Top 10 Best Netflix TV Shows to Stream


Which Show Is The Best

  • The Walking Dead
  • Dexter
  • Breaking Bad
  • Lost
  • Mad Men
See results without voting

You can stream Netflix content to your iPad, TV, or smartphone for only $8 per month. TV shows currently make up 80% of the content streamed on Netflix. Movies are only streamed 20% of the the time on Netflix.

The reason more shows are streamed than movies on Netflix is because there are only a limited amount of movies that can be streamed and most of them are not the new releases. Most people who view movies on a regular basis are looking for new releases.

The DVD mail service of Netflix is a better product than the streaming service if you are primarily interested in watching new releases. Netflix has many more movies available in DVD format than they have available to stream.

However Netflix has an excellent selection of TV shows on their streaming service and one of the best ways to watch shows is known as binge viewing.

Without commercials you can watch two or three episodes of a TV show in the same amount of time it would take to watch one movie. You can watch an entire season of a show in a weekend if you wanted to.

The ability to watch entire seasons of TV shows on its streaming service is where Netflix excels.

So with so much to watch where do you start?

Here is a list of the top ten TV series available for viewing on the Netflix streaming service.

10. LilyHammer

LilyHammer is an original Netflix series developed and produced by Netflix to tap into their streaming audience. It is the first original series produced by Netflix.

The show stars Steven Van Zandt and is a dramedy about relocating Van Zandt's character, Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano to Norway in a witness protection program. Frank Tagliano is a mafia member from New York city so he doesn't exactly fit seamlessly into Norwegian life. The character picked Norway because he liked the way it looked in the 1994 Olympic games.

The show is well produced. The acting is good and it uses an effective mixture of subtitles when characters speak Norwegian. It balances out with much of the dialogue being in English which I assume most Norwegians can speak. It gives the show more of an authentic feeling.

Van Zandt just looks like a wise guy from New York and his mannerisms go a long way in selling you on the awkwardness of Norwegians interacting with his type of personality. I also found the scenery of Norway appealing and you will learn a bit about Norwegian culture while watching the show.

Netflix producing its own media is an exciting development and Lilyhammer is a solid base hit for them. You will not see anything like this show on network television and for that reason alone it makes the top ten list. Check out the trailer below.

9. Dexter

Dexter has recently been added to Netflix streaming.

The 8 season series follows a serial killer who works for the police and targets victims, whom themselves are bad people.

Dexter has been an immensely popular series for Showtime and the season 8 finale of the show was the most watched overall program in the network's history.

The first 4 seasons of Dexter are currently available on Netflix streaming.

8. Sherlock

For those bemoaning the demise of the show House, Sherlock will provide a refreshing replacement.

The show House was actually modeled after Sherlock Holmes, with Dr. House playing the part of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Wilson playing Watson.

In the new version of Sherlock produced by PBS, the lead character played by Benedict Cumberbatch (yes that's is real name) does an incredible job of portraying the genius and caustic personality of Holmes.

7. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a show about a zombie apocalypse with the ability to capture several viewing demographics because it is more than just the standard Zombie fare.

The zombies simply serve as a catalyst for the real story which is how the characters deal with each other in an apocalyptic society. Insert a nuclear or solar catastrophe instead of the zombies and you would still have a compelling show. But let's be honest, zombies are pretty damn cool.

There are jokes about how The Walking Dead is about the "relationships". Surely most of us tune in to watch zombies get mowed down by a misfit band of survivors fighting to stay alive in a scary new world, but that story line can only carry a TV show so far.

What makes The Walking Dead so good is that it makes you really care about the characters. And there is a realism to how they are not only battling the Zombies but each other as well.

Think for a minute how you would interact with some of your neighbors, relatives and coworkers in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse.

Some of them you would want around on your team and others would just prove to be a nuisance. And would you be able to keep your morals intact in a true survival of the fittest mentality?

It is these kind of interpersonal questions that the show explores between the characters that makes is so compelling to watch.

