The 25 best shows on Netflix (February 2019)

Want to block out all the hearts, flowers, and candy flying around this week? Binge away the Valentine's Day weekend with the best shows on Netflix with our list of the top TV shows on the streaming service right now. 

The best shows on Netflix are just the ticket when you're desperate to forget the holiday that makes everyone go doo-lally for all-things lovey-dovey. Besides, when you're desperate to catch up on everything new on Netflix, like the amazing Russian Doll, you can't afford to get distracted by romantic platitudes, can you?

Plus, you needn't worry about what region each of these shows is available in. Our recommendations for the best VPN for Netflix have that problem solved, allowing you to access Netflix catalogues from across the globe. Who knows, that might be more in line with your idea of romance. So lock the door, close the drapes, and sink into the couch for an evening of supreme entertainment, courtesy of these, the 25 best shows on Netflix. 

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25. Bodyguard

Region: US

Season(s): 1

The show: Whenever a show takes the country by storm, not long after the rest of the world asks: when can we see it, please? After hitting the UK and becoming one of THE biggest water cooler shows of the year, Bodyguard is now here for US viewers to devour in one sitting. I mean, weekend. Keeley Hawes stars in this six-parter, as Home Secretary and Conservative MP Julia Montague, who is under the protection of police sergeant David Budd (Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden), a war veteran with PTSD. He will do anything to ensure Julia’s safety, as that’s his job, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy: he loathes everything she stands for...

Why it’s worth a watch: Pure, can’t-take-your-eyes away entertainment that’s bound to have you saying “just one more episode before bed.” This is sterling television, a well-crafted crime thriller, which is what the BBC does best, that gets better and better with each episode. Don’t believe me? It’s officially the UK’s most watched TV drama since records began.

Read more: Bodyguard ending explained - everything you need to know if you're watching on Netflix

24. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1-4

The show: When it first dropped in 2015, Kimmy Schmidt’s theme song was all anyone could talk about. And yes, while it’s a hummable-as-fudgin’-heck, there’s more to this eccentric comedy from 30 Rock creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. A zany sitcom with heart and silliness in equal amounts, the show begins with New York newbie Kimmy Schmidt starting with a fresh slate after spending the previous fifteen years trapped in a doomsday cult led by the deranged Reverend Gary Wayne Gary (an eerily-good Jon Hamm). Now in the big city, Kimmy discovers a new-found joy for living, that’s got a distinct ‘90s edge.

Why it's worth a watch: It's as if 30 Rock never ended. But with added Carol Kane, who absolutely slays it as Kimmy's wiseass landlady, Jane Krakowski, who continues to be one of the funniest comics on the small screen, and the musical genius who gave us Peeno Noir and Boobs in California, Titus Andromedon.

23. Nurse Jackie

Region: US

Season(s): 1-7

The show: Moving into the spotlight after The Sopranos, Edie Falco knocks it out of the park as Jackie Peyton, an ER nurse with enviable medical skills and a serious addiction. This is a medical series that’s not anything like the typical hospital guff that’s on network television, instead, choosing to focus its efforts on a druggie nurse who struggles to put her family and her patients ahead of her desire for a quick fix. Comedy arrives in the form of Jackie’s English best pal, Eleanor (Eve Best), Zoe (Merritt Wever) and dunderheaded doctor Cooper (Peter Facinelli). Keep an eye out for a terrific supporting turn from GLOW’s Betty Gilpin.

Why it’s worth a watch: Jackie’s journey in and out of addiction strikes an uneasy balance that makes the show so damn compelling. Unlike many medical dramas, there are no twee morals recanted at the end of the episode - because Jackie’s are too blurry to decipher. Each season she strays and returns from the brink, and the scariest thing is, she seldom learns from her mistakes. It makes for bingeable television.

22. The Sinner 

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1 (US), 1-2 (UK)

The show: Having lit up UK screens in 2017, The Sinner now arrives to US Netflix with plans to completely take over your life. It’s based on the 1999 novel by German crime scribe Petra Hammesfahr and follows the downright bizarre tale of a seemingly normal woman Cora Tanetti (Jessica Biel), who one day while out at the beach with her family decides to all of a sudden commit murder. Did the queue for soft whip drive her to it? Or is it something more sinister? She can’t remember. Luckily, this compelling drama dives into the reasons behind the crime, through the investigation of Bill Pullman’s police detective.

Why it's worth a watch: The unusual nature of the crime, the approach to the material, the fact that it gives us something else to devour while we wait for Mindhunter season 2; there are plenty of reasons to give this a shot. It’s an underrated detective series that’s somehow overlooked in light of flashier shows. Trust me, this is damn good TV because of the performances from Biel and Pullman, both of whom delve into fresh territory.

21. Friends

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-10

The show: The one where all the twentysomethings can afford spacious Manhattan apartments. Yes, I’m talking about Friends! Upon its debut in 1994 the show became an instant hit, and even now some 14 years after its finale aired, it is still considered one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. It’s hard to disagree, really, as the series continues to get better with age, following the lives of Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Joey, and Chandler as they navigate through good times and bad. Oh, and numerous Thanksgiving mishaps, of course.

