Netflix has a huge library of TV shows to catch up on, or completely binge-watch, if you're spending more time at home. From classic series such as Blackadder and Doctor Who to new, original TV programmes like Stranger Things and Black Mirror, there is every kind of genre to get into. This is our selection of the very best of 's offerings.
Best TV shows on Netflix UK
Pretty Little Liars
Creator: I Marlene King Cast: Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale Series: ()
In a nutshell: In the small town of Rosewood, a girl disappears. It turns out she's been murdered, and her friends are desperate to know who did it – but soon they're being tortured from afar by a mysterious "A" who seems to know all their secrets and lies. Part teen drama and part murder mystery, this show eventually began to creak under the weight of its incremental far-fetchedness, but the first three series are taut, and the contemporary soundtrack is superb.
Read our review of the final episode here.
The Haunting of Hill House
Creator: Mike Flanagan Cast: Carla Gugino, Michiel Huisman, Henry Thomas Series: 1 ()
In a nutshell: Shirley Jackson's novel has long been a gothic classic. Wisely, Mike Flanagan didn't try to recreate the terrifying film version; even more wisely, he ignored the appalling remake. Instead, this version not only chooses to make the paranormal activity in Hill House visible, but also combines it with the trauma of the grown-up children living 20 years later in the aftermath. What was really going on in that dark house, where “whatever walked there, walked alone”?
Read our review here.
Creator: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Cast: KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Madelaine Petsch Series: ()
In a nutshell: A curious mixture of teen drama, mystery, horror and (on occasion) slapstick, Riverdale had a cult following almost before it began. Archie Andrews is a well-meaning but slightly beleaguered young man, living in a small US town, when a murder is committed – and all manner of dark weirdness comes seeping out of Riverdale's pores. The young ensemble cast are magnetic.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Creator: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Cast: Kiernan Shipka, Michelle Gomez, Miranda Otto Series: 1 ()
In a nutshell: The return of the Spellman family was one of Netflix’s more unexpected successes in It's less a straight Sabrina the Teenage Witch reboot than a mélange of woke politics, Nineties nostalgia and surprisingly intricate Satanic theology. Crafty move, to attract both the millennials and Generation Z.
Read our review here.
Creators: Eugene Levy, Dan Levy Cast: Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Dan Levy Series: ()
In a nutshell: This Canadian comedy has flown under the radar over here, but it's genuinely funny and often very tender. Created by Dan Levy and his father Eugene (American Pie), this silly but biting series follows a wealthy family who lose it all but for a tiny town with a funny name that father Johnny bought for his son David as a joke. Catherine O'Hara is brilliantly eccentric as the former soap star-turned-housewife Moira.
Genre: Comedy Creators: David Crane and Marta Kauffman Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer Cert: 12 Series: ( - )
In a nutshell: Six Manhattan friends fall in and out of love, balance their careers and friendships and breeze in and out of each other's apartments in this most iconically Nineties of Nineties sitcoms (that inexplicably extended its life into ).
Read David Schwimmer on Friends, his new sitcom, and his fears for Billie Eilish here.
Orange is the New Black
Genre: Drama Creator: Jenji Kohan Cast: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Jason Biggs Cert: 18 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Just imagine: an American, female-led ensemble drama made in that did not feature a majority of slim, young, classically beautiful actresses. Well, it happened. And this prison-set series, based on the memoirs of Piper Kerman, is funny, engrossing and brilliantly acted.
Read our reviews here.
Grace and Frankie
Genre: Comedy drama Creators: Marta Kauffman, Howard J Morris Cast: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterson Cert: 15 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Jane Fonda's coiffed, vodka sipping WASP, and Lily Tomlin's pot-smoking 'psychic' are shocked when their husbands decide, after 40 years, that they're leaving their wives – for each other (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson make a surprisingly cute match). The rapport between the two actresses, reunited on-screen for the first time since Eighties comedy 9 to 5, sparkles in spite of occasionally slipping into odd-couple stereotype.
Read our review here.
