Margaret Qualley in a scene from "Maid".
TV

50 best Netflix original series

Written by:
January 9, 2023
Netflix

50 best Netflix original series

Netflix debuted its first original content series, "Lilyhammer," in 2012 and introduced the binge-watching concept of releasing TV series all at once; "House of Cards" arrived the following year. Three years later, Netflix was touting roughly 126 original series or films.

With $7.926 billion in revenue and 223 million paid subscribers worldwide in the third quarter of 2022, Netflix is on the upswing. Beginning next year, the platform will crack down on password sharing by charging additional fees for shared user accounts. As always, producing fresh, high-quality content remains vital to its continued success.

Thankfully, viewers still can't get enough of Netflix. Its original offerings cover a wide genre spectrum, from stand-up comedy to crime documentaries to international works. And while every show may not resonate with critics, there is some quality content among the hundreds of choices available to Netflix viewers.

Stacker pulled IMDb data on all Netflix original series and ranked them according to IMDb user rating as of Dec. 22, 2022, with #1 being the best. Docuseries and limited series were included. Series that were revived by Netflix after successful runs elsewhere, like "Arrested Development" and "Black Mirror," were not included.

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Screenshot from the "Last Chance U: Basketball" Season 2 trailer.
1 / 50
Netflix

#50. Last Chance U: Basketball

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- On air: 2021-present

This sports docuseries makes up part of the "Last Chance U" franchise and centers a junior college basketball team in East Los Angeles. Under the leadership of head coach John Mosley, the once-struggling team kicks off its best season to date. It holds a 100% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.

2 / 50
Amblin Television

#49. Five Came Back

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- On air: 2017

Produced by Steven Spielberg, Scott Rudin, and Barry Diller, and narrated by Meryl Streep, this documentary chronicles the true stories of five legendary filmmakers who served in World War II. Based on the book by Mark Harris, "Five Came Back" chronicles a time when Americans would get their international news before the start of a movie. It explains how filmmakers Frank Capra, John Huston, William Wyler, John Ford, and George Stevens enlisted in the war to show the real-life story happening overseas.

3 / 50
Netflix

#48. Abstract: The Art of Design

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- On air: 2017-present

Designers from every discipline are showcased in this documentary series, helping to illustrate how art and design can touch and shape every aspect of life. Featured interviews include Platon, Cas Holman, Marcus Engman, and Ruth E. Carter.

David Joseph Martinez and Aoi Yûki in "Cyberpunk: Edgerunners".
4 / 50
Netflix

#47. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- On air: 2022

Viewers went wild for this hyperkinetic anime series about a streetwise mercenary in a corrupt futuristic city. Thematically, it presents a world in which once-promising technologies have become dystopian forces. The story functions as a prequel to the "Cyberpunk 2077" video game and comprises part of a role-playing universe first created in 1988.

5 / 50
Netflix

#46. Kingdom

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- On air: 2019-present

Written by Kim Eun-hee and directed by Kim Seong-hun, "Kingdom" is Netflix's first original Korean (subtitled) series. A mysterious plague runs rampant, turning people into zombies in this cinematic horror-thriller starring Ju Ji-hoon.

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6 / 50
Netflix

#45. Castlevania

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- On air: 2017-2021

Japanese-style animation meets American voice-overs in this fantasy animated series starring actors such as Richard Armitage, James Callis, and Alejandra Reynoso. Dracula has released an army of demons from hell, and a vampire hunter must fight to save the city.

7 / 50
Netflix

#44. Godless

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- On air: 2017

Written and directed by Scott Frank, produced by Steven Soderbergh, and starring Jeff Daniels and Jack O'Connell, "Godless" is set in the 1880s American West. In it, an outlaw gang leader searches for the protege who he believes deceived him. Meanwhile, the protege (O'Connell) hides out in a town inhabited almost exclusively by women.

8 / 50
Netflix

#43. Atypical

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- On air: 2017-2021

Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Rapaport, and Keir Gilchrist star in this dramedy series following a family with a teenager on the autism spectrum. The final season of this Peabody-nominated series aired in 2021, one of only a few series that lasted four or more seasons. The show's popularity is largely due to its showcasing of underrepresented points of view.

Amy Seimetz and Bex Taylor-Klaus in "The Killing".
9 / 50
Netflix

#42. The Killing

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- On air: 2011-2014

The crime drama series "The Killing," set in Seattle, follows the murder investigations of homicide detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) and how the investigations affect their personal lives. Linden and Holder's investigative styles clash, with Linden being by-the-book while Holder is more unregimented. Despite their professional differences, the duo pulls it together for their plot-gripping cases. The Netflix series gained huge popularity after being canceled twice, only for the show to be renewed again.

