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The 23 Best Netflix Original Series, Ranked

The 23 Best Netflix Original Series, Ranked


  • Netflix revolutionizes the entertainment industry with original content like Bridgerton & Squid Game.
  • Heartstopper & Wednesday offer unique, heartfelt stories with breakout performances and strong ensemble casts.
  • From Mindhunter’s chilling realism to the epic world of Dark, Netflix Original series cover a wide range of genres.



Over the last decade, Netflix has slowly taken over the entertainment industry, going from a mail-order movie rental service to one of the biggest players in film and television. The streaming giant started this game, and Netflix is still king of the streaming wars due in part to its clever use of streaming technologies, strong leadership, and highly successful original content. From House of Cards back in 2015 to the recent hit Squid Game, there is always a Netflix Original show being talked about around the world.

With multiple Emmys and Golden Globes to its name (winning more than any other streaming platform), Netflix’s shows have not only been globally popular, they have also been critically acclaimed. There are also a ton of them — Netflix Originals now make up more than 40% of their streaming library. With all that content to browse through, here are the 23 best Netflix Original series, ranked. Keep in mind that we won’t be including titles that originated elsewhere (such as Cobra Kai and Black Mirror).

Updated March 30, 2024: To keep up with new and emerging shows, this list is updated regularly, most recently by Lauren Perry.

23 Bridgerton (2020 — Present)



Release Date
December 25, 2020


Bridgerton became the most-watched series on Netflix at the time of its premiere in 2020, and is currently the 6th-most-watched original show on the streaming platform. Rightfully so, as Season 1 was full of delights — one of which, of course, was Regé-Jean Page. His performance helped skyrocket the English actor to stardom, which led to a well-received hosting gig at NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Fans were then disappointed, to say the least, when it was confirmed Page wouldn’t return for Season 2.

A Regency Romance

Nevertheless, Bridgerton Season 2 proved that the success of Season 1 wasn’t a fluke. This time, the story follows Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and his romance with Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). Season 2 also expanded on the Regency-era world viewers have grown to love.

Watch Bridgerton

22 Heartstopper (2022 — Present)



Release Date
April 22, 2022

Joe Locke , Kit Connor , Yasmin Finney , William Gao , Cormac Hyde-Corrin


A genuinely sweet but relatable British dramedy with lovable characters, Heartstopper has become a surprise hit, launching Kit Connor and Joe Locke to stardom. The show chronicles their developing relationship at the Truham Grammar School, making for one of the great TV romances around. But don’t underestimate the wonderful supporting characters, whose relationships are so much more than B-story subplots.

A Sweet Comfort Watch

The series has a sunny and colorful aesthetic that makes for a great comfort watch. It avoids much of the tired melodrama of many young adult romances, and focuses on joy and pride. Plus, Olivia Colman and Stephen Fry utterly shine in supporting adult roles. This one’s addicting.

Watch Heartstopper

21 Wednesday (2022 — Present)



Release Date
November 23, 2022


In a unique take on The Addams Family story, Wednesday became an instant success on the streaming platform. The show follows Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) as she tries to solve the mystery haunting Evermore school and her family’s past. While the show was far from flawless, both in its production and final product, people were swept away by Ortega’s spot-on performance as the dreadfully dark teen.

That Viral Wednesday Dance

Part of the popularity of the show is due to a viral dance performed by Ortega, which garnered a lot of attention on social media (even more impressive because she had Covid at the time). Although the show shakes up the formula of the nostalgic Addams Family that many people are accustomed to, Wednesday keeps the creepy fun of the oddball family alive. The highly anticipated Season 2 of Wednesday is tentatively set to release in 2025, and promises more horror and less romance.

Watch Wednesday

20 Dead to Me (2019 — 2022)

Netflix’s Dead to Me tells the story of Jen, a recently widowed woman who seeks to solve her deceased husband’s hit-and-run case. While at a grief group, Jen (played by Christina Applegate) meets Judy (played by Linda Cardellini), and the two quickly become friends. As they grow closer, the dark secrets between them are slowly revealed, increasing the tension in their lives.