Creator: Charlie Brooker Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rory Kinnear, John Hamm, Domhnall Gleeson Cert: TBC Series: ()
In a nutshell: The third and fourth series of Charlie Brooker's Twilight Zone-ish anthology are exclusive to Netflix, and offers a broader range of genres. But the real jewels are the first two instalments of this dark, dystopian satire. Luckily, they're all available to watch here - along with a deeply un-festive Christmas special, and 's interactive experiment Bandersnatch.
Read our reviews here.
Genre: Drama Creator: Vince Gilligan Cast: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Bob Odenkirk Cert: 18 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Vince Gilligan’s sprawling black comic tale about a high-school chemistry teacher who, after being diagnosed with cancer, “breaks bad” and begins manufacturing crystal meth is a television masterpiece. No series can match it for set pieces and sheer invention, its comedy is blacker than the Coen brothers’, and its grinding emotional truths of a man and a family in crisis make it all seem horribly real. Has to be seen to be believed.
Read Why Breaking Bad is the Greatest Thing on Television here.
Genre: Sci-fi / horror Creators: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown Cert: 15 Series: 2 ()
In a nutshell: This sci-fi series has become Netflix's biggest unexpected hit. Equal parts Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, it's a loving homage to the Eighties that stars Winona Ryder as a single mother who uncovers a world of supernatural horror when her young son disappears. Read our review
Genre: Comedy Creators: John Cleese, Connie Booth Cast: John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs Cert: 12 Series: ()
In a nutshell: So notable, so quotable, and the yardstick against which all other British sitcoms must be judged. Fawlty Towers achieved a lot in its two short series, and John Cleese has never been better than as furious hotel owner Basil Fawlty.
Read 20 of Basil's best rants here.
Creator: Sally Wainwright Cast: Sarah Lancashire, Siobhan Finneran, James Norton Cert: 15 Series: 2 ()
In a nutshell: Writer Sally Wainwright’s double Bafta-winning police drama is thrillingly dark. There’s a career-best performance from Lancashire as strong-willed Sergeant Catherine Cawood, who must face her past and fight for justice when the man who drove her daughter to suicide gets released from prison. Savage, suspenseful and stunning, it also provided the breakout role for War & Peace star James Norton.
Read Five Reasons You Must Watch Happy Valley here.
Genre: Comedy Creators: Pam Brady, Mitch Hurwitz Cast: Maria Bamford, Fred Melamed, Ana Gasteyer Cert: 18 Series: 2 ()
In a nutshell: Cult US comedian Maria Bamford has finally found the perfect vehicle for her talents in this wildly inventive sitcom. Drawing heavily on her life as a stand-up comic – and her struggles with mental health – it's both a heartwarming romcom and a scathing showbiz satire, all at once. Read our review
Genre: Drama Creator: Gene Roddenberry Cast: William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula
In a nutshell: With a brand-new series out now on Netflix, it's the perfect time to (boldly) go back to the very beginning, and catch up with Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series (cert PG). The whole Star Trek TV canon is available to stream, including The Next Generation (cert 12), Deep Space Nine (cert 15), Voyager (cert 12), Enterprise (cert 12) and even Star Trek: The Animated Series (cert U).
A word of warning before you attempt to binge-watch the whole lot: it would take more than a month of non-stop, hour viewing to see all plus episodes. Or you can skip straight to the new series, Discovery (cert 12).
Read how Star Trek changed the world here.
Genre: Thriller Creator: David Guggenheim Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Natasha McElhone, Maggie Q Cert: 12 Series: 2 ()
In a nutshell: “The capital has been attacked,” declares a solemn, suited official. “Sir, you are now the President of the United States.” Poor Kiefer Sutherland couldn’t look more appalled. When a bomb goes off in Washington – killing most of the government – Sutherland’s hoodie-wearing minor official finds himself in the Oval Office, running a country suddenly on the brink of war.
Meet the real Designated Survivors here.