6. Arrested Development

Arrested Development is a comedy starring Jason Bateman. This show got cancelled because nobody watched it which is sad because it's one of the wittiest comedies out there.

It doesn't say much about the state of western civilization when a show like Arrested Development gets cancelled and Two and a Half Men remains on the air for nine seasons, the last one without their star, Charlie Sheen.

New episodes are scheduled to be made and released on Netflix along with a movie.

Thank you Netflix for rescuing a show that deserved to be saved.

5. Mad Men

Mad Men has been winning awards for years and is still cited as the best show nobody watches. Granted, the premise of a 1960s ad agency seems like dry material but the story lines are quite sharp and the acting is top notch.

Netflix streaming is the perfect way to check out this great show if you haven't seen it.

Watch the first three episodes of season one and you will be hooked.

4. Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights is a drama about a high school football team in Texas. What I learned from watching the show is that they take high school football very seriously in Texas.

Whether you are a sports fan or not the show will keep you entertained. It is a realistic depiction of high school life. The coach of the football team and his wife are perhaps the most idyllic portrayal of a married couple I have seen in a television show which is refreshing.

Like a good book you can't put down, Friday Night Lights does a good job of keeping you wanting to watch one episode after the next which you can easily do on Netflix streaming.

3. Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is a drama about a high school science teacher who gets diagnosed with lung cancer.

With a family to support and what appears to be a death sentence from cancer, he takes to using his knowledge of science to become a meth manufacturer.

As the show progresses, he takes on more and more of the persona of being a drug dealer. You watch the main character move from being a meek high school teacher at the start of the show to a ruthless drug lord as the show progresses. It is an interesting experience to watch.

The acting is superb and the villains are top notch.

Part of the show's appeal is that whatever your morals may be, you can see the reasoning to why the protagonist does what he does and sympathize with him on some level.

2. Lost

I can't even begin to explain Lost except to say its awesome. It is by far the most confusing show I have ever seen and I still am not sure I understand the ending. That said, the confusing ride is worth taking.

Due to the complexity of the show, it lends itself very well to binge viewing on Netflix. It's easier to keep track of the complex plot watching one episode after another. You still won't know what's going on but you'll at least be able to keep track of who the characters are and what their motivations are.

Lost is a great show and I suffered a mild depression when it concluded. It's that good. Watch it!!

1. Battle Star Galactica

If you're a science fiction fan, then you should love this show. Even people who are self proclaimed sci-fi haters get caught up in the compelling story-lines and acting if they watch the first few episodes.

In BSG, a small group of survivors flee the planet and spend much of the series trying to evade the Cylons who are attempting to annihilate the remnants of the human population. The Cylons themselves are robots that we as humans designed and have artificial intelligence that matches if not surpasses our own.

Battle Star Galactica can be enjoyed whether you are a science fiction fan or not. The story is compelling and the acting is top notch. The special effects are also excellent for a TV show.

Here's a funny skit about it from Portlandia.

Honorable Mentions

  • Weeds: a comedy and drama about a suburban mom who becomes her neighborhood weed dealer to help pay the bills.
  • Rescue Me: a comedy about life in the firehouse.

Comments 10 comments

wkhigley profile image

wkhigley 4 years ago

I've heard really good things about Breaking Bad and Mad Men, but the only shows I've seen from the list were Lost and BSG.

I loved the first season of Lost, but I was kind of back and forth on it for awhile afterwards. The ending was pretty disappointing for me. I just wasn't very satisfied with the explanations towards the end of the show.

BSG is one of the best Sci-fi television series and I definitely second the recommendation. I still need to get around to watching the original, but the recent one was certainly good(something a lot of die hard BSG fans seem to disagree with). I hear the Caprica spin-off was pretty disappointing.

Firefly would have to be my top recommendation.

shuck72 profile image

shuck72 4 years ago from Seattle Author

wkhigley thanks for the comments. I agree with you the ending of Lost was disappointing I was hoping they had a plan from start to finish but it appears the writers were winging much of it and backed themselves into a corner when it came time to tie it all together. Still a great show though.

