10 shows you must watch on Netflix before you die

From Breaking Bad and House of Cards to The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, these are the programmes you absolutely, definitively, categorically have to watch. Like, right now! (Or when you have a convenient break in whatever else you are doing)...

Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad

So much great TV and so little time, eh? Luckily Netflix has curated some of the best TV shows ever and made them available to you – and even more luckily we’ve selected 10 of the very best.

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Whether they are award winning, critically acclaimed, really rather entertaining or all three, it’s time to clear your diary, stock up on snacks and get ready for a serious stint in front of the telly…


House of Cards

Meet Frank Underwood: politician, husband, manipulative Machiavellian antihero and the star of House of Cards. Underwood helps ensure the election of new President Garrett Walker, with the agreement that he will be made Secretary of State in return. But the President doesn’t honour his promise, and so Frank and his wife Claire set about to seeking revenge.

The Netflix Original was the first on demand TV show to win major awards – and returns for its fourth run in 2016, so this is the perfect time to catch up.

House of Cards seasons 1 – 3 are available on Netflix


Breaking Bad

If you haven’t watched Breaking Bad yet you must be feeling awfully left out. The cult hit, starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, is must-watch, pulse-racing drama. The premise? Cranston plays Walter White, a school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. With former pupil Jesse Pinkman, Walter turns to a life of crime, cooking and selling crystal meth to secure his family’s financial future. You’re intrigued now, aren’t you…

Breaking Bad seasons 1-5 are available on Netflix  


Orange is the New Black

Welcome to Litchfield Penitentiary women’s prison – and brace yourself for dodgy meals, high level corruption and an awful lot of lesbian love scenes. Gritty, funny and ground-breaking, Orange is the New Black follows middle-class New Yorker Piper Chapman, who finds herself facing 15 months behind bars for a crime she committed 10 years earlier. The drama, based on Piper Kerman’s real-life memoir, has earned Emmy awards and critical praise since it began in 2013 – and is set to return for a new run next year.

Orange is the New Black seasons 1 – 3 are available on Netflix


24

Classic crime thriller 24 premiered in 2001 and ran until 2010, returning for a mini-series on Sky last year. The original seasons are the best though, with each 24-episode run following 24 hours in the life of counter terrorist agent Jack Bauer as he races against the clock to protect America from terrorist plots. This seriously tense show is the definition of on-the-edge-of-your-seat viewing.

24 seasons 1 – 8 are available on Netflix


Arrested Development

Critically acclaimed, single-camera comedy Arrested Development ran between 2003 and 2006 on Fox before the show was cancelled due to low ratings. But the fan’s cries for a reunion never abated and in 2011 Netflix decided to make a fourth series to air exclusively online. The Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning comedy follows the dysfunctional Bluth family, stars the likes of Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi and Will Arnett and – most importantly – is described as “simply the best comedy – ever” by RadioTimes.com editor Tim Glanfield.

Arrested Development seasons 1 – 4 are available on Netflix


The Bridge

For your fix of Nordic Noir, The Bridge is the obvious choice. A grisly discovery on the Oresund Bridge, which links Denmark and Sweden, brings together cops Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia) and Saga Noren (Sofia Helin) – one from each country – in pursuit of a politically driven serial killer. It’s the birth of one of the greatest detective duos of all time.

The Bridge seasons 1 – 2 are available on Netflix


The Office

All 14 episodes of Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globe award-winning The Office are available on Netflix, and it’s high time you dedicated a little of your life to it. The Slough-set British comedy, which inspired a remake across the pond, is comedy gold. Gervais stars as David Brent, the self-obsessed, fame-hungry and immature general manager of Wernham Hogg paper merchants. And, as we’ve said, there are only 14 episodes. You can watch them in one weekend. What are you waiting for?

The Office seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix


The Good Wife

Alicia Florrick is one of the best characters on TV. And luckily you can get to know her on Netflix over five wonderful seasons. The Good Wife, starring Julianna Margulies, Alan Cumming and Archie Panjabi, follows the wife of disgraced State’s Attorney Peter Florrick. As he faces a sex scandal and jail time for counts of corruption, Alicia finds herself having to return to work as a litigator after years as a stay-at-home mum. Season six has just aired while a seventh is on the way, so there’s plenty more once you’re hooked…

The Good Wife seasons 1 – 5 are available on Netflix


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Written by Tina Fey and 30 Rock showrunner Robert Carlock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has some serious comedy credentials. The new Netflix Original landed on the streaming service earlier this year and it already has a dedicated fan following. Starring Ellie Kemper, the cheery comedy follows Kimmy, a 29-year-old who moves to New York armed with nothing but unwavering positivity – and plenty of colourful cardigans – after being held captive by a doomsday cult for 15-years.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 1 is available on Netflix


Homeland

Never watched political thriller Homeland? Where have you been? The Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama, starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin, is one of the standout shows of the last few years. When US marine Nicholas Brody is found alive after being missing in Iraq for almost a decade, CIA agent Carrie Mathison believes he has been turned by al-Qaeda. The rest of her colleagues are adamant that Brody is a war hero. But is he? And is Carrie entirely trustworthy herself?

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Homeland seasons 1 – 3 are available on Netflix