There was a time not so long ago when all new TV shows and seasons premiered in the fall, and episodes were doled out on a weekly basis. If you missed an episode, you’d have to wait until summer to catch a rerun.
It was a dark, dark time.
We now live in the binge-watch age, where streaming video services mean TV is a constant.
New shows appear year round, from all corners of the globe, and services frequently drop an entire season all at once.
For that we have to thank Netflix, which changed the paradigm of TV watching enough that many now mimic it.
The fact that we can even make a list of the best Netflix series is kind of amazing. Even if we expand our net to include “new TV shows we haven’t seen yet but are curious to check out,” it’s hard to find too many new series worth getting excited for.
We have assembled ‘Top 10 Shows’ for geeks that originated on another network, including those that received a second life on Netflix.
From new curiosities to returning favourites, here are the most promising options to add to your schedule. For selections from all genres, read on.
- STRANGER THINGS
This is the crown-jewel in Netflix’s bid to make a show with a huge audience.
It’s full of the same kind of joyful moments of Television that made its breakout season so fun.
Therefore it had to be in the ‘Top 10 Shows’ list.
This throwback sci-fi series set the world ablaze in the summer of 2016. It ignited a bonfire of nostalgia while simultaneously telling a gripping story that gets more exciting with each episode.
Set in the 1980s in a small town that just so happens to have a lab full of mad scientists who experimented on children and opened a doorway to a nightmare dimension dubbed ‘The UpsideDown’.
It’s like all the disquieting-but-addicting horror you remember from the 80’s distilled into one stunning and macabre series.
The superb performances across the board make this a must-watch!
- THE CROWN
We are well aware of this famous show!
Post-WWII Britain was thrown when the King died unexpectedly, leading to the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II, who reigns to this day.
‘The Crown’ is the fictional retelling of her ascendancy to the throne; the different phases of her life and how her family and the English government coped along the way and thereafter.
It’s told with one decade passing per season.
It’s a surprisingly full-throated examination of Britain’s public life, and its public figures’ private ones, suggests that ‘TheCrown’ is still discovering the true extent of its powers.
It is perhaps the best hoe on TV right now. The production spared no expense in painstakingly recreating the physical environments and rigid protocols that constrained and defined the royal family.
This series will appeal to anyone who enjoys costume drama, but it is also a fascinating exploration of the post-WWII period and the development of a monarch.
Definitely Netflix’s best choice of escapism!
- ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
This show was one of the first of Netflix’s original offerings and it quickly solidified itself as one of its most engrossing and definitive.
It told a story that likely wouldn’t have found a home on traditional TV with emotions so nuanced and a plot so gripping that to wait for a week was really hard.
The show has been praised for its thoughtful representations of prison-inmates, and for exploring issues relating to race, sexuality and emotion with a controlled, female-dominant environment.
The acting is superb, the writing is brilliant, and the storylines are addictive.
The series will make viewers laugh and think, and every once in a while, it will break viewers’ hearts. It is a smart show, but most of all, it is good, in every sense of the word.
No Netflix show has been watched more and doesn’t appear that it will change anytime soon.
When it’s all about ‘Top 10 Shows’, how can we skip this masterpiece?
It’s an unfortunate first impression that the name of this show could also be a vanity license plate.
For all its sci-fi flourishes, however, ‘Sense8’ is about big, sloppy profound love, and as unwieldy as the series can often be.
There’s at least one moment in every episode so powerful that viewers can’t help but to feel moved by the affection the characters feel for one another. It is sometimes cheesy, and occasionally illogical. But it is also one of the most diverse, multi-cultural, romantic, life-affirming sci-fi series ever.
It may require some patience from viewers, but for idealists and romantics, it’s a truly special series.
The series follows a group of 8 individuals from around the world who find themselves connected mentally and emotionally. On the run from a mysterious government agency rounding up these ‘Sensates’ they find a way to protect themselves and continue to live their lives, both individually and collectively.
Although it was always an ambitious show, but its tedious pace and execution, led Netflix temporarily cancel the big-budget series. But ultimately it returned with an audacious two-and-a-half-hour finale to wrap everything up.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
A down-on-her-luck actress in the mid-1980s finds surprising fulfilment when she joins a low-budget women’s wrestling program run by a seedy, dishonest director.
Oh, what’s that? You’ve never seen anything like this?
‘GLOW’ — which stands for ‘Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling’ — was a real show in the mid-80s that featured wrestling (of course), wacky and colourful characters, and crazy comedy sketches.
