Best series to watch on Netflix right now - updated (February 2024)
Some of the best series on Netflix right now include One Day, Sex Education and The Crown. Updated weekly.
There's one series that has quickly skyrocketed up the Netflix charts since its release earlier this month and that's the adaptation of David Nicholls's novel, One Day.
The new series may comprise of a staggering 14 parts but viewers have quickly taken to binge-watching the entire show, going on an emotional rollercoaster in the process. Starring Ambika Mod (This Is Going To Hurt) and Leo Woodall (The White Lotus) as Emma and Dexter, we follow them across 20 years as their connection grows after meeting at their graduate ball.
If you're looking for romance (and some tragedy) then pack the tissues as One Day will be the pick for you, but if you're looking for something more grittier, Sofía Vergara-starring drama Griselda should be added to your watchlist.
The series tells the true story behind one of Colombia's most feared drug lords, Griselda Blanco. The series has been created by Eric Newman (Painkiller) and Andrés Baiz, reuniting the team behind Narcos and Narcos: Mexico.
Netflix has also recently acquired Channel 4 drama, Deadwater Fell, which continues to dominate the streamer, with all eyes tuned into David Tennant's captivating lead performance, a stark contrast to his usual bubbly slate of roles.
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Tennant most recently hosted the anticipated BAFTA Film Awards but in Deadwater Fell, he stars as a charismatic and affable village doctor who is thrust into the spotlight of suspicion when his family dies in a tragic home fire. Did he start it? At just four episodes, the series is a standout performance of Tennant's and is an easy binge-watch.
So far this year, we've been treated to a slate of other hits also including Fool Me Once, Boy Swallows Universe and The Brothers Sun. Another recently acquired hit for Netflix also includes Channel 4's Friday Night Dinner, which stars Tamsin Greig and Paul Ritter.
If you're struggling to sort through it all, then never fear – we've got you covered.
Scroll on for our latest suggestions of the best TV series on Netflix, so you can stop searching and start watching ASAP. Alternatively, you can check out our line-up of the best Netflix movies for other recommendations.
You can also tweet us @RadioTimes if we’ve missed your favourite off the list – otherwise, happy streaming!
Best series to watch on Netflix right now
Is a series like One Day going to divide viewers? Most definitely. But if you're in the mood to watch something romantic, poetic and sure to pull at your heartstrings then the new drama is one you'll not only want to tuck into, but will quickly be lapped up in. 14 episodes may seem like a long stretch of time to dedicate to a series but it's necessary in a show that spans two decades and two separate lives in the form of Emma (Ambika Mod) and Dexter (Leo Woodall).
While their onscreen chemistry may wane at times, One Day pulls you in with that old chestnut of the 'right person, wrong time' trope. From meeting at their graduation ball to being the most important person in each other's lives, you'll want to keep a tissue on hand for the final episodes and Woodall's impressive (and very emotional) performance. - Morgan Cormack
While many of us know him as the charismatic former Doctor in Doctor Who or as Crowley in Good Omens, David Tennant is no stranger to a darker kind of role, as demonstrated in Inside Man. Well, in Deadwater Fell, Tennant takes on a similarly multi-layered performance as beloved GP Tom Kendrick.
He's the kind of respected family man that everyone in their idyllic village loves – that is until the tragic death of his wife and three children in a house fire. Soon, all eyes turn to Tom as his neighbours suspect him of arson – but did he do it? Tennant delivers a haunting performance that'll leave you thinking long after watching but leads a cast that also includes Cush Jumbo, Laurie Brett and Matthew McNulty. - Morgan Cormack
For many comedy fans, Sofía Vergara was the hilarious Colombian step-mother at the helm of the Pritchett family in Modern Family, so it's a decided change to see the actress in a starring role that is poles apart from making viewers cackle with laughter. In Griselda, though, Vergara holds her own as the indomitable Griselda Blanco, the drug lord that even Pablo Escobar supposedly feared.
The series may be a fictionalised version of events but it doesn't stop the episodes keeping you on the edge of your seat, as we see Griselda flit from being charming to completely ruthless in her operations. Becoming known as 'The Godmother', we follow Griselda as she returns to the US and takes up business in Miami in the '70s and '80s, going on to create one of the most powerful drug cartels in history. A truly fascinating depiction of Griselda's life, even if it isn't as dark and gritty as some viewers would like. – Morgan Cormack
In the world of mind-bending, twisted documentaries, it's safe to say that Netflix reigns supreme as a one-stop shop for the genre. This latest three-part series explores the case dubbed as the "real-life Gone Girl" – what happened to Denise Huskins after the nighttime home invasion of herself and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn.
Across the three episodes of this series, viewers are taken on quite the journey through this true crime case from initially being perplexed, outraged and then, downright shocked. Nevertheless, which comes from the team behind The Tinder Swindler, is yet another example of a docuseries that will have you hooked. - Morgan Cormack
Friday Night Dinner
Since this Channel 4 sitcom returned to Netflix earlier this year, it has been quickly climbing its way up the Netflix charts – and is it any wonder why? The charming, off-kilter and consistently funny series is up there with the best to come from Channel 4, providing laughs as a British Jewish family meet every Friday night for dinner.
Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal are all excellent as the long-suffering Goodman matriarch and her two bickering sons, the stand-out is of course the late Paul Ritter, who is phenomenal as eccentric father Martin. There's talk of an American version in the works, but it seems that audiences really aren't done with the original, and long may it continue. - James Hibbs
The Brothers Sun
In the wide expanse of serious and altogether hard-hitting TV, shows like The Brothers Sun are a welcome addition to the streaming schedule. While the series may pass you by and go under the radar for most, it's a must-watch for any action fans, as the episodes are home to some pretty stellar martial arts sequences that would give some movies a run for their money.
We follow Charles (Justin Chien), the eldest son of an influential Taiwanese triad, who is ordered by his father to go to Los Angeles to protect his mother (Michelle Yeoh) and younger brother Bruce (Sam Song Li) from mysterious enemies and assassins that are closing in on their family. The series will make you wince, laugh and keep you hooked throughout the episodes but it also has many flecks of warmth as we discover more about this complicated family and their expectations of one another. - Morgan Cormack
Boy Swallows Universe
While this won't be the cheeriest watch you'll switch on, this new series manages to bring in touches of humour and comedy that propel the otherwise bleak story forward.
Across the episodes, we follow young Eli (Felix Cameron) who brings a new definition to the term 'sweet' and simply wants the best for his family. But with a mother struggling with her drug addiction, a drug dealing step-father and a brother that doesn't speak, Eli soon finds their lives upended by a deal gone wrong.
While the show is heavy on the type of inspiring quotes you'd find on kitsch corners of the internet, the series has a lot of heart and has quite the twist at the end that's worth tuning in for. - Morgan Cormack
Money Heist: Berlin
The explosive final season of Money Heist isn't an easy thing to follow, but Berlin has proved itself to be a worthy successor to the world-famous thriller. The prequel series follows an earlier chapter in the life of Pedro Alonso's criminal mastermind, who operates under the pseudonym Berlin. The show itself is set in Paris, where he has located priceless crown jewels and sets about snatching them without ever being noticed.
As was the case with Money Heist, the story is just as much about the soapy character dynamics than it is the actual robbery. There's steamy romantic tension from the very beginning and fiery arguments as the tension rises, while regular touches of humour provide the show with some of its most memorable moments. If you're looking for a fun, sexy and action-packed journey, Money Heist: Berlin might be the show for you. - David Craig
Fool Me Once
There's room for debate over whether these Harlan Coben thrillers are quite as clever as they believe themselves to be, but one thing is for sure: they are very, very watchable. Whenever a fresh adaptation of the American novelist's work arrives, it makes a huge impression on the streaming landscape, with Fool Me Once capturing the same intense enthusiasm as Stay Close did two years prior.
Once again, there's a star-studded cast of homegrown talent, with regular Coben collaborator Richard Armitage appearing alongside the likes of Michelle Keegan (Brassic), Joanna Lumley (Motherland), Adeel Akhtar (Sherwood) and Emmett J Scanlan (Peaky Blinders). The story concerns a widow who uncovers disturbing evidence that her (supposedly) late husband might have faked his death – it's one of those hooks that will have you saying: "Go on, one more..." - David Craig
This comedy-drama series comes from film producing powerhouse A24, whose reputation speaks for itself, meaning you know you're in a safe hands. It stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong and focuses on the aftermath of a road rage incident as two people, Danny and Amy, enter a feud which threatens to destroy their entire lives.
The series balances its tones perfectly, with whip-sharp comic dialogue punctuating the darkness of the story. It is at its heart a deeply existential thought-piece about why we need to open up more and talk about our feelings, rather than letting them consume us – and with two terrific central performances, it sells every aspect of that message.
In case you don't believe us, Beef emerged from victorious from the recent Golden Globes 2024 ceremony, with Yeun and Wong winning awards for their performance as the show was named best limited series. - James Hibbs
Of course, the balance between fact and fiction did arguably shift in its later years, but it's still thrilling to get a glimpse behind palace doors and into the private lives of one of the world’s most famous families.
Claire Foy and Matt Smith set the tone with their stunning portrayals of a young Elizabeth and Philip, whose relationship had to survive the pressures of duty and the public gaze, and Vanessa Kirby made the world fall in love with a complex Princess Margaret.
As the years rolled by, Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter led the cast into a new era of the monarchy, with Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin bringing to life the difficult marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. For its final two seasons, Imelda Staunton took over in the lead role, while there were key parts for the likes of Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki and Jonathan Pryce, among others.
Nominated for more awards than the producers can count, this show was a game-changer for Netflix, bringing prestige, acclaim and a whole new audience, who were dipping their toes into streaming service waters for the first time just because they wanted to see The Crown.
Beautifully acted, lavish and with a huge budget, it offers tantalising insight into a world we thought we knew, and people whose lives we’ve followed so closely, from afar. (Check out our Season 6 part 2 review for more). - Emma Bullimore/David Craig
In the world of drama, there's little bad that Stephen Graham can do – whether it be in Boiling Point, This Is England, The Virtues or The Walk-In, to name just a few of the British actor's TV successes. So you just know that starring as a mysterious, slick authoritarian group leader in Bodies is something that Graham was bound to tackle with ease.
