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The 100 Best Netflix Original Series of All Time

From comedy to drama, reality to fantasy, the best of Netflix contains multitudes

Best Netflix Original Series
Illustration by Steven Fiche
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    In 2013, you could count the number of Netflix original series that existed on one hand. Nine years later, that number is, well, a little higher. Over that time, the streaming giant became a huge player in the entertainment world, developing a massive catalog of content spanning all genres, for all audiences, in as many languages as the translators can manage.

    The below list, spotlighting 100 of the best offerings to come from Netflix since those earliest days, does its best to represent how Netflix has provided a home for near-countless series that might never have gotten a greenlight anywhere else, amplifying new takes and new voices just as a new hunger for innovative storytelling on television was being discovered. (For those curious about the rules here, the shows included had to have originated on Netflix, eliminating continuations like Arrested Development and Black Mirror.)

    The entertainment industry was a very different place before Netflix became a purveyor of original content — and more than any other single company, Netflix was responsible for those changes. Debates may wage for decades as to whether or not all of those changes were good ones. But the 100 shows below represent 100 reasons why we’re glad Netflix got in the game.

    Liz Shannon Miller


    100. Emily in Paris

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    What do you get if you mix Sex in the City, the ever-annoying Instagram algorithm, and a Rainbow Unicorn Bang energy drink into a blender? You’d get Emily in Paris, arguably one of Netflix’s most polarizing series of recent memory. Lily Collins’ Emily Cooper is Carrie Bradshaw for millennials and Gen-Zers who live on their For You Page, albeit ditzier and more ignorant as an American in Paris who can’t speak a syllable of French. Some say it’s corny; really, it’s camp. Come for the extravagant outfits, but stay for the soapy, tumultuous, and sex-driven decision making. — Rachael Crouch

    99. Q-Force

    Working from Sean Hayes’s idea for a gay James Bond, showrunner Gabe Liebman’s animated farce features a team of LGBTQI+ secret agents tasked with using their special skills to save the world. With a voice cast featuring Wanda Sykes, Patti Harrison, David Harbour, Laurie Metcalf and more, Q-Force is a treat for anyone who’s ever brunched in West Hollywood and/or can appreciate a reference like “Call me Miss Congeniality, honey, cos I’m a femme top with a gun.” — L.S.M.

    98. Selling Sunset

    When it comes to reality TV, it’s hard to name a show that is juicier than Selling Sunset. This series follows the Oppenheim Group, a Los Angeles real estate firm that sells mega high-priced properties. Of course, because this is a reality show, that isn’t all there is to it: drama and scandal runs rampant in its four seasons.

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    If that isn’t enough to sell you on Selling Sunset, it was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Unstructured Reality Program, and has two spin-offs courtesy of Netflix: Selling Tampa, (basically Selling Sunset but in Florida), and Selling the OC, which is set on California’s Newport Beach. So if you’re looking to peak behind the curtains at the world of the rich and famous, you’re looking for a healthy dose of drama and catfights, or you just want to look at beautiful houses for a while, Selling Sunset is without a doubt the show for you. — Aurora Amidon

    97. Turn Up Charlie

    No one ever went broke betting on the dramatic and comedic potential of teaming up a precocious small child and a gruff adult disillusioned with the world. Turn Up Charlie, created by Idris Elba and Gary Reich, stars Elba as a struggling D.J. whose new nannying gig might help relaunch his music career — provided he can survive serving as caretaker to the irrepressible Gabrielle. While it received a lukewarm critical reception upon its premiere, Elba’s undeniable charms (and solid EDM tracks, created specifically for the show) make this a pleasant low-key watch. — L.S.M.

    96. Daybreak

    Most shows set during the post-apocalypse can be pretty dour experiences, but there’s a level of pure glee built into this short-lived series about a teenager (Colin Ford) who honestly finds life in the chaotic ruins of Glendale, California to be a lot better than the before times. Just going to say this: There are 99 other shows on this list, but this is the only one where Matthew Broderick plays an actual cannibal. Tune in for the wild genre riffs, stay for one of the post-apocalypse’s greatest innovations: American Ninja Idol. — L.S.M.

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    95. History of Swear Words

    You get six episodes of Nicolas Cage and guests — ranging from pop culture personalities like Sarah Silverman, Nick Offerman, Jim Jefferies, and Isiah Whitlock Jr., to legitimate scholars like Elvis Mitchell and Mireille Miller-Young — discussing the secret history of profanity with playful poise, archival footage, and colorful historical reenactments. What more could you want? — Jordan Blum

    94. Disenchantment

    Lacking the pure irreverence that’s made The Simpsons and Futurama classics, Disenchantment is in some ways Matt Groening’s undervalued stepchild. But that’s not entirely fair. It’s a very different type of show, one that actually seeds an intricate storyline throughout its seasons rather than the general sitcom setup of those other series. In that, it arguably exceeds Groening’s past cartoons, as following Bean, Elfo, and Luci becomes more than just “what wacky thing will these characters do next” and begs for investment in true arcs. Along with Groening’s trademark humor, some wonderfully inventive animation, and a stellar cast (Abbi Jacobson, Eric André, Nat Faxon), it’s a fun, funny fantasy that, given the chance, will wrap you up in its magic. — Ben Kaye

    93. Lost in Space

    The Space Family Robinson got a Martian-level facelift in Netflix’s three-season chronicle of their quest to join the rest of humanity on Alpha Centauri. It suffered from the same pacing and tonal problems as any Netflix show, but made up for it with Parker Posey as a wily, manipulative take on Dr. Smith and the Internet’s favorite thicc robot. — Clint Worthington

    92. W/ Bob and David

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    Despite their increasing mainstream fame, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross have never let go of their semi-surrealist sketch comedy roots. Nowhere is that more evident than W/ Bob and David, the spiritual successor to their classic HBO series Mr. Show. While not reaching the cult status of the latter, W/ Bob and David still effectively showcased and evolved their absurd humor for a mainstream audience that has finally caught up to their sensibilities. — Erin Brady

    91. Never Have I Ever

    Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher gave us a whole new type of teen girl hero in Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a Sherman Oaks high school student coping with her grief over her father’s passing and her determination to finally get herself a boyfriend, all while dealing with the pressures of school and family expectations. Devi is smart, funny, complicated, and flawed, and thanks to Ramakrishnan’s winning performance it’s impossible not to root for her. The supporting cast, including Poorna Jagannathan, Richa Moorjani, Darren Barnet, Jaren Lewison, Helen Hong, Ramona Young, Lee Rodriguez, and John McEnroe as Devi’s inner monologue, is also packed with standouts whose own stories have gotten only richer over the first two seasons. — L.S.M.

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