The 30 best shows on Netflix (August 2019) you can stream right now

20. Santa Clarita Diet

Santa Clarita Diet

Image credit: Netflix

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1-3

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 a watch: 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 3 having recently dropped, now is the perfect time to catch up on seasons 1 and 2.

19. The Good Place

The Good Place

Image credit: Netflix

Region: UK, US

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

The show: On the surface, former Parks and Recreation showrunner Michael Schur's show 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. Better get stuck in now before its fourth and final season lands.

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

18. Black Mirror

Black Mirror

Image credit: Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1-5 and a Christmas special

The show: For the most part, Charlie Brooker's dystopian sci-fi show is set just a few years into the future, a place where our every technological whim is accounted for - along with our ability to completely abuse them. The decision to set it so close to our own time has made it one of the most-talked about shows in years. An anthology series, each episode serves as a standalone story that investigates a particular piece of tech and how they could lead to mankind's downfall.


Why it's worth a watch: While it's often described as sci-fi, it packs in elements from every genre imaginable. Depending on the story, a particular episode may be romantic, action-packed, or creepy. One thing they all have in common, though, is that they're all downright terrifying.


Read more: Black Mirror season 4 ending - 6 questions we need answered

17. Fargo

Fargo

Image credit: Netflix

Region: UK

Season(s): 1-3

The show: A spin-off / sequel of the Coen brothers movie from the guy who also serves as the showrunner on Legion? That’s got your interest piqued, hasn’t it? For its first season, FX's award-winning anthology series concocted several new story strands, all interwoven to paint an eerily-similar story to the 1996 feature. That's what makes this a perfect series for drama, crime and mystery lovers; you don't need to have seen the film, as this gloriously twisted piece of television stands on its own. Season 2 delves back into the past and season 3 leaps forward again; both tell tales of small-town folk who just can’t quite get a break...


Why it's worth a watch: Drawing out each tale over the course of an entire season is an inspired move, giving time for each character - and their duplicitous ways - time to bloom, and the plot to thoroughly unravel. The cast are also, simply put, excellent. Who knew that Peter Stormare's assassin could be outdone by Billy Bob Thornton? He steals every scene he's in during season 1. Likewise for Kirsten Dunst in season 2.

16. Schitt's Creek

Schitt's Creek

Image credit: Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-5

The show: Ah, how the wealthy fall. Schitt’s Creek, a one-liner packed gem of a show, knows that it’s title is the punchline in many an anecdote, and recycles it as the punchline for its premise. The Rose family, led by video store tycoon Johnny (Eugene Levy) and his histrionic former soap opera star wife Moira (Catherine O’Hara) find themselves on hard times, losing their fortune when their business manager swindles them. All that’s left is the small town of Schitt’s Creek, purchased as a joke, that becomes the family’s new home. Manipulative, spoiled, and bratty, the Rose family relocates and struggles to settle in with the natives. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Based on its premise alone, Schitt’s Creek works magic. Throw in comedy class acts Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy, whose on-screen chemistry forces each other to raise their game, and you’ve got gold. It’s not all about the guffaws, though, with many tender moments emerging as the Rose family find themselves changing in their new surroundings. Jump on one of the best shows on Netflix right now, before its sixth and final season arrives. 

15. GLOW

GLOW

Image credit: Netflix

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1-3

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, and 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? Plus, GLOW season 2 is even better than the first season!

Read more: Why GLOW is the greatest TV show about wrestling (that’s not really about wrestling)

14. Dead To Me

Dead To Me

Image credit: Netflix

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1

The show: Dead To Me is the brainchild of long-time web series comedic genius Liz Feldman that delves into the darkness that emerges during grief. Real estate agent Jen (the always-brilliant Christina Applegate), struggling in the months following her husband’s death, decides to visit a support group and befriends the free-spirited Judy (Linda Cardellini). The pair become fast friends as they work to track down the hit-and-run driver who killed Jen’s husband, despite the massive secret Judy and her ex-partner Mike (James Marsden) are harbouring.

Why it’s worth a watch: Dubbed a black comedy it is certainly black-hole-dark in its depiction of laughter through trauma. Most commendable is the way Dead To Me strikes out into new territory by giving its central characters more than jokes. They’ve got depth. Both Applegate and Cardellini devour their roles, which are meatier than you’d expect for a half-hour series. 

13. American Crime Story

American Crime Story

Image credit: Netflix

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 is a fictionalised account of the events depicted. 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. 

12. Daredevil

Daredevil

Image credit: Netflix

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1-3

The show: Forget the 2003 misfire - this is the Daredevil fans have been waiting for. The first of Marvel’s Netflix universe charged out of the gate, offering a blustering blend of brooding character drama, hyperreal action, and some of the best villainy since Heath Ledger embodied the Joker. The first season came from Drew Goddard (Cloverfield) and Steven S. DeKnight (Blade), and the show received universal applause for its uncompromising take on blind lawyer-turned-do-superhero Matt Murdock, who vows to rid the streets of its criminal element, no matter the cost.

Why it's worth a watch: It boasts some of the most adventurous stunt choreography ever seen in a TV series. Yes, I'm on about that season 1 corridor fight sequence. It's simply breathtaking to witness Murdock’s athletic prowess - because you know, he’s blind. A shame, then, that Netflix has cancelled all their Marvel properties. 

Read more: Everything the Daredevil movie did wrong (that the TV show fixed)

11. The Crown

The Crown

Image credit: Netflix

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1-2

The show: The Crown charts the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the start of her reign up until the present day - well, it will. This Netflix Original kicks off shortly before her Coronation, and up to its current season's end, which finds her at an interesting precipice in her role as sovereign and as wife and mother. The series weds top-notch drama with an array of great performances, led 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, starting with her marriage to Philip, and dealing with her father, George.

Why it’s worth a watch: The early years of the current English monarch? Sounds great, but not for you, right? Bit too Downton? Seriously, don’t miss out this brilliant series: this is a superb character drama that packs in loads of historical factoids and a rollicking good story. Without a doubt one of the best shows on Netflix. Plus, Oscar-winner Olivia Colman will be taking over from Foy in season 2 - and we can all do with more Olivia Colman in our lives.

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