But here, he's joined in a cast that also includes Shira Haas (Unorthodox), Amaka Okafor (The Responder) and Jacob Fortune-Lloyd (The Queen's Gambit). The series is twisted in all the right places and is refreshingly genre-defying in the way it blends dystopian, drama and mystery elements effortlessly. - Morgan Cormack.
As UK film fans await the release of Emma Stone's critically acclaimed latest project, the film Poor Things, now is as good a time as any to dive back into Netflix's archives and check out Maniac, the series she starred in alongside Jonah Hill in 2018.
The sci-fi comedy-drama series reunited Stone and Hill after their work on Superbad, and saw them play two strangers partaking in a psychologically intense, dangerous pharmaceutical trial.
Meanwhile, Justin Theroux and Sonoya Mizuno played two of the lead scientists for the trial, which from a dramatic perspective is really an opportunity for viewers to get a glimpse into the dream-like scenarios experienced by Hill and Stone's characters.
It's a trippy, mind-bending series which has a lot to say about the human condition, but is also consistently funny and, under it's surface, a sweet parable about human connection. - James Hibbs
The Fall of the House of Usher
A strong choice for any horror fans out there would be The Fall of the House of Usher. The latest creation from Mike Flanagan, who has previously thrilled viewers with his Haunting anthology and Midnight Mass miniseries, stands strikingly apart from everything that's come before.
Imagine Succession with a surreal supernatural twist as the narcissistic Ushers, who have built their fortune on immoral dealings in the pharmaceutical industry, get a taste of their own medicine, courtesy of the enigmatic Verna (Carla Gugino). Inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, this stand-in for the ominous raven bears witness as their lives descend into a state of gruesome chaos.
Not for the faint-hearted, The Fall of the House of Usher is another mesmerising watch that leans on the acting talent of several of Flanagan's past collaborators, including Gugino, Rahul Kohli and Bruce Greenwood, as well as a crop of up and comers from his criminally underrated The Midnight Club. – David Craig
With Jamie Dornan back on our screens in the second season of acclaimed BBC thriller The Tourist, there has never been a better time to revisit one of the series which helped to bring him to prominence.
This smartly crafted crime drama pits Gillian Anderson's Superintendent Stella Gibson, a Met office seconded to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, against Dornan's serial killer Paul Spector. The third season may not have quite stuck the landing in the way fans would have hoped, but for the most part this is a tense, gripping series with some stellar performances at its centre and a new, more grounded approach to a well-worn genre. - James Hibbs
A Nearly Normal Family
Netflix have a knack for bringing out a binge-worthy thriller around this time of the year, and this time round, this Swedish thriller is quickly the talk of the streamer due to its intense cliffhangers and unguessable twists.
Like any good thriller, A Nearly Normal Family unfolds in a polished, residential suburb and follows priest Adam, lawyer Ulrika and their 19-year-old daughter Stella.
They seem to lead a pretty normal life until Stella ends up in police custody and stands accused of murder. At just six episodes long, this is one you'll easily tear through to find out whether or not teenage Stella really is capable of killing someone. - Morgan Cormack
If you're one of the few people on Earth who are yet to see viral sensation Squid Game, then you are in for one wild, violent and thought-provoking ride. The breakout South Korean series follows several indebted individuals who are given the chance to compete for 45.6 billion won prize, and all they have to do is play popular children's games.
While it may sound like a piece of cake, with a cash prize that's so staggeringly high, the games are far from easy - and lead to any losers being brutally murdered in their hundreds.
Now, with the release of the spin-off reality series, conversations around the anticipated second season will surely follow, especially since the first season of Squid Game has gone on to become one of the streamer's biggest shows of all time. It's easy to see why - Squid Game is simply great television that is well acted, tightly written, sharply directed and acts as a critique of the predatory competition a capitalist society inspires.
But even those not looking for a social commentary will find something to enjoy, with plenty of white-knuckle survival sequences - made all the more effective because the compelling, character-driven nature of the series means we actually care about the contestants involved. - Daniel Furn/Morgan Cormack
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off
Edgar Wright's 2010 adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs the World unjustly bombed at the box office despite glowing reviews, leaving many fans to assume we'd seen the last of his take on this cult favourite series of graphic novels.
Fortunately, the film's reputation has grown in the last decade – as have the profiles of stars Chris Evans (Captain America), Aubrey Plaza (The White Lotus), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and Kieran Culkin (Succession) – so Netflix deemed the time right for a revisit.
This animated series retells the zany story of the film, in which slacker Scott Pilgrim (Barbie's Michael Cera) must battle the seven evil exes of the enigmatic Ramona Flowers (Ahsoka's Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in order to have a chance of dating her. Wright reunites with the cast of his live-action effort as executive producer for an even more faithful adaptation, with an art style that captures Bryan Lee O'Malley's illustrations and pays homage to plenty of pop culture influences.
As detailed in our five-star review, fans will be pleased to learn that Scott Pilgrim Takes Off doesn't tarnish the reputation of the cult film or source material, but only adds to it further. The series makes for enormously fun viewing that will surely amaze you with its eye-popping visuals. – David Craig
The sitcom which launched a thousand copycats and absolutely took over the '90s and early 2000s, Friends really was like lightning in a bottle. The core cast had such great, undeniable chemistry, and everyone suited their role down to the ground. Everyone has their favourite and there's no objective stand-out.
