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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.

    90. Too Hot to Handle

    Netflix has cracked the code on what makes good trash television – isolating a group of obnoxious hot people from society and letting them do their thing. Too Hot to Handle is perhaps the trashiest of the streamer’s dating show fare, which is ironic given how its premise hinges on the rule that nobody can be intimate with each other. However, how entertaining can a reality dating show be if all the rules are followed? Sexy and messy times await for anyone who wants to resist temptation for $100,000. — E.B.

    89. A Series of Unfortunate Events

    The second attempt at Lemony Snicket’s macabre children’s novels managed to deliver a quirky (and complete) adaptation that satisfied both its young fans and very-much-adult original audience alike. Though Neil Patrick Harris never delivers a reaction this elite, he nails the menacing Count Olaf while baby Sonny took a big bite out of our hearts. — Bryan Kress

    88. Brand New Cherry Flavor

    One of the common complaints against Netflix’s original library is that the majority of its titles aren’t particularly risky or unique. Brand New Cherry Flavor is the bizarre, bloody, and downright weird outlier of this belief. With all of its outlandish plot diversions and eyebrow-raising sex, its core tells a powerful and unfortunately relatable story of female creativity at the whims of patriarchal capitalism. Given its divisive reaction upon release and subsequent TikTok infamy, Brand New Cherry Flavor is a uniquely chaotic experience that needs to be seen to be believed. — E.B.

    87. The Floor Is Lava

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    One of the benefits of Netflix’s throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach is a multitude of bizarre game shows that in another time would have just been a Saturday Night Live game show sketch. The best of these is The Floor is Lava, a sort of Double Dare-style obstacle course version of the classic game every bored kid has played on their furniture at home. — Al Shipley

    86. Magic for Humans

    Magician and former Food Network host Justin Willman packages dense topics like fear and fatherhood into digestible episodes with man-on-the street crowd-pleasers, child-led focus group tricks, and the occasional social experiment that might make participants wish they could stay invisible. No matter what, you’ll never hear the name Susan the same again. — B. Kress

    85. The Chair

    One of Netflix’s more recent endeavors, The Chair is a fun and poignant half-hour comedy-drama that you can easily whip right through. Set at the fictional Pembroke University, the show follows Ji-Yoon Kim (Sandra Oh), a professor who has been freshly appointed as the chair of the school’s English department. In her new position, she must navigate and attempt to transform an administration that holds an abundance of outdated customs and views.

    Unsurprisingly, Oh’s performance is excellent, and the show is worth watching just for that. It’s a plus that it also takes a fresh look at academia, which is a subject often unexplored in TV. For now, there’s only one season, but due to The Chair’s largely positive reviews, there is hopefully a second lurking on the horizon. — A.A.

    84. Frontier

    There are so many elements of this underseen Canadian-produced historical drama to recommend it. First of all, there’s the time and place: Focused on the fur trade in late 1700s North America, the series plays like Deadwood with more snow and only slightly less cursing. Plus, there are the bonkers epigrams, with each episode introduced by quotes from sources including Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Beyonce, Ice-T and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. But the biggest thing to recommend it is a solid cast led by Jason Momoa, proving years before Aquaman just how compelling a leading man he can be. — L.S.M.

    83. Anne with an E

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    CBC’s 2017 adaptation of Anne of Green Gables was a bit darker and more grounded than previous incarnations: It gave its titular dreamer (a lovely AmyBeth McNulty) a torturous childhood, for one thing. But it still carries that same spirit of imagination and pastoral adventure as the books, and its three short seasons find plenty of hope amid its defiant, endearingly modern take on the material. — C.W.

    82. Narcos

    With stellar performances from its diverse cast, Narcos chronicles the rise of the cocaine trade in Colombia and abroad, centering around Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartel. It also highlights the war on drugs from the perspective of law enforcement, politicians, and civilians; allowing the viewer to empathize with all parties involved. The original three-season series was so popular that a spin-off, Narcos: Mexico, was created — ensuring plenty of Narcos content going forward. — Okla Jones

    81. Dash & Lily

    What could be more delightful than Christmas in New York? The knowledge that no matter what time of year or wherever you might live, you can experience the joys of the city at its best through Dash & Lily.

