its aloof superstars, secretive teams, lack of terrestrial TV coverage and esoteric terminology, it doesn’t do itself any favours. This documentary series might be a step towards correcting that. It offers a glossy glimpse behind the scenes of elite motorsport racing. It’s just a shame neither of the sport’s two top teams (Mercedes and Ferrari) agreed to participate.
26. Secret CityStream Now (Netflix)
The six-part second season of this classy Australian political drama is now available to watch on Netflix. Secret City’s first series was likened to House of Cards back when that was considered to be a good thing, what with its mixture of secrets, lies, murder and betrayal. Anna Torv (whom sci-fi fans might remember from Fringe) once again stars as a political correspondent trying to get to the bottom of a murky conspiracy.