Genre: Documentary Creator: David Collins Cast: Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley, Jai Rodriguez Cert: 12 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was a Nineties reality TV hit, with five gay men giving life and style makeovers to straight men in a slump. Its reboot, now simply Queer Eye, has become a breakout smash on Netflix, and widened the makeover pool to men and women. Read the full review
Master of None
Genre: Comedy Creators: Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang Cast: Aziz Ansari, Noël Wells, Eric Wareheim, Kelvin Yu, Lena Waithe Cert: U Series: 2 ()
In a nutshell: Parks and Recreation's Aziz Ansari writes and stars in this Critics' Choice Award-winning sitcom as Dev, a 30 year old Indian American actor in New York. He navigates relationships that feel distinctly modern, without beating you over the head with just how terribly millennial they all are. It's subtle and sarcastic, but its crucial message about the lack of diversity in the media delivers a bitterly poignant clout.Read our review
Genre: Comedy Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg Cast: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul Cert: 15 Series: ()
In a nutshell: A wonderfully surreal meditation on despair and celebrity culture, featuring BoJack Horseman, a humanoid horse and washed-up star of the fictional Nineties sitcom Horsin' Around. Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul voices one of the characters.
Meet the team behind Bojack Horseman here.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Genre: Comedy drama Creator: Mark Hudis, Barry Sonnenfeld Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton Cert: PG Series: ()
In a nutshell: Surrealism and absurdist humour abound in Netflix's adaptation of Lemony Snicket's deliciously gothic children's books. Neil Patrick Harris stars as the scenery-chewing Count Olaf, a villainous master of disguise hellbent on stealing the Baudelaire orphans' family fortune.
Read our review here.
She's Gotta Have It
Genre: Comedy drama Creator: Spike Lee Cast: DeWanda Wise, Anthony Ramos Cert: 15 Series: 1 ()
In a nutshell: Director Spike Lee returns to the topic of his film to atone for the ill-judged 'lighthearted' rape that happened to his female central character at the end. For this new series, Lee completely overhauls and updates both the style and the substance - to triumphant effect.
Read our review here.
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Creator: Max Landis Cast: Samuel Barnett, Elijah Wood, Fiona Dourif Cert: 15 Series: 2 ()
In a nutshell: Very loosely adapted from the madcap novels by Douglas Adams (author of (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), this complex, genre-hopping comedy stars Samuel Barnett as a metaphysical detective, with Elijah Wood as his frequently baffled sidekick. Barnett's performance is a little grating to begin with, but it will grow on you. Read our review
Creators: Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch Cast: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Marc Maron Cert: 18 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Based on the real-life Eighties TV female wrestling league the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, this cracking comedy comes from the makers of Orange is the New Black, and shares that show's flair for whipsmart dialogue, as well as its ability to juggle a large ensemble cast. Alison Brie stars as the struggling actress who ditches Chekhov for headlocks and smackdowns.
Read our review of season one here.
Genre: Sci-fi comedy Creators: Rob Grant, Doug Naylor Cast: Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn Cert: 12 Series: (; series are not yet available on Netflix)
In a nutshell: A curry-loving mechanic called Dave Lister (Charles) is the last human in the universe, lost in space with only a mutant cat (John-Jules), and a hologram of his smug superior officer (Barrie) for company. With shades of both The Odd Couple and Waiting for Godot, this seminal sitcom is a daft, joyous sci-fi romp. The show was revived in after a year hiatus: the post seasons aren't yet on Netflix, but all eight seasons of the classic series are available to watch.
Read our review here.
Genre: Drama Creators: Graeme Manson, John Fawcett Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce Cert: 15 Series: (–17)
In a nutshell: Tatiana Maslany gives a bravura performance as a single mother who discovers she is a clone whose "sisters" (also Maslany) are being targeted by sinister forces. Co-produced by BBC America, this Toronto-set thriller draws on modern anxieties about government surveillance and identity theft.
Being Human (UK)
Genre: Drama Creator: Toby Whithouse Starring: Aidan Turner, Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow, Sinead Keenan, Michael Socha Cert: 15 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Before Twilight reached our cinema screens, Being Human was already re-inventing vampire/werewolf tensions. This BBC Three series was witty, thrilling and blessed with a terrific cast. A pre-Poldark Aidan Turner played "recovering" vampire John Mitchell, who moves into a Bristol flat with anxious werewolf George (Tovey) and Annie (Crichlow), a neurotic tea-making ghost. The quality dipped after the departure of Turner in season 4, but whip-smart writing made the first three series unmissable.
