The best TV shows to watch on Netflix

From original series like Stranger Things and The Crown to TV favourites like Sherlock, Doctor Who, Friends and more, check out the all-time best series currently streaming on Netflix

Matt Smith and Claire Foy as Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth in The Crown season 2 (Netflix, JG)

The Crown

Reportedly the most expensive television programme that Netflix has ever made, this sumptuous royal drama charts the rise of Queen Elizabeth II from princess to monarch alongside her husband Prince Philip. An all-star cast is lead by Claire Foy and Matt Smith – for now. After season two, the production resets, with a new cast and a new time period. All hail Olivia Colman… Watch on Netflix

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Dark Tourist

Kiwi Journalist David Farrier (often referred to as New Zealand’s answer to Louis Theroux) travels to the world’s grimmest tourist destinations, taking in tours tracing the footsteps of Jeffrey Dahmerand Charles Manson, a radiation-ravaged no-go zone in Fukushima and a meeting with Pablo Escobar’s former hitman in Colombia. It’s a very pleasant and easy watch despite all the macabre themes. Watch on Netflix


The Good Place

NBC’s high-concept after-life sitcom cannot be talked up enough – it has carved out a new mould that hasn’t been seen in a network sitcom since Seinfeld changed the game back in the 1990s. The series follows the lives of four individuals who have landed themselves in some sort of secular after-life, except one of them (Kristen Bell’s Eleanor Shellstrop) is there by mistake. A series of twist and turns throughout the first season prelude a massive shake-up in season two, which consistently leaves the audience wondering where on earth it can go next. Watch on Netflix

Line of Duty

Four series in, Line of Duty continues to deliver shocks and superb performances in equal measure. It all began here as when a charismatic cop (Lennie James) found himself under investigation by anti-corruption officers. New investigations come every series, with the threads all coming together at the climax of series three. The fourth piece of the puzzle isn’t currently on Netflix, but this is still unmissable British crime. Watch on Netflix


Arrested Development

The most dysfunctional family on television arrived on Netflix in 2013 for a long-awaited fourth season thanks to a deeply loyal cult fanbase that developed in the years following its cancellation by US network FOX in 2006. Its return to screen has not always been smooth, and the controversy surrounding Jessica Walters and Jeffrey Tambor in the run-up to season five has certainly coloured fans’ expectations. Is there a future for this most groundbreaking of US comedies? Watch on Netflix


The Staircase

The Staircase

The original true crime documentary, the remarkable story of the trial of Michael Peterson is the result of filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s vision for a new style of crime reporting. Originally airing in 2004, Netflix acquired the rights and released the series in 2018 with three new episodes which delved back into the troubling case.

“I’ve spent 16 years of my life on this story,” de Lestrade tells Radio Times. “And while that isn’t full-time filming and editing across the years, there’s not really been a day when it hasn’t been in my head.” Watch on Netflix 

Read more: The Staircase on Netflix: the history behind the original true crime TV hit


Homeland

Did you watch the first season on Channel 4? Did you give up? Well, it’s time to come back into the fold and reacquaint yourself with Claire Danes’ troubled CIA agent Carrie Mathieson. Sure, it’s one of the most fluctuating shows on TV, but when it’s good, it’s really good. Watch on Netflix


The Great British Bake Off

Mary Berry Bake Off

Seven series of the baking behemoth landed on Netflix in the UK as a late Easter treat. The episodes available include all the classic BBC series featuring Mary Berry, Mel and Sue. The Channel 4 version has yet to arrive… Watch on Netflix


Happy Valley

Unhelpfully labelled ‘Crime Drama’ in the Netflix back catalogue, BBC1’s brilliant drama by Sally Wainwright is so, so much more. It can be as black as Black Mirror or as sharply cutting as Gilmore Girls, but in the end it’s peculiarly, perfectly British. Watch on Netflix


Doctor Who

With adventures in space and time in short supply as the series prepares for a new generation under Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall, it pays to have the NuWho back catalogue on hand when times are hard. From Christopher Eccleston to Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and beyond, the Doctor is always in the house. Watch on Netflix

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American Vandal

Netflix’s mockumentary appears unwatchably silly on paper – but it’s sharp satire of the true crime craze and some subtle humour underlying an overarching dick joke make it well worth a try. The series sees a young filmmaker from a US high school’s AV Club attempt to find out who spray painted 27 dicks on cars in the faculty parking lot. Class clown and serial dick-artist Dylan Maxwell professes his innocence, but literally everyone thinks it was him. There’s even an eye-witness who claims to have seen the whole thing unfold. Yet, as with all the best mysteries, all is not as it seems… Watch on Netflix