The Best TV Shows on Netflix You Should Watch Right Now

"The Queen's Gambit"
Photo: KEN WORONER/NETFLIX.

Everyone and their moms has a Netflix account, but there are the best Netflix TV shows to watch when you’ve low-key completed every season of every TV show out there. Turns out, there are still a lot of untapped Netflix TV shows to watch even if you’ve finished Orange Is the New Black about 17 times.

Though Netflix TV shows are well-known now, there was a time when the service wasn’t known for its original content. (Shocker—we know.) Founded in 1997 as a DVD rental business, Netflix has evolved a lot. Now, it’s a streaming service with thousands of movies and TV show at the click of a button. In 2013, Netflix created its first piece of original programming with House of Cards. The show went on to win Emmys and Golden Globes. But more important, it served as the stepping stone for dozens of Netflix TV shows and movies to follow. Now, the service offers more than 1,500 original titles. With so much content out there, it can be hard to know what are the best Netflix TV shows.

Let us help with that. Ahead, we listed the best Netflix TV shows you should watch if you’re bored of everything on live TV. From Stranger Things to The Crown, Netflix continues to be a powerhouse when it comes to television. Read our list of the best Netflix TV shows, and start streaming.

The Queen’s Gambit

Based on Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel of the same title, The Queen’s Gambit stars Anya Taylor Joy as Beth Harmon, a young woman and chess prodigy on a mission to become the world’s greatest chess player. The miniseries follows Beth’s at different ages, from 8 to 22, as she struggles with emotional issues, drug and alcohol dependency and her childhood as an orphan.

Emily in Paris

Created by Darren Star (the man behind Sex and the City, Younger and other fabulous TV shows), Emily in Paris follows Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), a 20-something American who moves to Paris for a social media job at the French marketing firm, Savoir. Emily is wide-eyed, tech-savvy and oh-so American, traits her French coworkers—especially her boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu)—hate about her. Nonetheless, Emily is ready (and dressed) to impress. But Emily’s life isn’t all work and no play. The series, which is filmed in Paris, also follows her romances with tons of beautiful French men, including her hot downstairs neighbors (who’s also a chef, we might add), Gabriel (Lucas Bravo.) Despite similarities to Sex and the City, Collins doesn’t want fans to compare Emily to Carrie.

“We really wanted to make sure that Emily was not a new Carrie. We wanted Emily to be Emily and stand alone. But I also feel, and Darren agrees, that I think Emily grew up watching Sex and the City,” she told Variety in 2020. “I think she loved Carrie Bradshaw. I think she loved Audrey Hepburn. I think she read all the pages of Glamour and Vogue and Elle and all those magazines. I think that probably Carrie was one of those inspirations to her, as were all the other women in that show. I hope it stands alone and has its own moment, but at the same time, it would be a shame not to have paid a little tribute to the characters that I think she grew up loving. And there are a few Easter eggs here and there that Patricia threw in as odes to Sex and the City.”

House of Cards

When House of Cards premiered in 2013, the TV show changed Netflix. Based on the 1990 BBC miniseries and Michael Bobbs’ 1989 novel of the same name, House of Cards starred Kevin Spacey as Francis J. “Frank” Underwood, a Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th congressional district who has a plan to become the 46th President of the United States. The first season starts with Frank as the House Majority Whip before he’s promoted to Vice President in season 2 and eventually, the President of the United States in season 3 through 5. Politics isn’t pretty, and Frank isn’t above unethical means to become the POTUS. Neither is his wife, Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), who starts off as the Second Lady of the United States before she ascends to the title of POTUS by the series’ end. House of Cards ended in 2018 after six seasons.

Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black was Netflix’s second TV show after House of Cards(and the service’s first comedy.) Based on Piper Kerman’s 2010 memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, the series, created by Jenji Kohan, started as a story about Piper Chapman, a woman sentenced for criminal conspiracy and money laundering. As the series went on, Orange Is the New Black explored the stories of Piper’s cell mates: Galina “Red” Reznikov, a Russian cook in for organized crime and racketeering; Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, a woman suffering from hallucinations and delusions; Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson, an inmate sentenced for drug trafficking; and so many other characters. The series ended in 2019 after seven seasons. Laverne Cox, who played Sophia Bursett, told StyleCaster in 2020 about how the series changed TV for trans actors.