Read our review here.
The Get Down
Genre: Musical Creator: Baz Luhrmann Cast: Shameik Moore, Justice Smith, Herizen Guardiola Cert: 15 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Netflix have reportedly poured over $ million into The Get Down, Baz Luhrmann's love-letter to New York's Seventies music scene. Set in the South Bronx in , this lavish part musical (with original compositions by rapper Nas) follows the fall of disco and the rise of hip-hop. Read our review
Genre: Drama Creators: Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs Cert: 12 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Probably the most successful of all TV updates of a literary classic, Sherlock takes the original characters and cases of Conan Doyle’s great Victorian detective stories and sets them spinning in the 21st century. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is a startlingly charismatic reinvention and the drama crackles with cleverness and fun.
Read our review of the first episode here.
Pride and Prejudice
Genre: Drama Creator: Andrew Davies Cast: Jennifer Ehle, Colin Firth, Alison Steadman, Benjamin Whitrow Cert: U Series: 1 ()
In a nutshell: Period dramas have always been a popular choice for the BBC, but this lavish six-part production rose the bar. Audiences throughout the world swooned over dashing Mr Darcy (Colin Firth in a career-defining role) and lapped up the dry wit of Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle).
Genre: Comedy Creator: Adam Reed Starring: H Jon Benjamin, Jessica Walter, Aisha Tyler Cert: 15 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Secret agent Sterling Archer (voiced to bone-dry perfection by Benjamin) is one of TV’s greatest jerks. Part workplace comedy, part Bond spoof, this very adult – and very funny – animation has him shooting and insulting his way through foreigners and innocent bystanders, without ever making it clear if he’s a hero or a villain. Until, that is, he becomes a druglord in season five
The Office (UK)
Genre: Comedy Creators: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant Cast: Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook, Lucy Davis
Cert: 15 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Probably the best mockumentary ever made. The events at Slough-based paper merchant’s Wernham Hogg feel excruciatingly real but, on second viewing, have a surprising amount of heart, too. More than a decade later, Gervais and Merchant have yet to recapture what they created here.
House of Cards
Genre: Drama Creator: Beau Willimon Cast: Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Kate Mara Cert: 18 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Netflix’s flagship and first original production. This is a wily update of the Nineties BBC series about a Machiavellian politician devoid of moral compunction in his pursuit of power; here translated to 21st century Washington DC. A sly and sophisticated script and the smartest of production values make this one of the finest TV dramas of the decade.
I'm Alan Partridge
Genre: Comedy Creators: Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci, Peter Baynham
Cast: Steve Coogan, Felicity Montagu, Simon Greenall, Amelia Bullmore
In a nutshell: The crass, egocentric, deeply tragic Partridge is easily Coogan’s greatest creation but this sitcom is actually a game of two halves. The Travel Tavern-based first series crackles with brilliantly embarrassing moments, but the second series, which sees Partridge living in a static caravan with his Ukrainian girlfriend, is stifled by frequent longueurs.
Creator: Peter Morgan Cast: Claire Foy, Jared Harris, Matt Smith, John Lithgow, Jeremy Northam Cert: 15 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, The Audience), this sumptuous drama, which chronicles the lives of the Windsors from to , is rumoured to have cost £ million for the first two series, which would make it of the most expensive TV shows in history. Luckily, it lives up to the price tag: the result is a right royal treat.
Read our review of season 3 here.
The Thick of It
Genre: Comedy Creator: Armando Iannucci Cast: Peter Capaldi, Chris Langham, Rebecca Front, Chris Addison and Joanna Scanlan Cert: 18 Series: ()
In a nutshell: The greatest, funniest political satire of all time. It depicts the British political establishment as uniformly self-serving, stupid and gaffe-prone, supported by a civil service of breathtaking incompetence, and protected and bullied by non-elected spin doctors and enforcers, the most extreme of whom is Peter Capaldi’s unforgettable Malcolm Tucker. Politicians will never be seen the same again.
Go behind the scenes with The Thick of It here.
