The best TV shows on Netflix right now
Casting about for your next piece of quaran-tainment? Look no further. Whether your Netflix queue has run dry or you're simply overwhelmed by the streaming service's endless scroll and fluctuating library, EW is here to help. We've assembled a list of the best TV shows currently available on Netflix, from classics of yesteryear to the hottest new titles. If you're in need of something new to binge or a reminder of an old favorite to revisit, this is the list for you.
After Life mixes sweet and bitter flavors in a way that feels perfectly suited to our time, as creator-star Ricky Gervais leavens his signature comic brutality with a moving story of grief and growth. Gervais plays Tony, a newspaperman who has become a miserably pessimistic, insult-hurling misanthrope after losing his wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) to cancer. It will take the series' delightful cast of characters — including an older widow played by Downton Abbey's Penelope Wilton, the paper's eager new reporter, Sandy (Mandeep Dhillon), and a no-nonsense nurse (Extras' Ashley Jensen) — to push Tony back toward his will to live.
Review: A- (Read review here)
Talent: Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Penelope Wilton, Tom Basden, Tony Way
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar: The Last Airbender was available on Netflix once upon a time, but when the world needed it most, it vanished...until now, that is. Nickelodeon's beloved animated series returned to the streaming service in May, offering parents a much-needed new option to watch with their kids. Set in a world in which certain people can control one of the four elements (water, earth, fire, or air), the show follows Aang, the long-lost reincarnation of the Avatar — the master of all four. With the help of his friends, Aang must hone his skills in order to restore balance and peace to a world at war.
The Baby-Sitters Club
A warm cup of feel-good entertainment for the whole family, Netflix's reboot of The Baby-Sitters Club updates Ann M. Martin's beloved book series for the modern age, but loses none of the books' charm and wholesome spirit in the process. The show follows five middle-schoolers in Stoneybrook, Conn. as they start up a babysitting business while dealing with typical middle-school concerns: crushes, summer camp, family friction. Kids will relate, while adults can appreciate the diverse ensemble, the presence of Clueless icon Alicia Silverstone, and the show's generous and inclusive spirit.
Talent: Alicia Silverstone, Sophie Grace, Momona Tamada, Mark Feuerstein
Better Call Saul
The Breaking Bad prequel recently wrapped up its fifth, and for our money best, season, which probably won't arrive on Netflix for a while. But in the meantime, you can catch up on the previous four, which follow Bob Odenkirk's Jimmy McGill on his path to becoming slippery lawyer Saul Goodman. Along the way: run-ins with the cartel, appearances by Bad favorites like Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and Mike (Jonathan Banks), and a tremendous performance by Rhea Seehorn as Jimmy's confidant and paramour Kim Wexler.
Review: B (Read season 1 review here)
Related reading: Better Call Saul vs. Breaking Bad: We decide which is better
Per creator Charlie Brooker, we won't be getting another season of Black Mirror for a while, so it's an apt time to catch up on the British anthology series. True, its bleak outlook on modern society may not be what everyone needs right now, but the show's stories — spanning a variety of technological "what if" scenarios, such as "What if you could play back all of your memories" and "What if A.I. could re-create someone who died" — are great works of modern sci-fi.
Related reading: Every Black Mirror episode ranked
Netflix's recently-concluded original series BoJack Horseman is one of the funniest and most heartbreaking shows on TV, often in the same episode. The series follows the titular character, a washed-up former sitcom star who is also a horse, in a world where humans and anthropomorphic animals exist side-by-side. (Don't worry, you'll get used to it quickly.) With an all-star voice cast including Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, and Amy Sedaris — all doing some of the best work of their careers — BoJack Horseman is a modern masterwork that can be, and indeed begs to be, viewed again and again and again.
Talent: Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris, Paul F. Tompkins
Starved for romance while in quarantine? We're not sure Bridgerton will help, but this adaptation of Julia Quinn's romance novels from TV powerhouse Shonda Rhimes will at least make a worthwhile watch. The first season tells the tale of Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), a sheltered debutante who soon falls into a fauxmance with the rakish Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page). The web of characters and storylines fanning out from there is far too intricate to detail here, but know that the show also involves a mysterious society columnist voiced by Dame Julie Andrews, drawing room intrigue, shirtless boxing matches, and lots and lots of sex. To the boudoir!
Talent: Shonda Rhimes, Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page, Julie Andrews
Related reading: How Bridgerton is poised to revolutionize romance on television
NBC's cult-favorite sitcom arrived on Netflix in April, giving the perennially low-rated but critically-beloved show something of a moment five years after its final episode aired. Community follows disgraced lawyer Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) as he attends Greendale Community College to earn the law degree he never got, where he falls in with a group of misfits and finds himself unexpectedly learning to connect with people. That's the first season, anyway: from season 2 onward, the show became an explosive well of pop-culture parody and deconstruction, with many of its best episodes zeroing in on a specific genre or format or work to affectionately lampoon. Now is as good a time as any — even better, perhaps — to dive into the series: Not only is Community a perfect show for our current moment, but EW has been binging the show with the cast and creator Dan Harmon. We may never get that movie, but six seasons were enough to make Community an all-time classic.