Some may say it dipped off towards the end but, in truth, there was no variation in quality. The show was funny and heartfelt throughout, and while some aspects may now be dated, the series still speaks to timeless themes and a period of life that will be relatable for so many.
Friends has been a hugely popular streaming title for many years – hence why HBO Max paid almost half a billion dollars for its exclusive rights in the US – but the sitcom has seen a surge in recent weeks following the tragic death of Matthew Perry.
His performance as Chandler Bing will go down in comedy history as one of the all-time greats. - James Hibbs/David Craig
As the current season of this Channel 4 (formerly Dave) comedy competition show continues airing, fans can stream the first six seasons to their hearts' content over on Netflix. The show sees Greg Davies and his sidekick 'Little' Alex Horne setting a group of five celebrities tasks each season, with these stretching from inane to utterly bizarre.
It's an addictive and consistently renewable format, as proven by the 16 seasons for which it has already run. Davies and Horne make for a compelling, always hilarious duo, and the fun of seeing the comedians taking on some of the most ridiculous challenges on TV never gets old. - James Hibbs
I Think You Should Leave
A series that has spawned countless memes and one of the most dedicated fan communities in US comedy, I Think You Should Leave is an unpredictable sketch show from the minds of Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin, which sees otherwise mundane situations thrown into chaos by an unruly individual.
Robinson usually – but not always – fills that role, sparring opposite an array of A-list guest stars including Bob Odenkirk, Steven Yeun, Andy Samberg and Ayo Edebiri. It's not all about the cameos, however, as some of the most memorable performances on the show come from total unknowns.
In particular, you should keep an eye out for a gruff, bearded action star with a noteworthy second job and an eccentric focus group member with some interesting ideas for a new car model. As is almost always the case in sketch comedy, not every punchline lands – but when ITYSL hits, it will leave you in hysterics. - David Craig
Get ready for some more mind-bending antics courtesy of Assane (Omar Sy) in the third instalment of the anticipated Lupin series. It's been a long time coming but, finally, fans will be able to see just what happens to our beloved - and very sneaky - protagonist, after he went on the run at the end of season 2.
While Assane managed a lot in the season 2 finale, he's far from welcome in Paris as he is now one of the most wanted men in France. He may have helped put Hubert Pellegrini in cuffs and cleared the late Babakar's name but now, he's faced with the challenge of returning to Paris while also trying to patch things up with his family.
As ever, we can expect some twists, unwelcome villains and can only hope that Assane makes it out unscathed. - Morgan Cormack
There's good news and bad news for Sex Education fans. While the series has thankfully returned to our screens for more of its important messaging, perfect comedic timing and relatable explorations of sex, it is the final outing for the series.
The fourth season may be the final farewell for Sex Education, but it doesn't mean that the series will be short of twists, character development and emotional goodbyes. In this new season, Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) are figuring out what life looks like in their new sixth form and Otis is not only struggling with no longer being the only sex therapist on campus, he also has to contend with being an older sibling and his long distance relationship with Maeve (Emma Mackey). - Morgan Cormack
The production history behind crime drama Top Boy has been a fascinating one. Originally running for two seasons on Channel 4 in 2011 and 2013, the series was shelved by the broadcaster in 2014 and looked to have run its course – only for Netflix to step in a number of years later, thanks in large part to interest from Canadian rapper Drake. Now, all five seasons of the show are available to stream on Netflix.
Ashley Walters and Kane Robinson star as Dushane Hill and Sully Sullivan respectively, with the final season seeing the drug bosses forced to confront the devastating impact they've had on the Summerhouse Estate. It's an absorbing, gritty crime drama that makes the most of its location – brilliantly juggling more intimate personal storylines with grander ambitions. The fast-paced concluding chapter is not to be missed. - Patrick Cremona
Based on Japan’s highest-selling manga series in history by Eiichiro Oda, this new live-action series is the show that anime fans have been patiently waiting for.
The series follows Monkey D Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) and his pirate crew as they set out on a legendary high-seas adventure to find the ultimate treasure known as 'One Piece' and earn Luffy the title of Pirate King.
Will the titular One Piece be found? Well, with the help of crew mates Nami (Emily Rudd), Mackenyu Arata (Zoro) and Jacob Romero Gibson (Usopp), the charismatic character will certainly hope so. - Morgan Cormack
This LGBTQ+ romance has captured the hearts of viewers across the globe, telling the story of how schoolboys Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor) go from being friends to boyfriends over the course of a fateful school year. The show dispenses with the drugs, sex and misery of edgier high school fare like Euphoria, in favour of an all-ages approach that makes up for in cuteness what it lacks in dramatic stakes.
That being said, the second season does delve into some darker material, as our characters face troubled home lives and mental health concerns among other obstacles. As detailed in our Heartstopper season 2 review, a more confident and complex show emerges in the latest episodes which could well convert any sceptics of the first.
With brisk 25-minute runtime, this is a series you can easily binge-watch – and if you're a hopeless romantic, then you most likely will. Heartstopper boasts a cast comprised largely of newcomers (along with one A-list cameo), but expect to see plenty more from them in the years to come. In fact, trans actress Yasmin Finney – who plays arty schoolgirl Elle – has been cast in Doctor Who's 60th anniversary special, while co-lead Joe Locke will appear in Marvel's Agatha: Coven of Chaos. – David Craig
Never Have I Ever
Created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, this joyful coming-of-age comedy-drama is now available to stream in full, with the final season bidding farewell to charming high schooler Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan). Her story began as she desperately attempted to improve her social status in high school while simultaneously dealing with her (almost literally) crippling grief.
