With so much great content available, finding the best shows on Netflix can be a daunting prospect. Here are 10 great TV shows, including Netflix originals and acquired series, that are worth your time and attention to stream.
Update, 3/16/23: We’ve reviewed our picks and are still confident these are the best TV series you can stream right now with your Netflix subscription.
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The multi-talented Rachel Bloom is dazzling in every aspect of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which she co-created and stars in. Bloom also co-wrote most of the songs in this musical dramedy, which features several original musical numbers in every episode.
Rebecca Bunch (Bloom) is a woman in crisis who follows her ex-boyfriend across the country in a misguided attempt to restart her life. The show chronicles Rebecca’s journey toward a healthier mental state via lots of catchy, funny, sad, exuberant, and unforgettable songs.
Dear White People
Justin Simien adapts his 2014 movie Dear White People into this series set on an elite college campus, where students of color struggle to find a place within the white-dominated institution. Simien tackles serious issues of race and class, but he also includes plenty of humor, taking a satirical approach to the systemic racism that his characters face.
Expanding from a feature film into a series also allows Simien to focus more on character development and to broaden the range of perspectives, depicting more nuances within the campus communities of color.
Friday Night Lights
Anyone who thinks a TV series about high school football will be full of one-dimensional jocks and cheerleaders needs to spend some time watching Friday Night Lights. Over the course of five seasons, the sensitive drama portrays the entire range of life in a small, football-obsessed Texas town.
Kyle Chandler’s Eric Taylor is far more than a coach—he’s a mentor, a friend, a father figure, and one of the wisest, most compassionate characters in the history of television. Even if you’ve never been interested in watching a football game, you’ll be immediately invested in the lives of these young athletes.
No one in reality talks like the characters on Gilmore Girls, but that’s what makes it so charming and funny. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino writes dense, impossibly witty dialogue for mother-daughter duo Lorelei (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel), whose unusually close relationship forms the core of the series. The Gilmores live in the quaint, quirky town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, where they experience romantic travails and personal triumphs. Various friends, co-workers, and love interests come and go, but the bond between Lorelai and Rory remains beautiful and unbreakable.
Nine years after the original series ended, Netflix also commissioned the four-part follow-up miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
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A tribute to the 1980s professional wrestling league known as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, GLOW takes a fictional approach to the real-life personalities involved. These ladies find empowerment and artistic fulfillment in creating over-the-top characters for wrestling matches while still facing the sexism of their era. The creators lovingly replicate the glorious cheese of ’80s professional wrestling while always treating their characters with respect and good humor.
The Good Place
What starts out as a sitcom about a misfit accidentally admitted into heaven turns into a hilariously profound meditation on existence. In The Good Place, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) discovers that she might be in the wrong afterlife before finding out a whole lot more about the arbitrary nature of the universe.
Alongside Michael (Ted Danson), a supernatural being who’s fascinated with humans, Eleanor and her friends ask alternately deep and silly questions about morality and mortality and receive equally ridiculous and profound answers.
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Jane the Virgin
Based on a Venezuelan telenovela, Jane the Virgin features all of the outlandish twists and turns of that genre along with a more sensitive, grounded approach to its characters. Gina Rodriguez stars as the title character, who becomes pregnant thanks to a doctor’s mistake with an insemination procedure.
But the show is about far more than that initial, far-fetched setup with its focus on Jane’s working-class family and her romances with hotel magnate Rafael (Justin Baldoni) and earthy cop Michael (Brett Dier). Creator Jennie Snyder Urman brings humor and heart to what could have just been a cartoonish soap opera.
Orange Is the New Black
One of Netflix’s earliest original series, Orange Is the New Black adapts Piper Kerman’s nonfiction book about her experiences in a women’s minimum-security prison. However, the show expands far beyond its version of Piper (played by Taylor Schilling).
Via flashbacks from multiple perspectives, creator Jenji Kohan explores the lives of dozens of women from various backgrounds, all of whom have ended up in prison for different reasons and with different prospects. The result is a sprawling, multifaceted drama, all within the walls of one federal prison.
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Natasha Lyonne co-created and stars in clever time-loop dramedy Russian Doll, about a software engineer stuck reliving a single day (that happens to be her birthday) over and over. Lyonne and her collaborators find amusing new ways to approach the time-loop genre, balancing sardonic comedy with existential musings and a mystery that builds over the course of the first season.
Lyonne’s Nadia confronts her issues and gains a better understanding of her relationships, even if no one around her can see that emotional growth.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
From creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stars Ellie Kemper as the title character, who emerges from being held captive by a doomsday cult for 15 years. The naïve Kimmy must readjust to life in the real world, or at least, in the funhouse version of New York City that the show creates. Fey and Carlock effectively deal with Kimmy’s trauma while keeping the show goofy and fun, full of supporting characters with just as much weird emotional baggage as Kimmy herself.