Related reading: The 15 best episodes of Community
Dead to Me
Dead to Me's second season dropped May 8, continuing the tragicomic story of Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini), who become friends in the wake of Jen's husband's death in a hit-and-run car accident. The central duo carry the show with winning chemistry, with Applegate, per EW's Kristen Baldwin, "giving the performance of her career" in this tale of grief, female friendship, and more than a touch of intrigue.
Talent: Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, James Marsden
Related reading: Dead to Me cast answers spoiler-filled questions about season 2
Dear White People
Dear White People expands creator Justin Simien's 2014 indie film into an incisive, insightful series that plumbs complex issues of race and culture with wit and verve. Set at a fictional Ivy League school, the show centers around Samantha White (Logan Browning), who launches a combative radio program to enlighten the white folks on campus. Meanwhile, the rich ensemble of characters around her lets the show explore various perspectives and personal and political issues. Smart, satirical, and timely, Dear White People is an ideal binge right now — and it's the perfect time to catch up before the fourth and final season arrives.
Review: A (Read season 1 review here)
Talent: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, Antoinette Robertson, Giancarlo Esposito
We could all use a few more laughs these days, and fortunately, Netflix has one of the funniest shows currently on the air in Documentary Now! Created by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, and Rhys Thomas, the series spoofs a classic documentary in each episode, with numerous A-listers popping up in guest roles and cameos alongside Armisen and Hader, who appear in nearly every episode. Though it helps, familiarity with the films being spoofed isn't required; there's enough hilarious tomfoolery to satisfy anyone who doesn't know Grey Gardens from Gray's Anatomy.
Related reading: John Mulaney breaks down his Documentary Now! Sondheim spoof
The Eddy revolves around the titular Parisian jazz club, co-owned by an American former pianist named Elliot (Andre Holland) who has decamped to France. Things start to unravel for Elliot as secrets emerge about his friend and business partner Farid (Tahar Rahim), just as Elliot's troubled daughter Julie (Amandla Stenberg) arrives to stay with him. Filled with original jazz numbers and an international cast, this eight-episode limited series also boasts a top-notch team of directors (Oscar winner Damien Chazelle), writers (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child's Jack Thorne), and musicians (six-time Grammy winner Glen Ballard) behind the scenes.
Talent: Andre Holland, Joanna Kulig, Amandla Stenberg, Damien Chazelle
A spooky paranormal thriller from the creators of The Good Wife? Yes indeed. Evil follows skeptical forensic psychologist Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) as she partners with priest-in-training David Acosta (Luke Cage's Mike Colter) and contractor Ben Shakir (The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi) to investigate purportedly supernatural happenings. It's the rare network procedural that grapples with issues of religion, technology, and morality so sharply, but Evil can also be appreciated for its sheer WTF factor. (Is Michael Emerson playing the Devil? Even he's not sure.)
GLOW kicks off as the story of struggling actress Ruth (Alison Brie), who joins a lady-wrestler TV show in a last-ditch attempt to find work, but quickly develops into one of the richest female ensembles on TV. If the show feels overstuffed, it's only because the writers and actresses are determined to imbue all of the "Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling" with vibrant personalities and arcs, from Betty Gilpin's former soap opera fixture Debbie to Gayle Rankin's indelible Sheila the She-Wolf.
Review: A (Read season 1 review here)
Talent: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron
The Good Place
The Good Place begins as the story of Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a self-proclaimed "trash bag" who ends up in the titular afterlife locale by mistake. It ends up as… well, something different, but it remains a hilarious, unpredictable, philosophical ride throughout its four seasons, all of which are now streaming on Netflix. If you're a new arrival to the heavenly comedy, avoid spoilers at all costs — you won't want any of this show's holy-shirt moments ruined for you.
Review: A- (Read spoiler-y season 1 review here)
Related reading: Ted Danson goes deep on The Good Place finale — and that final line
Recent Netflix arrival Hannibal was a bold experiment, using the structure of a network TV procedural (it originally aired on NBC) to draw viewers into a complex tale of serial killers, psychology, and haute cuisine. Mads Mikkelsen stars as Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic psychiatrist iconically portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, who forms a deep and complicated relationship with the highly empathic FBI agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). The three hypnotic, visually gorgeous seasons were miracles all, and here's hoping the exposure Netflix brings lets creator Bryan Fuller embark on that long-awaited additional season.
