58 of the best Netflix series to binge watch right now

Netflix has something for everyone, but there’s plenty of rubbish. Our guide to the best TV on Netflix UK is updated weekly to help you avoid the average ones and find the best things to watch. We try and pick out the less obvious gems, too, so we’re confident you’ll find a must-watch show you don’t already know about.

That said, if nothing captures your imagination, try our picks of the best documentaries on Netflix and the best films on Netflix UK for more options. Want to watch some US Netflix? Try our guide to the best VPN sets for watching Netflix.

And if you’ve already completed Netflix and are in need of a new challenge, try our guides to the best films on Disney+ and the best Disney+ shows.

excursion to Survive

Netflix/Vladimir Rys

Each season of excursion to Survive follows the past year’s Formula 1 season, giving a complete run-down of events ahead of the current year’s championship. The series’ genius is to take a holistic approach, focusing on everything but the actual races. There’s plenty of footage of noticable race moments, but it’s what happens before, between and after the cars hit the track that really tells the story of the sport. The consequence is a viewing experience that feels fresh already to those who have already watched every race, while showing newcomers how much more F1 is about than just fast cars whizzing around a track. 

Dear White People


It’s based on a film of the same name, but Dear White People is a Netflix-original American comedy that’s worth your time. The series follows a group of students of colour who attend a mostly-white Ivy League college. It shows their struggles against racism and discrimination and covers the same ground as the film. However, each episodes tells the story of one different character and lets you dive deeper into their lives and individual personalities. There’s also some laughs along the way. Originally released in 2017, the fourth season of the show debuted in September 2021.

Squid Game


Produced in Korea, Squid Game blends Hunger Games and Parasite with a battle royale-style contest. Hundreds of desperate, broke people are recruited into a contest where they can win enough money to never need to worry about their debts again. All they have to do to win the ₩45.6 billion (£28 million) jackpot is complete six children’s games. But it’s not that simple: all the games have a twist and the risk of death is high. Very few people make it out alive. Squid Game is intense, brutal (and often very graphic) but completely gripping. Netflix’s dubbing isn’t the best in this example, but the series more than makes up for this with how powerful all nine-episodes are.

Chef’s Table

Don’t watch this when you’re hungry. Each episode of this mouth watering series goes into the kitchen of one of the world’s top chef’s and looks beyond their creations. With restaurants nevertheless open in limited ways because of the pandemic, Chef’s Table is the perfect way to get inspired and passionate about food. What’s more, there are six seasons to get your teeth stuck into. The most recent of these involves Sean Brock, who is dedicated to reviving lost flavours and Tuscan butcher Dario Cecchini who is trying to change how the world things about meat. If you really want to get your mouth watering, the entirety of season four is dedicated to pastry.

Star Trek: Discovery

Netflix / Premiere Pro

It could have been terrible, but thankfully Star Trek: Discovery is absolutely terrific. While at times it oscillates awkwardly between big-budget drama and cheap sci-fi thrills, for the most part this is a thoughtful, visually dramatically expansion of Trekkian lore. Its obsession with winking and nodding to that lore will delight fans of the show, but at its chief Discovery is a bright character drama, set against some clever and mind-bending sci-fi plot twists. The series has also proven a success with fans. While it’s produced by US-based CBS Television Studios, Netflix has the international rights to the show. Three seasons are now obtainable on the streaming service, with the latest being made obtainable in January 2021. Filming is already underway on a fourth season although there’s currently no release date for its debut.

The Chair


Set in the English department at the prestigious Pembroke University (fictional, but think Harvard, Yale etc), this smart drama/comedy is set in the English Department just after the appointment of its first female chair, played by Sandra Oh, whose character Ji-Yoon Kim is also one of the few women of colour in the department. She has to navigate the politics of her new role, managing her colleagues – largely old, white and tenured – along with her family life, and an electric relationship with eccentric star professor Bill Dobson. Sharp and very watchable, in half hour chunks. 

