Across the course of the year, the streaming service proved that it could do things a little differently, like making huge waves with a makeover show, and creating an entire series about dogs, as if willed into existence by the internet itself.
It took a 90s sitcom and turned it into a dark and camp dramedy, creating a new and deeply devoted audience in the process. It enticed Oscar nominee Jonah Hill and Oscar winner Emma Stone to star in their first TV series, and made it weird and esoteric.
And, most impressively, it proved that it could still dominate the TV landscape without the weight of The Crown, Stranger Things and Black Mirror behind it (and yes, 2019 is going to be big).
There was a lot of TV on Netflix this year, and quite a bit of it was good. Vote for your favourite below.
Emma Stone and Jonah Hill reunited on-screen for the first time since Superbad, and it was strange. It worked, predominantly because of the vivid dystopia created by director Cary Fukunaga (known for True Detective season 1 and as the replacement director of the upcoming Bond film) and writer Patrick Somerville. Ben Allen
Vote for Maniac as your favourite Netflix show of 2018:
Jason Bateman’s crime drama went nuclear in season two. Marty got blood on his hands, Wendy really grew into her role as the bad guy, and a large number of major characters bit the bullet. In lieu of Breaking Bad, this does quite nicely. BA
Vote for Ozark as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
Who’d have thought a reboot of a dated 2000s make-over show would have such a massive cultural impact in 2018? The Fab Five, previously unknown to the world, are bonafide stars, because they really care about the people they are making over, and it makes for a compelling – and emotional – watch. BA
Vote for Queer Eye as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
The teen drama took a turn for the worse in season two (we never ever want to hear about ‘jingle jangle’ ever again) but when Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead returned to our screens to play the weirdest game of Dungeons and Dragons ever in season three, Riverdale really hit its stride again. The show’s 80s flashback episode – which saw the teens play their parents – is a must-watch, not least for leading man KJ Apa’s outstanding Luke Perry impression. Sarah Doran
Vote for Riverdale as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
The Good Place
We’re not in The Good Place anymore, Toto. The gang are back on earth this year, and while it’s not quite the beautiful chaos of season two, it’s still the most charming sitcom on TV. BA
Vote for The Good Place as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
A major re-invention for the narco-drama – shifting the action to 1980s Mexico – paid off, predominantly thanks to the work of leads Michael Pena and Diego Luna as a dogged DEA officer and a rising drug lord, respectively. BA
Vote for Narcos: Mexico as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
BoJack put the audience on trial in this challenging fifth season, which riffed on the entertainment industry’s #MeToo movement to show the darker side of the equine sitcom star’s behaviour. There’s also a wacky sex robot subplot too, though, if that’s more your thing. Huw Fullerton
Vote for BoJack Horseman as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Former Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka won us over with a magnetic lead performance in this dark, visually alluring and just-the-right-amount-of-camp take on the Sabrina The Teenage Witch comics. BA
Vote for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
Just how did K-Pop become so massive? Is monogamy natural for humans? And is it possible we could live forever? These are just some of the questions posed in this eye-opening series of polished mini-docs, short films narrated by everyone from Rachel McAdams to Jerry Springer. In just a few episodes you’ll find out about amazing leaps in designer DNA, the pretty convincing evidence aliens are out there and how scientists still don’t know an awful lot about the female orgasm. Thomas Ling
Vote for Explained as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
The ladies wrestling dramedy levelled up in a big way in its second season as it further explored the complicated friendship between Debbie (Betty Gilpin) and Ruth (Alison Brie), while still devoting adequate time to its brilliant ensemble cast (led by Marc Maron’s grizzled director Sam Sylvia). BA
Vote for GLOW as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
A murder mystery set in a posh school in Spain, with shades of early 2000s teen drama. What more could we have asked for? BA
Vote for Elite as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
The Defiant Ones
The real credit for this deep-dive into the fascinating relationship between 1990s rap legend Dr Dre and rock producer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine, which resulted in the creation of the $2.3 billion Beats empire, goes to director Allen Hughes, for getting the notoriously closed Dre to open up. BA
Vote for The Defiant Ones as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
David Farrier, the Kiwi Louis Theroux, risked life and limb to go to some of the most dangerous and downright creepy places on earth, so you don’t have to. That’s got to be worth something… BA
Vote for Dark Tourist as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
Salt Fat Acid Heat
Does any TV chef approach food with as much pure glee as Samin Nosrat? Her enthusiasm is infectious as she takes us to Japan for a deep dive into the world of salt, or to Yucatán to master the sour orange and the salsa. A delicious treat. Eleanor Bley Griffiths
Vote for Salt Fat Acid Heat as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.
RuPaul’s Drag Race
The first contestant eliminated from any reality TV series is usually forgotten within the blink of an eye but Vanessa “Miss Vanjie” Mateo changed the game forever when she departed RuPaul’s Drag Race season ten in week one. A pop culture icon (and the inevitable meme) was born at the start of a series that saw Ru’s influence extend as far as Strictly Come Dancing, where This Morning’s Dr Ranj even referred to himself as Miss Ranjie on many an occasion. We’d give it ten, ten, tens across the board. SD
Vote for RuPaul’s Drag Race as your favourite Netflix show of 2018 above.