I had forgotten about Firefly. Based on your comment I rewatched the first episode last night and I agree it was a great show. Hope it gets resurrected in some form as either another show or movie at some point.

wkhigley profile image

wkhigley 4 years ago

Yeah, that'd be great. They were hoping to do more than one movie when it got canned, but it doesn't sound likely to me. I still need to read the comics that tie up the loose ends between the show and film.

cbpoet profile image

cbpoet 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

Thanks for Sharing. Your blog has piqued my interest in Net flicks. My kids have been viewing it for years.

shuck72 profile image

shuck72 4 years ago from Seattle Author

Thanks cbpeot, I am not a big promoter of any products but I must say Netflix is a pretty good bang for the buck when it comes to entertainment value. They offer a free month so check them out.

MGTafoya 4 years ago

Not anymore.

This article got me excited about trying Netflix.

I went to the Netflix website. At first, I was disappointed that the site does not have a search function for TV shows. Then I discovered why.

Using the browse episodes function showed me that Netflix has only 18 TV series available; and 8 are cartoons.

Apparently, the series mentioned in this article are no longer available.

shuck72 profile image

shuck72 4 years ago from Seattle Author

Hi MGTafoya, I just checked and they are all still available. I think what you clicked on is simply an "example" of the browse selection service. Sign up for the one month trial and you will get access to the full browse selection option which includes all of these shows plus hundreds more.

MGTafoya 4 years ago

Update: Thank you. I took your advice to look into this in more detail. I called the Netflix help-line. It turned out well.

"Jen" was friendly and tried to be helpful. When I asked about the availability of TV episodes, she said Netflix has thousands and I should sign up to find out.

I tried to discuss that I browsed the TV selection on the web-site, which shows only 18 series available. She recommended I sign up to see all Netflix has to offer.

I told her I was interested in seeing what Netflix has to offer, which is why I was trying to browse the selections. I explained that before signing up I want to make sure Netflix has things I might like. That seemed to confuse her. She (while still friendly and pleasant) recommended I sign up -- the trial is free -- and I would see all that was available.

I told her that I was browsing the web-site to see what was available. I asked if I could look at availability before signing up. She said that if I sign up, I would see everything that is available.

I tried a different tactic. I asked her if there was a reason to prevent me from seeing what is available without signing up. At this point, she admitted that she doesn't know what's on the non-member web site. She transferred me to supervisor "Mark".

Mark was also friendly and pleasant. After a similar line of conversation, with many suggestions that I just sign up (the trial is free), I finally convinced Mark that I want to know what's available BEFORE I sign up.

He said I can't do that. But he promised me that the trial is free. We shared a little chuckle, then I agreed to sign up.

This phone call could have been frustrating and infuriating (for me), but Jen and Mark were so pleasant that they turned the conversation into friendly banter. Either I got lucky or Netflix deserves kudos for good customer service training.

Through the conversation, Mark said that the web-site has only teaser information to make people curious enough to sign up. I recommended they make that statement on the web-site. Otherwise, it looks like you are browsing Netflix's inventory, which is a poor showing.

He said they've never had a complaint before.

Maybe I should have just signed up for the free trial.

P.S. I signed up. Lots of TV series. Even works well on my HTC Sensation 4G without wi-fi. My son used my 2+ year-old Samsung LG. On wi-fi the movies worked great.

USer 2 years ago

Lilyhammer is a wonderful show! Dramedy with more comedy and lots of Norwegian culture. Really enjoyed it.

Gerhard Homveld profile image

Gerhard Homveld 21 months ago from South Africa

I personally like Walking Dead and Dexter on the list. Really want to start watching breaking bad, but I'm stuck with Hulu at the moment since Netflix has a problem with my new credit card :(

You've got a great list here, some really interesting titles mentioned.

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