Why it’s worth watching: This is great feelgood TV, that performs so well and stands up to repeat viewings because the main cast is just so darn likeable. From the first episode, each of the six leads carves out a unique spot in the show without coming across like caricatures. Sure, Ross may get a tad whiny in later seasons, but hey, he’s been through a lot. They were on a break, right?

Read more: The 25 best Friends episodes you WILL rewatch again and again and...

20. Peaky Blinders

Region: UK, US

Seasons: 1-4

The show: What do you get when you throw Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy on the screen together? Dark Knight fanfic come to life? Well yes, that, but I was referring to the brilliant Peaky Blinders. Set in 1919, the series takes its name from a particular street gang that took charge of Birmingham, England shortly after the Great War. Using whatever means necessary to rise through the criminal ranks is war veteran Thomas Shelby, who - along with his family - forms the focus of this gripping crime drama. 

Why it's worth a watch: A show that’s dubbed the British Boardwalk Empire deserves checking out for that comparison alone. If you’re a fan of that HBO series, you’ll love what kicks off in this historical gangster masterclass, and if you’re not? Peaky Blinders captures an era and location that’s seldom given much screen time and makes you wonder why the hell not? Prepare to binge the entire thing.

19. American Crime Story

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-2

The show: Known for his battier-than-a-cave-full-of-bats horror anthology American Horror Story, executive producer Ryan Murphy turns his hand to another strand of cultural obsession: true crime. Taking high-profile cases and giving them the miniseries treatment, season 1 focuses on the O.J Simpson trial and season 2 studies the aftermath of Gianni Versace’s murder. The show’s already snagged a ton of awards for its performances. Sarah Paulson’s season 1 showstopper performance as Marcia Clark earned her the Golden Globe, ditto Darren Criss’s season 2 scene-stealing turn as Andrew Cunanan. Get bingeing early on this before season 3 lands. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Unlike your typical crime documentaries, American Crime Story plays it somewhat, loose, with the events depicted. So while it may dally wit the truth, that means there are rarely any lulls in the action, with every scene serving as a vital component to the larger story being told. Think of it like a documentary on steroids - you’ll be hooked before the credits roll.

18. Stranger Things

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1-2

The show: THE binge-watch series of the last few years, the Duffer Brothers cobbled together a patchwork of '80s references then siphoned all of that into a killer plot about government experiments on members of a small town in Indiana. Things come to a head when a young lad Will Byers goes missing, causing his mother Joyce (Winona Ryder), the sheriff (David Harbour), and Will’s friends to consider the strangest possibility: that there's a parallel world to ours replete with horrific monsters and demons simply itching to get at you.

Why it's worth a watch: These kids! The whole cast is terrific (I personally was very pleased to see Winona Ryder back in the thick of it), however it's the young leads who steal the show. Scurrying around Hawkins on their bikes in the dead of night and hunkering down in basements trying to find their missing pal; they will melt your hearts, especially Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven. Hurry up with Stranger Things season 3 Netflix!

Read more: 10 Stranger Things theories to turn your world Upside Down before season 3

17. Alias Grace

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1

The show: Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale eager for another helping of small-screen Margaret Atwood should look no further than Alias Grace. This limited series takes place back in completely different era than the award-winning Hulu series - the 1840s - yet still finds its women in a similar circumstance. Sarah Gadon tackles the lead role as Grace Marks, an Irish immigrant who works in Canada as a house servant, who is found guilty of the murder of her employer and his housekeeper. The question is: Did she really do it? As her supposed co-conspirator, a groundskeeper, is hanged, Grace is sent to prison for life where her notoriety grows. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Sick of all the usual bizarro Netflix crime shows? Don’t be deterred by Alias Grace. This is true crime, Victorian-style from Mary Harron, the director of American Psycho. It’s replete with all of the trimmings of the era as Atwood took inspiration from a real-life case in 1843 to form the basis for her novel. And really this is like ahem, killing, two birds with one stone: you get to watch a crime show and you get your fill of period garb too. 

16. The Good Place

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-3 (UK), 1-2 (US)

The show: On the surface the new show from Parks and Recreation showrunner Michael Schur sounds similar-ish to Dead Like Me. Someone dies, experiences the afterlife, and embraces the comedy of the situation. It's not quite the same though because instead it combines the cheerful glee of Parks with the existential WTF?-ness of something like Lost. Kristen Bell stars as Eleanor Shellstrop, a self-centred individual who is gifted to quite a pleasant post-life existence alongside her soulmate. 

Why it's worth a watch: As well as being really, really funny and introducing us to yet another hugely talented group of actors, it also packs some great dramatic twists and turns that you won't see coming. 

Read more: Holy shirt, if you’ve finished watching The Good Place, we’ve got a lot to talk about

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