Netflix is now one of the biggest powerhouses in the entertainment industry and is taking some serious market share away from the networks. Even just a few years ago, nobody thought that Netflix would be NEARLY as powerful as it is now. They have even begun to win prestigious prizes at major awards shows for some of their own unique content, something that will likely continue in the future.
With the massive and increasing success of Netflix, there is some fantastic original programming on the platform, and that is exactly what this article will look at. These are the 10 best Netflix Original shows to-date, so read on and see where your favorite’s landed among the ranks and what shows are worth checking out, if you haven’t had a chance to watch them all yet.
10. BoJack Horseman
This is a unique inclusion on this list as it is an animated series. Animated series are rarely ever given a chance to produce an actual narrative or storyline, and are instead usually used to tell an endless string of stories in an unchanging universe on an episode to episode basis (Think Family Guy and The Simpsons). And then there’s BoJack Horseman, a Netflix Original series that delivers a surprisingly deep and meaningful story about the psychology and mind of a former sitcom star that also happens to be a horse. As voiced by Will Arnett, BoJack is an alcoholic trying to write his memoirs with the help of a ghost writer. Yes, it’s a world in which animal puns flow like water, of course, but it’s also an interesting look at the ways in which fame can change people.
Sense8 is a rigid and interesting sci-fi drama. The initially difficult-to-grasp plotline centers on a group of eight people from different parts of the world whose lives become connected following the death of a mysterious woman. It’s a beautiful show that embraces its characters and scenery, and the mysteries of its storyline are revealed slowly to avoid confusing viewers of this fairly abstract and unique show. From heists to fight scenes to wild orgies, name it and you’ll probably see it at some point in Sense8.
8. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
Making its return as a prequel to the 2001 cult hit of the same name, Wet Hot American Summer is a barrage of laughs from start to finish. The original was a commercial failure that developed a huge cult following and starred such names as Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, before they were the household names and mega stars that they are now. The 2001 film and the Netflix Original series focus on a group of teens at a summer camp in the 1980s and is a spoof of the many sex comedies that were aimed at teens in that era. The show has a very unique sense of humor and some people likely won’t appreciate it, but if you do, it is one of the funniest shows out there today.
7. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a hilarious comedy with a dark side, created by 30 Rock’s Tina Fey and Robert Carloc. The show’s main character is Kimmy, a former victim of a cult, who dives headfirst into a New York City lifestyle with the help of her glamorous and gigantic roommate Titus and other colorful characters. The comedy in this show is great, as it can range from goofy to uncomfortably dark. In addition, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is extremely clever, making it a real shock that NBC passed on picking this show up. Oh well, NBC’s loss is Netflix’s gain.
6. Chef’s Table
This show is fantastic, but do not watch it on an empty stomach. Each episode profiles a different chef from various areas of the world and their history, with each episode ending with an up-close examination of their signature dishes, which can make you wish smell-o-vision was a thing. While food shows are normally bloated and overly complimentary, this show is thrilling, beautiful and thoughtful. There are no competitions, loudmouth hosts or otherwise, just the beauty and art of creating magnificent food and meeting the people behind the meal. The show has received critical acclaim by many and is a must-watch for anyone who appreciates good food.
This is a thriller-drama series that focuses on the lives of the Rayburn family, who own and run a beachside hotel in Florida. When the oldest son and black sheep of the family, Danny, returns home he quickly causes turmoil amongst the family, who have a dark past and a secret to hide. When Danny gets caught up in the criminal world, he threatens to bring down his entire family and their legacy. This show has great performances throughout, but Ben Mendelsohn’s menacing performance as junkie brother Danny gave the show some edge, and could have his name in contention for some major awards over the next several months.
4. House of Cards
This show was one of the first Netflix Original series to become critically acclaimed, and House of Cards is still a major force to be reckoned with in the crowded world of dramas. The show has brilliant production value and is helmed by Kevin Spacey, who plays the role of a politician who is desperate to get into higher power. The main themes of the show are manipulation and power, which make this political drama among the best out there. And we aren’t the only ones who feel this way; it was the very first web television series to receive major award nominations (Emmys and Golden Globes), a few of which it ended up taking home.
3. Orange is the New Black
This show has easily one of the best ensembles on TV today and its writing is unbelievable as well. Orange is the New Black focuses on a female minimum security prison and its inhabitants and is a show obsessed with detail: Every single character has a “voice” and purpose of their own, which is rare on TV today. This kind of character development allows each episode to focus on different ideas and be about different people, which when combined with the show’s willingness to run the gamut between being both hilarious and incredibly dark, make this show an easy choice for this list. The show has also been critically acclaimed and nominated for numerous Emmys and Golden Globes as well!
Daredevil takes the top honor as the best superhero show on TV today. It is superior to anything we have seen in a while, with a storyline that packs a far grittier wallop than anything else in the genre. The writing is solid, the conversation between characters is great, and rarely does TV get fight scenes as gorgeous and well-choreographed as this. That sort of thing is normally reserved for film. This is one of the most watched Netflix Original series out there for good reason, as its entertainment value is through the roof.
This may surprise some people, but coming in as the pick for the best Netflix Original show is Narcos. The “newest kid in class,” Narcos dives into the life of cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, and the resulting portrait is fascinating and brilliant all around. At its core, Narcos is nothing without Wagner Moura, whose portrayal of Escobar is hypnotic and near perfect in every way. The whole series feels full of life and fluidity, as scenes can flip from quiet and mundane happenings to blinding violence in a second. The show’s story about a poor kid who grew up to be among the world’s wealthiest drug lords is also about colonization, American intervention and globalization. A worthwhile watch for anyone who has yet to dive in.