15 Best Netflix Original Series To Watch Right Now
There are a lot of good TV shows on Netflix. But what’s the best Netflix original series? The streaming service has put more and more emphasis into their own programming over the last few years, and with over 100 Netflix originals — between shows and movies — browsing aimlessly can be daunting. If you’re trying to figure out exactly which original show to watch next, here’s a great place to start with a look at a ranked list of the 55 best Netflix series right now.
When you’ve got teens from warring tribes going head to head, there’s going to be drama. Just look at the Montagues and the Capulets, or the Greasers and Socs. This time, it’s the Pogues, working-class youngsters on the North Carolina coast, and their posh rivals, the Kooks. They’re into surfing, being impossibly attractive, and solving the mysteries around their leader’s missing dad and a buried treasure. What could be more binge-worthy than that?
2Orange Is the New Black
Jenji Kohan’s knack for social commentary mixed with humor is perfect for a prison story. Orange Is the New Black is as funny as Weeds in its early years, but Kohan has found a way to infuse poignancy to the overall vibe of her stories. The diverse, engaging ensemble cast is chock-full of fan favorites, and while Orange is the New Black traffics in stereotypes, it also challenges and complicates them. The acting is superb, the writing is brilliant, and the storylines are addictive. More importantly, it forces us to root for people who make poor decisions and appreciate the fact that we all make poor decisions because we’re human. 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.
Ibiza is the party capital of the world, so it makes for the ideal setting for a show about decadence, debauchery, and dance music. 20 years ago, DJ Axel Collins and his three best pals left Manchester for the Spanish isle, where they built a clubbing empire before Axel’s mysterious disappearance. Now, his mummified body has turned up in the desert—and his younger sister heads to Ibiza to solve his murder. Don’t worry, she makes time for plenty of partying and a steamy holiday romance, too.
4Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
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 Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), a woman who moves to New York after being rescued from a doomsday cult. Kimmy, a 30-year-old woman with the pop-cultural IQ of a ’90s teenager, must navigate the cynical big city while dealing with her own form of PTSD. She’s helped along by her conspiracy-theory minded landlord (Carol Kane) and her irresponsible, flighty gay roommate (Titus Burgess). 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.
5The Big Flower Fight
The Great British Bake Off, but make it flowers. That’s pretty much all you need to know about this soothing reality competition, which finds pairs of florists, artists, and landscapers facing off to build giant living sculptures out of plants and posies, all under the guidance of comedian hosts Natasia Demetriou and Vic Reeves, and florist-to-the stars judge Kristen Griffith-Vanderyacht. (And if you’re a celebrity florist not named “Kristen Griffith-Vanderyacht,” just give up right now, because that is the best possible celebrity florist name ever.)
6Time to Eat
Are you as fatigued as we are of cooking series featuring rarefied ingredients, complicated recipes, and expensive culinary equipment? If you are, then Time to Eat is the show for you. Starring Nadiya Hussain, the fan favorite winner of The Great British Baking Show, Time to Eat is a refreshing departure from the elitism characteristic of so many cooking shows. In her colorful, crush-worthy kitchen, Hussain serves up easy recipes characterized by pantry shortcuts, cost-cutting measures, and time-saving hacks. You’ll be hauling off the couch and into the kitchen in no time.
7Too Hot To Handle
Too Hot To Handle is the ultimate mind-numbing reality watch. The show is Netflix’s third original reality show of the year, and the game is this: fifteen bathing suit-clad contestants living together in a villa must abstain from all physical contact with one another to keep their $100,000 cash prize fund intact. Each breach of the rules depletes the pot further, so it’s more like a celibacy support group, complete with self-discovery workshops. Spoiler alert: there is very little celibacy.
8The Umbrella Academy
Superhero team-ups are a dime a dozen but the TV adaptation of this award-winning comic series created by Gerard Way — yes, the lead singer of My Chemical Romance — feels wholly unique and thus, totally refreshing. The show follows the story of seven kids, all born on the same day to mothers who didn’t even know they were pregnant. They’re adopted by a mysterious billionaire and trained to use their supernatural abilities to fight evil in the world, but when they grow up, their dysfunctional upbringing catches up with them, and they’re left struggling to live normal lives. It’s all kinds of weird, which is exactly what the genre needs right now.
9Dead to Me
Dead to Me‘s Season Two comes in just as powerfully as the first. With a bit of a role reversal, the series dives deeper into the darkly broken psyches of Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini), while never failing to infuse a bit of humour in the mix. Part buddy-comedy, part murder-drama, the series is probably the easiest five-hour binge you’ll watch this year. Also, no spoilers, but the way that James Marsden mysteriously continues on as a main character is the biggest treat of the season. While Applegate and Cardellini anchor the series, it’s the unnervingly suburban supporting cast that takes this series to a 10.
10Dear White People
One of the best and most under appreciated series on Netflix, Dear White People is a television adaptation that manages to improve exponentially on the movie upon which it is based. From creator Justin Simien, Dear White People is a smart, insightful, thoughtful and at times sharply funny examination of racial politics on a college campus, where it’s more than just black people pitted against white people; it’s woke people vs. those who aren’t woke; black people fighting the system versus black people trying to work within the system; and light-skinned black people versus darker skinned black people. It’s an eye-opening, smartly crafted television show that’s as entertaining as it is important, and it features an outstanding cast, led by Logan Browning.
This coming-of-age series set in the ’90s could easily be described as the comedic counterpart to Stranger Things, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a sweet, funny, and heartfelt show about a group of high school kids — popular, unpopular and in-between — searching for their own identities and trying to find their place not only in high school but in the world. The main story sees a freshman from the A/V club, Luke (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), falling in love a with Kate (Peyton Kennedy), who is trying to come to terms with her own sexual identity as a lesbian. While the issues they face are specific to their characters, the range of feelings they experience as universal — falling in love, heartbreak, seeking acceptance and validation from others. It is a comedy infused with ’90s nostalgia, but it doesn’t rely on nostalgia to tell its story, and the story it tells is one of those most hopeful, optimistic, and deeply affecting series in the Netflix catalog.
If you’re trying to pin down Netflix’s mystery crime thriller, the best way to describe it is to call it a German version of Stranger Things minus the demogorgon. The show centers on four families whose lives and dark deeds are brought to light after two children vanish in the woods. There’s plenty of familial drama here and a supernatural twist or two to keep things interesting.
13Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
Whether or not you’re into sports, Netflix’s documentary mini series, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, is a haunting portrait of the NFL star who became a convicted murderer. The documentary revisits the 2015 murder of Odin Lloyd for which Hernandez was found guilty, as well his trial for the 2012 double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado for which he was acquitted. But beyond the crimes, the documentary paints a picture of the man himself with new audio recordings of Hernandez’s phone calls from prison—to his lawyers, mother, and his young daughter. The docuseries also illuminates the extreme dangers of football to the brain and shines a light on what it means to be a closeted gay man in the NFL. A must watch.
The Wachowksis’ Sense8 is about a group of people around the world who are suddenly linked mentally. Like Cloud Atlas, the disparate stories about love and relationships weave in and out of each other. 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.
If you like thrills, murders, and being confused, The Stranger is an engaging—albeit overly complicated—mystery, with many a spooky storyline to follow. Based on Harlan Coben’s novel of the same name, The Stranger mostly follows a—you guessed it—stranger, who goes around town revealing people’s secrets. The stranger’s motive varies—sometimes she blackmails people for money, others she tries to help by revealing truths. If you like crime and the occasional pop-up, The Stranger definitely won’t bore you.