These Are the Best Netflix Shows to Stream While in Quarantine
From Ozark to Dark, these Netflix series will keep you busy while social distancing.
When Netflix asks if we're still watching, our answer is what else would we be doing? Yes, amid the coronavirus pandemic and the social-distancing measures, we have more time than ever for Netflix. But with so many movies and TV shows to choose from, and the occasional need to compromise with the entire household, it can be a real challenge figuring out what to pick. To make things easier for you, we've highlighted some of the best original series to help you pass the time. These are the Netflix shows you should be streaming while in quarantine. And if you're in the mood for some comedy, check out our picks for The 17 Best Stand-Up Comedy Specials on Netflix.
When Ozark started, it seemed suspiciously similar to Breaking Bad: An otherwise normal family man gets roped into a life of crime. Then it got some serious nods from the Emmy Awards, and we started paying attention. As it turns out, Ozark—now with three seasons you can stream—is very much its own thing, a series that shares some DNA with Breaking Bad but is different enough to be worth your time. That's thanks in large part to the performances, from standouts like Laura Linney and Julia Garner, but also to the show's moody tone and distinctive style.
If you're in need of something a little lighter, catch up on the first three seasons of GLOW, a comedy-drama based on the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW), a women's professional wrestling circuit in the '80s. GLOW is sharp and funny, with memorable characters—these are professional wrestlers, after all—and a stellar cast. Betty Gilpin, who plays Debbie "Liberty Belle" Eagan, has been popping up everywhere lately thanks to her breakthrough role on the show, and we couldn't be more grateful for that. And for more Netflix series you might have missed, here are 13 Netflix Shows That Flew Under the Radar in 2019.
Imagine being stuck completely alone in isolation, unable to see any other human beings face-to-face and being forced to rely solely on online communication. Sound familiar? Well, flash back to January, when this reality series—based on a British TV series of the same name—premiered, and try to remember when the premise of The Circle looked less like our day-to-day lives and more like a distressing theoretical. Nevertheless, The Circle remains an addictive and thoroughly watchable reality competition. Now it also just happens to be oddly relatable, too. And if you need more incentive to tune in, here are 10 Reasons Why The Circle Is the Wake-Up Call We Needed.
Assuming you've already watched Tiger King, you might be looking to get your true crime kick elsewhere. And sure, there are plenty of compelling (and totally twisted) docuseries streaming on Netflix, but if you're a true crime fan who hasn't watched American Vandal, you're missing out. This pitch-perfect parody takes the true crime genre and turns it on its head, with deadly serious satire that helped make it one of the smartest, funniest Netflix shows ever. The two seasons' mysteries are alternately silly and gross—we can't even talk about the dirty details here—but by the end, you find yourself genuinely caring about the characters anyway.
If you've seen one vampire series you've seen them all, right? Not exactly. And even a show with a title as straightforward as Vampires can bring something new to the table. With only six episodes so far, this series makes for the perfect single-day viewing experience. As an added bonus, it didn't hit Netflix until March, which means it's recent enough that people are still talking about it. And yes, it's in French, so unless you speak the language you will have to do some reading, but it'll be worth it to follow the story of Doina (Oulaya Amamra), a vampire who takes pills to repress her bloodthirsty urges. And if you're in the mood for more scares, check out The 18 Best Horror Movies on Netflix.
On My Block
No matter how long it's been since you were in high school—and even if your alma mater doesn't resemble the inner-city Los Angeles high school where On My Block takes place—you'll find yourself relating to the teens at the center of this series. Co-creator Lauren Iungerich previously gave us MTV's Awkward, another teen comedy-drama that appealed to people of all ages thanks to its complex characters, grounded storylines, and timeless themes. With its focus on underrepresented communities, On My Block is an especially refreshing entry into the genre.
Next in Fashion
Next in Fashion, Netflix's answer to Project Runway, never really feels like a copycat because it's such an achievement on its own. It helps that hosts Tan France and Alexa Chung are so charming, not to mention truly invested in the success of the contestants, but the challenges are also innovative and surprising. The true key to the series, however, is in the casting: In its first (and so far only) season, Next in Fashion assembled some of the most creative, dynamic, and, yes, lovable fashion designers from all over the world. It's impossible not to latch onto a few favorites from the very beginning.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
As with The Circle, the story of a woman who spent 15 years in an underground bunker might hit a little close to home when it comes to streaming while in quarantine. But despite the inherent darkness of its plot, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt remains one of the easiest Netflix sitcoms to spend hours in front of. It's hard to feel down when you're watching Ellie Kemper—who stars in the titular role—doing pretty much anything. After all, creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, who previously gave us 30 Rock, delivered a series that The Week called "the first great sitcom of the streaming era."
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
It doesn't really matter if you're a fan of Archie Comics (where the character Sabrina originated), the show Riverdale (another recent adaptation based on Archie characters), or the classic '90s ABC series Sabrina the Teenage Witch—Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will cast its spell on you. Kiernan Shipka stars as Sabrina, who has to balance her supernatural calling with living a normal teenage life. If that sounds familiar, that's probably because the show draws significant influence from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is part of what makes it such a joy to watch.
I Am Not Okay with This
One of the neat things about Netflix series is that they don't have to look anything like what you'd find on network TV. Case in point: this supernatural coming-of-age comedy-drama based on a comic series, with episodes hovering around 20 minutes long. I Am Not Okay with This breezes by, making it ideal for a quiet evening at home—there are a lot of those to go around lately—but its story of a teen girl, Syd (Sophia Lillis), discovering her telekinetic powers will hook you and leave you wanting more.
From Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, comes this irreverent and off-beat animated fantasy series about Princess Bean (Abbi Jacobson), who has a personal demon (the Eric Andre-voiced Luci), an elf companion named Elfo (Nat Faxon), and a drinking problem. While Groening's previous series have been entirely episodic, Disenchantment is a serialized story that unfolds over the course of 20 episodes. Dive into the show's fantasy kingdom and catch up on Bean's saga before the next 20 episodes are released.
Let's just get this out of the way: Dark is not the kind of series you can watch in the background while you're doing other things. First of all, it's in German, so you're going to need those subtitles. Second of all, it's a complex, sometimes challenging series about the perils of time travel, so you'll have to really pay attention. Maybe you don't want something heavy right now—that's totally valid. But if you're in the mood to lose yourself in a show that will truly get under your skin, Dark is absolutely worth your investment.
If your complaint about most cooking competition series is that they don't make enough dessert, then you're in luck: Sugar Rush is all sweets, all the time. It's a total blast to watch, with a format that's similar to Netflix's Nailed It!—but with contestants who actually know what they're doing. There have only been two short seasons of Sugar Rush so far, but you can also tune into Sugar Rush Christmas for holiday-themed confections. And if you're really jonesing for more, Sugar Rush judge Adriano Zumbo has his own cooking competition series, Zumbo's Just Desserts, streaming on Netflix. Prepare to be hungry.