Netflix has become a household name in the entertainment world, revolutionizing how we consume television shows and movies. With its vast library of original content, it has produced some of the most binge-worthy and critically acclaimed series ever. From gripping dramas to hilarious comedies, Netflix has something for everyone, so we have decided to delve further into the best Netflix shows that have captivated audiences and left a lasting impact on the world of television. Whether you’re looking for a period drama, an animated classic, or a mind-bending sci-fi adventure, Netflix has it all, and we are here to showcase only the best the streaming service has to offer.
Of course, most of the customers who pay for either TV or video services don’t anticipate bidding adieu to their favorite services anytime soon. This includes users of Netflix, satellite TV, pay-per-view services like Apple iTunes, and cable TV. According to a recent survey, in fact, the average person expects to stream over 290 different movies or TV shows this year alone.
Are you a victim of streaming fatigue? The average person has 13 TV shows and 16 movies on their watch list to get through — averaging a total of 104 hours, according to the latest poll. The survey of 2,000 adults found that 68 percent of Americans have a TV show and movie watch list so long, it’s “nearly impossible” for them to get through it. Tough times, huh? And if you find yourself turning to television in times of distress, don’t worry– you’re not alone. Another recent poll of 2,000 adults found that 55 percent watch TV as a self-soothing technique for relieving anxiety or stress. That’s more than the number of respondents who relax by taking a bath (42%) or by doing yoga (33%).
There are worse problems than having too many shows on your watchlist. Overall, streaming services offer a convenient, personalized, and affordable way to access your favorite entertainment. One of the pioneers of this type of media was, in fact, Netflix, and has been providing its consumers with quality TV shows and movies since its inception. So much so that we at StudyFinds have decided today to take the time to research across multiple expert sources to bring you the top seven best Netflix shows of all time. Don’t agree with our ranking or feel we missed out on one that deserved to be in the top? We would love to hear from you in the comments down below.
The List: Best Netflix Shows, According to Fans
1. “Stranger Things” (2016 – 2025)
“Stranger Things” is a captivating and nostalgic Netflix series that takes viewers on a thrilling journey into the supernatural. Set in the 1980s, the show brilliantly combines elements of horror, science fiction, and coming-of-age drama to create a unique and addictive storyline. “A rollicking, endearing ’80s pastiche that leans deep into its inspirations – a little John Carpenter here, some (ok, a lot of) Steven Spielberg there, a dollop of Stephen King with a dash of ‘Red Dawn’ – ‘Stranger Things’ took off thanks in no small part to its neo-’Goonies’ cast of Dungeons & Dragons-obsessed kids highlighted by Millie Bobby Brown’s telekinetic Eleven. With its creepy parallel-dimension threat, underbelly teeming with mad scientists and commies, genuinely chilling horror moments, and penchant for cliffhangers, the show all but perfected the binge-watch model,” says Time Out.
season 5. chapter one. the crawl. happy stranger things day pic.twitter.com/xCdNLjD7Yt
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) November 7, 2022
“Without a doubt, ‘Stranger Things’ is Netflix’s flagship show. So powerful is the gravitational pull of ‘Stranger Things’ that it can even propel decades-old songs like Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ to the top of the charts. (It appears to be having a similar effect on Metallica‘s ‘Master of Puppets,’ which was used in the Season 4 finale). ‘Stranger Things’ fifth and final season airs next year. With a feature-length finale, it looks set to be the biggest season yet,” writes Collider.
“Seven years after its debut, ‘Stranger Things’ sits high atop the Netflix crown, the most successful of the streamer’s various high-profile genre exercises. But back in 2016, all it had on its side was all that it ever really needed: an astonishingly good child cast, a nuclear payload of nostalgic touchstones, not just for its 1980s era, but for the threads of nastiness that always lurked beneath its suburban facade; and a deft ability to import streaming-sized Spielbergian magic, hinting at a vast, wondrous, and terrible world lingering closer to its warmly realized vision of home than Eleven, Mike, or the rest of the Party could ever have comfortably guessed,” adds AV Club.
2. “Bojack Horseman” (2014 – 2020)
“Bojack Horseman” is a critically acclaimed animated television series that first premiered on Netflix in 2014. Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, this dark comedy-drama has captivated audiences with its unique blend of humor, introspection, and social commentary. “Yes, the one indisputable Netflix masterpiece is an animated dramedy about a depressed horse who once starred in a bad Nineties family sitcom and now content himself with abusing both drugs and the trust of anyone who cares about him. ‘BoJack’ was a parody of modern dramas about middle-aged male antiheroes who get away with everything. But it was also a supreme example of the form, as laugh-out-loud ridiculous and as soul-crushingly sad a show as has been produced during the streaming era,” states Rolling Stone.