Derry Girls

Set in the city of Derry, Northern Ireland, Derry Girls follows Catholic secondary school student Erin Quinn and her small group of oddball, kooky and, frankly, sweary friends as they navigate teenage life during the Troubles of the 1990s. In between the political turbulence of the period, Quinn and her friends (Claire, the sensible one, Orla, the offbeat one, Michelle, the wild child and James, the English one) juggle love lives, school exams and family life in, let’s just say, very creative ways. Creator Lisa McGee, from Derry herself, brings forth the quirks, conversations and traditions of Irish families in this period in a very deliberate way, and it makes for an incredibly authentic and hilarious watch. Only series 1 of this award-winning comedy is currently obtainable on Netflix UK but already if you can’t binge it, every episode is such a gem independent that it takes minutes to fall head over heels for the Derry girls.

Avatar: The Last Airbender 

Not just one of the greatest kids shows ever or one of the greatest animated shows ever, Avatar is one of the greatest television series ever complete stop. It has it all: laughs, redemption, misery, danger, thrills, imagination, surprise and love. It follows twelve-year-old Aang, the Avatar responsible for retaining balance in the world, as he and his companions strive to end the Fire Nation’s quest for world domination. Don’t be put off by the horrible live-action film, and be cautiously optimistic about Netflix’s upcoming live-action remake.

Bo Burnham: Inside


In the decades to come, when you’re trying to explain to your kids or grandkids how weird the pandemic was, you should sit them down and get them to watch Bo Burnham: Inside. Filmed, edited and starring American musician and comedian Bo Burnham, this is a creative masterpiece that does a bright job of capturing what it has been like to live by months of lockdown. It oscillates wildly and deliberately between the hysterical and the profound with Burnham going thorough on the impacts of isolation, anxiety and the internet age. It’s basic viewing now – and it will continue to be for a very long time.

Better than Us


A reckless, boorish sex-robot manufacturer in 2029 Moscow tries to strike gold by ordering an experimental Chinese automaton touted as able to replace teachers, care workers, and security guards in this Russian sci-fi show. Instead he ends up with Arisa, a robot who looks like a Russian supermodel, kills like a FSB hitman, and runs away like a nose in a Gogol short story. Complicating the matter is Arisa’s sudden lust for the long-faced coroner autopsying her victim, and the turn up of a luddite terrorist group who wants to tear her to pieces. Hilarity duly ensues. The show’s assumption and setting owe a lot to a ton of classics of the genre, from Her to Blade Runner. But the script is substantial and layered enough to add some original twists on top of the sci-fi tropes, and the acting is – as usual for Netflix’s Russian productions – superb.

Sweet Tooth

SWEET TOOTH (L to R) CHRISTIAN CONVERY as GUS in episode 107 of SWEET TOOTH Cr. KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

Based on the comic book by Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth is set ten years after a viral pandemic that killed most of the population, and led – somehow– to babies being born with part human, part animal characteristics. It follows Gus, a half-deer hybrid boy, who leaves the wilderness in search of his mother. It’s part sci-fi, part fantasy, part mystery – as the boy’s journey sheds light on the cause of the plague, and what happened to humanity.

The Haunting of Hill House


Loosely based on the gothic horror novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House is horror at its finest – gripping, dramatically and most of all, terrifying. The Crain family move into Hill House in the summer of 1992 to renovate and ultimately flip it, but when they’re forced to stay longer, paranormal activity drives one family member over the edge, leaving the rest to flee. Twenty-six years later and disaster strikes again, forcing the remaining family members to meet and confront the haunting memories ruining their lives. Hill House never holds back on the jump scares, making its tension-building simply extremely (in the best way). And despite the clearly supernatural elements in its plot, the horror grounds itself in the stories of the lasting Crain family members.

La Révolution

DSC01956.ARWEmmanuel Guimier

In a triumph of on-the-nose conceptualising, La Révolution spins an alt-history romp in on-the-cusp-of-revolt France, where the cruel aristocracy become literal “blue-bloods” thanks to a contagion that turns them into inky-veined, dandyish fiends ravenous for human flesh. A plucky reformist contessa who sympathises with the commoners’ plight – first of being exploited by the ruling class, and then being eaten by them – allies with forces both rebel and supernatural as she tries to prevent the undead disease spreading from the elite of Versaille to the whole of France’s upper crust. Surprisingly great production values and a cast that’s clearly enjoying themselves elevates this above your standard zombie nonsense – and it’s subtitled, which definitely method it’s arthouse, right?

