We’ve all found ourselves staring aimlessly at Netflix’s massive library of TV shows at one point or another. With thousands of series to choose from, it’s easy to find yourself spending hours browsing through Netflix Original after Netflix Original, binge-worthy pastime after binge-worthy pastime, to the point that you’re too tired to even watch anything at all.
Thankfully, we here at Epicstream have you covered, as we’ve combed through the deepest confines of Netflix’s library to bring to you the 25 best TV shows on Netflix for April 2017:
Creators: The Wachowskis, J. Michael Straczynski
Cast: Tuppence Middleton, Brian J. Smith, Doona Bae, Aml Ameen, Max Riemelt, Tina Desai, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Jamie Clayton, Freema Agyeman, Terrence Mann, Anupam Kher, Naveen Andrews, Daryl Hannah
This globe-trotting sci-fi series, created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (co-directors of The Matrix trilogy) and former Babylon 5 showrunner J. Michael Straczynski, drops us into a world where eight strangers in different parts of the world are somehow psychically and emotionally linked. Through the first season’s 12 episodes, we follow this assortment of confused and beautiful people as they try to understand this strange connection and use their newfound abilities to help one another. As bizarre and over-the-top as Sense8 can often get, the series remains important as it deals with issues of sexuality and gender identity through the work of trans actress Jamie Clayton and performers Miguel Silvestre and Alfonso Herrera’s portrayal of a gay couple in Mexico City.Advertisement
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Creators: Mark Hudis, Barry Sonnenfeld
Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman, Presley Smith
When Netflix announced its adaptation of Daniel Handler’s beloved, zany books, many people questioned whether or not A Series of Unfortunate Events would be adaptable to the screen without sacrificing the nuances that make it so charming. Fortunately, director Barry Sonnenfeld, Neil Patrick Harris as the evil Count Olaf, and Handler himself (as screenwriter) rise to the challenge magnificently. The series, whose first season contains eight out of a planned 26 episodes, doesn’t consistently hit the emotional heights of Netflix’s best offerings, but it more than makes up for this faux pas with solid acting, abundant wit, and a visual aesthetic that is wholly unique in television—a blend of Tim Burton’s gothic whimsy and Wes Anderson’s diorama cinema. Book-readers will rejoice in the faithfulness of the adaptation, and while first-timers may take a bit longer to get their feet wet, the colorful menagerie of characters and the dogged perseverance of the Baudelaire orphans should win them over.
Creator: Cheo Hodari Coker
Cast: Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Alfre Woodard, Simone Missick, Erik LaRay Harvey, Rosario Dawson, Theo Rossi
Marvel’s third Netflix venture isn’t perfect—the structure of its villain hierarchy needs some serious tweaking—but it is good; very good, in fact, and most of all, it’s bold. Luke Cage is obviously a Marvel product, but it’s also the product of its creator, Cheo Hodari Coker, and its cast, including Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Alfre Woodard, Simone Missick, and Erik LaRay Harvey (plus appearances by Frankie Faison, Ron Cephas Jones and, of course, Method Man): The series has more flexibility in addressing its subject matter thanks to its platform, but it’s hard to imagine that it’d speak as loudly or as boldly even on Netflix without Coker driving the narrative forward. Even though the show loses steam in the latter half, these errors do little to detract from the series’ high points. Luke Cage blends its source material with a wide range of influences, from jazz to rap to horrors ripped straight from the headlines, hitting close to home with viewers of all backgrounds.
Creator: Shonda Rhimes
Cast: Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Kevin McKidd, Jessica Capshaw, Jesse Williams, Sarah Drew, Katherine Heigl, Isiah Washington, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr.
Now that Shonda Rhimes is such a force in the TV world, it’s hard to imagine there was a time before her landmark dramas were a staple in our viewing schedules. Premiering as a mid-season replacement way back in March 2005, Grey’s, now in its thirteenth season, first appeared to be nothing more than an ER pastiche. However, Rhimes perfected the art of a well-told soap opera, seamlessly weaving personal strife, romantic hookups, and complex medical cases. She broke ground with a multi-racial cast, same sex couples, and one of TV’s first bi-sexual characters. The series has survived multiple cast changes, the behind-the-scenes drama, and stubborn fans who threatened to quit the show when Patrick Dempsey’s character died. We take shows like Grey’s for granted, but when you are still successful after 13 seasons, you’re definitely doing something magical.Advertisement
Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Cast: Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris, Paul F. Tompkins
BoJack Horseman is one of the most underrated comedies ever made, and it’s appalling that it doesn’t earn more praise. Right from the title sequence, which documents BoJack’s sad descent from network sitcom star to drunken has-been, this is one of the most thoughtful comedies ever made. Which doesn’t mean it’s not hilarious, of course. Will Arnett is the perfect voice for BoJack, and Paul F. Tompkins could not be better suited for the child-like Mr. Peanut Butter. This is a show that isn’t above a visual gag or vicious banter or a cheap laugh, but it also tackles some very hard realities of life head-on. There are times when you will hate BoJack—this is not a straight redemption story, and the minute you think he’s on the upswing, he will do something absolutely horrible to let you down. Maybe it’s the anthropomorphism that keeps people away, or maybe it’s the animation, but if you look beyond those elements and settle into the story, you’ll be amazed by this comedy that toes the line between hilarious and sad like no other.
