Yasmin Finney as Elle and William Gao as Tao on the Netflix series 'Heartstopper.'
TV

30 best Netflix shows for binge-watching over the holidays

December 21, 2022
See-Saw Films

30 best Netflix shows for binge-watching over the holidays

Today's sprawling television landscape has a never-ending supply of new and original offerings from streaming services.

No matter which service reigns supreme, Netflix will always be the progenitor of the online streaming trend. With its vast library of original content, the ubiquitous platform also remains one of the best places to binge-watch during the holidays. Among Netflix's library are some of the top-rated television shows of all time, joined by recent smash hits including "Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" and "Wednesday."

Stacker surveyed IMDb data on all Netflix original series and ranked the top 30 according to IMDb user ratings, with ties broken by votes. To qualify, the series had to have at least 2,500 votes, be distributed on Netflix in the U.S., and be produced and/or exclusively distributed by Netflix for at least one season (e.g., "Arrested Development" is included despite only its latter seasons being produced by Netflix).

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Topher Grace and Mary Elizabeth Winstead looking through a hole that becomes a city.
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Blur Studio

#30. Love, Death & Robots

What began as a planned reboot of the 1981 cult classic "Heavy Metal" became this animated anthology series with a similar sensibility. It touches down on various styles and genres over the course of three acclaimed seasons. Directors Tim Miller and David Fincher co-executive produced and also helmed certain episodes, respectively.

Three teens stand at their lockers talking.
2 / 30
Eleven

#29. Sex Education

This award-winning British dramedy welcomes viewers to Moordale Secondary School, where eccentric students grapple with their sexual awakenings. Actor Asa Butterfield leads a talented ensemble cast and anchors a number of the main storylines. Its fourth season is currently in production.

A cartoon of a girl flying on the back of a furry ball character.
3 / 30
Silvergate Media

#28. Hilda

This animated series adapts a graphic novel of the same name and centers around the 11-year-old title character. After growing up on the edge of the woods, the free-spirited Hilda (Bella Ramsey) takes her adventures into a nearby city. Its blend of magical characters and emotional themes will resonate with viewers of all ages.

Two female chefs working with sea urchin in a kitchen.
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Boardwalk Pictures

#27. Chef's Table

This salivating documentary series highlights a different world-class chef in every episode. It offers far more than a glimpse into the cooking methods of each subject, covering personal journeys with food and life. Featured cuisines stand not as simple means of survival but as digestible works of art.

A group of guys holding hands walking across a street.
5 / 30
KC Film Office

#26. Queer Eye

This reboot of a blockbuster Bravo series introduces five new experts in the respective fields of fashion, culture, design, grooming, and the culinary arts. In each episode, the experts join forces to help individuals bring out their best selves. Compulsively watchable, it's rendered a notable impact on LGBTQ+ representation in popular culture.

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A man in armor on horseback.
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Carnival Film & Television

#25. The Last Kingdom

This British historical saga culls from a book series and unfolds in the ninth century against a backdrop of perennial conflict. Born a Saxon but raised a Viking, a vengeful warrior (Alexander Dreymon) finds himself torn between two worlds. Its story will reportedly conclude with an upcoming feature-length film called "Seven Kings Must Die."

A man in black karate gear stands facing a man in a hoodie and sweat pants in front of kids in white karate clothes.
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Counterbalance Entertainment

#24. Cobra Kai

The zeitgeist-capturing comedy that few saw coming first aired on YouTube Red before migrating over to Netflix. It picks up decades after the original Karate Kid film series and cleverly reintroduces several major characters. At the same time, a new generation of young fighters squares off in a never-ending battle for dominance.

Jon Bernthal standing in the middle of the street with a gun.
8 / 30
ABC Signature

#23. The Punisher

This action-packed series makes up part of the MCU and functions as a direct spin-off to the hit show "Daredevil."

Jon Bernthal plays the vengeful vigilante who blazes a trail of violence through New York City's criminal underworld. The series was canceled after two seasons as part of a broader programming shake-up at Netflix.

Julia Garner in a room looking at stacks of something wrapped in paper.
9 / 30
Zero Gravity Management

#22. Ozark

In the vein of shows like "Breaking Bad" comes this violent crime drama about desperate people taking desperate measures. Corrupt financial advisor Martin Byrde (Jason Bateman) moves his family from Chicago to the Lake of the Ozarks, where he's forced to launder money for a cartel kingpin. A nail-biting struggle for power and survival ensues.

A racecar with smoke trailing above as fans watch.
10 / 30
Box to Box Films

#21. Formula 1: Drive to Survive

This thrilling documentary series explores the world of Formula 1 racing from every conceivable angle. It goes deep behind the scenes to offer candid portrayals of famous drivers and multi-billion dollar business decisions. Upcoming fifth and sixth seasons have already been confirmed.

