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The 26 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now

These are the must-sees on the streaming service, including both ironic originals and classic series.

Netflix has made it easier than ever to binge an entire TV series—and, ironically, made it much harder to decide what to watch, as the service puts hundreds of shows at your fingertips. And while we can't tell you exactly what you should watch, we can narrow down your options quite a bit. Read on for 26 of the best TV shows on Netflix right now, including ambitious sci-fi, imaginative fantasy, crime dramas, sitcoms, and even a documentary miniseries.

RELATED: 7 Hit TV Shows You Had No Idea Were Streaming for Free.

3 Body Problem (2024)

Jess Hong and John Bradley in 3 Body Problem

Based on a mind-expanding trilogy of science fiction novels from Chinese author Cixin Liu, this alien invasion story from the creators of HBO's Game of Thrones follows a group of scientists who discover evidence that Earth will be visited by hostile aliens in the future. They must then set about making sure humanity is ready when they get there.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (2024)

Gordon Cormier in Avatar: The Last Airbender

Based on the beloved anime-inspired Nickelodeon animated series about a boy of destiny who must learn to master his power over the four elements, this live-action version take strives to bring young Aang and friends into the third dimension. It's well-acted and fun to look at, even if the cartoon is still better. (Luckily, that's on Netflix too.)

Beef (2023)

Ali Wong and Steven Yeun in Beef

This acclaimed dark miniseries explores the increasingly drastic fallout of a minor incident of road rage between two strangers (played by Ali Wong and Steven Yeun). The two make one petty attempt after another to settle the score between them—and come ever closer to ruining their own lives—and you'll be totally riveted by their bad behavior.

Breaking Bad (2008)

Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad
Sony Pictures Television

Former sitcom dad Bryan Cranston grows into one of the greatest anti-heroes you'll ever hate rooting for in this addictive drama about Hank, a cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher who hooks up with local small-time meth cook Jesse (Aaron Paul) to manufacture drugs to pay his medical bills—and soon finds he's addicted to the money and power the job offers him.

Better Call Saul (2015)

Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul
Greg Lewis/AMC

This Breaking Bad spinoff picks up with Jessie and Hank's slimy lawyer and serves as both a sequel to that series and the origin story of Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), who walked a long road (as mostly decent guy, Jimmy McGill) on his way to becoming a crooked attorney. It's the rare followup that might be better than the original.

RELATED: The 31 Best True Crime Shows on Netflix Right Now.

Black Mirror (2011)

Wunmi Mosaku, Wyatt Russell, and Ken Yamamura in Black Mirror
Laurie Sparham/Netflix

All your fears about smartphones and social media turn out to be well-founded in this dark anthology series exploring the grimmest possibilities of our technological future. Episodes skewer everything from the gig economy to artificial intelligence to online identity with grim humor and an uncomfortable sense of verisimilitude. It'll make you want to throw your laptop in a lake.

Black Sails (2014)

Still from Black Sails

It's Game of Thrones on the seven seas in this gritty pirate drama. Decades before the events of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island, we meet "Long" John Silver (Luke Arnold) early on his journey towards becoming one of the most fearsome sea captains who ever lived.

Blue Eye Samurai (2023)

Still from Blue Eye Samurai

This anime-inspired adult animated series, set in 17th century Japan, follows a female warrior hunting down foreign invaders who stayed in the country in violation of the military government—and one of those men is her own father. With as strong a focus on character as on thrilling action, the series has earned universal acclaim—including a rare 100 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Broadchurch (2013)

Olivia Colman and David Tennant in Broadchurch

David Tennant hopped from Doctor Who to the small town of Broadchurch for this crime drama, which follows Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (Tennant) and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Oscar-winner Olivia Colman) as they delve into mysteries that stretch across an entire season and beyond, from the death of a young boy to a violent sex crime. Over three seasons, the show takes a bracing look at the lingering impact of criminal acts on a seemingly peaceful, tight-knit community.

Derry Girls (2018)

Still from Derry Girls

Set in Northern Ireland in the mid-'90s, amid the Troubles, this offbeat sitcom follows a group of lower-class Catholic school girls as they come of age, explore romantic relationships, and navigate class and religious conflicts. For a show touched by serious subject matter, though, its surprisingly light and always hilarious, with an endearing cast of misfits you'll grow to love over the too-short run of 19 episodes.

RELATED: The 6 Most Controversial TV Shows to Win Emmys.

Dark (2017)

 Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari, and Paul Lux in Dark

This sci-fi thriller starts with a child's disappearance in a small German town and quickly snowballs into a vast conspiracy involving time travel. Jumping between 2019, the '80s, and the '50s, the narrative unfurls slowly across three seasons, revealing how the fates of four families are tied to a mysterious wormhole discovered in a cave under the local nuclear power plant.

Gilmore Girls (2000)

Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel on Gilmore Girls
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

This funny, fast-talking romantic comedy series follows the lives of the titular Gilmore girls, mother and daughter Lorelei (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel). Though born into wealth, Lorelei is determined to make her own way in the world but is forced to get back in touch with her estranged parents (Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann) to help her send Rory to an elite prep school. Though the show is ostensibly for teens, the strong characters and screwball comedy energy will draw in older viewers, too.

The Good Place (2016)

Ted Danson, Marc Evan Jackson, and Kristen Bell in The Good Place

Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) stars in this surreal sitcom from the creator of Parks and Recreation about a selfish woman who dies and is surprised to find she's made it to a very suburban version of heaven—and has to do everything she can to convince the architect of the afterlife, Michael (Ted Danson), that she belongs there.

