Dear White People Bojack Horseman Key and Peele MO and Call The Midwife.nbsp
(L-R): Dear White People, Bojack Horseman, Key and Peele, MO, and Call The Midwife. (L-R): Courtesy of Roadside Attractions/Everett Collection. Courtesy of Netflix /Everett Collection. Courtesy of Comedy Central /Everett Collection. Courtesy of Netflix. Courtesy of PBS/Neal Street Prod. /Everett Collection.

The 25 Best Shows on Netflix to Watch Right Now

From comedy classics to underseen dramatic gems, your next binge is waiting.

We’ve all been overwhelmed by streaming TV choices, only to give up and watch something you’ve already seen. But this curated list of the best shows on Netflix is here to narrow down your choices and help you figure out exactly which titles you want to sample next. 

American Vandal (2017)

Every high school has its legendary scandals, notorious pranks, and perennial screw-ups. Not every high school has them chronicled in an elaborate docu-series with lavish production values. In this extremely straight-faced mockumentary that’s also one of the best comedies on Netflix, Hanover High senior Dylan Maxwell (Jimmy Tatro) is assumed to have vandalized 27 faculty members’ cars by spray-painting phallic images on them, and gets expelled for it. When he maintains his innocence, classmates Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck) decide to film their own investigation. Season 2 takes them to another state, and another equally juvenile high school “crime.”

BoJack Horseman (2014)

The titular BoJack (voice of Will Arnett) was, back in the ’90s, the star of a wildly successful family sitcom called Horsin’ Around. In the 2010s, he’s a has-been barely hanging on to his acting career. As part of a comeback attempt, he hires Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie) to ghost-write his memoir, drawing her into his world of substance use and depression. It really is a comedy! Paul F. Tompkins deserves special note for his work as BoJack’s one-time sitcom rival turned frenemy, a Labrador Retriever named Mr. Peanutbutter.

Call The Midwife (2012)

Life can be rough in late ’50s Poplar, a disadvantaged neighborhood in London’s East End. But while struggling residents must endure deprivations of all kinds—unethical landlords, insecure employment, open racism for new immigrants of color—one boon they can count on is top-notch medical care. Working with the U.K.’s National Health Service, an order of Anglican nuns, assisted by several secular nurse-midwives, provide pre- and post-natal care to Poplar families; as the series has progressed through more than ten seasons (and counting!), it’s also moved forward in time to show characters dealing with limb differences caused by Thalidomide; an outbreak of diptheria; and the introduction of the Pill. No less an eminence than Vanessa Redgrave narrates. The attention to detail on the period design, the understated performance, and the thoughtful portrayal of complex issues make this one of the best TV shows on Netflix. (Warning for anyone suffering with American health insurance—or in America, without it: the care depicted on this show may cause intense jealousy.) 

The Chair (2021)

Before Bob Odenkirk was the mopey chair of a university English department in AMC’s Lucky Hank, Sandra Oh was the put-upon chair of a much better university’s English department in Netflix’s original limited series, The Chair. Ji-Yoon (Oh) is the first-ever woman of color to run the department, and takes over just in time for her recently widowed friend Bill (Jay Duplass) to succumb to an in-class meltdown, causing a scandal Ji-Yoon has to deal with instead of enacting changes the department actually requires to stay relevant. Excellent performances make this one of the best comedies and best dramas on Netflix.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015)

As a teen, New York state resident Rebecca (Rachel Bloom, who also co-created the series with Aline Brosh McKenna) met Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) at camp. Years later, when she’s a financially successful but personally miserable lawyer, she spots Josh on the street in Manhattan and decides to fix her life by moving to his hometown of West Covina, California. Original songs—most co-written by the late Adam Schlesinger—and production numbers illustrate the mental states of Rebecca and the other characters in her orbit. Consistently low-rated during its run on the CW, it lives on forever as one of the best comedy shows on Netflix. 

