Each month, Netflix adds hundreds of hours worth of new content. While its movies are infamous for their bad reputation with film critics, the pioneer streaming service has had more luck with its small screen content. However, with such a diverse catalog that gets expanded every 30 days, it’s hard to keep track of what’s worth a watch and what isn’t. So here is a list of the best Netflix original TV shows streaming right now:
1. Grace and Frankie
“They’re not friends, but when their husbands leave them for each other, proper Grace and eccentric Frankie begin to bond in this Emmy-nominated series.”
A great addition to the ever-popular dramedy genre, Grace and Frankie reunites Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin more than 30 years after 9 to 5 (1980). Created by the legendary Marta Kauffman, this delightful show has a heart of gold that is reinforced by the undeniable chemistry between its two lead actresses. Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston complete the stellar cast as a hilarious duo of their own. Heartwarming, melancholic and enjoyable, Grace and Frankie is also full of important messages about aging, sexuality, and family, making it the perfect kind of entertainment for the 21st century.
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2. Sex Education
“Insecure Otis has all the answers when it comes to sex advice, thanks to his therapist mom. So rebel Maeve proposes a school sex-therapy clinic.”
Newcomer Asa Butterfield and veteran Gillian Anderson are the perfect mother and son duo in this refreshing dramedy. With typical British wit and a modern, feminist take on its subject matter, Sex Education successfully breaks the taboo that comes with the sex comedy genre and instead establishes its own positive attitude towards sex. The gay best friend isn’t your clichéd stock character thanks to a thoughtfully written screenplay and to Ncuti Gatwa’s heartfelt scene-stealing performance.
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3. The Kominsky Method
“Acting coach Sandy Kominsky and best friend Norman Newlander keep each other laughing as they navigate the ups and downs of getting older.”
The King of Sitcoms, Chuck Lorre, is back with a show that’s very different from his previous ones. The Kominsky Method has titans of the big screen, Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin, presenting a unique portrayal of life and aging as they question their own mortality in the modern, non-stopping world. The Kominsky Method features not only two wonderfully funny and poignant performances but also has a bittersweet sense to its comedy, just like life itself.
4. Stranger Things
“When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one strange little girl.”
In a time where people are incredibly nostalgic for the 1980s, Stranger Things is the real deal. Inspired and aesthetically informed by the works of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King, the show is a fun homage to that decade, full of pop culture references and easter eggs. Raging from the investigative drama genre to sci-fi, Stranger Things has its fair share of funny, exciting and scary moments that will appeal to everyone’s taste. If not hooking its audience with its many varieties of genres, the series can get win many viewers over its well-developed and relatable characters.
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“A ruthless outlaw terrorizes the West in search of a former member of his gang, who’s found a new life in a quiet town populated only by women.”
The Western genre is a dying one in the big screen, let alone in the television age. With an ensemble cast, award-winning performances from Jeff Daniels and Merritt Wever, breathtaking cinematography and a big budget, Godless is here to prove that it’s never too late to change that. Featuring Native Americans, horses, standoffs and brutal violence, this miniseries uses every Western stereotype to its advantage. Updating the themes of the genre whilst also being loyal to its roots, Godless is here to tell us that the Western is not ready to ride off into the sunset just yet.
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6. The Crown
“This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.”
No one does period dramas like the British, so it’s no surprise that approaching the Windsors with an ensemble cast would make a television hit. Not only is The Crown magnificently acted, but it has an undeniable cinematic quality to it due to its exquisite cinematography and production design. Full of compelling politics, engaging historical events and complex characters à la real-life figures, The Crown remains the top-notch period drama with only a small amount of melodrama.
“When the black sheep son of a respected family threatens to expose dark secrets from their past, sibling loyalties are put to the test.”
An unfairly overlooked series, Bloodline is as good as family dramas can get. Starting off as a slow-burn drama, the series quickly turns into a gripping thriller. Set in the Florida Keys, the beautiful scenario slowly becomes more suffocating as things go bad for the Rayburn family. Ben Mendelsohn is doing what he does best playing the troubled black sheep of a family that also consists of the brilliant Sissy Spacek and Kyle Chandler. All in all, Bloodline crafts the perfect anti-hero arc in a narrative where everyone is a bad guy.
“A financial advisor drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder $500 million in five years to appease a drug boss.”
Often compared to Breaking Bad, Ozark is much more than a wanna-be and does its own take of the crime drama genre. Full of plot twists and flashbacks, the series innovates the fish-out-of-water concept with a well-crafted plot that is strengthened by an emotional, complex performance from Jason Bateman. Laura Linney and Julia Garner are both increasingly magnificent as they become more powerful with each episode. Gripping, smart and dark, Ozark has everything it takes to be remembered as one of the great crime dramas it’s frequently compared to.
9. Black Mirror
“This sci-fi anthology series explores a twisted, high-tech near-future where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collides.”
Examining modern society in regard with the unanticipated consequences of new technologies, the history of Black Mirror itself could be applied to its plot; the series originally aired on traditional television network Channel 4 before the ever-growing force of Netflix purchased the show. Inspired by The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror is an incredibly shocking yet creative anthology series. Even though every episode is full of satire and black humor, it never fails to be scary because every threat dealt with is a very realistic one in such modern days. Not only Black Mirror is a fascinating thriller, but it also raises important philosophical and moral questions about this technological world we live in.
10. House of Cards
“A ruthless politician will stop at nothing to conquer Washington, D.C., in this Emmy and Golden Globe-winning political drama.”
The series that started it all, House of Cards was the first original online-only web TV show to receive worldwide success and acclaim. Adapted from the 1990 BBC miniseries of the same name, the Netflix version of the show is a more modern take on politics; incredibly cynical and ambitious, House of Cards derives much of its cinematic power not only from its progressive writing but also from its stars. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are both charmingly menacing and it’s delightful to watch their transformation from greedy human beings to egocentric monsters. A thriller, a political drama and a masterclass in acting, House of Cards is a tale about how power and corruption can destroy your career, both on and off the screen.