You Must Binge Watch These TV Shows On Netflix Now

Published on 05/24/2022

Because Netflix adds new episodes of its original content at such a rapid pace, it can be difficult to keep track of which of the streaming service’s dramas, comedies, and reality shows are absolute must-watches. That does not even take into account all of the television shows that Netflix acquires from broadcast and cable networks. This list, which is updated on a regular basis, features our picks for the top 10 shows now streaming on Netflix in the United States.

Shutterstock 1250631805

Shutterstock 1250631805


This Korean high school horror epic offers a unique take on the post-apocalyptic zombie genre, with a cast of individuals whose daily lives as adolescents are already rough, even without an invasion of the undead. Based on a digital comics series, “All of Us Are Dead” depicts the outbreak’s step-by-step progression as some pupils become sick while others devise devious escape schemes. The action is violent and bloody. But a huge part of what makes this show so popular is some good old-fashioned adolescent angst, as these teens continue to deal with cliques and bullying even while civilization crumbles. (Horror enthusiasts might also check out “Midnight Mass,” a Stephen King-esque series about supernatural occurrences in a small fishing village.)

The streaming services are rife with docuseries and docudramas about cunning con artists; however, the four-part documentary “Bad Vegan” flips the script, portraying the story of a well-meaning gourmet influencer who was duped. Chris Smith, widely known for his work on “Fyre” and “Tiger King,” directs and produces Sarma Melngailis, a seemingly successful New York restaurateur and raw-food advocate who falls under the spell of a strange and fascinating man. In this series, Smith and his team reveal several shocks as they investigate how an amazing exercise in modern brand creation went wrong. (Watch the anthology series “Worst Roomate Ever” for another cockeyed spin on true crime.)

“Attack on Titan,” one of the most popular anime series in recent years, is set in a futuristic dystopia where humanity hides inside a fortress intended to defend it from human-eating titans. As the tale progresses, it becomes evident that what remains of civilized society does not fully understand its huge adversaries. Eren Yeager, an assertive teenage hero, wants to better understand his planet so he can combat the Titans directly. As of late April, Netflix only has the first season (of four) of this drama; but, just 25 half-hour episodes convey a very complete story, complete with fascinating twists, odd visions, and horrifying brutality. (Watch “Disenchantment,” from the creators of “The Simpsons” and “Futurama,” for a more comic take on an animated fantasy epic.)

In this unusual mystery-comedy based on a British series, party games collide with improv games. Will Arnett plays a grumpy police detective who, in each episode, enlists the help of a different celebrity visitor, such as Conan O’Brien, Marshawn Lynch, Sharon Stone, and others, to discover a murderer. What’s the catch? Because these “rookies” don’t have a script, they must not only solve the case but also react to what’s going on in the scenario, which is frequently Arnett attempting to trip them up and make them break character. The end effect is hilariously stupid. (Improv games are also at the heart of the amusing series “Middleditch and Schwartz,” in which comedians Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz perform extensive routines on the spur of the moment, with no preparation.)

This action-adventure for the whole family is both a small-scale coming-of-age story and a huge superhero saga. Nicole (Alisha Wainwright) is a widowed mother whose hectic life is made much more complicated when her adolescent son, Dion (Ja’Siah Young), begins to show a variety of odd abilities. Nicole is dragged into the intrigues of a biotech firm attempting to investigate people like Dion and understand the mystery of a dark, malicious power known as “the Crooked Man.” Despite this, Nicole must assist her child in through the developmental difficulties that every adolescent experiences. (The excellent Netflix dramedy “I Am Not Okay With This” is also about a misfit youngster dealing with superpowers.)

Based on a podcast, Mamoudou Athie stars as Dan Turner, an archivist who specializes in inspecting and logging broken and old media. Dina Shihabi plays Melody Pendras, a journalist who investigated the links between a secret cult and an apartment building in the mid-1990s before disappearing. Dan discovers ties to his own tragic background as he looks through Melody’s videotapes. “Archive 81” tells a melancholy and occasionally strange story about the power of old films and cassettes to preserve lost individuals and forgotten worlds. (Try “The Umbrella Academy” for another stressful show involving odd, complicated plots.”)

Sports seasons, like reality shows, can include characters and plot lines that build over months, one competition at a time. “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” has given auto-racing enthusiasts a rare behind-the-scenes look at all that goes into a regular race: the financial side, the mechanical tinkering, and the mental and physical preparation. It’s similar to “The Great British Baking Show” or “Survivor,” but with supercars. In a Times story on the show’s success, Luke Smith stated, “A significant part of the success of ‘Drive to Survive’ has come from displaying the personalities and lives of drivers off the track.” (Watch “The Last Dance,” a superb long-form sports documentary about the Chicago Bulls’ achievements and tribulations in the 1990s.)

This adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels and short tales is packed with rip-roaring pulp adventure. Geralt, played by Henry Cavill, is a talented monster hunter who wanders the realm, doing his craft while meeting aristocracy and peasants. The focus of “The Witcher” is primarily on dramatic sword-and-sorcery combat, with the amusingly jaded Geralt at the center, but there is some intricacy to the storyline in “The Witcher” due to the hero’s rich backstory and a narrative that weaves together several histories. Our critic praised Cavill, saying he “brings a compelling physical presence as well as some witty compassion and emotional depth.” (Watch the post-apocalyptic road trip adventure “Sweet Tooth” for another inventive and engaging fantasy series.)

An eclectic team of skilled crooks join forces with a mysterious genius known as the Professor to steal over two billion euros from the Royal Mint — a caper that necessitates other crimes, as well as the cooperation of some hostages with their own agendas — in this hyper-energized Spanish action-adventure. Because of its unpredictability and outsized characters, “Money Heist” has become one of the few international television series to find a large and appreciative audience in the United States. “This puzzle-box of a series combines time trickery, untrustworthy narration, bright graphics, and every other trick it can think of to keep you trapped into its overheated plot,” our critic stated. (The serial killer thriller “You” has also become a hit with Netflix customers looking for equally twisting and unusual genre material.)

Too often, the authors of new versions of old favorites go too far in their attempts to make their updates feel modern and edgy; nevertheless, the latest TV adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s “The Baby-Sitters Club” book series keeps the novels’ easygoing charm and intriguing episodic storytelling. Rachel Shukert, the show’s creator, does not shy away from the particular strains on teenage girls and the younger children they care for in the 2020s, yet the stories here are still light and breezy. Our reviewer described it as “sweet but not cloying, witty but not cynical, full-hearted and amusing enough to delight both grown readers of the original books and the new series’ youthful target demographic.” (For a little more adult coming-of-age dramedy, consider “Never Have I Ever,” about an Indian American kid navigating cultural expectations and romantic issues.)

Margaret Qualley provides a remarkable performance as Alex, a cash-strapped single mother struggling to earn a living cleaning rich families’ homes in the Pacific Northwest without ready access to child-care or a safe place to sleep. Based on Stephanie Land’s novel, this mini-series turns regular working life into a nail-biting thriller as Alex strives to get by day by day, knowing that one unforeseen expense could sink her. “There are parts of sarcastic comedy, social-problem bleakness, and teenage-drama dreaminess, as well as recurring bits of magical realism that highlight Alex’s writerly creativity,” noted our critic. (For another stylish labor miniseries, try the fashion-focused “Halston,” in which the protagonists aren’t concerned with money.)

A group of home bakers assembles in an English countryside tent to produce baked products in front of tough judges and supporting comedians. “The Great British Baking Show” is a life-affirming series in which contestants of diverse ages and socio-economic backgrounds hug, cry, and enjoy each other’s company. Tom Whyman of The Times termed it “the key to comprehending today’s Britain.” (Watch “Crazy Delicious,” where contestants are urged to make every meal look magical for more eye-catching pastries.)

“Seinfeld” is often described to as “a show about nothing” by its co-creators, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, however this is only partially accurate. The series became one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1990s because to its amazingly convoluted plots, comprising interconnecting story lines that convert ordinary annoyances of everyday life into a source of complicated and ludicrous adventures, enjoyable to watch and repeat. When reviewing the early episodes, our writer praised Seinfield, saying he is “fascinated by minute details, which he accumulates with a fine sense of discernment.” (Watch the sketch comedy series “Chappelle’s Show” for another milestone show developed by a stand-up comedian.)

With its darkly intriguing premise of desperate people forced to engage in perilous games, this colorful, masterfully structured Korean thriller is reminiscent to horror and fantasy flicks like “Saw” and “The Hunger Games.” In “Squid Game,” a few hundred men and women, the most of whom are heavily in debt, find themselves playing lethal versions of children’s playground games, risking their lives for the chance to earn a fortune. The show has become an international sensation, in part due to its spectacular visual flair, but also because it addresses some prevalent concerns in an age of stagnating incomes and decreased social mobility. (Netflix has a plethora of addictive Korean genre series. Try “Kingdom,” about an ancient realm dealing with a rising illness.)

There are numerous snappy teen dramas and sitcoms centered in the comfortably middle class and fabulously wealthy. All of that adolescent angst, romance, and camaraderie was transplanted to South Central Los Angeles over the four seasons of “On the Block,” where a handful of African-American and Hispanic high schoolers dealt with the usual high school melodrama by day and the complications of living on a tight budget on nights and weekends. Lauren Iungerich, producer of the darkly humorous MTV show “Awkward,” was one of the authors of “On My Block,” which our critic described as having “off-center appeal and unique comic rhythms.” (Watch “Gentefied” for another vibrantly realistic show about Los Angeles natives trying for a better life.)

Some of Netflix’s best original series are about teenagers but aren’t really for them… or not for them to watch with their parents. Asa Butterfield and Emma Mackey play unpopular kids who have unique insights into their classmates’ sexual hangups, which they dispense to their friends in paid therapy sessions in the witty, bawdy British dramedy “Sex Education.” Throughout the first three seasons, these unusual counselors’ lives get increasingly difficult as they transition from outsiders to insiders. The show was regarded as “timely but not hamfistedly contemporary” and “feminist, with a refreshing lack of angst about its subject” by our critic. (Watch “Derry Girls,” a sitcom about life in Northern Ireland in the early 1990s, for another smart program about foul-mouthed teenagers.)