Cunk On Earth (2023)

Between seasons of his sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror, creator Charlie Brooker teams up with Diane Morgan to build a show around Morgan’s comedic alter ego, Philomena Cunk. A self-serious presenter of deeply questionable intelligence, Cunk had already headlined several BBC programs before Cunk On Earth, a trip through all of human history in just five half-hour episodes that precisely mimic the production and style of educational documentaries. Help make this one a hit so that Netflix will also bring us the previous series Cunk On Britain, and the one-off special Cunk On Shakespeare.

Dating Around (2020)

Before adapting the international reality sensation Farmer Wants A Wife for Fox, executive producer Chris Culvenor helped break the unscripted romance form with Dating Around. Each episode introduces us to a singleton who has been set up on five blind dates, all to take place on different nights at the same location; seamless editing lets us cut among the singleton’s various conversations with their dates through each stage of the evening. The lack of a host, voice-over, or talking head interviews gives the show, one of the best reality shows on Netflix, an intimate, documentary feel…but you’ll still feel a thrill before each episode ends to see which of the five dates the chooser decided to go out with again.

Dear White People (2017)

Writer-director Justin Simien had an indie hit in 2014 with his feature film, Dear White People, following students of color at a predominantly white Ivy League college; he returned to the story in 2017, adapting his own work as a series that became one of the best dramedies on Netflix. Logan Browning stars as Samantha White, who delivers hard truths to her classmates via her college radio show, from which the series derives its name; Brandon P. Bell reprises his film role of all-American Troy Fairbanks; Giancarlo Esposito serves as narrator for the first three (of four) seasons.

Derry Girls (2018)

The Troubles, as experienced by residents of Derry, Northern Ireland, is the backdrop of this sitcom set in the mid-1990s. Primarily, though, it’s about four teenaged girls (and one English boy mistakenly enrolled in their all-girls’ school) getting up to typical teen shenanigans: trying to raise money for a school trip to Paris; battling censorship at the school paper; and sneaking out of town to see a boy band. 

Documentary Now! (2015)

Saturday Night Live alumni Fred ArmisenBill HaderSeth Meyers, and (director) Rhys Thomas co-created this anthology series, in which each episode is a painstakingly specific parody reimagining a real noteworthy—if not Oscar-winning—documentary film. As of this writing, Netflix has the first three (of four) seasons, which includes spoofs of The Kid Stays In The PictureThe Thin Blue LineNanook Of The North, and in a rare departure, the Netflix docu-series Wild Wild Country; you quite simply can’t call yourself a fan of musical theatre if you haven’t seen “Co-op,” the show’s take on Original Cast Album: Company. Guest stars through the three available seasons include Cate BlanchettOwen WilsonRenée Elise Goldsberry, and Maya Rudolph, and none other than Helen Mirren appears to introduce each and every episode.

Entrapped (2021)

In 2015, the Icelandic network RÚV débuted Trapped (2015), a classic Nordic Noir: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson stars as Andri Ólafsson, the chief of police in a northern Icelandic town whose job gets harder when a dismembered human torso is found just in time for a blizzard to render the town entirely inaccessible to anyone outside it. A second season found Andri working a political assassination case. And after a long (COVID-related) delay, season three arrived on Netflix in late 2022, retitled Entrapped. This time, the murder that kicks off the action exposes the tangled relations between a pacifist commune and a biker gang. The chilly setting and short run make this one of the best bingeworthy shows to stay in with on a winter afternoon.

Good Girls (2018)

Three Michigan moms—sisters Beth (Christina Hendricks) and Annie (Mae Whitman); and Ruby (Retta), their friend since all three were teens—run into pressing financial difficulties at the same time. What if they solved all their problems at once by robbing the supermarket where Annie works? Seems like a winning plan until they find out the store is entangled in a complex criminal operation, and that the only way they can avoid disaster is to let themselves get recruited to work in it themselves. Treat yourself to four seasons of one of Netflix’s best crime dramedies.