Review: A- (Read season 1 review here)
Related reading: Why you aren't watching Hannibal, and why you should
The Haunting of Hill House
Creator and director Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game) brings the modern horror movie renaissance to TV with this blend of supernatural horror, family drama, and bravura filmmaking. Loosely based on Shirley Jackson's classic novel, The Haunting of Hill House tells the tale of the Crain family, alternating between past and present as it traces their paranormal experiences at the titular mansion. It's to the show's credit that it works both as an examination of how trauma can haunt us throughout our lives, and as a straight-up ghost story that will scare you senseless.
How to Get Away With Murder
With How to Get Away With Murder having claimed its final victims, the Shondaland drama's full run now lurks on Netflix, awaiting a rewatch or a first-time binge. The series tells the twisty tale of lawyer and law professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis, in an Emmy-winning performance), who, along with five of her students, becomes embroiled in a web of lies, deceit, and (you guessed it) murder.
Need a new quarantine hobby? You could do a whole lot worse than playing along with Jeopardy! Netflix recently added a fresh selection of episodes from the beloved answer-and-question show's storied run, which means you can while away numerous hours testing your skills, expanding your knowledge, and yelling at the screen when none of the contestants know an answer. (We all do that, right?) This batch of entries should do while we petition Netflix and Sony to make James Holzhauer's already-legendary run from last year available to stream.
Talent: Alex Trebek
Related reading: The best fun facts from Alex Trebek's memoir The Answer Is…
The Legend of Korra
So you've already binged Avatar: The Last Airbender… multiple times? Check out sequel series The Legend of Korra, which follows Aang's successor as Avatar, picking up the story 70 years later. The series begins with Korra setting out to learn airbending, and tracks her journey as she strives to maintain balance in a world facing the trials of modernization, social unrest, and a crisis involving the spirit world. (The creators did not shy away from mature themes in Korra any more than they did in Avatar.) The series should appeal to Avatar fans looking to return to the world of bending, and features plenty of familiar faces along the way.
The Last Dance
Cue "Sirius." The 10-part documentary The Last Dance follows the rise, fall, and re-rise of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, featuring interviews with all of the story's major figures and framed by never-before-seen footage from Jordan's final season. If that access comes at the cost of some incisiveness, The Last Dance still makes for a thrilling watch and a compelling study of Jordan and his teammates, and no basketball fan will tire of watching its abundant footage of His Airness in his prime.
Talent: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman
The Midnight Gospel
EW's Darren Franich did an admirable job explaining what this new masterpiece from Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward is all about; doing so here would take far more words than we have space for. Just know that The Midnight Gospel blends relentlessly inventive animation with spacey-yet-thoughtful conversations (taken from co-creator Duncan Trussell's podcast The Duncan Trussell Family Hour) encompassing death, religion, the multiverse, and more; that it's not for kids; and that it's not to be missed.
Never Have I Ever
Co-created by Mindy Kaling, Never Have I Ever stars newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi Vishwakumar, a teen just trying to have a "sexy high school experience"...while also dealing with the death of her father, her demanding mother, and the usual high school pressures. The series' many pleasures include a delightful, diverse cast, an authentic perspective drawn from Kaling's own childhood, and narration by John McEnroe. Yes, the tennis legend John McEnroe.
Review: A- (Read review here)
Talent: Mindy Kaling, John McEnroe, Poorna Jagannathan, Niecy Nash
If you only watch one more gritty, morally murky crime drama, it should probably be Ozark. The Netflix series stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, a Chicago financial planner who relocates his family to Missouri after a money-laundering scheme goes wrong. There, he embarks on an even bigger operation, laundering millions for a Mexican drug lord with the help of fierce local criminal Ruth (Julia Garner) and his savvy wife, Wendy (Laura Linney). Darkly comedic and twistily thrilling, Ozark is the perfect binge — and a showcase for the erstwhile Michael Bluth both in front of and behind the camera.
Review: Read review here
Talent: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner
Related reading: Jason Bateman annotates a script page from Ozark
Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj
The Daily Show breakout Hasan Minhaj landed his own satirical show in 2018, on the heels of his White House Correspondents' Dinner gig and acclaimed comedy special Homecoming King (also streaming on Netflix) the previous year. Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj dissects a different big topic every week (much like Last Week Tonight from fellow Daily Show alum John Oliver), from why we're doing elections wrong to public transportation to corruption in the sport of cricket. The show was unfortunately canceled in August, but you can still catch up on old entries while yearning for Minhaj's spin on the latest issues.
Talent: Hasan Minhaj
The category is Pose, FX's groundbreaking series from co-creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals, which explores New York City's vibrant ballroom culture in the late 1980s. The diverse ensemble features the most transgender series regulars in American TV history, and includes Billy Porter as emcee Pray Tell, Mj Rodriguez as compassionate house mother Blanca, and Indya Moore as trans sex worker Angel, who's involved in an affair with Evan Peters' Trump Organization-employed yuppie. Season 2 gets even bolder, time-jumping to the early 1990s and grappling with the AIDS epidemic's effect on the ballroom community.