The People v. O.J. Simpson

Part of the American Crime Story series, The People v. O.J. Simpson is a gripping ten-episode mini-series which tells the story of the the infamous O.J. Simpson murder case. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Simpson with David Schwimmer is uncanny as Robert Kardashian, whose family needs no introduction. The story is powerful enough on its own and the performances and direction are (John Travolta aside) excellent, as evidenced by the 22 Primetime Emmy Award nominations the series received and its 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Once you’ve burned by this you’ll want to move onto the second season, which revolves around the murder of Gianni Versace.

Line of Duty


Jed Mercurio’s gripping police drama follows the work of AC-12, a police anti-corruption unit working in an unspecified UK city. Originally broadcast on the BBC, the show centres around Steven Arnott, a detective who is transferred to AC-12 from counter-terrorism after a delicate operation goes badly wrong, and colleagues Kate Fleming – an undercover operative – and Ted Hastings. Each set of six episodes covers a different case of possible police wrongdoing, and there are moments of gripping tension that make it perfect for binge-watching. Season five is on Netflix, with the first four on BBC iPlayer and the sixth airing by spring 2021.

Parks and Recreation

Ron Tom/NBC

Some may view it as the little (and lesser) sibling to the US Office, but Parks and Recreation stole the hearts of many with its humorous scripting, hilarious hijinks and star turns from Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza and a fresh-faced Chris Pratt. The world of local government may not be to everyone’s taste, but for bureaucrat Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) it’s where the real action is. No job too small, Knope and her team of off-beat employees tackle river clean-ups, local elections and STI outbreaks in the senior community with hare-brained ideas and real heart.

Big Mouth

Yes it’s disgusting and puerile but then, so was puberty remember? Nick Kroll’s masterpiece of teenage angst is a wickedly smart, wickedly rude cartoon that follows a group of kids and their troupe of very influential friends – Hormone Monster, Shame Wizard and the rest. Big Mouth manages to turn dick jokes into poignant World War stories, make a ghost of Duke Ellington in the attic make sense and fearlessly take on with everything from mental health and bad parents to sexual and racial identities with whimsy and grace. Oh, and lots and lots of bodily fluids – it’s all here. One of the funniest shows of the past 10 years period.

Pretend It’s A City


Martin Scorsese chuckling to himself at every other line that comes out of Fran Lebowitz’s mouth is one of the most joyful things on Netflix right now. Marty directed this seven part ‘limited series’ which follows the writer and ‘humourist’ – she wrote a associate of books decades ago and now gets paid to make salty observations on talk shows and live events – riffing around New York City, in libraries and members’ clubs and on stage. A masterclass in artful anecdotes and one for city snobs everywhere.


Emmanuel Guimier

Arsène Lupin, the belle époque burglar produced by French novelist Maurice Leblanc in the early 1900s, is reinvented as Assane Diop, a first-generation Frenchman with a mania for Lupin books and a grudge against the powerful blackguards who decades ago framed his father for a theft he didn’t commit – and led him to die in prison. Armed with drones, social media bots, and hacking skills alongside the traditional tools of the trade like fake beards, picklocks, and quick wits, Diop hunts down his adversaries one by one, on a quest for the truth about his father’s fate. In his spare time, Diop also tries to patch together a crumbling marriage and build a better rapport with his son. Worth watching in the French original, this five-episode series’ strength lies all in the dialogues, the character development, and the charismatic performance of Omar Sy as Assane. The actual escapades and bold heists are beautifully choreographed, but a lot of the mechanics – how a certain piece of legerdemain worked, when a certain impenetrable building was infiltrated – are left unspoken. In a show about a master thief, the reticence is unforgivable, and betokens some without of scriptwriting rigour. Also unforgivable is that the fifth episode ends on a cliff-hanger – but fear not, the second tranche of five will hit Netflix mid-2021.