The Great British Baking Show (2010)

Ten-ish years into the reality competition boom, a show came along that was the exact antithesis to the cutthroat gamesmanship of Survivor or even Top Chef. The amateur contestants of Britain’s The Great British Baking Show are genuinely warm and helpful to each other; the hosts and judges are gentle and encouraging; and everyone’s striving to produce their very best work in order to win an engraved glass cake stand and absolutely no cash at all. A holiday-themed spinoff followed in the late 2010s.

iZombie (2015)

Liv Moore (Rose McIver, currently starring on CBS’s Ghosts) was a hospital resident when she went to the wrong party and got turned into a zombie. The good news is that in this conception, zombies can still walk among humans: they just turn really pale, their hair turns white, and they need to eat brains, which is why Liv got a job as a coroner. Turns out when she eats her corpses’ brains, she gets flashes of their memories; posing as a psychic, she uses this knowledge to help local detective Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) solve their murders. If the zombies of The Last Of Us were too intense, this might be just the thing.

Jane The Virgin (2014)

Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez, currently headlining a new TV comedy, ABC’s Not Dead Yet) was always taught by Alba (Ivonne Coll), the grandmother who helped raise her, that nothing was more important than her virginity—and given that Jane’s own mother Xiomara (Andrea Navedo) became unexpectedly pregnant with Jane as a teenager, the lesson stuck. Thus, it’s a shock to everyone in her life when Jane also becomes unexpectedly pregnant—not through premarital sex, but in a gynecological mix-up, which embroils her in the dramatic life of an impossibly wealthy hotel heir (Justin Baldoni), who also happens to be a former crush. (Fun fact: future Wednesday star Jenna Ortega plays young Jane!)

Key & Peele (2012)

This sketch show—sending up standard social awkwardness and virulent racism with equal precision—helped vault its titular stars, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, to previously unseen heights of acclaim, including a Peabody Award in 2014, and an Emmy for outstanding variety sketch series in 2016. It’s not just one of the best comedy shows on Netflix, but one of the best comedies of the past decade, period. (The two can also be heard on Netflix in 2022’s supernatural animated feature, Wendell & Wild.)

Love Is Blind (2020)

The Bachelor franchise is fine as far as it goes, but between 27 seasons of The Bachelor and 19 of The Bachelorette—to say nothing of Bachelor In ParadiseBachelor Pad, and The Bachelor Presents: Listen To Your Heart—you might be Bachelored out. If so: this is the time to embrace the suite of reality romance shows from chaos king Chris CoelenLove Is Blind challenges brave singles to try dating partners they can’t see: women and men are kept apart at the show’s filming location and communicate with each other only in pods connected by an opaque panel. If they make enough of a connection for one to propose marriage to the other, they (finally) get to see each other; then they live together for a time planning their wedding; and only at the altar do they both state whether they actually do take one another in lawful matrimony. In addition to the three U.S. seasons, the show has spawned Brazilian and Japanese versions. Not sated? Coelen has also created The Ultimatum, in which couples who aren’t agreed on marriage figure it out by dating other people for a while. Netflix also has select seasons of Coelen’s Married At First Sight, which is exactly what its title promises. And as of February 2023, his suite of titles includes Perfect Match, a dating show that lets alumni from various Netflix reality shows try to find love with each other—sure to be one of the best new Netflix reality shows this year.

Money Heist (2017)

If you love the meticulous plotting and split-second timing of a heist movie, but wish you could see more of how the plan actually came to be: this series, among the best crime shows on Netflix, is for you. The Professor (Álvaro Morte) assembles a crew of thieves, each of whom has been carefully selected for their specific skills, and spends months training them to pull off a huge job: they’re going to barricade themselves in Spain’s Royal Mint and print their own Euros to steal. But even a mind as brilliant as The Professor’s can’t anticipate everything that might go wrong. One of Netflix’s biggest-ever global hits, the show was followed by a Korean remake in 2022; a prequel, Berlin, is coming in 2023.