Before the events of Never Have I Ever, Devi's beloved father had a heart attack and died during a school concert in her freshman year, after which she lost the use of her legs for three months. But it's a new school year, and Devi is desperate to forge a new identity for herself, beyond both her public loss and her fiery temper (appropriately, famously quick-tempered tennis player John McEnroe narrates the show).
As the show went on, it branched into more romance-driven subplots, while also chronicling Devi's academic efforts as she looked to build a bright future for herself. The series is laugh-out-loud funny, and has been widely praised for its South Asian representation and for breaking stereotypes.
Starring Henry Cavill for one last time as mutant monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher's third season arrived on Netflix in 2023, and it continued to follow Geralt’s adventures with sorcerer Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) and Princess Ciri of Cintra (Freya Allen), as the fictional world they live in descended into war.
Stuffed with bizarre creatures, fast-paced action scenes and plenty of weird and wonderful characters, it’s no surprise that The Witcher has become one of Netflix’s biggest series over the years. And the creators of the earlier Witcher video game – based on the same collection of novels as the series – were probably pretty happy with the release too, given that sales of The Witcher 3 rose by 558 per cent following the Henry Cavill version’s debut.
Season 3 brought an end to Cavill's time in the lead role and set the stage for Liam Hemsworth's arrival in season 4. All this means there's never been a better time to check out The Witcher – if nothing else, you’ll have a new earworm stuck in your head. - Huw Fullerton
We waited for four long years, but finally Black Mirror returned for season 6 in 2023. The new episodes took a departure from previous instalments, giving us a number of stories set in the past, and one 'Red Mirror' presentation, which doesn't have any specific link with technology at all.
However, you will quickly realise that technology has never truly been what Charlie Brooker's dark, twisted anthology is about. It's human nature and its darkest recesses, it's about examining the present day and providing excellent, compelling character studies through an often fantastical lens. These five episodes remind us why Black Mirror remains such a talking-point and one of the most consistently brilliant series, let alone anthology series, that you can find. - James Hibbs
Under Pressure: The US Women's World Cup Team
Giving us an insight into what it takes to be a World Cup champion, Under Pressure: The US Women's World Cup Team follows the US Women's National team as they pursue their third consecutive World Cup title. With intimations from Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and others, the series takes us behind the scenes of what life is really like for a sport star, from its sky highs to its heart-wrenching lows (like that penalty shoot out against Sweden, for example).
Examining the pressures, joys and hardships of being the most decorated team in all of women's football, the four-part docuseries examines injury, equal pay, adoration and criticism under a close lens, and is an interesting watch for anyone who tuned in to this year's Women's World Cup. – Chezelle Bingham
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
In 2023 Bridgerton fans got the perfect gift to help tide them over until the hit period drama's third season, in the form of spin-off/prequel series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. The series focuses on the queen's rise to prominence and power, exploring how her marriage to King George sparked both a great love story and a societal shift.
By tackling real-world issues around race and social attitudes which the main series has so far largely avoided, this prequel marks itself out from the original in the best way while also delivering a sweet, endearing love story which is sure to have fans gripped from start to finish. With strong central performances across the board, Queen Charlotte really is worth any Bridgerton fan's time. - James Hibbs
If the one-two punch of The Last of Us and The Mandalorian still hasn't satisfied your need for Pedro Pascal content, then perhaps it would be worth circling back to one of the projects that made him a household name.
Debuting not long after the finale of Breaking Bad, it was important for Narcos to distinguish itself from what came before – and it did so with incredible results. Unlike Vince Gilligan's fictional saga, this series is partially grounded in fact, unravelling the extraordinary life of notorious kingpin Pablo Escobar (portrayed by Wagner Moura) from the late 1970s up to his death in 1993.
Pascal plays Javier Peña, another real figure from the case, who is tasked with bringing down Escobar. It's no easy task, with the series offering plenty of thrills as it chronicles the efforts of his team at the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). A sequel series, titled Narcos: Mexico, followed later. – David Craig
The world was completely gripped when You launched on Netflix at the end of 2018 – and viewers haven’t really stopped looking over their shoulders since. The psychological thriller, initially set in New York, began by following creepy (but also kind of likeable) Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgley) and his developing obsession for Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail).
Over the course of 10 episodes, we stared in horror as his lust turned into toxic desire. At times, the Netflix series makes you laugh, but as the tone shifts in the story, so too does a viewer’s unease; this is quite simply not the kind of series you want to watch in the dark before bed.
Seasons 2 and 3 saw Joe living in California where he was challenged by rival-slash-partner Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), while season 4 shook up the format once again, with Joe adopting a new persona in London and rubbing shoulders with members of high society, including Ghosts star Charlotte Ritchie as an icy art gallery curator. - Helen Daly
With reboots, remakes and revivals reigning supreme in the world of TV, it was only a matter of time before the Addams Family were dusted off and resurrected by Netflix. Thankfully, it brought in the king of gothic whimsy, Tim Burton, to lead coming-of-age horror-comedy Wednesday. Gen Z scream queen Jenna Ortega was an inspired choice to play the titular deadpan teenager, who is sent to the Nevermore Academy after unleashing a pack of piranhas on Pugsley's (Isaac Ordonez) bullies.