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    The sweetly sincere adaptation of Rachel Cohn & David Levithan’s book Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares stars Austin Abrams and Midori Francis as the titular teenagers, whose holiday breaks get tangled up together after one of them stumbles across a notebook of dares left behind by the other. While the show was canceled after the first season, those eight episodes remain a delightful time capsule to be enjoyed year-round. — L.S.M.

    80. Dead to Me

    Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini anchor this twisty dark comedy thanks to their truly magnetic chemistry. While the main plotline itself is a bit bonkers — a ticking time bomb of sorts that will eventually explode — the clever writing pays attention to the details in female friendship. The pacing may not be the smoothest when compared to many other shows on this list, but it remains incredibly watchable and, often, tons of fun. — Mary Siroky

    79. Teenage Bounty Hunters

    Our titular Teenage Bounty Hunters are two gun-toting, churchgoing private school girls (Anjelica Bette Fellini and Maddie Phillips) who stumble into an after-school job under the tutelage of seasoned skip tracers (Kadeem Hardison and Method Man). Few of Netflix’s many one-season wonders deserved renewal more than this unorthodox coming-of-age story, especially because the finale ended with an inspired twist. — A.S.

    78. Murderville

    Making brilliant use of the controlled chaos of improv, Krister Johnson’s murder-mystery parody show throws Will Arnett, as grizzled detective Terry Seattle, and a different celebrity guest partner (who doesn’t know the script) into a different kooky mystery every episode. The improv-friendly folks (Conan, Kumail) are good, but the real joy comes from left-fielders like Sharon Stone and Marshawn Lynch. — C.W.

    77. Love

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    Paul Rust and Gillian Jacobs’ modern love story follows their messy but honest path from irresistible companionship to mutual, unconditional acceptance. The series has some great musical moments, particularly Gus’ bizarre band meetings that result in theme songs for movies like While You Were Sleeping, but the finale’s swoon-worthy resolution nabs its most enduring needle drop with Wilco’s “You and I.” — B. Kress

    76. The Eddy

    Produced and in part directed by La La Land helmer Damien Chazelle, The Eddy continues the cause of championing jazz music while uniting Chazelle with Moonlight star Andre Holland. Holland leads an international cast as Elliot, a former musician running a jazz club in Paris. While there are enough dramatic twists to push The Eddy occasionally into thriller territory, the show excels most as a collection of vibes, with a soundtrack featuring original songs from Glen Ballard and Randy Kerber. — L.S.M.

    75. Inventing Anna

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month and a half, chances are you’ve heard of Inventing Anna, AKA Netflix’s newest craze. The miniseries, created by Grey’s Anatomy’s Shonda Rhimes, dramatizes the real, stranger-than-fiction life of fake heiress Anna Delvey.

    Based on Jessica Pressler’s renowned New York Magazine article, “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People,” the show watches Delvey (played impeccably by Julia Garner) con the elites of New York City into thinking she’s a German heiress. In doing this, she successfully scams them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Naturally, the show is a complete blast to watch. We already knew that Rhimes knows how to keep her audiences entertained — it’s just a bonus that the story is effortlessly wild. — A.A.

    74. Living with Yourself

    Paul Rudd plays Miles Elliot as a miserable crank like his character in This Is 40. But then he gets cloned at a strip mall spa (just go with it), and Miles’s clone is like every other Paul Rudd character, relentlessly charming. Living with Yourself is an existential comedy about self-image, but it’s also a clever interrogation of the appeal of one of our most effortlessly likable movie stars. — A.S.

