In 2012, Lilyhammer debuted as the first Netflix original series on the streaming service. It didn’t make much of an impact, but that show was just the start. Since then, a ton of original Netflix series have premiered on the service, and they have helped boost its subscriber base by over 58 million users just in the US.
If you are a new Netflix subscriber or you just want something new to binge, we have picked some of the best current Netflix series exclusive to the service. As you can see, this list is extremely varied and covers everything from shows made for teens to the most adult comedies and dramas.
A couple of clarification notes on this list. It only includes shows that are confirmed or at least currently believed to have new seasons in the works. Original Netflix shows that are still on the service, but have been canceled, are not on this list.
Best Netflix original series:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Netflix originals regularly as new shows are released.
1. Stranger Things
What else can be said about this Netflix original show that hasn’t been said already? Stranger Things has become one of the most popular and buzzed about current TV dramas, period. Created by brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, the show manages to offer great nostalgic entertainment for people who grew up in the early to mid-1980s and watched movies like E.T., Poltergeist, and others. At the same time, the show is made with a modern sensitivity towards relationships and characters.
The kids and adults who live and work in the fictional Hawkins, Indiana, have to deal with supernatural threats in each of the show’s first three seasons, but there’s also plenty of room for teenage romance and more. The fourth season has been confirmed, but there’s no word on its release date yet.
2. Bojack Horseman
If you thought an animated show about a talking horse would be funny, you would be correct when it comes to Bojack Horseman. However, what’s really surprising about this adult Netflix series (no, it’s not for kids), is how it can deal with some serious issues while making you laugh as well.
Will Arnett’s vocal performance as Bojack is spot on, playing a talking horse who once was the star of a hit TV shows, but now wants to make a big comeback. You can catch all six seasons on Netflix right now.
3. Big Mouth
Going through puberty can make anyone feel like a monster, but what if your hormones actually manifested as one? Big Mouth is an animated look at a group of seventh-graders living in New York as they go through puberty and deal with all the awkwardness that comes with it. On top of that, the kids are visited by the hormone monsters (played by Nick Kroll and Maya Rudolph), shoulder-angel-like figures that appear and torment main characters Andrew (John Mulaney) and Jessi (Jessi Klein).
Big Mouth is a show about growing up, learning about yourself, and trying to become comfortable with that. It’s absolutely hilarious and one the most original series on Netflix.
4. I Think You Should Leave
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson is a sketch comedy show like no other. Robinson’s particular comedic voice is absurd, crass, and random, and the situations he dreams up for this original Netflix show are consistently surprising, confusing, and hilarious. Sketches include a man following a car with a “honk if you’re horny” bumper sticker with his truck and honking for days on end, or a car company’s focus group where a man won’t stop talking about how he really just wants a car with a steering wheel that won’t fall off.
If that sounds good, or at least weird enough to be interesting, definitely check this show out — you won’t regret it.
5. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Here’s a teen drama that could genuinely scare both teens and adults. This original Netflix series is based on the Archie Comics character and is technically set in the same “universe” as the hit CW show Riverdale (reruns of which are also a big hit for Netflix). However, since this is a Netflix original series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina can go places that not even the CW network can touch.
Kiernan Shipka plays the title character, a teenage witch who still wants to hang with her mortal friends, even as the devil himself wants to claim her as his own. It’s all very entertaining, and also an interesting coming of age story. The first and second seasons, plus a holiday special, are available on Netflix now.
A comedy-drama about women’s wrestling? Sure, why not. While you may not be a fan of wrestling as a sport, or even just as entertainment, the original Netflix series Glow will put a smile on your face. This show follows the fictionalized world of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a real pro league made up of women that had its own television show in the 1980s. This series uses its own version of Glow to not only tell funny stories about its characters but also to put a light on women’s issues in the workplace.
7. Altered Carbon
Audiences who want some high-concept sci-fi stories should check out Altered Carbon. This original Netflix series, based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan, is set in the future where people can transfer their consciousness to new bodies grown for that purpose. The story packs in a murder mystery with lots of cool sci-fi settings and action, and it looks like no other show on TV, streaming or otherwise. You can check out Altered Carbon’s first season on Netflix now, and a second season is coming in the near future.
Who says video game adaptations are all bad? This animated series, based on the hit Konami action game franchise, is hugely entertaining as it tells the story of Trevor Belmont, who tries to fight off the classic vampire Dracula from taking over the nation of Wallachia.
