Top 10 Best Netflix TV Shows to Stream

Updated on May 11, 2020

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You can stream Netflix content to your iPad, TV, or smartphone for only $10 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. Chewing Gum

Chewing Gum is yet another excellent British Import but not the stuffy PBS kind, more the original Shameless kind. Like Shameless, Chewing Gum takes place in an English Estate or as we would call it in America, a low income housing development.

The show is full of interesting characters and sometimes bizarre but always interesting plot lines. The show's star, Tracey is 24 and still a virgin although she doesn't want to be and this desire to lose her virginity is the driving story line of the comedy.

Tracy still lives as home with her hyper religious Mother and equally pious sister who do not understand or comprehend, understand or support Tracy's need to get laid. It also doesn't help, that Tracy's boyfriend is a closeted gay man, interested in Tracy only because, as a conservative christian himself, he's expected to marry.

Like Shameless, the residents of Chewing Gum are poor but live rich lives among people that care about them and have their backs. Chewing Gum can be a bit weird at times but also has laugh out loud moments and also some bittersweet ones. It's an all around well rounded series that will hook you in the first episode.

Chewing Gum is an excellent series that is only available on Netflix.

9. Black Mirror


Black Mirror is the Twilight Zone of the current generation.

Black mirror is a series of stand alone episodes that explore the pitfalls, wonder and paranoia of our technologically modern times.

Each episode casts different actors and directors and have varying visual styles and tone. Some episodes are quite frightening, while others have a more comical bent. Chances are you will like some episodes while not appreciating others depending on your preference and personality. The nice aspect is, as stand alone episodes you can easy bail on an offering if it doesn't capture your interest in the first 10 or so minutes.

I found most of the Black Mirror series to be highly entertaining and better yet, thought provoking. Like the original Twilight Zone, Black Mirror is both part entertainment and also part philosophical exploration on what it means to be human living in our current reality.

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. Ozark

In Ozark Jason Bateman plays Marty Bryde, a character that reminded me of the Breaking Bad protagonist. Marty is a financial planner who moves his family to a summer resort in the Ozarks.

Marty is forced to move his wife and two children to the Ozarks after a money laundering scheme he was involved in goes south.

Due to the money laundering he must pay back a Mexican Drug Cartel in order to keep his family safe.

Like Breaking Bad, Ozark is interesting as it forces us to put ourselves in the shoes of the protagonist, how far would we go to protect our families. How close to the edge is the average citizen to committing crimes out of greed or fear.

Ozark is well cast and produced and is a great show that will keep you interested and engaged throughout.

1. Orange Is The New Black

Orange Is The New Black along with House of Cards is what started the trend of streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon making their own shows.

Orange Is The New Black is both a comedy and a commentary on misogamy, race and the prison industrial complex in the Unites States. Based on the book of the same name the show follows the struggles of a young white woman from a privileged upbringing who is navigating the woman's prison system; a place she was never meant to be.

The show does a good job of delving into the back-stories of the women she is incarcerated with, often showing, given their lot in life how they were almost destined to end up where they are.

Adding the to interesting study in the life of a prisoner, the show also explores what it's like to be a guard working in an environment where the goal is stated as rehabilitating but is clearly a for profit business model designed on housing a never ending flow of societies less fortunate.

Orange Is The New Black will entertain you and educate you at the same time. The show is where Netflix made it's mark as the streaming juggernaut that it has become.

Honorable Mentions

  • Weeds: a comedy and drama about a suburban mom who becomes her neighborhood weed dealer to help pay the bills

© 2012 shuck72


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    • Gerhard Homveld profile image

      Gerhard Homveld 

      5 years 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.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 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.

    • shuck72 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Seattle

      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.

    • profile image


      8 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 imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Seattle

      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.

    • cbpoet profile image


      8 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.

    • wkhigley profile image


      8 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.

    • shuck72 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Seattle

      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


      8 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.


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