Goosebumps (1995)

Still from Goosebumps
Fox Kids/Cartoon Network

This creepy-funny horror anthology series, based on the beloved R.L. Stine children's books, is just the right amount of scary for kids—and for adults who won't be able to believe the show is nearly 30 years old. Revisit all your favorite chilling tales, featuring haunted masks, killer mannequins, and, of course, a whole subdivision's worth of haunted houses.

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

Julian Hillard in The Haunting of Hill House
Steve Dietl/Netflix

Loosely inspired by the Shirley Jackson novel of the same name, this chilling series jumps between two timelines, following a group of adults still struggling to make sense of the supernatural events they witnessed as children, when they lived in the titular haunted house. While there are plenty of onscreen scares in the sequences set in the characters' childhoods, the real horror comes in learning how those terrifying incidents affected their lives in the years since, in haunting and harrowing ways.

RELATED: The 30 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time, According to Science.

The Last Dance (2020)

Still from The Last Dance

This 10-episode docuseries chronicles the career of basketball legend Michael Jordan and his ride with the Chicago Bulls in the 1997-1998 NBA season. Featuring unaired footage and interviews, it explores Jordan's impact on the sport and offers behind-the-scenes insights on the star and his teammates.

Mindhunter (2017)

Holt McCallany and Jonathan Groff in Mindhunter

After Seven, Zodiac, and this two-season Netflix series, director David Fincher has made hunting serial killers into a cottage industry. Based on a lauded true-crime book, the period series follows the formation in the '70s of an elite FBI unit dedicated to profiling and tracking down the nation's most brutal murderers.

Narcos (2015)

Wagner Moura in Narcos

This gritty and carefully paced series chronicles the rise of Colombian drug cartels of the '80s. The show centers on real-life kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), alongside the law enforcement agents trying to bring him down, including a pre-Last of Us Pedro Pascal as agent Javier Peña.

One Day at a Time (2017)

Still from One Day at a Time

This update of the classic '70s Norman Lear sitcom recasts the central working class family as a Cuban-American clan living in Los Angeles. Justina Machado plays Penélope, a military veteran and single mother raising her kids with the help of her own mom. Though heartwarming and hilarious, the show also delves into serious issues, from PTSD to immigration to racism.

Outlander (2014)

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Outlander

Diana Gabaldon's epic novel series about a military nurse from 1945 (Caitríona Balfe) who is magically transported back to 1740s Scotland and falls in love with a Highland warrior (Sam Heughan) comes to the small screen with remarkable fidelity, considering the books weigh in at around 800 pages each. It's got everything you could want in a centuries-spanning romance: Bloody battles, hot love scenes, and lots of temporal twists and turns.

RELATED: 6 TV Plot Twists That Audiences Hated.

Russian Doll (2019)

Nastasha Lyonne in Russian Doll

A jaded New Yorker (Natasha Lyonne, who also co-created the show) dies in a freak accident on her 36th birthday and then finds herself reliving the day over and over. She must try to figure out how she got stuck in the time loop—and how to escape it, but she soon learns that she may not be the only person experiencing their own personal version of Groundhog Day. Though the premise might sound familiar on the surface, the show is completely fresh—a metaphysical mindbender with a lot to say about relationships, generational trauma, and living in New York City.

Ozark (2017)

Laura Linney and Jason Bateman in Ozark
Steve Dietl/Netflix

If you didn't get enough of middle-class nobodies breaking bad on Breaking Bad, Ozark is a good chaser. It follows what happens when a financial advisor (Jason Bateman) who launders money for Mexican drug cartels gets in over his head. To save his skin, he is forced to move his family (including his wife, played by Laura Linney) to Lake of the Ozarks to set up a larger criminal operation.

Peaky Blinders (2013)

Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders

This long-running period crime drama follows the exploits of the members of the Peaky Blinders street gang as they menace the streets of Birmingham, England in the years after the First World War. Oscar-winner Cillian Murphy plays Tommy Shelby, the leader of the gang, as they attempt to evade Major Campbell (Sam Neill) and build their criminal empire. In later seasons, the Peaky Blinders expand internationally, bumping up against the New York Mafia and the IRA.

Rugrats (1991)

Still from Rugrats

The best thing about watching this classic '90s Nickelodeon cartoon as an adult is realizing that even though the show is about a bunch of toddlers getting involved in unlikely and imaginative adventures, much of the humor is actually aimed at the grownups in the room.

Schitt's Creek (2015)

Still from Schitt's Creek
CBC Television

A mega-rich family gets what's coming to them after they are bankrupted by a scandal and forced to move to Schitt's Creek, a small town that they'd previously bought as a gag. Forced to live in a hotel and scramble to find work, even though they are supremely unskilled at doing anything but being rich, Johnny (Eugene Levy) and Moria (Catherine O'Hara) and their clueless adult children (Annie Murphy and Dan Levy, who co-created the show with his dad) accidentally become better people along the way.

Stranger Things (2016)

Still from Stranger Things

You've probably already binged this mega-hit about a group of small town Indiana teens who stumble into a government conspiracy involving kidnapped children with superhuman powers, alternate dimensions, and lots of goopy monsters. Refresh your memory to prepare for the release of the final season next year.

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a pop culture writer living in New York. Read more
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