Updated: Best shows on Netflix: 40 great Netflix TV series


Best Netflix shows: Best shows on Netflix

Best shows on Netflix

UPDATE: Netflix has announced that the upcoming third season of Bloodline will be its last. Netflix doesn’t swing the axe lightly – Bloodline is only the third series it has cancelled, with Lilyhammer and Hemlock Grove being the others.

Welcome to TechRadar’s always-updated selection of the best shows on Netflix – 40 TV shows that showcase the best Netflix series available in the UK.

Netflix’s transition from a DVD rental service to a streaming behemoth has been impressive to watch. The company has sunk so much money and effort into making itself into the number one destination for on-demand content that it isn’t just a place to watch things, it also creates them. So much so that the big TV and movie studios are quite rightly running scared – as you will see with the following best Netflix shows.

And they should be. At CES 2016, Netflix announced it was expanding its reach to 190 countries.

While Netflix slowly makes a land grab for movies, it is perhaps its television output that is the reason most people have an account. There’s a ton of TV content to feast upon – too much to ever consider watching in one lifetime, and more and more of it is in 4K too. And then there’s HDR – in April we started seeing some shows make the switch to HDR, which means brighter and better picture quality. One of the first to get this is Marco Polo. While this is a show that has slipped out of our constantly evolving list, it’s worth a watch just to see the quality of the footage on show.

We have created the TechRadar guide to the best Netflix shows in the UK right now to make sure you get the best out of Netflix. We will keep this best TV show list constantly updated with the latest television shows that you should be watching and also tell you why.

And with news that Netflix is cracking down on VPN use, if you are in the UK and are accessing the US version of Netflix, your choice is soon to get that bit more limited. All the more reason, then, to browse our extensive list of the best shows available.

If it’s a night in at the movies you want, then we have compiled the best movies on Netflix in the UK right now. There’s over 100 to choose from and it’s broken down by category, so you should find something you like.

1. Archer

Best Netflix TV Shows

Pub quiz time: what does Downton Abbey and Archer have in common? Yup, that’s right, ISIS. Both shows had to magically rid themselves of the ISIS name – Downton’s dog was named ISIS, while Archer’s secret spy organisation had the name as its acronym. In Archer, the show does great at referencing just why the name disappears but that’s the beauty of Archer. It’s a show that is all-knowing and hilarious with it. Now in its seventh season, Archer has slightly rejigged its animation and kept itself completely relevant, cementing itself as one of the best ‘adult’ animations around.

Seasons on Netflix: 7

2. Arrested Development

Best Netflix Shows

If it wasn’t for Netflix, Arrested Development would have stayed as a three-season wonder. The streaming giant decided to take a gamble and fund a fourth season of Mitchell Hurwitz’s brilliant family comedy and we are glad it did. While splitting the family up for most of the season meant some of the spark had disappeared – this was done to fit in with the actors’ busy schedules – the fourth season proved that there was still a lot to like about the dysfunctional Bluth family. Filled with season-long in-jokes, perfect site gags and spot-on wordplay, Arrested Development is a comedy that needs to be watched on repeat – and even then you will find something new to laugh at.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

3. Babylon

Best Netflix TV Shows

Written by the folks behind Peep Show – Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong – and helped into the world by Danny Boyle, who directed the first feature-long episode, Babylon is a searing satire of the British constabulary. Seen through the eyes of US PR machine Liz Garvey – a fantastic Brit Marling – the show charts a variety of people in the police force, from the ones on the street to those in the executive suites. Brazen in its mix of comedy and drama, Babylon is that rare, intelligent TV series that doesn’t shirk on showing the ineptitude that happens in a world governed by bureaucracy.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

4. Better Call Saul

Best Netflix Shows

Vince Gilligan made no secret of the fact he wanted to re-visit the world of Breaking Bad and, while many were apprehensive that it was ‘too soon’, we shouldn’t have been worried. Yes, there was always a fear that Better Call Saul would turn out to be what Joey was to Friends but it has thankfully more Frasier to Cheers. This all thanks to Bob Odenkirk’s portrayal of Jimmy McGill, the lawyer who – despite the world he is in – has his heart is in the right place, even if he is consistently in the wrong place. The second season is just as masterful as the first, upping the tension between the Saul and his brother and more groundwork is laid for him becoming Saul Goodman. But that’s the brilliance of this show – you come expecting Saul Goodman but what Gilligan has done is offered up a fantastically flawed character study of a man on the constantly on the brink of being good.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