Exploring the Friendship of Women

The show is a drama with touches of dark comedy, but at the very heart sits a story of women’s friendship. Even though Jen and Judy have almost nothing in common and their personalities clash at times, the two form a bond and come to need one another. The third and final season of Dead to Me wraps the series up by returning to the core roots of the original plot.

Watch Dead to Me

19 F for Family (2015 — 2021)

F Is for Family

F Is for Family

Release Date
December 18, 2015

Bill Burr , Laura Dern , Justin Long , Sam Rockwell , debi derryberry , Mo Collins , Trevor Devall , Haley Reinhart , Kevin Michael Richardson , David Koechner , Gary Cole , Allison Janney , Joe Buck , Michael Kenneth Williams


Bill Burr, Michael Price

Stand-up comedian and actor Bill Burr and Simpsons writer Michael Price created the wonderful little sitcom F for Family, which hearkens back to Norman Lear-style ’70s shows like All in the Family but with a lot more profanity. It follows a suburban family in the Rust Belt of Pennsylvania and has the same set-up of animated sitcoms like King of the Hill, The Simpsons, and Family Guy.

A Sitcom About What the American Dream Used to Be

The difference (aside from being co-created by one of the funniest stand-up comics of all time) is that the series investigates a lot of the latent issues of the decade which would go on to influence society in the future. This includes the end of labor and union power and the beginning of economic stagnation, gender norms and sexuality, and the changing dynamics of the American Dream. The fact that the show tenderly tackles these themes while also being hilarious and creating three-dimensional characters is a testament to its writing and excellent cast (Burr, Laura Dern, Justin Long, Sam Rockwell, Haley Reinhart, and Debi Derryberry).

Watch F for Family

18 Love, Death & Robots (2019 — Present)

Love, Death & Robots

Love, Death & Robots

Release Date
March 5, 2019


Blur Studio, Netflix Studios, Netflix

Tim Miller

Love, Death & Robots is an anthology show on a heavy dose of adrenaline, like a bite-sized version of Black Mirror. With 35 episodes across three seasons so far, there is something for everyone here, from wacky comedy to disturbing horror and everything in between. Like every anthology, it’s hit-and-miss, but has a great batting average and some truly phenomenal shorts.

An Anthology That Embraces Different Styles

Some of the best segments of the series feature truly groundbreaking animation, such as the jaw-dropping “Jibaro.” Then there is the only consistent story throughout the series, once a season, featuring the apocalyptic adventures of K-VRC, XBOT 4000, and 11-45-G, three robots wandering the devastated remains of a post-human world. It’s hilarious and creepy, perfectly epitomizing the best of Love, Death & Robots.

Watch Love, Death & Robots

17 Russian Doll (2019 — 2022)

Russian doll

Russian Doll

Release Date
February 1, 2019

Main Genre


Russian Doll is a perfectly constructed show. The story follows Nadia Vulvokov (hilariously played by Natasha Lyonne), a game developer stuck in a time loop where she keeps dying and reliving the same night on her birthday. Each moment over both seasons is significant, and every piece of dialogue is crucial to decoding the mystery at the heart of the story.

An Intelligent Comedy About Depression and Choices

Russian Doll is not a cerebral tale filled with mind-bending twists, but it is also a surprisingly funny show, thanks to the work of female comedians like Amy Poehler, Leslye Headland, Rebecca Henderson, and Greta Lee. The show is a triumphant black comedy that plays between feelings of ecstatic joy and nihilistic depression in equal measure.

Watch Russian Doll

Related: Netflix’s 10 Most Expensive Original Series Ever Made

16 The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

Released during the height of the quarantine in 2020, The Queen’s Gambit was timed perfectly to be a successful, binge-worthy miniseries. Set in the late-’50s and early-’60s, the show focuses on the young chess prodigy Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), who grows up in an orphanage where she develops an addiction to tranquilizers. Created by Scott Frank, the show balances emotionally resonant storytelling with moments of glamour and romance.

