It’s the end of the week! Time to reward yourself for all that hard work with a long, hard session on the couch… with Netflix. It’s never easy picking what to watch, though, is it? As well as your personal preferences, you’ve got to juggle all the recommendations from friends, family, and co-workers (“OH MY GOD, you’ve not seen GLOW?”), plus everything still on your watch list.
To help your Friday night streaming, I've crafted this handpicked guide of the best TV shows on Netflix right now (you're welcome). Plus, I'll be updating it every week to ensure that you’re seeing the latest and the best shows on the streaming service... because I'm nice like that. And with Jessica Jones season 2 arriving in early March, there’s a fair few Marvel shows on this list you’d better get watching if you want to be caught up in time. So, go on, get cracking!
- 25 best movies on Netflix
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- 25 best comedies on Netflix
- 25 best action movies on Netflix
- 25 best documentaries on Netflix
25. Altered Carbon
Region: UK, US
The show: The cyberpunk trappings of the late ‘90s are back, and feister than ever, albeit with fewer trenchcoats and long-winded monologues from Laurence Fishburne. Altered Carbon throws us into a dark, gloomy future, where people no longer inhabit bodies but ‘Sleeves’. And your mind? Yeah, that lives inside a ‘Stack’, a device attached to the back of your neck. The action kicks off when Takeshi Kovacs, the sole survivor of an uprising 250 years prior, wakes to find himself given a unique opportunity: stay behind bars or solve a murder.
Why it’s worth watching: It might not be hard sci-fi at its very best, but it’s definitely worth a watch. Utterly gorgeous in terms of production value, but a little contentious in terms of story quality. It’s something you need to watch and discuss, especially if you dig the retrofuturist grime of Blade Runner.
24. Santa Clarita Diet
The show: The sunny suburbs of California get a dose of the undead treatment. But make no mistake - The Walking Dead this ain't. No, these zombies are what Rick and his gang would probably prefer to be dealing with. In Santa Clarita Diet Drew Barrymore stars as Sheila, a happily-married realtor who one day discovers she's dead and has a major appetite for human flesh. Bit problematic, sure, but it turns out that life as a flesh-eater is actually a lot of fun.
Why it's worth watching: Barrymore, who's kinda been out of the limelight for a while, is on top form with some killer comedy timing, but it's Timothy Olyphant, who plays her husband, who really makes this show what it is. It also spins a few new twists on zombie lore that help it stand apart from the competition, and with season 2 reportedly coming later this year, now is the perfect time to catch up on season 1.
23. The Crown
The show: Loosely based on the 2006 Helen Mirren flick, The Crown charts the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the start of her reign up until the present day. This Netflix Original weds top notch drama with an array of great performances, lead by Claire Foy as the young monarch. It sheds light on unseen parts of the Queen’s duties, and the troubled dynamic of juggling a public and private life.
Why it’s worth watching: The early years of the current English monarch? Sounds great, but not for you, right? Bit too Downton? Seriously, don’t miss out on some of the best TV of last year: this is a superb character drama that packs in loads of historical factoids and a rollicking good story.
22. Sons of Anarchy
The show: Imagine Goodfellas on bikes crossed with the histrionic machinations of a soap opera and you're somewhere in the vicinity of Sons of Anarchy. Set in the dusty California town of Charming, the show follows Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), vice president in a notorious biker gang, as he makes his way through the ranks. All the while he and his boys face off against rival gangs and the cold arm of the law.
Why it's worth watching: Like Game of Thrones, there's no-one safe in this show. Characters are brutally offed, and their killers murdered as vengeance. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Read more: The 30 greatest Sons of Anarchy moments
21. Luke Cage
The show: Netflix's Marvel universe kicked off with the likes of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, but then came Luke Cage. We met the bulletproof hero back in JJ season 1, and here he is taking charge down in Harlem, as he comes under attack from a vicious gangster Cornell 'Cottonmouth' Stokes and his even more duplicitous cousin Mariah Dillard.