From executive producer Shonda Rhimes comes a period drama like no other that has become Netflix’s most watched series ever. Bridgerton is set during the Regency period in England and follows the powerful Bridgerton family as they navigate love, marriage and scandal. Incredibly bingable and shockingly entertaining, the show is based on a series of novels with each on focusing on a different Bridgerton sibling – this first series follows eldest sister Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and her turbulent marriage to one of London’s most eligible bachelors, Duke Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page). With season two already confirmed, expect much more from London’s Ton era very soon.

Back to Life

Originally airing on BBC, Back to Life is a dark comedy that centres on a woman trying to reintegrate into society after spending almost two decades in prison. Protagonist Miri Matteson (Daisy Haggard) returns to her parents’ house after serving time for a violent crime committed in her teens (we’re kept in the dark about the exact circumstances for most of the series). As she tries to get a manager on adulting and catch up with a world that has moved on in her absence, it becomes clear that someone in her British seaside hometown hasn’t forgotten the past – and is making it their mission not to allow Miri to, either. Meanwhile there’s an eccentric man who appears to be stalking her; a naive neighbour who has taken a shine to her; and her parents, who against everything are trying to pretend that everything is just fine. The series, which received basic acclaim, perfectly balances humour with drama, and is at turns hilarious, unsettling and poignant.

The Crown


Now into its fourth season, The Crown shows the British royal at its best and worst. It’s a definitely fictional retelling of the life of Queen Elizabeth II, with the first season focussing on the eight years between 1947 and 1955, where Elizabeth marries the Duke of Edinburgh. Things move faster in the second series, which covers the Suez Crisis and the resignation of British chief minister Harold Macmillan. The third season saw Olivia Colman stepping into the role as HRH enters the tricky middle years and the swinging sixties, while the recently released fourth season centres on Princess Diana’s tricky relationship with the royals.

The Queen’s Gambit


Stylish, powerful and intensely watchable, this seven-part limited series is based on a novel of the same name, and follows chess prodigy Beth Harmon from an orphanage in Kentucky to duelling with Russians in Moscow. Anna Taylor-Joy excels as the troubled Harmon, and the series is so surprisingly gripping that it will have you pondering a monthly subscription to Chess.com.

Chewing Gum

Channel 4

Chewing Gum is gloriously rude, funny and awkward. produced by and starting Michaela Coel, the creative force behind I May Destroy You, the comedy series follows Tracey, a young, black, Londoner who is intent on escaping her Christian upbringing and losing her virginity. What results is a hilarious but always cringe-inducing zip by the uncertainty of young adulthood.

Orphan Black


Looking for hidden gem on Netflix? Look no further than Orphan Black. The sci-fi drama grew in prominence after an Emmy win for leading actress Tatiana Maslany in 2016 but never quite cracked the mainstream fanbase like Black Mirror and Doctor Who did. After witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks just like her, outsider and orphan Sarah Manning (Maslany) assumes her identity. But she soon uncovers a conspiracy that will haunt her past and define her future. It’s difficult to explain Maslany’s powerful performance(s) without spoiling the plot altogether, but it’s one of the most rare and impressive turns in science fiction TV. Though sometimes a little out there with plot devices and characters, especially in the later seasons, Orphan Black is a great watch for any sci-fi fan craving excellent female-led drama and comedy.

Prison Break


Some writers perfect the cliffhanger – the team behind Prison Break were some of the best at it. Each episode leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting more. While Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) deliberately lands himself in prison to free his brother Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), it is just the beginning of something much bigger. And darker. by 90 episodes across five seasons – although the best series are at the beginning – the brothers are involved in prison riots, breakouts, plotting, and tense exchanges with fellow inmates. Thankfully due to all the seasons streaming, there’s only a few seconds to the next episode.

Last Chance U


Last Chance U is one the most successful documentary series on Netflix and Part 5 is the best season however. The series, which follows the travails of junior college student athletes aiming to break into big time college football and ultimately the NFL, benefits from shifting its focus from oddball rural towns with outsized ambitions and imported talent, to the inner city Laney College in Oakland, California. Laney isn’t high. It doesn’t import players to enhance its team. It doesn’t house and satisfy its players. It’s a genuine part of the community and the players come from that community. The consequence is a series that shines a light on the growing dislocation and inequality in inner city America as the overflow from neighbouring San Francisco gentrifies the formerly blue collar Oakland. And, unlike past seasons, Laney’s head coach isn’t an extremely ass. It goes to some dark places, but is all the better for it.


Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat are at it again with Dracula, a modern adaptation of the typical novel that draws some inspiration from their past work on the hugely popular Sherlock. Thankfully, Dracula has more in shared with Sherlock’s earlier seasons than the clumsy later ones, delivering a delightfully macabre take on the typical tale. Danish actor Claes Bang delivers a career defining performance as the eponymous vampire, who revels in sparring with an unconventional nun (Dolly Wells) who is determined to learn his secrets and end his centuries-long trail of terror. The three-part mini series will have you enthralled from its opening moments and keep you guessing throughout.

Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker


This mini-series chronicles how Madam C.J. Walker went from being a widowed laundress to creating her own line of haircare products, becoming America’s first female self-made millionaire. Based on the book On Her Own Ground from A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, the series provides a window into the life of African-American women in the early 1900s. Academy Award-winning Octavia Spencer, who stars as the title heroine, fights to conquer post-slavery racial biases and find her place in a man’s world of capitalism.

The Last Dance

Netflix / Andrew D. Bernstein

The Last Dance is simultaneously a ten-part documentary about the greatest basketball team of all time and also a show that really isn’t about basketball at all. It follows the Chicago Bulls’ record-breaking NBA championship run, with behind-the-scenes access to documentary footage shot throughout the 1997-98 season, but is really about what it takes to be successful. inner the complete show is what motivated Michael Jordan to become, arguably, the greatest of all time – and continue performing at that level. Top tip: don’t get him mad.

Money Heist


When a team of nine criminals set afloat an audacious heist at Spain’s Royal Mint, they are convinced that their careful plan has every eventuality covered. But things start to separate when the enigmatic mastermind behind the heist starts getting close to the police detective responsible for securing the safe release of the 67 hostages. Although the twisting plot stretches the limits of credulity at points, Money Heist is a deliciously frenetic and tension-filled series that makes surprisingly sympathetic figures out of its devilish main characters.



This miniseries follows Esty, a 19-year-old woman who flees her ultra-orthodox upbringing in Williamsburg’s Hasidic Jewish community and ends up in Berlin, where she soon learns quite how different life can be. But as she tries to find new friends and make a fresh start in the city, her husband Yanky and his shady cousin Moishe are in pursuit, determined to bring her back. The plot is emotional and powerful, with flashbacks to Esty’s experiences around her arranged marriage providing an interesting insight into orthodox life and her struggles to play the role expected of her. The clash of cultures is sometimes played up to the point of silliness, but the strength of Shira Haas’ performance in the leading role will keep you glued to the screen. We just wish there were more than four episodes.

Peaky Blinders


The Shelbys have come a long way since they debuted in the BBC series back in 2013. At the end of April the fifth series dropped onto Netflix for the first time. It now method the streaming service has every episode produced. Season five sees Tommy Shelby’s gang have important strength and reach within the UK formation. That doesn’t average life has got any easier for the Brummie mobsters. The strength of their enemies has also grown and there’s a very real risk the family’s days are numbered.


A strange specimen of a sitcom, this Dan Harmon show set in a community college is the most meta TV comedy since Moonlighting. With a late-00s cast including Donald Glover, Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs, plus scene-stealers like Ken Jeong, Community rummages around in pop culture references, clever callbacks and comments on its own existence but never forgets to pop up with a identify of character development or a heartfelt moment. All six seasons are on Netflix.

Schitt’s Creek

Steve Wilkie/CBC/ITV/Kobal/Shutterstock

When the super-wealthy Rose family are defrauded by their business manager and lose all their money, they’re forced to move to Schitt’s Creek, a backwater town they once purchased as a joke and which is now their only remaining asset. They go from living in a mansion to sharing two rooms in a rundown motel – and the sitcom derives its charm from them slowly adjusting to their new surroundings over the time of the seasons (of which there are five on Netflix). There are some bright performances, particularly from creator Dan Levy and his on and off-screen father Eugene (who you’ll recognise as the dad from American Pie). It’s slow-paced and sweet, much like life in a small town.