“When Orange Is the New Black premiered seven years ago, there were no transgender actors with recurring roles on television,” Cox said. “Now, there are 20-something last we checked and there are so many more trans characters played by trans actors and more trans storylines on television that are less problematic. Orange Is the New Black is probably one of the most diverse casts that television has ever seen. I’m so proud of that. Orange Is the New Black was ahead of the game in diversity behind the camera as well. Being a part of that cast, being a part of Netflix at the beginning was such an honor. Netflix changed television.”

Jessica Jones

Netflix has created several Marvel shows, but Jessica Jones is by far the best. Based on the Marvel comics character of the same name, Jessica Jones followed a private investigator named Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) who runs her own detective agency, Alias Investigations, and crime fights on the side. A former superhero with superhuman strength and limited flight, Jessica suffers from PTSD after her relationship with Kilgrave (David Tennant), a man who can control minds and forced Jessica to be with him. The series ended in 2019 after three seasons.

Stranger Things

When it comes to Netflix, Stranger Things is the crown jewel. Created by the Duffer Brothers in 2016, Stranger Things follows a group of teenagers—Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, Lucas Sinclair and Will Byers—as they experience supernatural occurrences in their small town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s. When Will disappears, the teenagers meet Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), a young girl around their age who was experimented on by mysterious scientists and who has telepathic and psychokinetic powers. Slowly, the teenagers (and their parents) uncover the mysteries in Hawkins and find themselves face-to-face with the demogorgon, a terrifying monster who has killed their friends in the Upside Down.

The Crown

The Crown is essential viewing for any fans of the British royal family. The Crown, which premiered in 2016, follows the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from the moment she was crowned as the monarch of England when her father, King George IV, died in 1952 to present day. The series also follows the Queen’s controversial sister, Princess Margaret, and her husband, Prince Philip, over decades of their lives. The Crown is also told over different timelines, with different actors playing members of the British royal family. Claire Foy played Queen Elizabeth II in her 30s for the first two seasons, while Olivia Coleman starred as the monarch in her fours for seasons 3 and 4.

13 Reasons Why

Executive produced by Selena Gomez, 13 Reasons Why‘s first season centers on Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a high school student who commits suicide and sends tapes to people who contributed to her death. Base on the 2007 novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, the show’s first season tells Hannah’s relationship with different students from her school in each episode until her death in the finale. 13 Reasons ended after four seasons in 2020. The series’ last three seasons shifted away from Hannah’s storyline and centered on other students at Liberty High who experience the same level of bullying she did.

The Umbrella Academy

Based on Gerard Way’s comic book series of the same name, The Umbrella Academy is one of Netflix’s most-watched shows. The series centers on six adopted siblings with superpowers—Vanya, a violinist with the ability to turn sound into waves of force; Luther, a former astronaut with super strength and whose DNA is mixed with a gorilla; Diego, an assassin who can curve the trajectory of anything he throws; Allison, a woman who can control minds with the phrase “I heard a rumor…”; Klaus, a free spirit who can talk to the dead; Five, a boy who can time travel; and Ben, a man who can summon tentacle horrors from his body. Together, they’re the Umbrella Academy, a superhero unit formed by their adoptive father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Think of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as Riverdale’s darker little sister. The show, which is a spinoff of the CW series and based on Archie comic book characters of the same name, follows a teenage girl named Sabrina Spellman, who is half-witch and half-human. On her 16th birthday, Sabrina must choose whether to embrace her late father’s coven and the side of his family, which consists of her witch aunts Zelda and Hilda, or side with her late mortal mother’s side and remain friends with her human BFFs: Roz, Theo and her boyfriend, Harvey.

YOU

Based on Caroline Kepnes’ 2014 novel of the same name, YOU was a sleeper hit for Netflix when it premiered in 2018. Originally on Lifetime, the series was sold to Netflix after it became a smash. YOU follows Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), a bookstore owner who becomes obsessed with one of his customers, Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail). His obsession becomes so extreme that Joe kills everyone in Beck’s life in order to become closer to her.