Creator: Russell T. Davies
Cast: John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Bum Gorman, Naoko Mori, Gareth David-Lloyd, Freema Agyeman, Bill Pullman
A spinoff of long-running BBC series Doctor Who, Torchwood retains some of its predecessor’s campy fun, but also seems to be reaching for the gritty realism that had understandably escaped most sci-fi shows. By the second season, creator Russell T. Davies seemed to realize that Torchwood would be better suited to leave the whimsy for the good Doctor, and let Harkness go to darker places. Like Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica, Davies has not only reimagined a classic series, but he’s also used his new extraterrestrial platform to explore human nature.
Creators: Rachel Bloom, Aline Brosh McKenna
Cast: Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III, Santino Fontana, Donna Lynne Champlin, Pete Gardner, Vella Lovell, Gabrielle Ruiz
Network: The CW
Don’t let the name keep you from tuning into this one—creator/star Rachel Bloom addresses it before the theme song’s even over, responding to choruses of “she’s the crazy ex-girlfriend” with lines like “that’s a sexist term” and “the situation’s more nuanced than that.” Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a clever musical-comedy about Rebecca Bunch, a lawyer who turns down a partnership at her New York firm to follow her ex-boyfriend Josh to West Covina, California and try to win him back. Along the way, though, Rebecca learns to address some of the neuroses she’s been carrying around since childhood. Her “crazy” is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always presented smartly and sensitively—never what you might expect from a show called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Creator: Melissa Rosenberg
Cast: Krysten Ritter, David Tennant, Rachael Taylor, Mike Colter, Carrie-Anne Moss, Eka Darville, Erin Moriarty, Wil Traval, Susie Abromeit
After the bar was set to nigh unreachable heights by season one of Daredevil, many wondered how Marvel and Netflix’s sophomore series would fare. However, few can argue that Jessica Jones surpassed expectations, and it certainly lives up to its predecessor in terms of compelling antagonists. David Tennant’s Kilgrave is chilling, yet eerily identifiable, eliciting backhanded feelings of sympathy that leave you questioning whether or not he’s really a bad person, before subsequently reassuring you that he absolutely is. Jessica, on the other hand, gives you an incredibly visceral take on a hard-nosed PI that uses alcohol to deal with PTSD. Not to mention, she also happens to have superpowers. Jessica Jones might not be quite as good as season one of Daredevil, but nothing from Marvel and Netflix has come closer thus far.
Creator: Amy Sherman-Palladino
Cast: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Melissa McCarthy, Keiko Agena, Yanic Truesdale, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop, Edward Herrmann, Liza Weil, Jared Padalecki, Milo Ventimiglia, Sean Gunn, David Sutcliffe, Chris Eigeman, Matt Czuchry
Networks: The WB, The CW, Netflix
Gilmore Girls is one of the only shows you can watch with your teenage daughter and your mother and be assured you will all be equally entertained. In addition to the dynamic storytelling, there’s the witty banter and pop-culture references that infuse all the dialogue. Even if you didn’t love the rather flawed A Year in the Life and despised the final four words, you’ll still be happy to see your friends from Stars Hollow again. This show has the tendency to become a part of your life, so approach it with optimistic caution.
Creator: Bill Lawrence
Cast: Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Donald Faison, Neil Flynn, Ken Jenkins, John C. McGinley, Judy Reyes
Networks: NBC, ABC
J.D. and the gang give a completely absurd, yet often realistic, look into the world of hospitals. The episodes don’t center around some complex disease; instead, Scrubs is largely character-driven. It was consistently overlooked by the Emmy Awards, and viewership dwindled throughout the seasons. Still, the witty writing and off-beat characters deserved more. In fact, when NBC canceled the show, ABC was confident enough to pick it up for two more seasons (though they were merely a shadow of what the show once was). In its prime, though, it was one of the best sitcoms on TV.
Creators: J.J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber, Damon Lindelof
Cast: Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Naveen Andrews, Michael Emerson, Terry O’Quinn, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Yunjin Kim, Daniel Dae Kim
When J.J. Abrams first marooned his plane-crash survivors on a remote island, no one realized the show’s name was a double entendre: It almost takes a genius to make sense of all the hidden clues, relevant connections, time shifts, and intertwined storylines, and each season has given us far more questions than answers. Still, there’s something refreshing about a network TV show that trusts the mental prowess of its audience instead of dumbing everything down to the lowest common denominator. Sometimes, it’s OK to be a little lost.
