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 best TV shows on Netflix right now:
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
Creators: Mark Hudis, Barry Sonnenfeld
Cast: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Sunita Mani, Marc Maron
GLOW is a series that follows an out-of-work actress in the 1980s as she enters the newly developed world of women's wrestling, exploring many of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the sport. The show sports a rich, diverse cast of characters, almost all of which are multi-dimensional and bring more to the table than what’s expected. And though some characters sadly don't get the time to fully develop in just ten half-hour episodes, you’re left with plenty of reason to believe that they will in future seasons. Ultimately, GLOW is a wonderful love letter to wrestling fans, but with so much tasteful humor and an overall theme of empowerment, it’s sure to entertain just about anyone.
Voltron: Legendary Defender
Creators: Lauren Montgomery, Joaquim Dos Santos
Cast: Jeremy Shada, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Tyler Labine, Steven Yeun, Kimberly Brooks, Josh Keaton
Season 4 of the rebooted Voltron makes its way to Netflix this month, which means more of Keith, Lance, Hunk, Pidge, and Shiro in their intergalactic battle against the evil alien force led by King Zarkon. The updated format, which favors season-long storyarcs as opposed to standalone episodes, has been incredibly successful thus far, particularly when it comes to capturing the attention of adult viewers who grew up watching the original Voltron cartoons. And speaking of cartoons, The Legendary Defender is far and away one of the best-looking ones on Netflix thanks to the kinetic, visually stunning animation that allows the battle and transformation sequences to shine like no fan watching Defender of the Universe back in the ‘80s could have possibly dreamed of.
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.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: Matt Groening
Cast: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, David Herman, Frank Welker
Network: Fox, Comedy Central
Picture, if you will, a future in which aliens walk the streets, robots are our companions, and Nixon is in the Whitehouse again… well, his head, anyway. With Futurama, the brilliant mind behind The Simpsons presents another stunning example of brilliant writing, family-friendly humor, and deep-seated cultural satire, depicting an unexpected, yet tempting future. Despite being cancelled in 2003, Futurama proved popular enough among fans to warrant the series being revived by Comedy Central, and while some of the newer episodes lack a bit of the charm that made the initial run so enjoyable, it’s still a wildly entertaining series that’s sure to put a smile on your face.
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Cast: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Bryan Batt, Michael Gladis, Aaron Staton, Rich Sommer, Robert Morse, John Slattery
With Mad Men, showrunner Matthew Weiner manages to prove that there’s real drama in everyday life, even if it’s the lives advertising executives at a small firm in NYC. It’s an incredibly relatable program, with plenty of humor, heartache, and brilliant subtext that will absolutely appeal to viewers who are tired of being spoon-fed unrealistic situations and character beats. Each and every well-developed character on this show takes his or her turn to unfold in delicate layers, and let’s not forget how spot-on the show manages to capture the aesthetic of the ‘60s and ‘70s “leisure society.” If fast-paced action or a laugh track is a must, this definitely isn't the show for you. But, if you like character development and subtlety in your television shows, make sure to add Mad Men to your queue.
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: Vince Gilligan
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, RJ Mitte, Giancarlo Esposito
It isn’t always easy to introduce complex themes, plot lines, and ideas in a series and then weave them all together for a satisfying conclusion. However, that’s exactly what Breaking Bad manages to do. It captures the essence of the best of Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers and adapts it for a serialized television format, giving you a viewing experience that feels cinematic in scope, but broken up into easy-to-binge pieces. That’s thanks in large part to Bryan Cranston’s phenomenal acting, but the talented writers shouldn’t be overlooked, either, as they’re the ones that add layer upon layer of insight into some of the most interesting characters ever realized on the small screen. Collectively, the creator, writers, directors, and actors have paid attention to every single detail, putting thought into every nuance in every character in every scene, meaning that this show deserves every bit of your attention.
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.
Creator: Dan Levy, Eugene Levy
Cast: Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Dan Levy, Chris Elliot, Sarah Levy, Annie Murphy
Network: CBC Television
With Season 3 dropping this month, now’s a perfect time to catch up on this series about a once-rich family who were uprooted from their cushy lives and forced to rebuild their empire from the confines of the titular town they originally bought as a mere gag. This dark(ish) comedy ups the ante on your typical fish-out-of-water premise and features a stunning blend of spot-on writing, acting, and production. The cast oozes chemistry, and the smart one-liners and rapid-fire banter between characters will have you in stitches throughout the series. Schitt’s Creek is a refreshing change of pace from your run-of-the-mill network comedies and with 13-episode seasons, it makes for perfectly bingeable entertainment.
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.