"Victor Dorobantu and Jenna Ortega in Wednesday".
10 / 50
Netflix

#41. Wednesday

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- On air: 2022-present

One of the most talked-about series in recent memory injects the Addams Family universe with a Harry Potter influence. Follow perennial misfit Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) to Nevermore Academy, where she uncovers a deadly mystery with ties to her parents. Four of the first season's eight episodes were directed by Tim Burton.

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11 / 50
Banger Films

#40. Hip-Hop Evolution

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2016-present

The stars of hip-hop sit down with MC and journalist Shad Kabango to discuss hip-hop's evolution and its place in modern music in this documentary series. Interviewees include LL Cool J, Alonzo Williams, Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee, and Russell Simmons.

12 / 50
Netflix

#39. Last Chance U

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2016-2020

This documentary follows the story of students and coaches on the field and in the classroom at East Mississippi Community College. The student-athletes at this under-the-radar school attempt to overcome personal obstacles as they aim for future success in the NFL. A fifth and final season aired in July 2020, but a new series, "Last Chance U: Basketball," premiered in 2021.

13 / 50
Brightlight Pictures

#38. Julie and the Phantoms

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2020

From executive producer Kenny Ortega, director of "High School Musical" and "Descendents," this comedy-fantasy musical is a family-friendly series that follows a teen after her mother dies. Julie (Madison Reyes) is having a hard time finding her voice when the ghosts of a boy band show up and invite her to join them. The tricky part is that the audience can only see the full band when the music is playing.

Constance Nunes and Tony Quinones in "Car Masters: Rust to Riches".
14 / 50
Netflix

#37. Car Masters: Rust to Riches

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2018-present

This American reality series follows the crew of Gotham Garage as they restore and trade collectible cars in hopes of turning a massive profit. Its highest-rated episode on IMDb finds them tackling a classic 1955 Futura before a major auto show. The recent fourth season debuted in late July 2022.

15 / 50
DreamWorks Animation Television

#36. Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2016-2018

This DreamWorks Animation production features the voices of Kelsey Grammer, Charlie Saxton, and Lexi Medrano in a tale about an ordinary boy who becomes a Trollhunter after finding a magic amulet. The series was created by celebrated visionary and Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro.

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16 / 50
Netflix

#35. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2019

Jim Henson's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" is the critically acclaimed prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson film, "The Dark Crystal." Audiences return to the planet Thra, where a group of Gelfling fight to save their world.

Margaret Qualley in a scene from "Maid".
17 / 50
Netflix

#34. Maid

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2021

"Maid" is based on Stephanie Land's memoir, "Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive." The story focuses on a young mother working as a housekeeper and struggling to raise her young child while fleeing an abusive relationship. This emotional series explores what it's like to work for America's upper-middle class, highlighting the country's class divide from the lower-income worker's perspective.

18 / 50
Netflix

#33. Narcos: Mexico

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2018-2021

Inspired by true events, "Narcos: Mexico" tells the story of how the Guadalajara drug cartel rose to power in Mexico in the 1980s. American Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena (Michael Peña) moves to Mexico from California to begin his long battle with the cartels.

19 / 50
Netflix

#32. Unbelievable

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2019

"Unbelievable" is based on the true story of a teenager (played by Kaitlyn Dever) charged with lying about being sexually assaulted. Two female detectives (Toni Collette and Merritt Wever) follow the evidence to find the truth. The eight-episode series was inspired by a Pulitzer Prize-winning 2015 article by ProPublica and The Marshall Project.

20 / 50
Netflix

#31. After Life

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2019-2022

Comedian Ricky Gervais stars in this dark dramedy about how losing a loved one can change a person. After Tony (Gervais) loses his wife unexpectedly, his personality flips from nice guy to impulsive and abrasive, surprising those around him. In May 2020, Netflix announced it was renewing the series for a third and final season, which aired in January 2022.

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21 / 50
Netflix

#30. Love, Death & Robots

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2019-present

The Emmy-winning "Love, Death & Robots" features directors and animation studios worldwide who create animated short stories from various genres, including fantasy, horror, comedy, and sci-fi. The series was created by Tim Miller, who directed "Deadpool."