The Office (U.S.)
Creators: Greg Daniels
Cast: Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, B. J. Novak, Oscar Nunez, Brian Baumgartner, Angela Kinsey, Ed Helms, Creed Bratton, Phyllis Smith, Leslie David Baker, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Paul Lieberstein
Defying expectations that it would pale in comparison to its U.K. predecessor, NBC’s The Office became an institution unto itself. At its best, the American version was just as awkward as the U.K. series, while showing a lot more heart than the gang could muster in sooty old England. Steve Carell and the rest of the ensemble cast of this mockumentary-style show immediately capture your hearts, and despite faltering slightly after Carell departs, The Office manages to finish off strong, and is well worth your time if you’re in the mood for a fun twist of workplace comedies.
Creators: David Lynch, Mark Frost
Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Richard Beymer, Lara Flynn Boyle, Joan Chen, Eric Da Re, Sherilyn Fenn
At its core, Twin Peaks is a detective story, with Dale Cooper (Kyle Maclachan), a by-the-books FBI agent, descending upon the small logging town of Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of a young woman. But since this was a TV series conceived using the weird and wonderful visions of David Lynch, it wound up being so much more. It explores the weirdness that lies beneath the surface of Anytown, U.S.A., including a lot of soap opera-like drama, and assorted oddball characters like The Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) and agoraphobic Harold Smith (Lenny Von Dohlen). The horror of the show comes in with the supernatural underpinnings of the storyline, with the killer of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) potentially being an otherworldly force that goes by the name of Bob. With the help of Angelo Badalamenti’s bone-chilling score and the atmosphere created by the set designers, you spend the entirety of the two seasons waiting for something terrible to happen to everyone on screen, which makes it all the more epic when it finally happens.
Creator: Neil Cross
Cast: Idris Elba, Warren Brown, Paul McGann
Idris Elba as a sad, violent, genius detective, tracking down the weird serial killers of London? It’s a formula that should work, and it absolutely does. It was recently announced that the show is done after three series of three episodes each (though apparently there will be a feature film), and that length seems perfect. Also, Alice Morgan is one of the coolest criminals in any detective show.
Creator: Drew Goddard
Cast: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio
Prior to 2015, the most comic-book-accurate live action version of Daredevil fans had was the one played by Ben Affleck in the 2003 film that was detested by fans and critics alike. However, that all changed when Marvel and Netflix partnered up to begin building a new branch of the MCU – one that could bend the rules in comparison to the studio’s family-friendly films.Although season one outweighs season two in terms of quality, Daredevil as a whole is everything fans could have asked for in a live action depiction of Matt Murdock. Incorporating elements from classic comic book stories such as The Man Without Fear and Born Again, the Daredevil we see on-screen is every bit as compelling as the version fans have been reading for years. Additionally, Vincent D'Onofrio’s depiction of Wilson Fisk set the gold standard for superhero TV show villains – a bar that has yet to be surpassed even slightly.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Creator: Joel Hodgson
Cast: Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon, Kevin Murphy, Frank Conniff, Michael J. Nelson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, Patrick Brantseg
Networks: KTMA, The Comedy Channel, Comedy Central, The Syfy Channel
One of the funniest sci-fi show of all time (move over, Futurama and Red Dwarf), MST3K is as good as the movies it parodies are bad. The movie theater on the Satellite of Love is more ruthless than a cage of Klingons when it comes to savaging B-movies. Netflix currently offers 20 classic episodes from the series’ original run, as well as the revival, MST3K: The Return.
Orange is the New Black
Creator: Jenji Kohan
Cast: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Michael J. Harney, Michelle Hurst, Kate Mulgrew, Jason Biggs
Orange is the New Black is perfectly suited for the Netflix binge-watching model, if only because it would have been agonizing to wait a week for a new episode. And yet, the construct feels cinematic compared to your average show, as though the all-at-once release plane freed the creators to make something less episodic and more free-flowing. Taylor Schilling Cast as Piper Chapman, a woman living a content modern life when her past rears up suddenly to tackle her from behind, and the story is based on the real-life events of Piper Kerman, whose book of the same title was the inspiration. Schilling is the engine that drives the narrative, and her odd combination of natural serenity mixed with the increasing anger and desperation at the late turn her life has taken strikes the perfect tone for life inside the women’s prison. Over the first few episodes, prison is treated like an almost-quirky novelty she’ll have to experience for 15 months, and the wisest choice director Jenji Kohan made was to heighten the stakes so that what begins as an off-kilter adventure soon takes on the serious proportions prison life demands.