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Mike Smith wearing thick glasses and holding a glass.
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Foley Walkers Studio

#20. Trailer Park Boys

This beloved mockumentary series premiered on Canada's Showcase Network and moved over to Netflix starting in its eighth season. Set in the Sunnyvale Trailer Park, it follows quirky characters through several hair-brained, criminal schemes. It now comprises a larger franchise, including movies, specials, and spinoffs.

A man and woman out in the field doing tests for a murder trial.
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Synthesis Films

#19. Making a Murderer

This epoch-making documentary series re-examines the murder convictions of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey and asks whether justice was truly served. Its explosive revelations and gripping execution helped usher in a new era for the true crime genre. The first season alone was reportedly 13 years in the making.

A family standing in a mansion in the dark with flashlights.
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FlanaganFilm

#18. The Haunting of Hill House

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- On air: 2018

Director Michael Flanagan's "The Haunting of Hill House" is the perfect binge for fans of the horror genre, the jump scare, and family drama.

The adaptation of a 1959 novel by the same name follows the Crains, a family who moves into Hill House to renovate the old mansion but is plagued by paranormal activity. The 10-episode miniseries jumps back and forth between their time in the mansion and their present-day lives, which are haunted by the home's sinister history. The show garnered much acclaim.

Although the storyline of "The Haunting of Hill House" is, for the most part, wrapped up by the final episode, fans can be satiated by Flanagan's next standalone series in the anthology called "The Haunting of Bly Manor." This new series features new characters and a new storyline while retaining the same feel as "Hill House."

Two men in suits interview a prisoner.
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Denver and Deliliah Productions

#17. Mindhunter

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- On air: 2017-2019

If you're the kind of person who can fall asleep soundly while watching a true-crime documentary, "Mindhunter" will certainly not disappoint. The psychological thriller, based on the true-crime book "Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit," digs into the origination of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit and the strategy of criminal profiling.

Seasons one and two feature portrayals of serial killers such as Edmund Kemper, Charles Manson, and Wayne Williams.

A superhero standing on top of a building in a red and black suit.
15 / 30
ABC Signature

#16. Daredevil

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- On air: 2015-2018

The Netflix series "Daredevil" is based on the Stan Lee Marvel superhero of the same name. The show follows the main character Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer by trade who is based in New York City with a superhero alter ego. "Daredevil," which takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is the first in a series of shows leading into a crossover miniseries called "The Defenders."

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A young lady with red hair.
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Flitcraft

#15. The Queen's Gambit

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- On air: 2020

In this seven-episode period drama set in the 1950s, Anya Taylor-Joy portrays Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy of global renown who suffers from drug and alcohol addiction.

Co-creator Allan Scott purchased the rights to the story, which was originally a novel written by Walter Tevis, from Tevis' widow in 1992 and had sought to adapt it for television ever since. The show won 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, and broke several Netflix viewership records.

Two boys sitting at a drumset together.
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See-Saw Films

#14. Heartstopper

Romance blossoms between teens Nick (Kit Connor) and Charlie (Joe Locke) in this British dramedy with LGBTQ+ themes. It's based on a graphic novel and webcomic series by show creator Alice Oseman. "Heartstopper" holds a Critic Score of 100% and an Audience Score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

A girl, with red pigtail braids, wrapped in a blanket looking up at the sky.
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Northwood Anne

#13. Anne with an E

This Canadian period drama reimagines the seminal 1908 children's novel "Anne of Green Gables." It takes place on Prince Edward Island and follows a young orphan girl (Amybeth McNulty) as she overcomes obstacles big and small. "A darker, sadder, more realistic story about an outsider's will to survive," wrote critic Chitra Ramaswamy for the Guardian.

Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth.
19 / 30
Left Bank Pictures

#12. The Crown

Netflix's foremost prestige drama spends decades in the life of Queen Elizabeth and the royal family. It features lavish production values and top-notch performances by a rotating door of veteran actors. The most recent fifth season examines the crumbling marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Jason Bateman in the bushes.
20 / 30
Imagine Entertainment

#11. Arrested Development

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- On air: 2003-2019

Riches-to-rags sitcom "Arrested Development" had a popular run on the Fox network in the early 2000s before what many fans deemed to be an untimely cancellation after three seasons.

Netflix revived the show in 2013, though conflicting schedules of stars Jason Bateman and Will Arnett forced disjointed filming schedules where characters were isolated. The show returned to its ensemble roots in 2018.

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A boy in a yellow raincoat walking near a dark cave.
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Netflix

#10. Dark

To the delight of sci-fi lovers everywhere, this gripping German series takes the concept of time travel to a labyrinthian extreme. It uses a small-town mystery involving missing children as the gateway to a shape-shifting journey through the past, present, and future. Watch it without distraction or risk losing the plot altogether.

