Netflix Original series next to popcorn

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 shows have premiered on the service and helped boost the streaming provider’s subscriber base.

If you are a new Netflix subscriber or you just want something new to binge, we have picked some of the best original Netflix series you can watch. The list is extremely varied and covers everything from shows made for teens to the most adult comedies and dramas.

But before we jump into the list of the best original Netflix shows to watch, let’s first talk about exactly what Netflix originals are.

What are Netflix originals, anyway?

best original netflix series

Contrary to popular belief, a Netflix original isn’t necessarily a show created by Netflix from scratch. A Netflix original simply means that a show is available to watch exclusively on Netflix, either worldwide or in specific countries.

Netflix originals usually fall into one of three categories. The first is a show has been commissioned and produced by Netflix itself. Shows like these include Orange Is The New Black, Bloodline, and BoJack Horseman, among many others.

A Netflix original is also a show that was produced by a different network and made its debut on TV, after which that network sold the distribution rights to the streaming giant. Distribution rights can be global, international (outside the parent country), or tied to specific countries.

One example of this is the show The End of the F***ing World. It made its debut on Channel 4 in the UK and the international rights were then sold to Netflix. Therefore, the show is marketed as a Netflix original in all countries the streaming giant is offering it, except in the UK. A Netflix exclusive would probably be a better name in this case if you ask me.

Finally, Netflix originals can also be shows that were picked up by a streaming service after they were canceled by a different network. For example, the first two seasons of Black Mirror made its debut on Channel 4 in the UK, after which the network gave up on the show. Netflix then picked up and released an additional three seasons so far.

The best Netflix originals to watch:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best original Netflix series regularly as new shows are released.


1. Orange Is The New Black

You’ve probably heard a thing or two about this original Netflix series since it’s very popular. It revolves around a privileged New Yorker who ends up in a women’s prison because of her past crimes. She is sentenced to a year and a half behind bars where she is reunited with an old friend.

Orange Is The New Black is a comedy-drama from the creator of the popular TV shows Weeds. It has received many accolades and is one of the most watched Netflix original series. Check out the trailer above to learn more about it.


  • First aired in: 2013
  • Number of seasons: Seven
  • Number of episodes: 91
  • Still in production: No
  • IMBd rating: 8.1
  • Tomatometer: 90%


2. Mindhunter

This Netflix original is set in the 1970s and revolves around FBI agents who are interviewing serial killers. Their goal is to understand how they think and then use that knowledge to solve open cases. It’s one of the best Netflix shows you can watch, but it’s not for everyone since it’s a bit dark and creepy.

This psychological thriller is produced by David Fincher (House of Card) as well as Charlize Theron, among others. The series has been put on hold, so there’s no word on when or if a new season will be released.


  • First aired in: 2017
  • Number of seasons: Two
  • Number of episodes: 19
  • Still in production: TBA
  • IMBd rating: 8.6
  • Tomatometer: 97%


3. Russian Doll

This Emmy-nominated Netflix original series is a new take on the “Groundhog Day” time loop premise. Natasha Lyonne, who co-created the series, stars as a woman who is reliving the night of her 36th birthday over and over again.

While the basic idea of this comedy show is not new, Russian Doll still manages to be funny, and Lyonne is perfect as the lead character who can’t believe this situation is happening to her.


  • First aired in: 2019
  • Number of seasons: One
  • Number of episodes: Nine
  • Still in production: Yes
  • IMBd rating: 7.9
  • Tomatometer: 97%


4. The End of the F***ing World

One of the strangest teen shows on Netflix, The End of the F***ing World follows James, a 17-year-old boy who thinks he’s a psychopath. After he gets bored of killing animals, James decides to give killing a person a try.

He settles on rebellious teen Alyssa, who upon meeting him convinces James to travel across England with her. Thinking this will provide a good opportunity to kill her, James agrees, and the two go on a trip and eventually develop feelings for each other.

This may sound a little psychotic for a teen coming of age show — it is — but The End of the F***ing World is actually strangely sweet, and often quite funny. The difference in James’ narration, which occurs throughout the show, and how he interacts with other characters often leads to pretty entertaining situations. Give this Netflix show a try — I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.


