The best shows on Netflix right now
The seemingly endless scroll and ever-fluctuating library of Netflix can be more than a little paralyzing when trying to choose something to watch. That's why EW is assembling a monthly list of the best TV shows currently available on the streaming service, from classics of yesteryear to the hottest new titles. Read on for this month's selections.
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.
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.
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.
Review: B (Read review here)
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.
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
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.
How to Get Away With Murder
With How to Get Away With Murder having claimed its final victims, the Shondaland drama's first five seasons lurk 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.
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)
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.
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)
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 final season of the dearly departed Schitt's Creek will arrive on Netflix in due time; until then, the Canadian import's first five seasons are the 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.
Review: B+ (Read review here)
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
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