Jason Bateman had got us used to goofy manners in the role of the tragically romantic Michael Bluth in Arrested Development; but in Ozark , he discloses a whole new side of his actor’s palette. He impersonates a much more serious financial advisor, Marty Byrde, who finds himself relocating his complete family from a Chicago suburb to the Ozark mountains in Missouri. The reason? He has got himself involved with some dodgy money-laundering scheme for Mexican cartels that he is having difficulty disentangling himself from. The air, heavy with suspense, guilt and trouble-making drug lords, is reminiscent of Breaking Bad. It’s one of Netflix’s most popular shows and is now into its third season.

Tiger King


Eric Goode was filming a documentary about the reptile trade when he met a guy with a snow leopard in the back of his van. He spent the next five years and in around the big cat community in the United States, where there are more tigers in captivity than exist in the wild. This seven-part true crime series explores a feud between two of them – a gun-toting, mullet-wearing, country-singing zoo owner from Oklahoma called Joe Exotic, and animal rights activist Carole Baskin, who has some secrets of her own. Honestly one of the craziest things you will ever watch.

RuPaul’s Drag Race


Stuck at home and struggling with what to watch during the Coronavirus pandemic? Search no more, because Netflix has the complete 11 seasons of mythical drag show Ru Paul’s Drag Race at your fingertips and a bonus new season to boot. With a format similar to America’s Next Top form, watch drag queens make their own outfits, perform acting, dance and singing challenges and fight off in lipsynch extravaganza battles to avoid being deleted and claim the crown. Fans will recommend starting on season two, when the lighting and the show’s format is better. This is the best light-hearted relief, with a smattering of celebrities (including Janet Jackson, Lizzo, Miley Cyrus and Shania Twain!). May the best woman win!


Macall Polay/FX/Kobal/Shutterstock

It’s 1980s New York, the height of the AIDS epidemic. Madonna’s Vogue is playing everywhere, and the underground ballroom scene – haven to mostly black and Latino trans and gay people – is a dizzying, glitzy whirlwind of joy and judgement.

Blanca (MJ Rodriguez) decides to take control of her life after receiving an HIV positive diagnosis, and takes in a ragtag bunch of misfits that call her “mother”. Among them is Damon, a talented 17-year old with dreams of becoming a dancer and Angel, a young trans woman who would love to be a form (but works as a prostitute). Worlds collide when Damon gets into the prestigious New School for Dance and Angel falls in love with young executive Stan Bowes (Evan Peters) – who happens to work for Donald Trump.

The world of present, inspired by the mythical 80s documentary Paris is Burning, hits a sweet identify: it tackles considerably difficult issues like discrimination, sexism and poverty, between joyous dance and drag competitions. The series has no ineffective link. Billy Porter as ballroom MC Pray Tell, and Dominique Jackson as Elektra are truly magnetic, and ground what could have become too much of a tear-jerker with the perfect sprinkling of world-weary cynicism. If you missed it on BBC2, the perfect time to binge-watch it on Netflix is right now.

Sex Education


The second season of this raunchy teen show was one of the biggest highlights on Netflix in 2020. Although it has a distinctly American glow, with jocks, Acapella groups and average girls, Sex Education is set in the UK and filmed in Wales. Asa Butterfield stars as an awkward teenager who starts giving sex counselling for money, and Gillian Anderson plays his mother in her typical graceful style. While the titular topic is used as a source of comedy, Sex Education also explores issues related to intimacy and identity issues in a smart way that will dredge up your emotions.

The Witcher

Netflix/Katalin Vermes

Netflix Original The Witcher is, by objective basic standards, not particularly good. But as binge-worthy escapist enjoyment, it’s an absolute triumph. Based on a Polish fantasy literature franchise that attained global popularity following its successful video game adaptation, the series follows Geralt of Rivia (played by Henry Cavill), whose occupation as a mutant ‘witcher’ sees him slaying monsters for money. Our beefy, gravel-voiced hero finds himself caught up in a bigger plot, however, as his destiny becomes entwined with an orphaned princess on the run and a powerful sorceress testing the limits of her abilities.

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