Skip to main content

From The Crown to Stranger Things, these are best Netflix original series to stream right now

If you're a subscriber, you can't miss any of these original shows

Stranger Things

While there are tons of streaming platforms out there these days, Netflix is the original. It’s hard to believe it started off mailing DVDs to people’s homes. While streaming used to mean showing content produced by others, it seems natural now that streaming services all produce their own content. In recent years, Netflix’s original series and programming have become the dominant part of its library, and in that time, it has produced a truly extraordinary number of shows. It would honestly be hard to consume more than a fraction of the content they’re putting out. And as part of their content, they’ve produced some great TV.

The best of Netflix’s original television stands up to any other TV channel or streamer out there. It has produced shows across a variety of genres and formats, and it’s found success in pretty much every area it has experimented with. The Netflix original series listed below are the cream of the crop and the very best that the streamer has to offer.

BoJack Horseman (2014)

BoJack Horseman
82 %
tv-ma 6 Seasons
Genre Animation, Comedy, Drama
Cast Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie
Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Over the course of an incredible six-season run, Bojack Horseman transformed from a fairly surface-level showbiz satire into one of the best examinations of depression that TV has ever produced. The Netflix animated series, which is set in a universe where humans and talking animals live alongside one another, follows its titular character, a washed-up sitcom star who also suffers from addiction, as he tries to prove that he can be better than he has been. Bojack’s journey can be frustrating, but it’s also beautiful, moving, hilarious, and dark. It may be about an animated horse, but Bojack Horseman is incredible nonetheless.

The Crown (2016)

The Crown
84 %
tv-ma 4 Seasons
Genre Biography, Drama, History
Cast Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton
Created by Peter Morgan
Of all of Netflix’s TV offerings, The Crown may be the most “high-brow” thing they produce. The series tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign from the time she became Queen of England in the 1940s all the way through the early 2000s. Even as it incorporates many real-life events, The Crown is above all else a work of speculative fiction. It creates scenes and dramas out of the royal family and is one of the best acted and written series on TV. The royals may not be the most relatable people, but they are people nonetheless, and creator Peter Morgan turns them into ones well worth watching.


82 %
tv-ma 3 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama, Sport
Cast Alison Brie, Marc Maron, Betty Gilpin
Created by Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch
Canceled too soon, GLOW was everything you could possibly want in a TV show. Over the course of its three seasons, the series followed the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a group of female wrestlers who begin wrestling on a cable series and eventually decide to take their show to Vegas. The series is fully aware of how silly wrestling often is, but never allows that silliness to turn into cynicism. The show features outstanding performances from Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron, and it’s really about characters who have failed to get another shot at redemption and friendship with one another.

Big Mouth (2017) new

Big Mouth
tv-ma 5 Seasons
Genre Animation, Comedy, Romance
Cast Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jesse Klein
Created by Jennifer Flackett, Andrew Goldberg, Nick Kroll
A show as vulgar as Big Mouth shouldn’t work, but Big Mouth does because it’s both hilarious and incredibly smart about the horrors of adolescence. Shows about preteens going through puberty don’t often get into the gory details of what it means to have an insane amount of hormones coursing through you at all times, but Big Mouth does exactly that. Following a roster of adolescents who are moving from childhood toward adulthood, the show is about the horrors of that time in your life, and the terrible things that preteens often do to one another. It may also be the funniest, most ludicrous show on television.

Russian Doll (2019)

Russian Doll
84 %
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Natasha Lyonne, Charlie Barnett, Greta Lee
Created by Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, Leslye Headland
There have been plenty of riffs on the basic premise of Groundhog Day in the years since that film came out, but Russian Doll is one of the best. The series stars Natasha Lyonne as Nadia, a spunky, brash coder who has trauma buried not all that deeply below the surface. Russian Doll has serious things on its mind, but it’s also one of the most playful riffs on waking up in the same day over and over again to come along in the years since Groundhog Day popularized the idea. It also features a few twists that complicate the world in which it’s set, and ultimately make it one of the most rewarding ways you can spend four hours.

Mindhunter (2017)

80 %
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Cast Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv
Created by Joe Penhall
Thanks in part to David Fincher, Mindhunter is one of the best directed shows on Netflix. The series follows a pair of FBI agents as they found the Behavioral Science Unit, a unit within the organization focused on understanding the minds of serial murderers. Because the series is focused on the aftermath of brutal crimes, that in many cases, have already been solved, it’s not always a minute-to-minute thrill ride. Even so, the conversations that the agents, played by Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany, have with some of history’s most famous killers offer plenty of thrills, even if they aren’t exactly the visceral kind.

American Vandal (2017)

American Vandal
76 %
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Crime
Cast Tyler Alvarez, Griffin Gluck
Created by Tony Yacenda, Dan Perrault
As true crime continues to be one of the most dominant forms of modern storytelling, American Vandal remains the best example of how to effectively parody the genre. Through two seasons, the show followed amateur, high school-age filmmakers as they attempted to solve two season-long “crimes,” both of which were very stupid. In both seasons, the show is packed with jokes, but what makes it work is that the show also has some trenchant commentary about life in high school buried within it. American Vandal was smart enough to combine stupid jokes with interesting ideas, and that’s what made it one of Netflix’s best shows.