Better Call Saul
Genre: Drama Creators: Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael McKean Cert: 18 Series: ()
In a nutshell: This Breaking Bad prequel traces the story of fast-talking, wise-cracking Saul Goodman as he was before he became everybody's favourite crooked lawyer in Vince Gilligan's TV masterpiece. The surprise is that when we first meet him, he's Jimmy McGill (Odenkirk), a scuffling public defender, still dreaming of emulating his hero, older brother Chuck, a "rock star" lawyer in the firm of Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill. It's a classic underdog story, and it's not long before you find yourself rooting for him.
Genre: Documentary Creator: Alastair Fothergill Narration: David Attenborough Cert: U Series: 1 ()
In a nutshell: Five years in the making and the most expensive nature series ever produced by the BBC, Planet Earth moved natural history film-making into the 21st century. One of the first programmes to be filmed in HD, this magisterial outing for Sir David Attenborough projects our sofas into the world’s jungles, frozen wastes, deserts and deep seas, bringing us gobsmackingly gorgeous scenes of nature at its most intimate. The equally impressive follow-up, Planet Earth II, is also available.
Making a Murderer
Genre: Documentary Creators: Laura Ricciardi, Moira Demos Subjects: Steven Avery, Brendan Dassey Cert: 15 Series: (, )
In a nutshell: The true crime documentary that got everyone talking, tweeting and signing petitions over the festive period. It is an astonishing, almost Kafka-esque story of a miscarriage of justice, a police-lead witch hunt and a draconian, obtuse justice system – all focused on one man, Steven Avery. After spending 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Avery was soon re-arrested and charged with murder. Was he guilty this time or was the system determined to see him suffer? It’s a modern-day In Cold Blood.
Read the story behind a confession that could change everything for Steven Avery here.
Genre: Drama Creators: Todd A Kessler, Glenn Kessler, Daniel Zelman Cast: Kate Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Andrea Riseborough Cert: 15 Series: 3 ()
In a nutshell: The Netflix original thriller is a modern slice of southern gothic, following the troubled lives of the Rayburns, a Florida Keys family slowly sinking into a life of crime.
Read our review here.
Creator: Amy Sherman-Palladino Cast: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Melissa McCarthy, Keiko Agena, Scott Patterson Cert: 12 Series: (, )
In a nutshell: This fast-paced, pop-culture-savvy comedy about a single mother and her daughter living in Connecticut earned a legion of fans, who were left distraught by its cancellation in Netflix have not only bought up the back catalogue, but revived the series: a new, four-part special called Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was released exclusively on Netflix in
Read our guide to the series here.
Genre: Drama Creator: Tom Stoppard Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Adelaide Clemens Cert: 15 Series: 1 ()
In a nutshell: Without doubt the classiest literary adaptation of Playwright Tom Stoppard disinters Ford Madox Ford’s doorstopper of a novel about the crisis of the aristocracy during the First World War. Benedict Cumberbatch plays a pompous reactionary who yet makes you weep with pity for him, while Rebecca Hall is brilliant as his obnoxious wife.
Read our review here.
Genre: Drama Creators: Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato, Doug Miro, Paul Eckstein Starring: Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook Cert: 15 Series: (), Narcos: Mexico ()
In a nutshell: Drugs, women, wealth and mass murder: the life of Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar carries seismic dramatic potential. Interweaving drama with actual archival footage, the firest two seasons of this gripping series are built on a towering performance from Brazilian actor Wagner Moura. As the "King of Cocaine", he flits convincingly between laconic menace and warmth towards his family. Moura left after the second series, but the third instalment - in which the DEA take on Colombia's Cali Cartel - is still just as devastatingly addictive. Narcos: Mexico, the spinoff with Michael Peña, is available too.
Read our season 1 review here.
Genre: Superhero drama Creator: Drew Goddard Cast: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D'Onofrio Cert: 18 Series: ()
In a nutshell: Following the widely panned film adaptation starring Ben Affleck, Marvel have righted their past wrongs with this dark, violent TV series based on the Daredevil comic books. Charlie Cox stars as Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer with unusually heightened senses that fights crime by night.
Read our Daredevil review here.