  • First aired in: 2017
  • Number of seasons: Two
  • Number of episodes: 16
  • Still in production: No
  • IMBd rating: 8.1
  • Tomatometer: 93%


5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

This Netflix show is quirky. It revolves around Kimmy Schmidt (played by Ellie Kemper) who was part of a cult and lived in a bunker for 15 years. After getting rescued, she moves to New York to start a new life. She gets a job and tries to navigate life like a normal person, which proves to be quite difficult at times, to say the least.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a very unique Netflix original series that will surely make you laugh. The show is filled with weird characters that make sure you never know what will happen next. Four seasons of the show are available on the streaming service, with an interactive special coming sometime this year.


  • First aired in: 2015
  • Number of seasons: Four
  • Number of episodes: 51
  • Still in production: Yes
  • IMBd rating: 7.6
  • Tomatometer: 96%


6. Master of None

This Netflix original was created by Aziz Ansari, who played in the popular TV show Parks and Recreation, among others. Aziz plays the main character in Master of None, a 30-year old actor living in New York. The show revolves around his professional as well as romantic life and is extremely funny. If you love comedy, you’ll love this Netflix original series.

The first season takes place in New York, while the second one is mainly filmed in Italy. For now, there’s no word on when or if we can expect to see another season.


  • First aired in: 2015
  • Number of seasons: Two
  • Number of episodes: 20
  • Still in production: TBA
  • IMBd rating: 8.3
  • Tomatometer: 100%


7. Bloodline

Bloodline is a Netflix original drama series about the wealthy Rayburn family from the Florida Keys. It’s a close-knit family of four adult siblings whose dark secrets are revealed when their brother — considered to be the black sheep of the family — returns back home.

The series is full of twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s definitely one of the best shows Netflix has to offer, despite the fact the second and third seasons didn’t receive as good reviews from critics as the first one.


  • First aired in: 2015
  • Number of seasons: Three
  • Number of episodes: 33
  • Still in production: No
  • IMBd rating: 8.0
  • Tomatometer: 62%


8. Narcos

Based on a true story, Narcos is a crime-drama series that tells the story of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and the DEA agents who are after him. You get to see the violent nature of Escobar and his men, the way he made and spent money, as well as how he interacted with other cartels that plagued the country during that time.

Narcos ended after three seasons, but a new series began shortly after, which takes place in Mexico and follows a different drug cartel. It’s called Narcos: Mexico, and although it’s good, it’s not as interesting as the original in my opinion.


  • First aired in: 2015
  • Number of seasons: Three
  • Number of episodes: 30
  • Still in production: No
  • IMBd rating: 8.8
  • Tomatometer: 89%


9. 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.


  • First aired in: 2016
  • Number of seasons: Three
  • Number of episodes: 25
  • Still in production: Yes
  • IMBd rating: 8.8
  • Tomatometer: 93%


10. 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 show, but now wants to make a big comeback. You can catch all six seasons on Netflix right now.


  • First aired in: 2014
  • Number of seasons: Six
  • Number of episodes: 77
  • Still in production: No
  • IMBd rating: 8.7
  • Tomatometer: 93%


11. 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 best Netflix shows to watch.


  • First aired in: 2017
  • Number of seasons: Three
  • Number of episodes: 31
  • Still in production: Yes
  • IMBd rating: 8.0
  • Tomatometer: 100%


12. 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.


  • First aired in: 2019
  • Number of seasons: One
  • Number of episodes: Six
  • Still in production: Yes
  • IMBd rating: 7.6
  • Tomatometer: 91%


13. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Here’s a teen drama that could genuinely scare both teens and adults. This Netflix show 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.


  • First aired in: 2018
  • Number of seasons: Two
  • Number of episodes: 28
  • Still in production: Yes
  • IMBd rating: 7.6
  • Tomatometer: 84%


14. Glow

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. It 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.


