There is no doubt that Netflix is still the king of streaming services. It has an extensive library of both original and syndicated shows that seem to provide endless hours of entertainment and procrastination. There is no way to watch everything available on the service without neglecting all of your other responsibilities, but there are a few that you must watch at some point.
So, what criteria did I use to make this list? Well, I specifically made it diverse. I wanted to use Netflix’s library to show the full range that television has to offer. I also took personal preference, overall quality, and cultural significance into consideration. If you have any different opinions on these shows, I encourage you to let me know in the comments or on twitter @filmnetic.
Without further ado, here is my list of the top 10 shows that you should watch on Netflix.
10.) Breaking Bad
One of the most famous television series of all time is available on Netflix, but if it’s so famous, is it only at No. 10? Well, I don’t care much for “Breaking Bad” as a whole. My biggest issue with it is the majority of the story is repetitive, but the good still outweighs the bad.
Bryan Cranston’s Walter White is well-deservedly one of the most famous characters of all time. His performance is worth watching alone. While the story may be repetitive, the parts that are not repetitive are some of the most gripping television I have ever seen. “Breaking Bad” is not for everyone, but it is definitely a show that everyone must at least try to watch.
9.) Agents of Shield
Was this whole article just a ploy to finally tell people to watch Agents of Shield? No, but I won’t miss this opportunity. If you are a Marvel fan, this show is a must-watch. Many viewers dropped the show in its first season on ABC because of its slow pacing but give it until the second half of the season, and I promise you will not be disappointed.
If you wondered why the Marvel Cinematic Universe dropped the Hydra infiltrates SHIELD storyline introduced in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” it did not. “Agents of Shield” carries the weight of this plot twist more than any of the movies ever did. The show, particularly seasons 1 and 2, are so full of incredible plot twists that tie into the MCU movies that it makes it required viewing for any true fan of the series.
8.) The Crown
One of the greatest historical dramas of all time is currently sitting on Netflix waiting to be binged. The show follows Queen Elizabeth II’s rule starting from her father’s death , but what makes this show special is the production quality. “The Crown” is the most aesthetically pleasing British history lesson you can find. The show is about to release its 4th season, so now is the perfect time to jump on board.
The show has incredible set and costume design as Netflix spares no expense in recreating the lavish, globetrotting lifestyle of the royal family. The cast is top-notch. Both Claire Foy (Seasons 1 and 2) and Olivia Coleman (Seasons 3 and 4) knock it out of the park with their connected portrayals of Elizabeth II. Their equally incredible supporting casts make this one of the best television shows to ever exist in terms of pure quality.
7.) Stranger Things
It’s not a proper Netflix list without “Stranger Things,” arguably the most popular original show on the service. Netflix’s very own blockbuster franchise changed how mass audiences viewed streaming shows, but why even bother putting it on a list like this? Hasn’t everyone seen this show? Well, my specific recommendation of “Stranger Things” comes from a few people in my personal life either not caught up or not watching the show at all.
“Stranger Things” is one of the rare mega-franchise that lives up to the hype. Its characters, production design, and special effects are worthy of its comparison to big-screen franchises. If you have not watched this show yet or have been putting off the most recent seasons, it’s time to join the party.
6.) The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor
Horror is one of the most popular genres out there. Netflix has many options in this space, from famous horror films to low-budget slasher flicks, but Netflix has a hidden gem that lets you get hours of terrifying entertainment. “The Haunting” series famously balances the arthouse horror with an engaging story/mystery that rivals the best dramas on television.
The horror set pieces are incredibly engaging and breathtaking to experience. Series creator Mike Flanagan manages to continuously up the scares by choosing to show the ghosts to the audience instead of letting the viewers’ imagination wander. This series is a must-watch purely to experience the terrifying spirits that occupy Hill House and Bly Manor.
5.) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
You may be asking why I have chosen “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” over all of the other comedies available on Netflix. Well, if you are asking that question, then you probably haven’t seen the show. Traditional comedies like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” have found an incredible audience on the streaming platform, but Netflix’s original comedies have been overlooked.
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. Its joke style is straight out of creator Tina Fey’s playbook. The material featured on the show is incredibly clever and takes a few viewings to catch every joke, which makes it the perfect show to rewatch over and over again the way that most people binge “The Office.” Once you get tired of rewatching the same comedy shows over and over again, give “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” a shot.
If you are in the mood for a good mystery, Netflix has many options for you. Stories featuring the world’s most famous detective are in no short supply on the streaming service (click here to check out our review of Enola Holmes.) In my personal opinion, the greatest version of Sherlock Holmes to exist to date is the BBC original show “Sherlock.”
This show gives you a modern depiction of Sherlock as he solves mysteries in the charming atmosphere of contemporary England. All of Sherlock’s famous supporting characters are also given modern upgrades to create a fresh and engaging show without sacrificing the qualities that made older Sherlock Holmes stories special. The episodes are feature-length, which allows every episode to stand on its own while also contributing to the bigger picture.
Benedict Cumberbatch is phenomenal in the title role. Even after he has gone on to bigger and better things, Cumberbatch’s Sherlock will always remain in the hearts of his OG fans.
Two Marvel shows on one list? Yes, I am biased, but “Daredevil” is worth watching even if you are not a Marvel fan. While the show connects to the MCU, it does not rely on that connection as much as “Agents of Shield” does. The show is consistently good throughout its three-season run, unlike its sister Marvel shows on Netflix (although special shout out to “Jessica Jones” season 1 for being the only other Marvel-Netflix show to match “Daredevil’s” quality.)
This show is the perfect action-adventure with incredible characters, action set pieces, and production quality. “Daredevil” is the second-best superhero television show of all time, in my opinion, and it is worth watching even if you are not that into superheroes. Check out our review for my No. 1 favorite superhero show of all time, “The Boys:”
Out of all the drug dealing dramas out there, “Ozark” is by far the best, at least in my opinion. Compared to others like “Breaking Bad” and “Narcos,” it has a fresh take on the illegal industry. The show focuses on a family that somehow got into the deep end of cartel affairs, but unlike “Breaking Bad,” the story continues to find new places to explore in its dark world. While there are distinct similarities between the two shows, I feel like “Ozark” is a much better version of “Breaking Bad.”
Jason Bateman’s Marty Byrd is an incredible Walter White stand-in, except Marty’s talent is money laundering instead meth production. The one thing that differentiates this show from “Breaking Bad” is that Laura Linney’s Wendy Byrd blows Skylar White out of the water. No disrespect to Anna Gunn’s fantastic performance in “Breaking Bad,” but Linney’s character decides to put herself in the middle of the action and proves herself to be even better at playing the game than Bateman’s. It’s a performance that you must see to believe.
1.) Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra
This list would have shaped out a lot differently if “Avatar: The Last Airbender” has never come to Netflix. I was a fan of “Avatar” long before it debuted on the streaming service. Many people regard it as one of the greatest television series of all time, and I agree. The original series has such iconic characters and storylines that the only proper comparison to make is that it is an animated, PG version of “Game of Thrones.”
I cannot say enough good things about both the original show and its spinoff “The Legend of Korra.” It has some of the best action sequences ever created in either animation or live-action. It has some of the best character arcs in history (people still use Zuko as the gold standard for pulling off one particular plot twist.) The shows are both incredibly easy to watch. The short seasons and short episodes make it so easy to binge that there is no reason not to try it.
Do you agree with this list? Remember that this is my personal list (so no bullying, please.) Let us know your favorite shows on Netflix down in the comments or on Twitter @filmnetic.