Why it's worth watching: More than a superhero series, this is a show in harmony with the Harlem community. Producers brought in a slew of talented African-American actors, pulled together a sublime soundtrack (seriously, the theme? Yeah, might not seem much at first but you'll be humming it soon), and really let rip. It's in a league of its own. Plus, season 2 is coming soon.
The show: After dallying with sci-fi on and off for their entire cinematic career, The Wachowskis take their vision to the small screen with Netflix Original Sense8. Plucking ideas from sci-fi canon to tell a sprawling story, with a dash of Heroes, a drop of Lost, and a whole heap of WTF, the story follows eight people, from different locations across the globe, who suddenly find themselves telepathically connected. Skills, experiences, thoughts, are all shared between the group, who come to depend on that vast pool of resources because, naturally, they’re being hunted by a shady organisation.
Why it’s worth watching: This series was missed by most upon its initial release, but its die-hard fans love it so much they demanded a proper finale after the show was axed post-season 2. The two-part conclusion is set to air later this year, so if you haven't seen it yet, now is the time to catch up.
19. The Walking Dead
The show: AMC's adaptation of Robert Kirkman's zombie comic has propelled to the top of every TV fan's must-watch list during its many, many seasons. At times The Walking Dead is a bloodthirsty horror epic, at others a harrowing survivalist drama, but whatever you call it, it's easy, enjoyable viewing for zombie enthusiasts. The adventures of Rick Grimes and his band of friends as they make their way through a post-apocalyptic America is gripping stuff - despite the somewhat meandering elements of its most recent seasons.
Why it's worth watching: With every season the stakes are raised and at least one fan favourite character dies - there's no escaping the wrath of the biters... or the villainous humans! With the second part of season 8 due to return to our screens soon, you better get cracking if you're not up to date.
18. Twin Peaks
The show: David Lynch and Mark Frost placed a stone-cold whodunnit story within the rainy climes of the Pacific Northwest, as the body of popular teen Laura Palmer is found washed up on the beach. With a cast of characters that range from the downright chipper - Agent Dale Cooper - to utterly sinister - the Log Lady - this is Lynch at his best.
Why it's worth watching: Dark, twisted, and uncomfortably funny, it's unlike any other murder-mystery you've ever seen. Now that season 3 is here, there's never been a better time to get acquainted with this strange lil' town.
17. Bojack Horseman
The show: A washed-up '90s sitcom star takes centre stage in this animated adult comedy. Think Californication, but instead of Hank Moody, there's BoJack Horseman, a sarcastic, booze-fuelled womaniser whose best days are behind him. That doesn't stop him trying to snag choice movie roles though, with the help of his best pal Todd, agent and former girlfriend Princess Carolyn, and his ghost writer Diane.
Why it's worth watching: For Will Arnett's vocal work as BoJack alone. That unmistakable booming voice is the perfect vessel for Horseman's pithy diatribes about modern living, and while things do get dark, there are brief reprieves from his endless despair; in particular, dialogue-free episode Fish out of Water.
The show: The grunts as bare skin slaps onto the canvas, jeers and brouhaha from the over-excited crowd, and simply divine outfits... welcome to the world of GLOW! Another Netflix Original that’s ripe for bingeing, you’ll dig it whether wrestling is your thing or not. Because, really, it’s about the women involved in this true story and how they face the obstacles life has thrown their way. Alison Brie leads the pack as Ruth, an out-of-work actress who's made some questionable choices. The women are led by Marc Maron’s drole, chain-smoking producer, who cajoles performances out of them in the hopes of making some serious cash. Come for the costumes, stay for the witty repartee.
Why it’s worth watching: For a show that’s based on wrestling, the main heft of what’s so enjoyable isn’t about the sport at all, but the circumstances of these women. Ruth and Debbie’s dynamic in particular is electric. Well, what would you expect with alter-ego names like Zoya the Destroyer and Liberty Belle?