There’s nothing particularly original about G.L.O.W., which traffics in a number of tropes and stereotypes. But the characters are so unbelievably likable that it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with these underdog heroes.
It’s a fast-paced, funny and immensely sweet series that goes down like candy. It’s smartly written, well acted, infectious as hell, and it has a huge heart, making it one of the best that Netflix has to offer, whether viewers are fans of wrestling or not.
Come to watch gals grapple, stay to be charmed by these women’s stories, many of whom were chasing a dream but got sucked into ‘GLOW’ and decide to make the very best show they can.
- ONE DAY AT A TIME
Multi-camera situation comedies (sitcoms) were the mainstay of TV comedy for decades.
You can tell them from the “single-cam” comedies because they’re staged like a play, sometimes in front of an audience.
The big change was instead in the family makeup, as the new version centres on a Cuban-American family dealing with lots of modern issues faced by Latinos.
A warm-hearted, full-throated combination of the topical and the timeless, the silly and the sincere, ‘One Day at a Time’ has become the leading engine of the form’s revival on Netflix.
Covering everything from LGBTQ rights and immigration to dating and depression, the series is anchored by the two extraordinary women at its centre, whose chemistry as mother and daughter find fullest in expression.
It’s more poignant sitcom than it is funny, but it’s a warm, loving look at difficulties of single parenting that resonates as much in 2017 as it did in the ’70s.
The show finds familiar laughs in the way generations clash and families wage war, but it’s also culturally specific, socially engaged, and leisurely paced in a way that makes it stand out from your average CBS family show.
This couldn’t be missed when we are scribbling through the ‘Top 10 Shows’ chart.
- BOJACK HORSEMAN
There’s a lot of animation on the streaming services.
But few do adult storylines with the aplomb and wit of this one, where half the adults are talking human/animal hybrids for no reason whatsoever other than it’s funny.
This Netflix’s animated comedy manages to pinpoint the character of the zeitgeist. It map a few of the ways through it is at the heart of its profound genius, always slipping, almost imperceptibly, from silver-tongued satire to pathos and back.
It’s a zany satire of Hollywood and celebrity culture. The writing is sharp, the jokes are layered, and the situations are hilarious, but there’s a melancholy undercurrent to the series.
It takes two or three episodes to hook viewers into its world, but once it does, it’s an impossible series to stop watching.
- HOUSE OF CARDS
How can we skip this when we are making a ‘Top 10’?
The highly bingeable political series is the grandfather of Netflix original programming, and now with five seasons under its belt.
Despite struggling, since its second season, to recapture the misanthropic bristle of the first, ‘House of Cards’ remains, an essential title in the Netflix canon.
Though the twists and turns of the narrative—and the eagerness to chase current events, whether by reflecting the Clintons or Donald Trump—have made the show more of a slog in recent years, it’s given us a raft of sterling guest turns and more than a few memorable moments.
This thriller is a treat for history buffs.
Yes, Pablo Escobar is played out, and the show takes its fair share of historical liberties.
With ’Narcos’ Netflix takes on the rise and fall of legendary Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar and unpacks the horrifying, drug-laden history of Colombia during his reign.
As Escobar, Wagner Moura is both terrifying and captivating, and his opposition, two DEA agents fighting their way through a convoluted mystery, give a scarily real sense of the American efforts to end the war on drugs.
Moura is that good at being bad.
Narcos‘ mix of archival footage and contemporary fictionalization keeps you engaged.
However, any quibbles with this series can easily be pardoned. Thanks to these absolutely brilliant performances.
- UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
The show has become one of the go-to Netflix classic comedies in its four seasons.
It became a gut-busting beacon of hope for the platform, displaying the rapid-fire sensibility it earned from its ‘30 Rock’ DNA. A catchy theme song doesn’t hurt, either!
Relentlessly positive, infinitely quotable, and insanely likable, ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ applies the quick-witted, reference-heavy comedy of ‘30 Rock’ to the life of Kimmy.
A woman who moves to cynical big-city, New York after being rescued from a doomsday cult; a woman with a stunted adolescence who still manages to be optimistic enough to find the good things in life.
She gives all of us, no matter our circumstances, ‘hope’ that we can at least survive through another episode. Its fast pace and wide-eyed wonder of its lead make it one of the most bingeable series on Netflix.
It’s almost impossible not to finish each season in one or two sittings because it’s a near-perfect sitcom about the power of human optimism that’s as life-affirming as it is funny.
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