— BoJack Horseman (@BoJackHorseman) January 31, 2020
“A showbiz comedy about a self-destructive ’90s sitcom star who happens to be a horse isn’t exactly an easy sell. ‘BoJack’ is, after all, a show about humanoid animals that’s also a stark meditation on the nature of depression, greed, addiction, fame, obsession, abuse, and generational trauma. Against all odds, it’s one of the funniest shows on television, rife with visual gags and acidic turns of phrase and unafraid to go to dark places and rebound with moments of tenderness,” raves Time Out.
“‘BoJack Horseman’ overflows with witty dialogue and endless animal puns, not to mention lots of visual gags. The colorful animation is a great foil to the subject; the series explores depression, addiction, and trauma. ‘BoJack’ is one of TV’s greatest self-destructive antiheroes, up there with Don Draper and Tony Soprano,” notes Collider.
3. “Master of None” (2015 – 2021)
“Master of None” is a critically acclaimed comedy-drama series that first premiered on Netflix in 2015. “This comedy series from Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang is difficult to categorize — it’s primarily a romance show about dating in the smartphone era, but it’s also concerned with intergenerational conflicts, East and South Asian experiences in the United States, workplace awkwardness, and millennial anxieties. ‘Master of None’ shows equal strength in its overarching plot, which charts the complex relationships between Dev (Ansari) and his love interests (Noël Wells, Alessandra Mastronardi), along with one-off episodes that are largely detached from the broader narrative,” mentions EW.
Master of None presents
Moments in Love.
Now Streaming. pic.twitter.com/SymX2z3dkI
— Master of None (@MasterofNone) May 23, 2021
“Aziz Ansari’s ‘Master of None’ was among the best of the wave of auteur-driven TV in the 2010s. He wrote, directed, and starred in the show’s ambitious and lovely early seasons, which mixed stories of his alter ego, Dev, who was looking for love, with tales of the people in Dev’s life: his immigrant father’s journey to America, his friend Denise gradually coming out to her family, even a digression about New York cabbies,” comments Rolling Stone.
“Aziz Ansari’s wry, ruminative, artistic tale of an Indian-American actor dating, eating, and accessorizing his way through New York City was a sensation upon its release in 2015, then it disappeared for five years following its Italian neorealism-inspired second season. This year, it returned, with Ansari behind the camera instead of in front and focused on Lena Waithe’s supporting character, Denise, as she hunkered down with her wife in the countryside. The narrative shift was jarring but also a beautiful character study, proving that Ansari’s gift for storytelling extends well beyond the semi-autobiographical,” reports Time Out.
4. “Squid Game” (2021 – )
“Squid Game” is a gripping and intense Korean television series that has taken the world by storm. This dystopian thriller has captivated audiences with its unique blend of suspense, action, and social commentary. “‘Squid Game’s’ first season hit Netflix in 2021, and viewers still can’t stop talking about the shocking plot. In this series, a group of down-on-their-luck individuals joins a children’s game competition, hoping for a big payday. However, they soon learn the games are far more dangerous than anticipated,” describes CBR.
— Squid Game (@squidgame_eth) November 25, 2023
“An outta-nowhere smash, this series exploded up the Netflix streaming ranks upon release to become the most-watched show in the platform’s history. It’s a feat made all the more astounding given the subject matter. Effectively, a more overtly class-conscious – and way more violent – take on ‘The Hunger Games.’ It’s hard to watch at times due to both the gore and hyperventilating suspense, but once its hooks set in, it’s impossible to turn away from,” explains Time Out.
“It’s easy to see, just at a glance, why ‘Squid Game’ became such a global phenomenon. The imagery conjured by the series, from the matching jumpsuits to the menacing Red Light-Green Light doll, is instantly memorable and unsettling, the kind of stuff tailor-made to catch the eye of the internet. But look closer, and you’ll find more than a memorable high-concept at work in Hwang Dong-hyuk’s runaway hit. The hook is always there, but it’s the deeply human work from the cast that sells it, making ‘Squid Game’ a remarkable portrait of desperation and survival,” says AV Club.