    73. Santa Clarita Diet

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    What would you do if your spouse became an undead monster who feasts on human flesh? If you’re Joel (Timothy Olyphant) in Santa Clarita Diet, you help your zombie wife Sheila (Drew Barrymore) keep her bloody new lifestyle a secret, and find people that maybe deserve to be devoured. Horror comedy has never been this heartwarming. — A.S.

    72. Trollhunters

    Guillermo del Toro made his name on fantasy films that would give your children nightmares, but his first animated series is cute and kid-friendly while still esoteric and original. Trollhunters featured Kelsey Grammer as a six-eyed troll, as well as the late Anton Yelchin, who recorded dialogue for over 40 episodes before his tragic 2016 death. — A.S.

    71. House of Cards

    Arguably Netflix’s most significant series, the critically acclaimed House of Cards follows congressman Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) on his Macbeth-ian rise through the political ranks. Deception, greed, and selfish ambition are his primary motivators, and during its six-season run we see just how steep a price it is to gain power, and how fleeting it is after its attained. — O.J.

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    70. Rhythm + Flow

    Regarding Rhythm + Flow, let’s get the bad out of the way first: T.I., Chance The Rapper, and Cardi B are certainly not the ideal judges for a hip-hop reality competition show. But none of the judges’ odd antics can successfully take away from the sheer amount of talent that Rhythm + Flow boasts.

    The series allows for contestants to dig deep and share their authentic experiences week to week, with no censorship and very little time to pull it all together. The resulting competition is a riveting and genuinely inspiring love letter to the art of hip-hop — watching these contestants battle it out with their own ingenuity and vulnerability, all while staying true to their identity as artists and MCs, is some damn good television. — Paolo Ragusa

    69. Shadow and Bone

    Adapted from Leigh Bardugo’s series of young adult novels, Shadow and Bone gets everything right about the fantasy genre. Throughout the plucky and lovable cast of leads and generous world-building, Ben Barnes is a standout as the brooding General Kirigan as the show digs into beloved tropes unabashedly — give us enemies to lovers to enemies again, yes! — without veering into territory that feels cheesy or overdone.

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    While there still hasn’t been a confirmation on the Season 2 release date, we know it’s coming, and that there’s much more worth exploring in the Shadow and Bone universe. — M.S.

    68. Waffles and Mochi

    It’s hard enough to get kids to eat their vegetables, but Netflix’s culinary take on Sesame Street — in which a yeti-waffle hybrid and her BFF, a lump of sentient rice paste, learn about food with the help of Michelle Obama — is an exceedingly charming attempt to get young ones interested in where their food comes from. — C.W.

    67. Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    In a world where there are not one, but two concurrent reboots of He-Man running — both on Netflix, no less — it’s hard to pick which one is more innately valuable. But in significantly revamping the show’s lore, raising the stakes to bloody new heights, and giving us Mark Hamill in the role of Skeletor, Kevin Smith’s grittier version (which shifts focus from Adam to Teela, a move that made all manner of Redditors mad) easily wins out. — C.W.

    66. Nailed It!

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    Sure, it’s exciting to watch top-of-the-line bakers create cakes worthy of an exhibit in the Smithsonian. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to see a portrayal of the kitchen experience that harkens a little closer to the average amateur baker’s reality. Enter Nailed It!, the show where contestants compete for $10,000 doing the same thing you were during the 2020 lockdown: butchering a cute Pinterest cupcake recipe. They just made it look so easy…Jonah Krueger

    65. Midnight Mass

    Like its two predecessors, Midnight Mass exudes Mike Flanagan’s characteristically superb mixture of gothic frights, emotional payoffs, and philosophical meditations on life, love, and everything in-between. Specifically, its use of vampirism, religious extremism, and communal division harkens back to the allegorical genius of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. It’s unforgettable. — J.B.

    64. Love, Death & Robots

    It’s best to think of Love, Death & Robots as Black Mirror meets Heavy Metal, an anthology of animated CG short stories positing more visually imaginative worlds than live-action is often capable of producing. They’re not all winners — some feel more like video-game cutscenes designed for hormonal teens — but masterworks like “Zima Blue” and the hilarious “All Through the House” are well worth your time. — C.W.