Review: B+ (Read season 1 review here)
The Queen’s Gambit
If you weren't one of the millions who helped make The Queen's Gambit Netflix's most-watched scripted limited series within its first month of release, have a seat at the chessboard for the tale of Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy). The Queen's Gambit follows Beth, a young, orphaned chess prodigy, as she ascends through the game's male-dominated ranks while battling various personal demons. Taylor-Joy's powerhouse performance anchors this coming-of-age tale, which is told with style to spare, and boasts one of the best (and most accurate) depictions of chess ever put on screen.
If you need a burst of joy in your life (and who among us doesn't right now?) seek out Netflix's reboot of the 2000s Bravo reality series. Each episode of Queer Eye sees the "Fab Five" — food and wine expert Antoni, fashion expert Tan, culture expert Karamo, design expert Bobby, and grooming expert Jonathan — delivering a "make-better" to a contestant in need of a change. The latest season, which dropped in June, heads to Philadelphia for a lineup including a single dad whose confidence could use a boost, a gay pastor struggling with his identity, and an ambitious young climate activist. Grab the tissues and settle in for a binge.
Review: Read season 1 review here
The dearly departed Schitt's Creek's final season arrives on Netflix at last on Oct. 7, fresh off of a record-breaking Emmy sweep that included acting wins for all four of its leads. Those awards prove the Canadian import's bona fides as a perfect remedy for the quarantine blues. When the wealthy Rose family find themselves bereft of their fortune, they're forced to relocate to a motel in Schitt's Creek, a small town they once bought as a joke. The fish-out-of-water comedy quickly grows into a warm-hearted ensemble sitcom, with creator-star Dan Levy's David leading the way.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
The fifth and final season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power dropped May 15, meaning you can now binge the complete run of Netflix's cosmic fantasy. The animated series, a reboot of the 1980s He-Man spinoff, follows teen soldier Adora (Aimee Carrero), who comes across a sword that transforms her into the titular princess, She-Ra and turns her life upside down. (Magical swords have a way of doing that.) Adora must turn against her best friend Catra (AJ Michalka), assemble a group of warriors known as the Princess Alliance, and work to prevent the sinister Horde from conquering the planet Etheria.
Trigger Warning with Killer Mike
Something of a hidden gem, this satirical docuseries follows rapper Killer Mike of Run the Jewels as he engages in comedic activist stunts (or perhaps activist comedy stunts?) to spotlight issues affecting Black people in the U.S. Highlights include Mike attempting to only buy from Black-owned businesses for three days — which leaves him sleeping on a park bench with a can of beans for a pillow — helping Crips develop their own branded soda, and using porn to teach carpentry and plumbing.
Talent: Killer Mike, Vernon Chatman
The Twilight Zone
Just describing this year sounds like one of The Twilight Zone's eerie introductions, so perhaps it's the perfect time to dive into the classic anthology series, whose episodes span all manner of paranormal, suspense, and sci-fi setups. Though it's been over 60 years since the original Twilight Zone debuted, many of its half-hour episodes remain remarkable works of storytelling and stylish filmmaking, with themes that continue to resonate all these years later. From "It's a Good Life" (the unsettling story of a six-year-old with extraordinary powers) to "A Nice Place to Visit" (a clever forerunner to a certain NBC series), these installments prove that no reboot can outdo the original.
Related reading: Jordan Peele recommends these 3 classic Twilight Zone episodes
Twin Peaks' much-acclaimed, much-discussed third season (which aired on Showtime) isn't available on Netflix, but subscribers can journey to David Lynch's mysterious Northwestern town with the equally-acclaimed original series, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in April. It's difficult to explain Twin Peaks (and don't ask Lynch to do so), but the series essentially revolves around the murder of popular high school student Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), which brings FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) to town to investigate. What ensues is one of the strangest and most influential shows ever to air on network television, uncategorizable, surreal in the truest sense of the world, and definitely not a movie.
Related reading: The Triumph of Twin Peaks: EW's 1990 Cover Story
When They See Us
Directed and co-written by Ava DuVernay, When They See Us is a powerful and urgent account of the 1989 Central Park Five case, in which five minority teenagers were wrongly convicted of the assault and rape of a white female jogger. The four-part limited series burns with contemporary resonance and incendiary performances, none more so than Jharrel Jerome's Emmy-winning portrayal of the oldest of the five, Korey Wise, both at age 16 and as an adult. As DuVernay told EW, "It's asking us to engage and really think about all of our assumptions."
Related reading: Ava DuVernay goes deep on When They See Us
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