An Acclaimed Chess Story Introduces Anya Taylor-Joy

The Queen’s Gambit made the intellectual challenge of chess more engaging and interesting with its dynamic editing, elaborate set pieces, and a Golden Globe-winning performance by Taylor-Joy. The show cemented its place in history when it won 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series, becoming the first show on a streaming service to win the category.

Watch The Queen’s Gambit

15 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015 — 2019)

30 Rock with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, another fast-paced sitcom that she co-created with Robert Carlock. Thanks to the stellar performance of Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt developed its own signature blend of quirky humor and hilarious performances. The absurd plot is focused on the titular Kimmy, a “mole woman” who escapes an underground cult only to find the world is not destroyed. She attempts to rebuild her life, with her unstoppable optimism and her youthful mentality that is stuck in the ’90s.

The First Great Streaming Comedy

Millions of viewers connected with the show’s absurdism, its endless stream of witty jokes, and the classic heartwarming messages that Fey is known for. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt earned over a dozen Emmy nominations, and was called the first great sitcom of the streaming era by The Week. It’s considered one of the funniest shows on Netflix, and remains criminally underrated.

Watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

14 One Piece (2023 — Present)

One Piece

Netflix’s One Piece

Release Date
August 31, 2023

Iñaki Godoy , Mackenyu , Emily Rudd , Jacob Romero Gibson , Taz Skylar


One Piece was the show that finally proved that live-action adaptations of anime shows can be successful. It was a highly ambitious attempt for Netflix, considering the past failures of such adaptations, like Death Note. The original anime was not positioned to be an easy adaptation either — as one of the longest-running anime series of all time, the show was known for having a large amount of filler, and a lot of ridiculous powers and situations.

The Rare Adaptation That Truly Succeeds

One Piece is centered around Monkey D. Luffy, a pirate with the ability to stretch his body like rubber after eating a fruit imbued with power. Along with his fellow pirates and friends, Luffy searches for the “One Piece,” a legendary pirate treasure that will make him King of the Pirates. The successful Netflix adaptation managed to capture the heart of the original anime, which was charming, silly, and also epic on a large scale. It’s no surprise that the streaming service was quick to renew One Piece for a second season.

Watch One Piece

13 Midnight Mass (2021)

Mike Flanagan has been a sensational addition to Netflix’s collection of horror. His masterful horror series are gripping and fantastic, and have made Flanagan a prominent name in the genre. He has five different shows produced for Netflix, but Midnight Mass is often considered Mike Flanagan’s best Netflix show.

A Brilliant Study of Religion and Regret

This artful series is an original Flanagan creation, as opposed to his many adaptations. The story is set on a small island, where most residents work in the fishing industry, and population is aging and shrinking. A young man named Riley returns to the island to live with his parents after doing time for a drunk driving accident that killed a person. While meeting up with old friends and doing some soul-searching, he starts to receive counseling from the new priest, Father Paul.

Related: How to Watch Mike Flanagan’s Netflix Shows in Order

Played to perfection by Hamish Linklater, the energetic Father Paul begins to change things on the island, starting a cult-like following that swarms around his supposed healing powers. The series is praised for its moody atmosphere, poignant religious commentary, and tense pacing, building the plot to a crescendo finale that cemented the series as Flanagan’s best work so far in his promising career.

Watch Midnight Mass

12 The Umbrella Academy (2019 — Present)

The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy

Release Date
February 15, 2019

Tom Hopper , Robert Sheehan , Elliot Page , Marin Ireland , Yusuf Gatewood


Steve Blackman. Jeremy Slater

The Umbrella Academy is an unusual show, bringing together old-fashion comic book style, horror, and nostalgia for an undefined era. Seven “siblings” with superpowers are brought back together by the death of their father figure, but things get out of hand when one of them, presumed to be dead, comes back from the future with a desperate mission to stop the end of the world.

A Diverse and Punchy Comic Book Adaptation

Based on a comic book series by Gerard Way, the show was a well-received adaptation that maintained the punchy style and witty humor of the source material. The Umbrella Academy also boasts an impressive cast, featuring actors such as Robert Sheehan, Elliot Page, Aidan Gallagher, and Emmy Raver-Lampman, with many new stars set to join for the fourth and final season releasing in August of 2024.