Parks and Recreation
Creators: Greg Daniels, Michael Schur
Cast: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones
Parks and Recreation started its run as a fairly typical mirror of The Office, but in its third season, the student became the teacher. As it’s fleshed out with bizarre characters and unusual city quirks, Pawnee has become the greatest television town since Springfield, and the show flourished this year with some of the most unique and interesting characters in comedy today. With one of the greatest writing staffs of any show, Parks and Recreation has continued to age like a fine wine, getting better and better with each passing season.
Making a Murderer
Creators: Laura Ricciardi, Moira Demos
After the Serial podcast captured the zeitgeist, Netflix brought viewers the true story of Steven Avery, a man wrongly convicted of a brutal assault. He sued law enforcement, and while in the middle of that suit, he became a suspect of an entirely new crime. The 10-part docu-series covers 30 years in Avery’s life, and like Serial, became a phenomenon that had us all playing armchair judge and jury, a la The Thin Blue Line.
Creators: The Duffer Brothers
Cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine
Since springing into the cultural consciousness immediately with its release, Stranger Things has been hailed as a revival of old-school sci-fi, horror, and ‘80s nostalgia that is far more effective and immediately captivating than most other series of its kind. The influences are immensely deep-rooted, with imagery evoking Amblin-era Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, and Tobe Hooper films that drip from nearly every frame. With a stellar cast of child actors and several different characters whose hidden secrets we desperately want to see explored, Stranger Things hits every note necessary to motivate a weekend-long Netflix binge. As questions now swirl about the direction of Season 2, following the first season’s explosive conclusion, we’re all hoping that the same group of characters will be able to re-conjure the chilling, heart-pounding magic of a perfectly constructed eight-episode series.
Creator: James Manos Jr.
Cast: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, James Remar, C.S. Lee, Lauren Vélez
The character arc of Dexter Morgan over eight seasons is fascinating to follow. Season 1 has you trying to come to terms with your empathy towards a serial killer, and eventually leaves you cheering for an old friend’s slow progression towards something akin to humanity. His moral code might be a world away from ours, but he often does a better job adhering to it than the rest of us. In addition to the constant edge-of-your-seat plot twists, each season gives you incredible guest stars as allies and antagonists, including Jimmy Smits, John C. Lithgow, Peter Weller, Mos Def, Edward James Olmos, and Julia Stiles.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Wil Wheaton
The original Star Trek series was pioneering, and Deep Space Nine and Voyager had their moments. However, TNG was far and away the greatest Star Trek series to date. Jean Luc Picard, Data, Worf, The holodeck, The Borg; Gene Roddenbury must not have had a cynical bone in his body, as evidenced when you witness his characters explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no one has gone before.
American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson
Creators: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Cast: Sterling K. Brown, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bruce Greenwood, Nathan Lane, Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer, John Travolta, Courtney B. Vance
In an era defined by a strange nostalgia for the 1990s, FX’s dramatization of the decade’s biggest spectacle reignited America’s obsession with “the trial of the century.” Anchored by Courtney B. Vance and Sarah Paulson as Johnnie Cochran and Marcia Clark, American Crime Story transforms the debauchery of a tabloid-ready story into a potent, surprisingly restrained treatment of “identity politics” in action. Most impressive of all, perhaps, is that the series manages to wring suspense from a twenty-year-old case that already unfolded on live television, becoming that now-rare artifact of an earlier cultural moment: appointment viewing.
The Walking Dead
Creator: Frank Darabont
Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden
Flying in the face of expectations, The Walking Dead somehow became cable’s highest-rated show over the course of the last seven years, even beating out Sunday Night Football on occasion. In terms of quality, the quest of the Grimes Gang to survive has been up and down, but the production values have always been impeccable. Although the story occasionally drags in places or is stretched too thin, the show always seems to rebound in one way or another. Say what you will about the lackluster Season 7, but the The Walking Dead’s overall success to date has already been massive for the marketability of horror on the small screen.
Creator: Tina Fey
Cast: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer, Scott Adsit, Judah Friedlander
Mitch Hurwitz’ sitcom about a “wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together” packs a whole lot of awesome into three short seasons. Not since Seinfeld has a comic storyline been so perfectly crafted, with every loose thread tying seamlessly into the next act. Arrested Development takes metatextual humor to the extreme, jumping shark after shark, but that’s part of the show’s charm. They even brought on the original shark-jumper—Henry Winkler—as the family lawyer, who was unsurprisingly replaced by Scott Baio. Each of the Bluth family members are among the best characters on television, and Jason Bateman plays a brilliant straight man to them all. After years of rumors, the show returned to Netflix for a fourth season—different in both construction and tone, but nevertheless, a gift to fans who had to say goodbye to the Bluths all too soon.