While Wednesday was initially unimpressed with the school for supernatural students, she soon became tied up in tracking down a murderous monster, channelling her own psychic abilities and absolving her parents, the loved-up Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Gomez Addams (Luis Guzmán), from a crime they're suspected of committing whilst at the school themselves.
While this eight-parter at times leans too far into the teen drama genre that's been desecrated by the likes of Riverdale, the show's aesthetic, overall tone and Ortega's excellent performance are Burtonesque enough to make this an eye-catching and entertaining watch. – Lauren Morris
This adaptation of Neil Gaiman's hugely popular comic book series is incredibly long-awaited, arriving 30 years after the source material was published – with various issues having held back its development. The good news for fans is that proves to be very much worth the wait, with our own four-star review calling it "a vision that Dream himself could have conjured".
The complex plot concerns a cosmic being who controls all dreams, who must venture to an assortment of disparate worlds and timelines in a desperate bid to undo the damage stemming from his recent absence – when he was captured and held captive for more than a hundred years. Along the way, he encounters all sorts of beings and obstacles, making this a magical but frequently rather grim tale. - Patrick Cremona
Better Call Saul
When Better Call Saul was first announced people were understandably sceptical. Prequels have a shaky history and anyway, how could anything measure up to Breaking Bad?
The answer of course was by standing on its own two feet, while still honouring the past and delivering some of the most nuanced characters of the decade in TV. Bob Odenkirk puts in masterful work as Slippin’ Jimmy McGill, a character so initially detached from the sleazy Saul Goodman that your heart can’t help but break in the knowledge of what he becomes.
The slow-burn series came to an end this year, with legal shenanigans taking more of a back seat to full-on mob warfare. Fans were largely agreed that their long term investment in the series paid off in a big way. - James Hibbs
This '80s-set-and-inspired sci-fi drama turned Netflix’s Original series output Upside Down (sorry), becoming a pop culture touchstone and genuine word-of-mouth hit as fans around the world become obsessed with the strange happenings in Hawkins, Indiana.
The meme-ification of this series can sometimes distract from just how warm, fun and scary Stranger Things can be, full of plucky kids, terrifying monsters and laugh-out-loud moments from the outset and continuing through its second, third and fourth seasons.
Originally following the threat of a single monster slipping through from another dimension and facing off with a telekinetic young girl called Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), the scope of Stranger Things has widened over the years to take in telepathic Mind-Flayers, teen romance, puberty, fashion, grief AND dastardly Russians – as well as a pretty rousing rendition of Never Ending Story at the end of season 3. - Huw Fullerton
David Fincher's terrific psychological thriller series may only have lasted for two seasons but in that time it certainly made its mark. Jonathan Groff stars as FBI agent Holden Ford, who along with his partner Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) and psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) aims to interview serial killers in order to understand their mindset and stop similar perpetrators.
It's a dark and murky series but it still retains a dry sense of humour throughout, while Groff, McCallany and Torv are all on top form. Fincher has said the series is at least done for now, but here's hoping he eventually changes his mind, because this was a smart, intricately crafted thriller the likes of which we don't see all too often. - James Hibbs
Widely regarded as one of the best series of the 21st century, if not all time, Breaking Bad starts off with a killer premise and then just ramps up and up and up until it reaches one of the most satisfying finales for a long-running series ever.
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Bob Odenkirk - they all put in electric, utterly believable performances as these characters who have all, intentionally or not, got in way over their heads, while Giancarlo Esposito pulls off one of the most memorable villain performances on screen, so much so that it made the star a go-to baddie for huge series such as The Boys and The Mandalorian. - James Hibbs
When thinking of modern classics of the sitcom format, there's no doubting that most would jump straight to Peep Show, one of the most consistently hilarious series to hit British TV in quite some time. David Mitchell and Robert Webb are Mark and Jeremy, the classic odd-couple living in a flat share. Based on that description the series could seem obvious or more of the same from sitcom canon, but it's a combination of relatability and razor sharp writing that makes it really tick.
The central pair are surrounded by a phenomenal supporting cast including Matt King, Sophie Winkleman and Isy Suttie - oh, and a little someone called Oscar winner Olivia Colman. No matter how excruciating things get, whether Jeremy's reluctantly eating a dog or Mark's bailing on his wedding, the series is utterly re-watchable and will have you coming back time and again. - James Hibbs
Dramas still don't get much more stylish than this. Set in Birmingham between the World Wars, Peaky Blinders follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family – led by Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby, who has returned from the trenches to take over Birmingham (and beyond).
The show’s writer Steven Knight has built a story around gang warfare, socialism, fascism, poverty, violence, community, class, family, and Tommy Shelby’s constant scrabble to beat his enemies and rise to the top. But no matter how far his journey has taken him, the demons are never far behind. - Eleanor Bley Griffiths
If you’re a fan of Rick and Morty, why not check out this loveable, quirky sitcom from one of its co-creators, Dan Harmon?
