With such a diverse pool of originals to choose from, you might be wondering: Which of these shows are worth watching for 11 straight hours this weekend? That’s where we come in. We’ve assembled a list of the best Netflix Original series available right now. (And if you want to know the latest additions to the Netflix library, be sure to check out our list of what’s new on Netflix this month.)
After 27 cars in the high-school faculty’s parking lot are vandalized with crude phallic images, the school’s resident slacker and class clown is expelled, but when two fellow students initiate a documentary-style investigation into the incident, suddenly everyone becomes a suspect in this surprisingly compelling and hilarious series. A satire of true-crime documentaries like Making a Murderer and Serial, American Vandal is a mockumentary that manages to channel much of the same “Did he really do it?” uncertainty into its story, while also offering a very funny and impressively clever spin on the typical docuseries format.
Much like the true-crime series that inspired it, the first season of American Vandal is packed with narrative twists and turns that keep the audience guessing. It’s supremely binge-friendly as you push to discover the next revelation in this seemingly minor incident that consumes the lives of the characters involved in it. The first season of the series earned rave reviews, prompting Netflix to commission a second season, which premiered September 14 to even more critical acclaim. Sadly, that might be the last we see of the series, as Netflix abruptly canceled it in October as part of a wave of cancellations of projects Netflix co-produced with other studios.
If you can handle a little bit (OK, a lot) of potty humor, you should enjoy Big Mouth. The animated series follows two seventh graders, Nick and Andrew (series creator Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, respectively), as they struggle with their burgeoning sexuality, represented by a grotesque, crass “hormone monster” (also voiced by Kroll), whose base desires cause turmoil and frustration for both boys. Their friends Jessi (Jessi Klein) and Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) also struggle with puberty to varying degrees, as does Andrew’s crush, Missy (Jenny Slate).
On its surface, Big Mouth is quite crude, but that humor belies the show’s nuanced, relatable exploration of adolescence and physical maturation. The series deftly handles the difficulties of middle school life, including common misconceptions held by kids about their sexuality and their bodies. The second season of Big Mouthpremiered October 5, and the series was renewed for a third season the following month.
What happens when technology goes too far? That’s not an unreasonable question to ask oneself in 2018, and Black Mirror (originally broadcast on British Channel 4, before being acquired by Netflix) is a wildly entertaining, if depressing, answer to that question. Most of the episodes of this chilling anthology series ponder hypothetical eventualities resulting from the unchecked advancement of technology, often charting courses that are disturbingly well-connected to the way we work and live today.
The show’s production value keeps getting better, and the third and fourth seasons — produced by Netflix — include a bevy of household names, from Jesse Plemons to Gugu Mbatha-Raw (whom creator/writer Charlie Brooker uses to great effect). The first two seasons — including the epic Christmas special White Christmas — are also must-see programming.
Despite lukewarm reviews for its first season, BoJack improved dramatically and received critical acclaim for the following three campaigns. The animated show centers around BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett), a washed-up ’90s sitcom star (and actual horse-man) trying to find happiness and reclaim his former fame. Anthropomorphic half-breeds are the norm, and the show milks much of its humor by simply playing off stereotypes associated with the characters’ animal halves.
The show’s true strength lies in its sincerity, however, as BoJack struggles to deal with his insecurities in a town rife with celebrity and its many vapid failings. Paul F. Tompkins (Best Week Ever), Alison Brie (Community, GLOW), and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) provide excellent voice support in a series that flips from hilarious to depressing with impressive grace. The series was renewed for a sixth season in October 2018.
This documentary web series introduces viewers to top culinary minds across the world, offering insight into the day-to-day experiences and responsibilities of renowned chefs. Each episode focuses on a different restauranteur and blends together personal stories with culinary content to great effect. The show’s traditional documentary presentation can be a bit stuffy at times, and the narratives can be unevenly balanced in favor of emotional backstories, but most viewers should enjoy and appreciate some insight into the wide world of fine dining.
The quality of each episode hinges largely upon the personality of the chosen chef, and some — notably Massimo Bottura in the first season, Dominique Crenn in the second, and the brash Ivan Orkin in the third — are more camera-friendly than others. Still, the series is a welcome departure from the competition-focused cooking shows that dominate cable and network TV. If you like this, Chef’s Table France is also worth seeing.
The Crown is perhaps the best show on television right now, period. Easily the most celebrated British period piece since Downton Abbey, The Crown follows Queen Elizabeth II — the still-reigning Queen of England, at 91 years old — across different periods of her life, beginning with her 1947 marriage to Prince Philip of Edinburgh. Reception to the series has been overwhelmingly positive, as nearly ever aspect of the show — acting, production value, historical accuracy — has been widely praised.
The series’ interesting format sees Netflix recasting the role of Elizabeth and other characters season-to-season; Claire Foy starred in seasons one and two alongside Matt Smith (Dr. Who) and Vanessa Kirby, while we know Olivia Colman (Peep Show) will be taking the royal reins in season three (with Helena Bonham Carter set to portray Princess Margaret as well). Netflix plans to produce a total of 60 episodes over six seasons…..Read more>>