There is a ridiculous number of original series available on Netflix right now — so many it’s almost impossible to keep up with them. Even Netflix seems to have a tough time making sure its viewers know about its shows. We dug into the annals of Netflix series and plucked out the very best ones for your enjoyment. Here they are in order of great to phenomenal.
“Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp”
A prequel to the movie “Wet Hot American Summer,” the Netflix series brings together a huge number of hilarious people for a zany parody of 1980s summer camp movies. Nothing makes sense and everything is ridiculous. It’s great.
It takes a bit to hit its stride, but once it does, “BoJack Horseman” joins the top tier of animation geared at adults. The goofy comedy combines solid writing and a cynical look at Hollywood with a darker look at issues like depression.
Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill facing off from opposite sides of the law in post-World War I Britain is enough to make “Peaky Blinders” worth a watch. But its great casting and rock music-amplified tone make it a period crime drama that’s unpredictable in a completely violent way.
“13 Reasons Why”
High school drama “13 Reasons Why” tells the story of a girl who commits suicide, and the tapes she leaves behind for the various people in her life that drove her to that decision. Delivered like a mystery, the show’s full of characters who struggle with high school, figuring themselves out, and trying (and failing) to be good people.
“The Get Down”
Baz Luhrmann’s musical drama looks to capture the moments surrounding the birth of hip-hop in New York. The series brings a lot of excitement, along with Luhrmann’s signature visual style, to create a series that’s not like much of anything else on Netflix. With two seasons now available, there’s a lot of “The Get Down” to get into.
The gritty British thriller starring Gillian Anderson of “The X-Files” fame is split between two perspectives: Anderson’s Detective Gibson and the serial killer she’s hunting. Anderson is consistently great as the no-nonsense Gibson, who hunts the killer while fighting off controversy among the police and the press.
“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”
This adaptation of the children’s book series of the same name manages a hilariously melancholy tone. Neil Patrick Harris slays the role of the ridiculously evil Count Olaf, and the rest of the show is full of great performances from a series of stars.
Netflix’s first original series from Brazil takes place in a dystopian future. The poor live in squalor but have a chance when they turn 20 to earn their way into paradise. They just have to be smart, capable, and willing to stab each other in the back.
“Santa Clarita Diet”
There’s a lot to love about “Santa Clarita Diet” and it’s fun take on the undead. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in particular are hilariously square suburbanites. The way they take to murdering people for the newly zombified Barrymore to eat, in order to preserve their family, is weirdly heartwarming and constantly funny.
“Travelers” goes gritty with its time travel, imagining agents from the future who have to take over the bodies of people in the past in order to stop the end of the world. The best stuff here is the personal drama as the characters battle their own guilt at the harm they sometimes have to do for the greater good.
The first of Netflix’s original shows featuring Marvel superheroes was a surprisingly dark and intense take. With awesome action and strong stories, “Daredevil” gave Marvel fans a more subdued, believable kind of superhero story in its two seasons.
“Making a Murderer”
The deep-dive documentary into the investigation of the murder of Teresa Halbach stretches on for 10 episodes, but it’s never boring. Instead, it presents a look into the investigation and conviction of Steven Avery that has sent many viewers digging into the case looking for the truth themselves.
“Marvel’s Luke Cage”
Netflix’s superhero offerings do a stellar job of expanding Marvel stories into perspectives fans might not be used to seeing. “Luke Cage” takes viewers to Harlem, and it’s just as conscious of the implications of following a black man who’s immune to being shot as it is of how cool it would be to have bullet-proof skin.
“Marvel’s Jessica Jones”
The second partnership of Netflix and Marvel pits the super-strong but flawed Jessica Jones against a mind-controlling man who she can’t convince anyone exists. “Jessica Jones” is more drama than action, and watching her try to out-maneuver the manipulative Purple Man is often more exciting than flying superhero fists.
Netflix’s “Stranger Things” perfectly channels a 1980s movie aesthetic and tells a compelling monster-slash-government conspiracy story. It’s also that certain sort of kid-driven Steven Spielberg or Stephen King kind of story that there just aren’t enough of in the 21st Century.
The saga of Pablo Escobar’s rise to power and the DEA agents tasked with stopping him is a powerhouse of strong acting. There’s no shortage of crime story violence and mystery in the lengthy drug war Escobar wages, which now covers two seasons.
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
This Tina Fey-co-created comedy starts with a strange premise — Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) has escaped a bunker after being kidnapped by a doomsday evangelist for years. But Kemper’s relentlessly upbeat attitude and the supporting zany cast make “Unbreakable” something of a weirdo answer to “30 Rock.” You’ll need to rewatch it to catch all of the hidden jokes.
“Master of None”
Aziz Ansari brings a rare brand of comedy that’s instantly relatable. Whether it’s about navigating life at 30 or the experience of growing up in America as the child of immigrants, “Master of None” has a unique, extremely funny perspective. With the second season about to be released, now’s the time to catch up.
“House of Cards”
Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is backstabbing his way to greater power in the halls of Washington D.C. It’s occasionally ridiculous, but great performances by Spacey, Robin Wright, and many more make Underwood’s machinations hard to guess and harder to stop watching. The next season kicks off on May 30.
“Orange is the New Black”
The longer “OITNB” goes on, the better it gets, as it delves into the diverse perspectives of its women’s prison population. It’s an examination of the justice system, of people trying to make the best of a bad situation, and of friendship and survival. It’s also consistently hilarious and sports a phenomenal cast.