Starring Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Donald Glover and more, the series starts out focusing on the exploits of a community college study group, led by the cynical former lawyer Jeff. As the series progresses, Harmon started to flex his surrealist muscles, turning the show into something far more meta, existential and weird, while still grounding it in the central relationships.
Community might be an oft-overlooked chapter in American sitcom history, and its later seasons can be shaky, but when it comes to experimental, off-the-wall comedy, it remains a real delight. - James Hibbs
People Just Do Nothing
There have been more mockumentaries since the early 2000s than it's possible to count, but don’t be fooled, this one really is something special. Originally airing on BBC Three, and later BBC Two, the five-season series follows the boys from Kurupt FM a garage pirate radio station operating in Brentford.
The characters may often not be particularly likeable but they are extremely memorable and regularly hilarious. The cream of the crop is of course Chabuddy G, a comedy creation for the ages and the funniest look at an on-screen entrepreneur since Del Boy. The series was given a spin-off feature film last year, Big In Japan, which is also available on the streamer. - James Hibbs
Netflix didn’t have much of a reputation for period drama until recently (unless you count The Crown, which is hurtling towards the present day). But everything changed in the lockdown Christmas of 2020, when the world needed a little cheer. Santa Claus delivered the most glorious series onto the streaming service on 25th December, just in time for us to binge watch with our tins of Quality Street. Based on Julia Quinn’s popular novels, Bridgerton focuses on eight siblings looking for love in sparkling Regency London.
First to meet her match was Daphne, played by Phoebe Dynevor, who started a fake love affair with the smouldering Duke of Hastings, aka breakout star and potential Bond Rege-Jean Page, while season 2 saw the focus shift to Anthony Bridgerton and his relationship with new character Kate Sharma. Fun and fresh, with brilliant performances, lavish costumes, and a modern soundtrack, the series is a joyous distraction from everyday life and has gone down a storm. - Emma Bullimore
The Last Kingdom
Game of Thrones fans should feel right at home in The Last Kingdom, an action-packed drama series partly inspired by real British history. Alexander Dreymon (American Horror Story) plays fierce warrior Uhtred of Bebbanburg, who was born to a Saxon nobleman but raised among Danish invaders. Torn between these two clashing worlds, he is forced to choose a side as the war for England rages on.
Dreymon is the breakout star of the show, with his roguish character embarking on many compelling quests as he strives to reclaim the land that is rightfully his. David Dawson (Year of the Rabbit) also earned acclaim for his performance as the pious King Alfred, who is both friend and foe to Uhtred at various stages in his life. Their complex bond is an electric component of the first three seasons.
Based on the popular novels by author Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom began life as a BBC Two drama before later converting to a Netflix original. While it’s never enjoyed the hefty budget of George RR Martin’s fantasy epic, the show has nevertheless orchestrated some ambitious battles across its five-season run – with no shortage of swords, horses and, inevitably, blood. - David Craig
Ozark revolves around Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and the obstacles he and his family encounter after joining forces with a Mexican drug cartel. The final season found Marty and Wendy on damage control, trying to stop a grieving Ruth from exacting her vengeance on cartel kingpin Javi. Could their time be finally running out?
With the tiniest wrong move threatening to finish off the entire Byrde family, this enthralling series certainly keeps you hooked, so why not check out Ozark season 4 on Netflix – if nothing else, you’ll enjoy stellar performances from Bateman and Linney. - Molly Moss
Arcane: League of Legends
Video game adaptations don't have the best track record, so you'd be forgiven for being sceptical about whether Arcane is worth your valuable time. However, rest assured that it most definitely is. The animated series is inspired by the online phenomenon League of Legends, but you don't require any knowledge of the source material to be enraptured by its larger-than-life characters or get lost in its rich fantasy world.
The story follows Vi (Hawkeye's Hailee Steinfeld), a brave teenage girl living in the impoverished Zaun, an underground city located beneath the technologically advanced haven of Piltover. On one of her trips to the surface, she plans to burgle the home of an affluent academic with help from a few friends, but gets more than she bargained for when they cause a massive explosion after mishandling one of their target's experiments – setting the enforcers on their trail.
Not only does Arcane boast a compelling story and strong character work, but it also stands out among the crowded animated landscape with a beautiful art style that blends 2D and 3D animation to create a truly unique look. Give it a chance, you won't regret it! - David Craig
Unlike Mike Flanagan's other series for the streamer, Midnight Mass is not based on an existing work of horror fiction, but is instead a wholly original work, in part inspired by Flanagan's past as an altar boy in the Catholic Church.
The series is set on the isolated community of Crockett Island, which is suddenly shaken by a couple of new arrivals – most notably that of a charismatic but rather mysterious new priest by the name of Father Paul, who claims to be filling in for the parish's long-serving Monsignor John Pruitt. When Paul appears to start performing miracles, the faith of Crockett's inhabitants is put to the test – and some of them are more skeptical than others about what this new priest has planned.
A challenging, ambitious and thrillingly unique new series, Midnight Mass packs in some great frights, intriguing discussions and one or two moments that will live long in the memory of those who watch. - Patrick Cremona
Heist thrillers have to walk a fine line between realistic - or at least believable - burglary schemes and enough tension-filled twists and turns to keep things entertaining - and it's a balance that Money Heist (mostly) manages to pull off. Money Heist dedicates several seasons each to two heists planned by the enigmatic criminal mastermind The Professor, who recruits an unusual group of robbers named after cities to take hostages in key financial centres in Madrid. However, mistakes, emotional dynamics and impulsive relationships on both sides on the heist mean the plans soon go wrong - and robbers, hostages and police alike are all in a race to outwit each other before it's too late.