Robin Wright at the presidential desk.
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MRC

#9. House of Cards

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- On air: 2013-2018

"House of Cards" is a remake of a BBC series that was based on a novel of the same name. Created by playwright Beau Willimon and produced and directed by David Fincher, the show had Kevin Spacey as the cutthroat House Minority Whip Francis Underwood as he plotted his way to greater power in Washington D.C. with the help of his wife, Claire (Robin Wright).

Spacey was fired from the sixth and final season after a number of sexual misconduct allegations, with Wright's Claire moving into the lead role.

Four kids looking at something mysterious.
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21 Laps Entertainment

#8. Stranger Things

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- On air: 2016-present

Arguably the most pop-culturally significant Netflix original is "Stranger Things," an homage to 1980s fiction and trends by the Duffer brothers. Like "E.T." or a Stephen King story, "Stranger Things" follows a group of children as they encounter mysterious forces in their hometown of Hawkins, Indiana One such force is a telekinetic girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who helps the children fight beings from the Upside Down. The show is slated for a fifth and final season.

A cartoon of a horse in a robe holding a light bulb.
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Tornante Company

#7. BoJack Horseman

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- On air: 2014-2020

The adult animated sitcom "BoJack Horseman" got off to a shaky start during its inaugural season but eventually landed on many "best of" lists. The show follows a self-destructive anthropomorphic horse named BoJack (voiced by Will Arnett), a former sitcom star from the '90s on a journey to regain celebrity status and cultural relevance.

The star-studded cast is rounded out by Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, and Aaron Paul.

A man at a small table smoking a cigarette.
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Dynamo

#6. Narcos

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- On air: 2015-2017

Based on the real-life story of drug lord Pablo Escobar, "Narcos" is a Netflix original starring Wagner Moura as Escobar, Boyd Holbrook as DEA agent Steve Murphy, and Pedro Pascal as DEA agent Javier Peña. The third season takes place after the death of Escobar and focuses on Peña's efforts against the Cali Cartel. Instead of a fourth season, the show "reset" into a show titled "Narcos: Mexico" with a different cast and story.

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A blonde girl in red fighting gear in front of a blossoming cherry tree.
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Zeppotron

#5. Black Mirror

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- On air: 2011-2019

Originally on British television, this now-Netflix original show is an anthology series by humorist and writer Charlie Brooker. In a similar style to "The Twilight Zone," each episode provides its own unique narrative and cast of characters, with every story depicting an aspect of society and life twisted by technology in some manner.

Netflix experimented with interactive storytelling with "Bandersnatch," a choose-your-own-adventure "Black Mirror" film.

A black man and woman walking in front of protesters holding up equal rights signs.
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Forward Movement

#4. When They See Us

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- On air: 2019

The limited series "When They See Us" was conceptualized and directed by "Selma" director Ava DuVernay and dramatizes the case of the Central Park Five. Five young actors portray the five young men, all people of color, with performers like Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, and Michael K. Williams filling out the rest of the cast. The four-part miniseries was highly praised and helped win an acting Emmy for Jharrel Jerome.

An animation of a surprised girl with blue hair.
28 / 30
Riot Games

#3. Arcane

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- On air: 2021-present

Riot Games is known for, well, gaming. The video game developer and e-sports engine is known for "League of Legends," one of the most played video games in the world. It was only a matter of time before their successes opened up other doors, like an animated TV series. "Arcane" is set in the League of Legends world, but it serves as a prequel to the game, building out origin stories for some of the game's most iconic characters.

Michael Jordan holding up a finals trophy.
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ESPN Films

#2. The Last Dance

- IMDb user rating: 9.1
- On air: 2020

ESPN proved a commitment to quality when they entered the docuseries arena with "Kings Ransom," the first installment of their now famous 30 for 30 series, in October 2009. And they've never slowed down. Perhaps their greatest achievement yet, which is saying a lot, is "The Last Dance": a 10-part, eight-hour deep dive into the rise of the '90s Chicago Bulls under Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. It doesn't matter whether you lived through it or have somehow never heard of Michael Jordan. The docuseries is a riveting experience that gets the story straight from the horse's mouth.

A leopard drinking water.
30 / 30
Silverback Films

#1. Our Planet

- IMDb user rating: 9.3
- On air: 2019

The production team that made "Planet Earth" and related documentaries directly collaborated with Netflix for "Our Planet," an eight-part series. While the team's other documentaries focused on nature and the environment that animals and plants inhabit, this documentary is fixated on human impact on these environments. This documentary is also narrated by David Attenborough.

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