5. “Orange Is The New Black” (2013 – 2019)
“Orange Is The New Black” is a critically acclaimed television series that first premiered on Netflix in 2013. Created by Jenji Kohan, the show is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, which details her experiences in a women’s federal prison. “Netflix’s most-watched original series changed the game from episode one. Though subsequent seasons had their flaws, from the beginning, ‘OITNB’ wooed us all with its smart writing and memorable characters. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you consider it a drama or a comedy – after all, it’s won an Emmy for both,” writes Time Out.
🧡 OITNB FOREVER 🧡 pic.twitter.com/gCz7ZRGORz
— Netflix (@netflix) July 13, 2023
“‘Orange,’ a dramedy set at a federal women’s prison with an enormous cast crossing boundaries of race, sexuality, gender, and more, felt brand-new and like a sign that the streaming era would have lots of room for TV to keep evolving. That’s not quite what happened, and ‘Orange’ was more creatively uneven than many shows on this list. But its best moments were remarkable and symbolize a road the streamer hasn’t taken nearly as often as it could,” states Rolling Stone.
“Sure, there might have been some bumps along the way, but when this groundbreaking prison dramedy was firing on all cylinders — and those first four seasons were damn near perfect — it was among the finest shows on all of TV. What began as a more straightforward adaptation of Piper Kerman’s memoir evolved into something even greater as the series expanded to tell stories spotlighting Chapman’s fellow inmates and gave up-and-comers Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Laverne Cox, and Samira Wiley a chance to shine. Its final season was a fine return to form and culminated in a feature-length finale that offered closure to more than four dozen colorful characters we’d come to love (and, in some cases, loathe) over the course of seven years,” adds TV Line.
6. “The Crown” (2016 – 2023)
“The Crown” is a critically acclaimed historical drama series that delves into the captivating world of the British monarchy. Created by Peter Morgan, this Netflix original has garnered immense popularity and praise for its meticulous attention to detail and stellar performances. “The story of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign has landed countless wins on the awards circuit since its first season aired in 2016 – and for good reason. The writing is excellent, the acting wonderful, and the cinematography outstanding, all contributing to the creation of a show appreciated even by those usually loath to give historical dramas a chance,” mentions Time Out.
Duty and devotion battled it out in S4. pic.twitter.com/9QmXkpFpxa
— The Crown (@TheCrownNetflix) December 7, 2023
“All of the 20th century British royal family’s decadence is rendered with eye-popping precision, evoking a convincing enough peek into these real-life figures’ lives to necessitate disclaimers that it’s all speculative fiction. And led by Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, and, now five seasons in, Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, it’s a murderers’ row of talent, the cream of the British acting crop that makes each episode essential viewing,” states AV Club.
“The decades-spanning chronicle of Elizabeth II’s reign as queen of England could’ve easily been another stuffy period piece, but it nimbly sidesteps that cliché by boldly exploring the royal family’s personal lives, revealing the flawed humans behind the grand titles. Every frame is a feast for the eyes, and the idea to recast the characters every two seasons was a masterstroke, allowing the show to reinvigorate itself and bring more great actors into the fold,” explains TV Line.
7. “I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson” (2019 – )
“I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson” is a hilarious sketch comedy show that first premiered on Netflix in 2019. Created by Tim Robinson, known for his work on “Saturday Night Live,” the series quickly gained a dedicated fan base for its offbeat humor and absurd sketches. “The comedy series is the funniest Netflix show to date, as practically every segment is packed with hilarious jokes and ridiculous line deliveries. Most of the sketches depict a central figure who violates a social taboo and doubles down on their unusual behavior, alienating their peers while mounting an impassioned self-defense,” describes EW.
“Each season of Tim Robinson’s sketch-comedy delight is six episodes of less than 20 minutes apiece. Yet within that efficient packaging exist indelible, explosive comedy bits, many of them about people who take some dumb belief and refuse to let go of it until everyone around them is deeply uncomfortable. Bonus points for the hot-dog car sketch becoming the single most useful meme of the past four years,” raves Rolling Stone.
“There’s an argument to be made that ‘I Think You Should Leave’ is the only perfect product Netflix has produced so far. The existing two seasons of the sketch comedy series are short, glorious bursts of bizarre humor that could only exist in a world with no studio notes and no executives asking the writers to explain just why the concept of ‘sloppy steaks’ is so funny. It gives both up-and-coming talent and recognizable faces a platform to flex their most deranged comedic muscles,” concludes Thrillist.
You might be interested in:
- Best Stranger Things Episodes
- Best Netflix Documentaries
- Best Romantic Comedies on Netflix
- Best Shows on Max
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.