Narcos (2015)

How did Pablo Escobar go from a comparatively low-level smuggler to one of the world’s most notorious drug kingpins to…uh, his death at the hands of an international law enforcement task force (spoiler)? Steve Murphy—a real DEA agent, since retired, who worked on the case—is portrayed here by Boyd Holbrook, who also narrates the story of the DEA’s investigation into Escobar (Wagner Moura); Murphy’s DEA colleague Javier Peña is played by future Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal. The series was followed by a companion series, Narcos: Mexico, in 2018.

One Day At A Time (2017)

In the mid-’70s, sitcom legend Norman Lear created One Day At A Time, about a single mom raising teen daughters after a divorce and dealing with her apartment building’s intrusive manager. In the late ’10s, Lear was involved once again in reimagining the story for our era. Now, as conceived by co-creators Gloria Calderón Kellett and Mike Royce the single mom is Penelope (Justina Machado), a Cuban-American nurse and military veteran; she is raising teens Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Alex (Marcel Ruiz), with the help of her flamboyant mother Lydia (Rita Moreno). Building owner Schneider (Todd Grinnell) has the closest tie to the show title, as an addict in recovery. The frank handling of such subjects as Elena’s sexuality and lingering issues Penelope is still experiencing from her military service make this inarguably one of Netflix’s best shows.

Russian Doll (2019)

Nadia (Natasha Lyonne, also a co-creator) has a perfectly lovely time at her 36th birthday party, stops at a bodega, and is about to head home when she spots her wandering cat, Oatmeal. Stepping into the street to retrieve him, Nadia is struck by a cab and killed—but only very briefly. When she reawakens in the bathroom at her birthday party, she remembers having lived this night already, but no one else does. After living and dying several times over, she meets a stranger who is experiencing the same phenomenon, and they unite to figure out how to break themselves out of their time loop. A second season, in 2022, features a much more central role for season one guest star Chloë Sevigny, and plays with time in an entirely different way. One of the best original series on Netflix, this should be a must-watch for anyone going through Poker Face withdrawal. 

Seinfeld (1989)

Comedian Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, endures the unpredictable antics of his across-the-hall neighbor Kramer (Michael Richards), and shares the minute details of his life with his high school best friend George (Jason Alexander) and unusually friendly ex-girlfriend Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). It’s a show about dating mores, cult favorite New York delicacies, and surviving office jobs…but mostly, it’s about nothing.

Squid Game (2021)

Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) is a gambling addict crushed both by his personal debt, and by his daughter’s imminent move to the U.S. with his ex and her new husband. When a mysterious stranger approaches him, seemingly by chance, and offers him the opportunity to play a series of games with the possibility of winning an unimaginable cash prize, it seems too good to be true. Turns out: it is! The first season was a massive ratings and critical hit, and the second is set to begin filming in 2023. 

__The Staircase __(2004)

Not long after Kathleen Peterson was found dead in her North Carolina home in December 2001, her husband Michael Peterson was charged with her murder. As authorities investigated Kathleen’s death and their prime suspect, more strange stories arose from his past. French documentarian Jean-Xavier de Lestrade got extraordinary access to the Peterson family as the case made its way through the legal system. (And if all of this—including the title—sounds familiar, it’s because HBO Max released a scripted adaptation last year starring Toni Collette as Kathleen and Colin Firth as Michael.)

You (2018)

When Lifetime got out of the scripted series business, You—which premiered there in 2018—was orphaned, but Netflix scooped it up and ran with it for three more seasons (with more to come?). Based on the book series by Caroline Kepnes, the series revolves around Joe (Gossip Girl alumnus Penn Badgley), and the many female objects of his desire. With Joe as our wildly biased narrator, we watch as tropes that have historically been presented as romantic in pop culture are revealed for what they are: morbidly obsessive and frequently criminal. It is also, somehow, one of the blackest comedies in TV history. Part 1 of season four premieres in February, and relocates Joe to England, to mess with a whole new cast of characters.