Watch The Umbrella Academy

11 Ozark (2017 — 2022)

Ozark poster


Release Date
July 21, 2017


Will Dubuque, Mark Williams

Created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams, Ozark is a show about a financial advisor (Jason Bateman) who falls into a world of crime and corruption that puts his family in danger. They relocate to the Missouri Ozarks to launder the money they owe to a drug lord, and end up altering the lives of locals for better and worse in the process.

An Incredible Cast

Featuring stellar performances from Bateman, Laura Linney, and Julia Garner, Ozark is a well-written series with enough intrigue to keep it grounded and a perfect amount of tension. The dramatic series finale of Ozark was filled with conflict, and left viewers with enduring questions.

Watch Ozark

10 Orange Is the New Black (2013 — 2019)

Orange Was the New Black was one of Netflix’s first Original series to truly take off, and cemented the streaming service as a worthy contender to cable for the production of original content that audiences could rave about. Introducing the binge-watching method, Orange Is the New Black revolutionized TV and became one of the greatest TV shows of the 2010s. The plot didn’t follow strict episodic conventions, opting instead for season-long arcs in which episodes blended into one another.

A Great Ensemble Cast Tackles Big Issues

Written by Jenji Kohan, Orange Is the New Black tells the story of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a young woman who is suddenly arrested for being a drug mule with her ex-girlfriend Alex (Laura Prepon) years before. But the magic of the show lies in the talented cast of actresses who gave us a view of life in prison of with heart and humor, putting a particularly important spotlight on queer and trans characters. Orange Is the New Black is a completed series, with seven seasons on Netflix.

Watch Orange Is the New Black

9 Narcos (2015 — 2017)

Narcos poster


Release Date
August 28, 2015

Pedro Pascal , Matias Padin , Damian Alcazar , Alberto Ammann , Michael Stahl-David


Following closely behind Arcane in ratings, Narcos was a runaway hit and a huge turning point for Chilean actor Pedro Pascal, who had his breakout role in Game of Thrones shortly before landing the much larger role in Narcos. Set in Colombia in the 1970s and based on the real-life story of a DEA agent, Pascal played Javier Peña, an undercover Colombian agent who works with an American DEA agent to help take down the infamous cocaine-runner Pablo Escobar.

Pedro Pascal Leads a Crime Epic

Narcos is an epic series that secured its place among the highest rated crime shows of all time, and one of the best aspects of the show is Pedro Pascal’s portrayal as Agent Peña. Much of the praise for the show involves its highly realistic take on the events in Colombia in the ’70s. The show expertly weaves real-life interviews and footage from the time into the filmed scenes, making it even more compelling and unique among crime shows.

Watch Narcos

8 Arcane (2021 — Present)



Release Date
November 6, 2021


With the highest IMDB rating of any Netflix Original series at 9.0, a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score, and four Primetime Emmy wins to its name, it is hard to overstate the impressive impact that the animated series Arcane has had since its release in 2021. The only thing more surprising than the show’s success is how underrated and underseen Arcane remains. Based on the massively popular video game League of Legends, the plot follows two sisters, Vi and Jinx, as they struggle to hold on to their familial ties while sitting on opposite sides of a dark conflict for resources and power between the shady underground city of Zaun and the insidious utopian city of Piltover.

A Animated Masterpiece

It isn’t necessary to know anything about League of Legends to enjoy this successful adaptation. The series found high praise with critics and fans alike, especially for the gorgeous animation that highlights the deeply moving and emotional story being told. The second season of Arcane is set to be released in November of 2024, with high expectations considering the excellence of the first season.

Watch Arcane

7 GLOW (2017 — 2019)

Glow poster


Release Date
June 23, 2017


supplied that to the world beautifully. It isn’t all comedy though. Standing for the “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” the plot follows a fantastic cast of women wrestlers who come together through drama, laughter and tears to create some of the most delightful and epic wrestling ever put on screen. The heart of the show, however, is in the dynamic and complicated relationships and backgrounds of the diverse female cast.