This scathing social satire partly adapts Justin Simien’s 2014 film about a group of African-American students dealing with microaggressions and intra-racial infighting at a predominantly white Ivy League university. The show uses character-driven, episodic narrative and a sharp sense of humor to confront contemporary campus concerns; over the course of its run, it becomes increasingly adventurous, culminating in a final season that includes flash-forwards and musical interludes. “Dear White People” “keeps the movie’s spirit but knows that TV is not just movies with smaller screens and longer run periods,” our critic noted. (Watch Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It” for another look at modern Black culture.)

Sandra Oh plays Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim, a professor in the English department of a famous university where she has recently become the first woman to serve as chair, in this pointed dramedy on the politics of modern academia. The colleagues who make Dr. Kim’s job more difficult are played by a great cast that includes Jay Duplass, Holland Taylor, and Bob Balaban. She juggles her faculty’s minor complaints and idiosyncrasies with her dwindling budgets, her pupils’ changing demands, and her own complicated personal life. Nicole Sperling described the show as “a sharp and frequently humorous critique of contemporary academics disguised as a rom-com” in a Times piece on it. (Watch “The Kominsky Method” for another dramedy about aging professionals questioning their usefulness.)

Given that “Russian Doll” is similarly about a character who constantly reliving the same 24 hours, the most apparent point of reference for this quirky science-fiction dramedy is the film “Groundhog Day.” The trapped person in this case is a depressed software developer named Nadia (played by Natasha Lyonne, who also created the show with Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler). Nadia keeps dying and rebooting — like a video game character — on the night of her 36th birthday, and she has to figure out what she has to change about her life to survive. “This is a show with a large heart, but a nicotine-stained heart that’s been dropped in the gutter and kicked around a few times,” our critic wrote. (Watch the anthology “Black Mirror” for another series on parallel realities.)

This low-key Canadian sitcom is based on Ins Choi and Kevin White’s play of the same name, about a Korean immigrant couple named the Kims (played by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon), who manage a convenience shop and meddle in the lives of their two independent-minded adult children (Andrea Bang and Simu Liu). “Kim’s Convenience” portrayed stories set in a modern, multicultural Toronto, concerned with family traditions and generational conflicts during its five-season run, which ended recently. Its short, pleasant episodes are both funny and relatable. “If you miss when ‘Modern Family’ was good, try this,” our critic stated. (Watch the Emmy-winning “Schitt’s Creek” for another elegant, charming Canadian comedy.)

“Orange Is the New Black,” based on Piper Kerman’s memoir about doing time in a minimum security women’s jail, is a stunning showcase for its diverse ensemble, representing a wide range of social backgrounds and sexual orientations. Jenji Kohan created the show, which “plays with our expectations by taking milieus normally associated with violence and serious drama — drug dealing, jail life — and turning them the themes of gently satirical dramedy,” according to our critic. (Watch “GLOW,” on the rise of pro wrestling in the 1980s, for another vibrant dramedy about fierce women.)

This satire of the Latin American soap operas known as telenovelas embraces their gimmick as well. “Jane the Virgin” begins with the narrative of an ambitious writer who becomes pregnant by mistake as a result of an artificial insemination mix-up. The show then becomes crazier, with at least one insane narrative twist per episode, all reported with frantic delight by an omnipresent, self-aware narrator. Our reviewer described it as “wonderful and dizzyingly arch.” It’s also extremely moving, as it depicts three generations of Venezuelan-American women in Miami. (Try the musical series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” for another chaotic blend of heartfelt melodrama and hilarious comedy.”)

The seven-part mini-series “The Queen’s Gambit,” based on a 1983 novel by Walter Tevis — an eclectic writer best-known for “The Hustler” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth” — is about a chess prodigy who suffers with addiction and self-doubt while ascending up the international ranks in the 1960s. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the young master, who has had a difficult childhood and finds it difficult to shake even as she clobbers her opponents. The creators, including Scott Frank, use just enough baroque visual style to highlight Taylor-superb Joy’s performance as a lady who becomes disoriented when she stares beyond an 8×8 grid. “Frank packages it all up in a package that’s smart, smooth, and snappy throughout, like perfectly tailored goods,” our critic observed. (Watch Frank’s western mini-series “Godless” for more of his work.)

The first season of “Stranger Things” debuted with minimal fanfare and immediately became a word-of-mouth sensation: viewers were fascinated by its pastiche of John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, and John Hughes — all set to ’80s pop. This narrative about geeky Indiana kids battling an invasion of extradimensional creatures from “the Upside-Down” has the look and feel of a big summer movie from 30 years ago — “a delectable excursion back to that decade and the art of eeriness,” our critic said, but “without overkill.” (If you want teen nostalgia from the 1990s, try “Everything Sucks.”)