5. Luke Cage

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Luke Cage is the latest addition to Netflix’s impressive and growing Marvel TV show offering. Marvel has created a rich cinematic universe and although some of its TV shows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter) have struggled to stay on their feet others like Jessica Jones and Daredevil have flourished.

Luke Cage is more in the same vein as Jessica Jones and Daredevil, with less light-hearted superhero fun and more hard-hitting themes, violence, and grit.

After making his debut in the first series of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage is getting his own show which sees him swap Hell’s Kitchen for Harlem, delving into his origins as a hero. Viewers who lamented the fact that they didn’t get to see more of him in Jessica Jones will enjoy the opportunity to find out more about what makes his character tick here. Don’t worry if you haven’t watched Jessica Jones, it’s not a requirement to understand or appreciate anything about Luke Cage.

The first season in its entirety is on Netflix now, making it perfect to settle in and binge watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

6. Bojack Horseman

Best Netflix Shows

A comedy about a failed ’90s sitcom star doesn’t sound like the most enticing premise for a cartoon. But when that failed star is a horse and is voiced by the brilliant Will Arnett, it turns out to be comedy gold. It takes a handful of episodes for the show to ease into itself, but once it does it doesn’t let up with the cutting comedic cynicism centred around Hollywood and its, well, bleakness.

The second season manages to pack more laughs into each scene but also shines a light on more serious issues such as mental illness. Yup, this isn’t your normal cartoon.

The third season has also landed, continuing the levels of absurdity and cementing the show as one of the best around.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

7. Breaking Bad

Best Netflix Shows

More addictive than the meth pushed by Walt and Jessie (apparently, ahem), Breaking Bad is brilliant binge-watching television. The initial plot is simple: a straight-laced teacher is told he has cancer and to make sure he leaves his family with the best possible life, he turns to drug making and dealing. There’s method to his madness as he ends up being pretty good at it. Creator Vince Gilligan has created such a good group of characters, he is currently mining the same world again with Better Call Saul. But that has some way to go reach the highest highs that Breaking Bad offers.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

8. Community

Best Netflix Shows

Community is the series that just won’t die. And many have tried to kill it. Now its sixth – and final – season is over, we will have to wait to see if the Six Seasons And A Movie fan mantra will actually come to fruition. It was looking rocky for the comedy when Season 4 was announced, without show runner Dan Harmon, but it survived with its dignity almost intact and was back to its best for Season 5. Set in a community college, Community follows a rag-tag group of adult learners and is so packed through with in-jokes, parodies and surreal humour that it’s hard to believe each episode is just 20-odd minutes long.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

9. Daredevil

Best Netflix Shows

When it comes to superhero movies, Marvel are bossing DC thanks to the rich tapestry it has weaved with its cinematic universe. Its TV shows, as fun as Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter are, haven’t had the same success as DC’s The Arrow or The Flash. Thankfully Daredevil has come along to change all this. Released in one binge-watching dose, Daredevil is superb television, regardless if you are a superhero fan or not. Matt Murdoch’s (Boardwalk Empire’s Charlie Cox) rise from blind lawyer to vigilante is brutal and steeped in realism. The reason it works so well is that it doesn’t shy away from being violent – each crack and crunch is a world away from Ben Affleck’s terrible movie version. And special mention has to go to Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, his best role since the tortured Private Pyle.

Daredevil season two is out now and adds Elektra and Punisher into the mix. With new showrunners on board, the show has shifted slightly tonally but the brutality of the fight scenes are still there – you just need to check out Episode 3 to see what we mean.

The show was so successful that Punisher is now getting his very own – probably very gory – series. As well as this, Netflix has revealed that Daredevil will be getting a third season and released a teaser for The Defenders, where Daredevil teams up with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist to fight off the terrors of New York.