The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House became a Netflix favorite when it premiered in 2018. The series, which is based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, follows the Crane family and alternates between two timelines: the past when the Crane siblings lived in the haunted Hill House as children and the present when they continue to be haunted by the same ghosts that terrorized them as kids. The show is also an anthology series. A second season, The Haunting of Bly Manor, premiered in 2020 and follows a new story with a few of the same cast members.

The Society

The Society lasted one season on Netflix, but it developed a cult following in the short time before it was cancelled. The series was set in the small town of West Ham, Connecticut and revolves around a society of teenagers who learn that all of the adults in the town have disappeared and they no longer have access to the outside world. The mystery starts when the teenagers return to the town after a cancelled field trip and discover that no one who was there before exists.

Raising Dion

Based on the 2015 comic book by Dennis Liu, Raising Dion follows a young boy named Dion and his mother, Nicole, after the death of her husband and Dion’s father, Mark. Just an average mother and son, Dion and Nicole soon learn that Dion has superhero-like abilities that allow him to fire energy blasts, become invisible and levitate. Through the help of Mark’s best friend, Pat, Dion learns to control his abilities and uncovers the secrets around what happened to his father.

Outer Banks

Outer Banks is the steamy teen drama that 2020 needed. The series follows a group of teenagers in the Outer Banks of North Carolina called the “Pogues” as they search for the missing father of their ringleader, John B, who’s dating a member of the opposite group, the “Kooks.” As John B. and the Pogues search for his father, they come across a treasure hunt for hundreds of millions of dollars of gold that John B.’s father was also on. However, they’re not the only ones who know about the treasure. The Pogues soon learn that there are also more dangerous individuals looking for the gold who may have been involved with the disappearance of John B.’s dad.

Never Have I Ever

Created by Mindy Kaling, Never Have I Ever follows a 15-year-old girl named Devi Vishwakumar, who’s on a mission to improve her life. The first step is convincing Paxton Hall-Yoshida, a 16-year-old high school, Devi’s crush and the hottest boy in school, to have sex with her. As Devi works on her high school social life, her family life takes a toll, as her relationship with her mother, Nalini Vishwakumar, becomes worse after the death of Devi’s father and Nalini’s husband, Mohan. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who plays Devi, told StyleCaster in 2020 about how the show’s main three women—Devi, Nalini and Kamala, Devi’s cousin—relate to each other.

“I feel like all the characters are going through something that they’ve never experienced before. Every character has their own arc and they’re experiencing something new—hence Never Have I Ever,” she said. That’s my own personal interpretation of why the show is called that. The three characters can relate to each other because their family situation is not conventional; it’s not a perfect family of four. And they’re all trying to find themselves. Nalini doesn’t feel like she fits in, especially after Mohan dies. Devi doesn’t feel like she fits in, as we see throughout the whole series. And Kamala is trying to figure out her identity because of her own arranged marriage situation.”

Grace and Frankie

Create by Marta Kauffman (the showrunner of Friends), Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the titular roles. Fonda and Tomlin play two unlikely friends who are brought together after their husbands announce they are in love with each other and plan to marry. The series, which is set in San Diego and premiered in 2015, follows Grace, a retired cosmetics mogul, and Frankie, a hippie art teacher, as they lean on each other amid the end of their marriages.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 

Created by Tina Fey, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt follows a 29-year-old woman named Kimmy Schmidt who escapes from a doomsday cult in the fictional town of Durnsville Indiana where she and three other women were held by .Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. To restart her life, Kimmy decides to move to New York City, where she finds a roommate and a best friend in struggling actor Titus Adromedon.

Master of None 

Created by Aziz Ansari, Master of None stars Ansari as a 30-year-old actor in New York City as he makes mistakes in his professional and romantic liife. The series, which premiered in 2015, ran for two seasons. The second season, which premiered in 2017, follows Aziz’s character, Dev Shah, in Italy. The show’s title is a nod to the figure of speech, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” which summarizes Dev’s life.

Dear White People

Based on Justin Simien’s 2014 film of the same name, Dear White People, which is also created by Simien, follows several Black college students at an Ivy League institution as they deal with racial micro-aggressions and overt racism at their university. The series, which stars Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton and Antoinette Robertson, premiered in 2017 and ran for four seasons.