  • First aired in: 2017
  • Number of seasons: Three
  • Number of episodes: 30
  • Still in production: Yes
  • IMBd rating: 8.0
  • Tomatometer: 92%


15. Altered Carbon

Audiences who want some high-concept sci-fi stories should check out Altered Carbon. This Netflix original show, 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.


  • First aired in: 2018
  • Number of seasons: One
  • Number of episodes: 10
  • Still in production: Yes
  • IMBd rating: 8.1
  • Tomatometer: 69%


16. Castlevania

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.


  • First aired in: 2017
  • Number of seasons: Two
  • Number of episodes: 12
  • Still in production: Yes
  • IMBd rating: 8.1
  • Tomatometer: 90%


17. 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 (okay, we do laugh at their efforts a bit) but in learning that everyone on this show tries their best.


  • First aired in: 2018
  • Number of seasons: Three
  • Number of episodes: 19
  • Still in production: TBA
  • IMBd rating: 7.4
  • Tomatometer: /


18. 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.


  • First aired in: 2017
  • Number of seasons: Two
  • Number of episodes: 20
  • Still in production: No
  • IMBd rating: 8.0
  • Tomatometer: 100%


19. 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 sci-fi anthology series. Many people have compared Black Mirror to The Twilight Zone, but this show seems even more topical as it deals with technological 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.


  • First aired in: 2011
  • Number of seasons: Five
  • Number of episodes: 22
  • Still in production: TBA
  • IMBd rating: 8.8
  • Tomatometer: 83%


20. Black Summer

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.


  • First aired in: 2019
  • Number of seasons: One
  • Number of episodes: Eight
  • Still in production: Yes
  • IMBd rating: 6.3
  • Tomatometer: 76%


Best original Netflix series: Honorable mentions

What to watch on Netflix

There are so many great Netflix original series, many of which have recently been canceled, that we couldn’t leave out some shows that also might deserve your attention.

  • Lucifer — The devil himself gets bored with his role as the Lord of Hell and decides to move to Los Angeles, where he opens a night club. He also starts helping the police solve murders in the city.
  • You — A psychological thriller about a serial killer who falls in love with a customer who walks into his bookstore. He becomes obsessed with her and uses technology to track her every move.
  • Santa Clarita Diet — Creepy and funny at the same time, this Netflix show is about a real-estate couple who find themselves in loads of peculiar situation after one of them becomes undead and needs human flesh to survive.
  • Bonding — A New York City grad student works as a dominatrix on the side and brings in her gay friend for help. Bonding is kinky as well as entertaining and is one of the best things to watch on Netflix.
  • The Crown — Three seasons of this Netflix 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 Netflix original 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Why aren’t some Netflix originals available in my country?

netflix original series

Unfortunately, not all of Netflix’s content is available in every single country the streaming service does business in. This is mainly due to regional licensing agreements and rights. This applies to Netflix originals as well as other shows and movies the streaming service offers.

If you want to get around this restriction, you need a VPN. For those unaware, a VPN changes your IP address, tricking websites you’re based in a different country than you really are. So by connecting online via a US VPN server will get you access to all the shows and movies Netflix offers stateside. A US-based VPN is usually the best option since Netflix offers the most content in its home country.

VPNs have a bunch of other uses as well, which I won’t go into in this post. If you want to know more about how it works, check out the video below.

We don’t recommend using free VPNs for Netflix since they may not be safe and usually have data limits in place. Our advice is to spend a few bucks per month and opt for a reputable provider, like the ones listed below:

There are loads of other providers you can choose from, some of which you can check out in our dedicated “Best VPNs for Netflix” post at the link.

Netflix originals: The competition

Netflix shows to watch

Netflix isn’t the only streaming service that offers original series. Loads of others do as well, including Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, which are the two alternatives to Netflix we recommend.

Both offer great original series that include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Man In The High Castle, The Handmaid’s Tale, Veronica Mars, and many others. To learn more, check out the two posts linked below:

While Netflix may be the king of original content as well as video streaming in general, services like Hulu and Prime Video are worth their money as well. We suggest you take advantage of the free trials they are offering any try them out.

More posts about Netflix

These are the best Netflix original shows to watch 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.