A Unique Look at Finding Your Identity and Fighting for It

Based on the real TV show GLOW which aired in the ’80s, this Netflix series featured Alison Brie as Ruth, a struggling actress who finds an opportunity in wrestling where she can still act and be paid. She comes to love it, but finds herself cast as the villain against her best friend Debbie, who joins the group after finding out Ruth slept with her husband. The story follows the two women as they learn to forgive and rebuild their friendship, but the side characters and their fantastic personalities are almost as engaging. Marc Maron’s role as the showrunner is as humorous as it is emotional, and may be the best thing Maron has done in his career.

Watch GLOW

6 Stranger Things (2016 — Present)

Stranger Things may be Netflix’s flagship show. It is the main series that is most associated with the streaming service, and despite criticisms of recent seasons and delayed production during the pandemic, the appeal of the nostalgic ’80s horror series remains strong. The story follows a group of kids who meet a girl with superpowers named Eleven, played perfectly by Millie Bobby Brown. The show appeals to fans of horror thanks to its supernatural elements, especially kids who grew up in the ’80s and enjoy the colorful fashion, synth-style music, and references to popular ’80s movies that inspired the creators of the show, Duffer brothers.

A Celebration of Nostalgia and Family

Stranger Things at its heart is a celebration of loyalty and friendship in the face of adversity, and has been lauded for its style and emotional depth, earning multiple Primetime Emmy Award nominations (and several wins) for Netflix. It is a modern coming-of-age classic and one of the biggest television events of the last decade. There are currently four seasons on Netflix, with a heartbreaking final Season 5 in the works. While the show is set to end after the next season, there may be spinoff projects with new characters created for fans who aren’t ready to leave Hawkins behind just yet.

Watch Stranger Things

Related: Stranger Things Creators Announce New Supernatural Series for Netflix

5 Squid Game (2021 — Present)

Squid Game Poster

Squid Game

Release Date
September 17, 2021

Lee Jung-jae , Kim Joo-ryoung , Park Hae-soo , Wi Ha-joon


Squid Game was a groundbreaking sensation around the world. With its compelling premise and perfect execution, it was not surprising when the Korean drama nabbed multiple Screen Actors Guild Awards at the 2022 ceremony. It goes without saying that many fans find Squid Game to be some of the best work Netflix has ever made. After creator Hwang Dong-hyuk spent a decade in the development of the show, Netflix finally gave the green light for its release, airing the series in September 2021.

A Cultural Sensation Dissects Capitalism

The show centers around a contest where 465 members of the public, all incredibly deep in debt, volunteer to play a series of twisted children’s games in the hope of winning a massive cash prize. However, it quickly becomes apparent that the consequence of losing the games results in a fate far worse than they expected. Though they can back out at any time, many participants choose to remain in the show, desperate for money and willing to risk everything to get it. The series is a sharp commentary on how poor and desperate people can be manipulated by the rich, and serves as a deeper metaphor for capitalist themes of money being equated with life, happiness, and hope.

Watch Squid Game

4 Mindhunter (2017 — 2019)

Based on the crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, Mindhunter follows two agents and a psychologist as they interview serial killers to understand their minds and hopefully solve cases in the future. The show is partly based on real-life events, which turned Mindhunter into a cult classic among fans of true crime. With the novel directing of showrunner David Fincher driving the show, the result was pure perfection. Add a career-best performance by Jonathan Groff and seasoned sci-fi actors like Anna Torv (Fringe) and Holt McCallany (Alien 3, Fight Club) and it’s no wonder that the show became an instant hit.

David Fincher’s Unresolved but Excellent Thriller

Unfortunately, Mindhunter was canceled shortly after Season 2 premiered, due in part to the expensive use of CGI to make the period-piece perfectly convincing. The move by Netflix was considered one of the worst decisions of the streaming service in recent years, and subsequent proposals for the show to come back have cropped up online. The good news is that he is not done with the world of Mindhunter, and Fincher has been discussing a potential third season recently — though it probably wouldn’t air on Netflix.

Watch Mindhunter

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