GLOW

Based on the 1980s  syndicated women’s professional wrestling show, Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, GLOW revolves around fictional versions of the cast, a group of struggling actresses who become superstars after their scripted women’s wrestling show becomes a hit. The show premiered in 2017 and ran for three seasons.

American Vandal

American Vandal is a mockumentary-style series that parodies true crime documentaries, such as Serial and Making a Murderer. The first season, which premiered in 2017, investigated a high school prank that left 27 faculty cars vandalized with penises. Senior class clown Dylan Maxwell is accused of the crime and is expelled, but as the mockumentary continues, it’s clear that there was someone else who led the prank.

Sex Education

Sex Education revolves around Otis Milburn, an insecure teenager at a high school in the United Kingdom, who has no interest in sex and can’t masturbate, even though his mother is a sex therapist. Still, despite his inexperience in the bedroom, Otis, thanks to his mother, is quite good at giving advice about sexuality to his peers. And so he and his friend Maeve start a sex advice business for their fellow students at Moordale High. Season 2 follows Otis’ relationship with Ola, a new student whom he starts a romance with despite his obvious feelings for Maeve.

Russian Doll

Russian Doll is Groundhog’s Day plus death. The series, premiered in 2019, stars Natasha Kyonne as Nadia Vulvokov, a game developer who repeatedly dies and relives the same night in an ongoing time loop. In her search to find out how the loop started and what she has to do to end it, Nadia meets Alan Zaveri, a man in the same situation. Together, the two investigate how to fix their death loop and return to normal life. The series is created by Amy Poehler.

Dead to Me

Dead to Me stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini as two women who bond in grief therapy. Jen (Applegate) had just lost her husband in a car accident. Judy (Cardellini) had lost her fiance—or so it seemed. As the mystery in Dead to Me unravels, the viewer learns that Judy isn’t who she says she is. For one, her fiance is still alive and wants nothing to do with her. Second, she’s connected to Jen’s husband’s death. As Dead to Me continues, the show becomes less about the lives of two widows and more a dark comedy about what they’ll to do to get away with murder.

Ozark

Breaking Bad fans will love Ozark. The series revolves around Martin “Marty” Byrde (Jason Bateman), a financial advisor who leads a money laundering scheme in the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri for a Mexican drug cartel. To do this, MArty moves his family from the Chicago suburb of Napersville to a remote summer resort in the community of Osage Beach, Missouri. When Mary’s family arrive, however, they aren’t met with a warm welcome, but instead become entangled with the Kansas City Mafia and other local criminals.

Elite

Elite is like Gossip Girl but with more sex and murder. This Spanish-language thriller is set in Las Encinas, a fictional elite secondary school in Spain, where most wealthy families send their students. The series revolves around a group of students at the school, some of them rich, some of them from working-class families. Their low-stake high school drama is interrupted when one of the students is murdered and police look at the students of the school as suspects.

The Witcher

Based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series of the same name, The Witcher, which stars Henry Cavill, is set in a fictional, medieval-inspired land known as the Continent. The Witch revolves around the legend of Geralt of Rivia and Princess Ciri who are linked to each other by destiny. The show follows the two characters, along with sorceress Tennefer of Vengerberg at different timelines, as the series explores the formative events that shaped the characters. Eventually, the series merges into one timeline as the characters confront invaders from Nilfgaard.

Sweet Magnolias

If you’ve seen Hart of Dixie, you’ll be a fan of Sweet Magnolias. The series follows three South Carolina women who have been best friends since childhood: Maddie Townsend, a recently divorced woman in Serenity, South Carolina, who starts to date her teenage son’s coach; Helen Decatur, an accomplished attorney; and Dana Sue Sullivan, a chef at the local restaurant Sullivan’s. The series also explores the three women’s relationships with their teenage children, who are friends and date each other, and how their choices affect them.

Atypical

Created by Robia Rashid, Atypical follows 18-year-old Sam Gardner, a teenager with autism spectrum disorder, who approaches his father for dating advice. The series premiered in 2017 to mostly positive reviews, though some critics claimed that the show’s portrayal of autism was limited because of the lack of autistic actors playing the characters.