    63. Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous

    Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous finds Netflix adapting the beloved action-adventure franchise for a younger audience. Who didn’t love dinosaurs when they were little? While Camp Cretaceous is by no means perfect, it holds the Spielberg-ian tradition of humor, poignancy, and fantasy at its core. — R.C.

    61. Hollywood

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    Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, Hollywood brings a very modern twist to the Golden Age of Hollywood: Rather than accept the fact that the real Hollywood of the 1940s was a brutally racist, sexist, and homophobic community, Murphy and Brennan just rewrite history itself, telling the story of a fictional film production that breaks down barriers for everyone involved. At turns sexy, goofy, inspiring, and earnest to the brink of cheesiness, Hollywood is a quixotic charmer, anchored by an incredible cast including David Corenswet, Darren Criss, Laura Harrier, Joe Mantello, Dylan McDermott, Jeremy Pope, Holland Taylor, Samara Weaving, Jim Parsons, and Patti LuPone. — L.S.M.

    60. Last Chance U

    Sports documentaries can be tricky. It’s all too easy to fall into familiar formulas: the underdog’s upset, the rise and fall of a legend, the retelling of “the big game.” Last Chance U expertly navigates around these canned narratives to present a wholly unique look into pre-professional athletics, focusing on junior college athletics programs giving student athletes a “last chance” at getting back into Division I. The novel premise and the genuinely surprising twists and turns of each season make for an entertaining watch, even for those who couldn’t care less about football. — J.K.

    62. Bridgerton

    While Season 2 of Netflix’s Emmy-winning period drama might have been slightly less horny than Season 1, Bridgerton remains a solid charmer from Shondaland, adapting Julia Quinn’s novels for a lush and immersive look at Regency England that puts women’s stories first. With the power to create new stars like Regé-Jean Page out of thin air and also change the way we look at period dramas, full stop, Bridgerton is a television force that will likely be around for years to come. — L.S.M.

    59. The Witcher

    That earworm of a song aside, The Witcher stands out amongst Netflix originals for its bold plotting choices (maybe a little too bold, leading to Season 2’s simplified approach to timelines) and a career-defining performance by Henry Cavill as Geralt, a surly and haunted demon-fighter with his own internal demons to battle. Of all the shows that have launched in the last ten years that owe at least a tip of the hat (perhaps even the tossing of a coin) to Game of Thrones, The Witcher arguably improves the most on the horny swords-and-sorcery genre to which it belongs. — L.S.M.

    58. Sex Education

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    Sex Education is one of Netflix’s most streamed shows, and when you hear the premise, that only makes sense. The series follows awkward high-schooler Otis (Asa Butterfield) who gains notoriety among his peers when he starts to share information pertaining to the birds and the bees, as gleaned from his sex therapist mother, Jean (Gillian Anderson).

    Unsurprisingly, Sex Education is chock-full of awkward moments, satisfying romances, and general high school hijinx. So far, the show has three seasons, but has been renewed for a fourth — and based on its large fanbase and critical acclaim, the fourth more than likely won’t be the last. — A.A.

    57. The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale

    Many clip shows have tried to eat The Soup’s lunch since its cancellation in 2015 — just tune into MTV at any time of the day — but no one has reached the same heights as Joel McHale’s relentless, and sometimes literal, punching-down (can a man of his stature hit anywhere else?) until Netflix’s soft reboot. — B. Kress

    56. The Haunting of Hill House

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    It’s a brilliantly imaginative adaption of Shirley Jackson’s novel, as well as a remarkable Netflix series debut from genre great Mike Flanagan. Brimming with impeccable acting, writing, direction, and production, Hill House’s non-chronological structure, exquisite atmospheres, and three-dimensional characters culminate in some of the most poignantly tragic storytelling in modern horror. — J.B.

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