Initially regarded as a failure after first airing on Spanish TV, Money Heist was added to Netflix with little fanfare and barely any promotion - yet still became an absolute worldwide phenomenon, with a whole new audience falling in love with The Professor and his Dali-masked accomplices while a certain earworm swept the European charts. It was enough for Netflix to order three additional seasons, the last of which was split into two parts with the final instalment arriving in December 2021.
The heist genre gets subverted in this crime caper, which uses a female narrator, a Spanish cultural lens and a twisty-turny narrative to update the long-running formula with a series where the complex characters and their relationships matter just as much as the actual heist. A few unnecessary love triangles mean the show veers dangerously close to soap opera territory in later seasons - but at its best Money Heist is a smart, inventive and utterly gripping series that truly deserves its status as one of the most-watched non-English language shows in the world. - Daniel Furn
This hit comedy became a pop culture phenomenon when it first aired, subverting sitcom expectations and giving Friends a run for its money for the '90s comedy crown.
Seinfeld is famously "a show about nothing", following Jerry Seinfeld as a fictionalised version of himself, who wrestles with life's most tricial concerns along with friend George (Jason Alexander), ex-girlfriend Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and neighbour Cosmo (Michael Richards).
Seinfeld threw out the sitcom rulebook with morally dubious characters who do not grow as people at all, a staunch refusal to set up a romance between Jerry and Elaine and numerous meta storylines long before they became widely used. It's a move that seemed to pay off - Seinfeld consistently dominated TV ratings during its run - ending with one of the most-watched finales in history - with its many quirks and catchphrases have since become an eduring piece of pop culture, and its influence on comedy can be still be felt today. - Daniel Furn
The Queen's Gambit
Chess might be a fascinating game, but it's probably fair to say most don’t really view it as a spectator sport. On the face of it, then, a limited series revolving around the subject might not sound like a likely candidate for a mega word-of-mouth smash, but Scott Frank’s series, The Queen's Gambit, became exactly that when it arrived on Netflix in 2020.
Based on a novel by Walter Tevis, the narrative follows Beth Harmon – a young orphan and chess prodigy whose rise to the top of the game is offset by frequent struggles with addiction. Anya Taylor-Joy turns in one of the best small-screen performances in recent memory in the lead role, and is helped by a brilliant supporting cast that includes Marielle Heller, Harry Melling and Thomas Brodie-Sangster.
Lavishly produced and filled with wonderful period detail, the sumptuous series includes an array of expertly-staged chess match set-pieces and a plot that will keep you engaged for every minute of its seven-episode run. - Patrick Cremona
Across six wonderful seasons, this animated series about an alcoholic humanoid horse did something very few TV shows can manage: it perfectly blended laugh out loud comedy with dark, deep subject matter in a way that felt both effortless and profound.
Will Arnett leads the voice cast as the titular BoJack, a washed up television star living in Hollywood and desperately angling for a comeback at any cost. Throughout the series, we also meet his affable former rival Mr Peanut Butter, his agent and ex-girlfriend Princess Caroline, and two human characters, Todd Chavez and Diane Nguyen, each of whom get numerous chances to shine in both humorous and serious storylines.
Tackling issues including the perils of fame, addiction and depression but also containing an incredible range of visual gags and wordplay BoJack Horseman is easily one of the best Netflix originals currently available, and arguably one of the finest TV shows of all time. - Patrick Cremona
Orange is the New Black
Orange Is the New Black is not only one of Netflix’s most-watched original series, but also its longest - and if that doesn’t tempt you to it, then allow me to continue. Jenji Kohan’s trailblazing series is famous for breaking boundaries, telling stories of humanity, and its fantastic cast. We follow Taylor Schilling’s Piper Chapman, a 30-something woman who is sentenced to 15 months in a minimum-security prison after smuggling drugs. When she arrives at Litchfield Penitentiary, she finds an eccentric bunch of inmates all with very unique and personal stories to tell.
Alliances are formed, broken and tested throughout the course of the seven seasons, with Piper constantly at the heart of the story. As you continue through the story, you’ll laugh, cry, and have your heart-broken as the series delves into some hard-hitting topics including corruption, prison privatisation, racial discrimination and sexism. To put it simply, Orange Is the New Black is not only unmissable TV, it’s essential viewing. - Helen Daly
If you’ve ever felt like a fish out of water, Schitt’s Creek is the show for you. The Rose family quite literally ends up at dead-end town Schitt’s Creek without a paddle after their business loses their money and they are forced to give up their wealth. The easy-watch sitcom was penned by father and son duo Eugene and Dan Levy who also star as on-screen dad and child Johnny and David.
But really, the star of the show is the impeccable Catherine O’Hara, who brings too many fabulous outfits to count and the most sass seen on the small screen. Her timing is perfect, her acting is gently extra and we all really could be a little bit more like Moira. There’s plenty of heart, genuinely hilarious moments and plot you won’t want to miss. - Helen Daly