The Politician

Created by Ryan Murphy, The Politician follows Payton Hobart (Ben Platt), a wealthy high school senior in Santa Barbara who runs for Student Body President against Astrid Sloan, his rival and the girlfriend of River, Payton’s late friend who he was secretly in love with. In typical Ryan Murphy fashion, The Politician is filmed with clever one-liners and shady monologues as Payton and Astrid try to take each other down. In season 2, Payton runs for New York state senate against Judith Light’s character Dede Standish, the current senator whose campaign is managed by Hadassah Gold (Bette Midler.) On the other side of the coast, Payton’s mother, Georgina Hobart (Gwenyth Paltrow) runs for California governor and wins before she sets her sight on the United States presidency. Laura Dreyfuss, who plays Payton’s campaign manager McAfee Westbrook, told StyleCaster in 2020 about how the show represents young people as the future of our country.

“I hope it inspires young people to vote. When you see where this country is headed, it’s so clear that more than ever that young people are the future,” she said. “That we have inherited a world that is broken and we, unfortunately, as the younger generation, have to fix it. What’s beautiful about this season is the older generation realizing that and stepping back and being like, ‘You know what? You’re right. We haven’t done enough for you and we set you up to fail.’ It’s incredibly inspiring for that younger generation to step in and say, ‘We’re going to create the world we want to see. We’re going to fight for the future of our planet.’”

Love Is Blind

The premise of Love Is Blind is simple: Singles fall in love without ever seeing each other. Created by the minds behind Married at First Sight, Love Is Blind invites singles to live in an apartment as they speed date other singles. The sexes are separated: men on one side, women on the other. The only way they can communicate is in a pod, where they can only hear each other but can’t see. At the end (and after a proposal), the couples meet each other face to face for the first time. That’s when the drama really starts as the couples go on a honeymoon and live in an apartment together to see how their relationship is really like outside of the pods. In the end, the couples have a decision to marry each other or leave other at the altar.

Selling Sunset

Created by Adam DiVello, the man behind The Hills and Laguna Beach, Selling Sunset is a perfect mix of drama and real estate. The reality TV series follows a group of realtors at The Oppenheim Group, a real estate brokerage in Los Angeles that’s known for its beautiful agents. When new girl Chrishell Stause arrives as the newest realtor, drama is afoot as the other agents, especially villain Christine Quinn, have mixed reactions to her arrival in the office. Though the show is about beautiful houses as much as it is about office drama, season 3 of Selling Sunset took a turn Chrishell’s husband, This Is Us star Justin Hartley, filed for divorce and blindsided her with their separation. Stause told StyleCaster in 2020 about how her divorce affected the show and her personal life.

“If I’m being perfectly honest, my knee-jerk reaction was I can’t do this. [Quitting the show] did cross my mind. This isn’t something that anybody would sign up for or do on purpose,” she said. “I would’ve given anything if everything had happened after. It’s a lot easier to talk about a little blurb and move on and just talk about the show. However, that being said, it was out there anyways, so now it’s almost like ripping a Band-Aid off.”

She also talked about how her life changed following her divorce: “All of a sudden, I had not only the show following me, I had paparazzi on me. It was the most bizarre thing I’d ever lived through in my life. Even now, when I look back on it, it seemed like it was a dream. A nightmare, to be honest. I didn’t necessarily choose to talk about it. It was unavoidable. They filmed what was going on. I had to address it.”

Dating Around

Dating Around is the opposite of The Bachelor. Instead of a months-long journey for love, each episode centers on one single as they go on back-to-back blind dates with five different people. The dates happen one day after each other at the same restaurant and the single always wears the same outfit. At the end of the five dates, the single then chooses one of the dates to go on a second date with. However, if all of the dates are duds, there have also been leads who stay single (and that’s OK.) Each season is set in a different city. Season 1 was in New York. Season 2 was in New Orleans. Compared to The Bachelor (which, to be frank, is very white and straight) Dating Around features people of all ethnicities and sexual orientation for a true diverse dating experience.

New Entertainment Newsletter

share