The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

The Queen’s Gambit
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Camp, Moses Ingram
Created by Scott Frank, Allan Scott
Chess is not the most natural subject for a riveting seven-hour miniseries, but The Queen’s Gambit managed to be riveting anyway. The series follows Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), a chess prodigy who also happens to be an orphan struggling with drug addiction. Plenty of time is spent on Beth, and Taylor-Joy delivers an excellent performance in the central role. What’s refreshing about The Queen’s Gambit, though, is how focused it is on chess itself. Large portions of each episode are dedicated to the game, and creator Scott Frank knows exactly how to make it feel like the best onscreen boxing match since Creed.

Dear White People (2017)

Dear White People
84 %
tv-ma 4 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton
Created by Justin Simien
Based on a movie of the same name, Dear White People carefully deconstructs ideas of race in a thoroughly modern context. The series is set at a fictional Ivy League university that has one primarily Black house, and typically focuses on the residents of that house and the situations they encounter while studying on a majority white campus. The ensemble cast is beautiful, and they’re all witty, gifted performers. Dear White People is the kind of show that sounds like a chore, but it’s exactly the opposite.

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

The Haunting of Hill House
79 %
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama, Horror, Mystery
Cast Henry Thomas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel
Created by Mike Flanagan
If you’re looking for pure scares, there’s not a better show on Netflix than The Haunting of Hill House. The series tells the story of a single family as they relive the trauma of one night from their childhood, which has come to define the rest of their lives. Hill House ends weakly but has several incredibly strong hours over the course of its 10 episodes. The performances are uniformly excellent, and the series does a tremendous job examining how each of these siblings handled the trauma of their youth in a totally different way, even as they remained a family.

Stranger Things (2016)

Stranger Things
tv-ma 4 Seasons
Genre Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Mystery
Cast Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo
Created by Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer
Stranger Things is a science-fiction horror drama set in the 1980s, specifically 1983 and onward. The story takes place in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, and centers around a group of young friends who witness supernatural events and government secrets. Millie Bobby Brown’s breakout role as Eleven won her several awards and nominations. The Netflix original series explores themes of friendship, bravery, and the perils of growing up while being thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Stranger Things pays homage to 1980s pop culture references and has a distinctive retro feel. The series balances moments of humor and heartwarming friendship with suspense, scary creatures, and government conspiracies.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance culture writer based in upstate New York. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The…
The best shows on Max to stream in April
From new originals to the best shows in HBO history, these are great shows to stream on Max

HBO Max was one of the most popular streaming services in the world due to both the volume and the quality of the shows and movies on the platform. You've probably noticed when you log into HBO Max that the platform has been replaced by Max. What does this mean? WarnerMedia and Discovery have merged all of their content into one convenient location. You can still enjoy all of the shows like Succession and The Sopranos that were available on HBO Max, and this new streaming service also includes the kinds of reality shows that were available on Discovery+. Essentially, the libraries of the two services have been merged.
Whatever kind of show you're looking for, you're likely to find it on Max. From iconic dramas to some of the funniest comedies ever created, every show on this list is a must-watch, whether it's 30 years old or just came out this year. Here are the best Max shows.

The Wire (2002)

Read more
The best movies on Max you can stream in April
New to Max? Here are the top movies to start with
Scene from The Hobbit

Now that HBO Max has rebranded as Max, it's the right time to get acquainted with all of the great movies to watch on the streaming service. In addition to large portions of the Warner Bros. catalog, it also has tons of seminal, classic films, as well as plenty of foreign releases. Because the catalog is so big and rich, there are about 250 titles that could go on this list. There's a wealth of options to choose from whether you're into action movies or comedies, and you shouldn't feel limited by the selection below.
Instead, you should treat it as a jumping-off point of HBO Max movies, one that will hopefully allow you to explore many of the titles that didn't quite make the cut. Max has great movies in every genre and from every period of film history. This is just a sampling of the best movies on Max. And if you're looking for more Max content, we've rounded up the best shows on Max to watch right now.

The Dark Knight (2008)

Read more
The best Netflix movies to stream in April
Pick from this definitive list that covers all genres of movies to stream on Netflix
Netflix logo on TV with red backlighting

Although it's now only one big player in an even bigger streaming market, Netflix still manages to crank out plenty of stuff to keep its users subscribing. That glut of good movies on Netflix is great if all you want is to never get bored, but it can make it difficult to figure out which things are actually worth your time, and which aren't. If that's your goal, we've got you covered. This list is a combination of great Netflix original movies, and good movies to watch that Netflix is currently housing on its service, and it even includes a few great Netflix action movies. What unites these movies, though, is that they are the very best Netflix movies currently available.
If you're looking for films to watch on some of Netflix's competitors, we've also found the best Amazon Prime movies, the best Hulu movies, and the best Disney Plus movies. You can also check out some new Netflix movies at the bottom of this post.

Blackhat (2015)

Read more