The show’s art style closely resembles Japanese anime, even though it’s created in Austin, Texas, by Powerhouse Animation Studio. It’s beautiful to look at and has some wild action scenes. Add in some clever writing and an excellent voice cast, and it all adds up to an entertaining original Netflix series. Two seasons are available to watch now, with the third season coming in the future.
9. Nailed It
There are lots of reality competition shows to watch, both on conventional TV and on streaming, but none of them are quite like Nailed It. This show brings on board three bakers who are not quite the best (and that’s being generous). They have to recreate some pretty advanced looking cakes, cupcakes, and other baking confections and be judged afterward. The results are never that good looking, but this show’s appeal ultimately is not in our laughing at these bakers’ efforts (ok, we do laugh at their efforts a bit) but in learning that everyone on this show tries their best.
Nailed it is not really about failure, but trying your best. That’s all that can be asked of any of us, even if we try to recreate a unicorn cake. You can check out three seasons of Nailed it on Netflix right now.
10. Mystery Science Theater 3000
This reboot of one of the funniest TV shows of all time (the original ran for 10 season years on Comedy Central and Sci-fi) is just as good, if not better in some ways, than the original. The basic premise is the same; a man gets kidnapped and is forced to watch really, really bad (and real) movies, which he makes comments on with his robot friends joining in.
MST3K (as it is known by its fans) has more really funny jokes per hour than most comedy shows have in a season, and let’s face it; it’s always cool to make fun of movies like Starcrash and Atlantic Rim. You can catch two seasons of the new MST3K on Netflix now (and there are some episodes of the original that you can check out as well).
11. Black Mirror
Originally made for the UK-based Channel 4, Netflix has now acquired the first two seasons and has since released more episodes of this truly ground-breaking scifi anthology series. Many people have compared Black Mirror to The Twilight Zone, but this show seems even more topical as it deals with technology advances that could affect us in the very near future. It shows the dangers of having social media status affect our real lives in the episode “Nosedive,” and how the constant monitoring of people for their safety can go bad in “Arkangel.”
Read next: The 10 best movies on Netflix
You can check out five seasons of Black Mirror on Netflix now, plus a recent special called Bandersnatch that is the first adult Netflix program that allows the viewer to choose where the story will go at various points, which can ultimately lead to one of several different endings.
Netflix’s library includes past seasons of the AMC zombie drama The Walking Dead. However, if you want to watch a really brutal TV show about the undead, check out Black Summer. This is an adult and violent take on the beginnings of a post-apocalypse world. Jamie King stars as a mother who is separated from her daughter at the start of the zombie takeover. She and a small band of survivors have to make some major decisions in order to say alive. You can stream the first eight-episode season now, and a second season is due for release in 2020.
Best Netflix original series — honorable mentions
There are so many great original Netflix series, many of which have recently been canceled, that we couldn’t leave out some shows that also might deserve your attention.
- Orange is the New Black — This funny dramedy is set in a woman’s prison and has recently ended with the release of the seventh season.
- The Crown — Three seasons of this show, depicting the history of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, are available now.
- The OA — If you really, really want to watch a weird, but still entertaining series with some sci-fi elements, this is the show for you. There are two seasons available.
- Bodyguard — The UK show about a man who has to foil terrorist attacks in his country is a fast-paced thriller for those of you who miss 24.
- Mindhunter — Check out this crime drama about the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, as agents interview incarcerated serial killers to help prevent murders by others. There are two seasons available.
- Tidying Up — The latest hit series from Netflix is a reality show that features Japanese organizational expert Marie Kondo helping people organize their homes, and also their lives.
- Narcos/Narcos: Mexico — The first three seasons of this crime series centered on the real-life Columbia drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The current fourth season, Narcos: Mexico, switches the setting to Mexico, and it’s already been renewed for another season.
- Lost in Space — This family-friendly reboot of the classic 1960’s sci-fi series follows the adventures of the Robinson family as they get, well, lost in space. You can check out the first season now, with a second season due in 2019.
- Russian Doll — This comedy combines a Groundhog Day-like time loop premise with a funny take on the New York City party scene.
- Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj — The former Daily Show correspondent breaks down an interesting news topic every week in a fast and funny format that will make you laugh and think.
These are the best Netflix originals in our opinion, although there are plenty of others available as well. We’ll make sure to update this list with new shows once they are released.