22 / 50
Netflix

#29. Sex Education

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- On air: 2019-present

Now entering its fourth season, "Sex Education" stars Asa Butterfield as a teen who decides to benefit from his mom (Gillian Anderson) being a sex therapist by setting up an underground sex-ed class for kids at school, learning a lesson or two of his own in the process. The series, one of Netflix's top 10 most popular shows in the U.S. and the U.K. in 2019, respectively, has been renewed for another season—which, much to the dismay of fans, may be its last.

23 / 50
Netflix

#28. Norm Macdonald Has a Show

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- On air: 2018

In this 30-minute talk show, comedian and "Saturday Night Live" alum Norm Macdonald interviews actors such as Drew Barrymore, Chevy Chase, Michael Keaton, Jane Fonda, and more. Much like his podcast, on which the series is based, Macdonald gets the celebs goofing around and discussing off-the-wall topics.

24 / 50
Netflix

#27. Hilda

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- On air: 2018-present

"Hilda" is a U.K.-based animated series following a blue-haired girl as she goes on adventures—some fun, some harrowing—with her new friends. The series has won a Daytime Emmy and was nominated for a BAFTA award.

25 / 50
Netflix

#26. Chef's Table

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- On air: 2015-2019

Each episode of the Emmy-nominated "Chef's Table" takes viewers behind the scenes with a different chef, some world-renowned and others largely unknown. This was Netflix's first docuseries, debuting in 2015, and the series remains popular today.

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26 / 50
Netflix

#25. Queer Eye

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- On air: 2018-present

This reboot of the original "Queer Eye" series features a new group of five stylists and a new setting: Atlanta. People are advised on matters of style, home design, diet, and more, all while learning more about themselves through the efforts of the Fab Five.

Peri Baumeister, Mark Rowley, and Arnas Fedaravicius in "The Last Kingdom".
27 / 50
Netflix

#24. The Last Kingdom

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- On air: 2015-2022

This award-winning historical drama series is based on Bernard Cornwell's "The Saxon Stories." The novels chronicle the story of Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon), a fictional Saxon-born warrior raised by Vikings in ninth- and 10th-century Europe. The show retells the story of England's development, featuring influential figures such as King Alfred the Great and his wife, Ealhswith, from the country's early years. It took a while for the series to become a hit, but it eventually drew in a fanbase, with Season 5 having 63.5 million hours of viewership in its first five days.

Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Aedin Mincks, Xolo Maridueña, and Owen Morgan in "Cobra Kai".
28 / 50
Netflix

#23. Cobra Kai

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- On air: 2018-present

"Cobra Kai" is an extension of the 1984 film "The Karate Kid." The martial arts series tells the story of the longtime rivalry between Danny LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Decades after the karate tournament he lost, Lawrence hits a low point as an unemployed handyman with a penchant for alcohol. One night, Lawrence helps a bullied kid using the martial arts techniques from his tournament days, which inspires him to restart his own Cobra Kai dojo.

29 / 50
Netflix

#22. The Punisher

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- On air: 2017-2019

Jon Bernthal plays veteran Frank Castle (Marvel's The Punisher) in this crime drama created by Steve Lightfoot. After his family is murdered, Frank's main goal is to avenge their death, and he'll stop at nothing to do so.

30 / 50
Netflix

#21. Ozark

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- On air: 2017-2022

Jason Bateman stars in this story of a typical American family that turns out to be not so typical. Marty (Bateman) moves his family from Chicago to Missouri's Ozark Mountains when he gets in trouble with a drug boss who's forcing him to launder money. "Ozark" debuted its fourth and final season in two parts in 2022, released in January and April, respectively.

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31 / 50
Netflix

#20. Middleditch & Schwartz

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- On air: 2020

Based on audience suggestions, Thomas Middleditch ("Silicon Valley") and Ben Schwartz ("Parks and Recreation") filmed three completely improvised comedy specials. It's a rare opportunity to showcase long-form improv, formerly a staple of live comedy shows.

32 / 50
Netflix

#19. Formula 1: Drive to Survive

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

In this docuseries about Formula 1 racing, viewers go behind the scenes to meet the drivers, teams, and their families. This new perspective on the sport reveals the human connection fans don't normally get to see. The series has since been renewed for a fifth and sixth season.

33 / 50
Netflix

#18. Making a Murderer

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

This crime documentary follows the story of Steven Avery over 10 years. After being wrongly convicted of a crime, Avery is released after 18 years, only to be arrested again as a suspect in a new crime while trying to expose a corrupt legal system. The series stirred major public interest regarding the case—to the tune of more than 500,000 signatures petitioning the White House to pardon Avery.

34 / 50
Netflix

#17. The Haunting of Hill House

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- On air: 2018

Created by Mike Flanagan, who has adapted Stephen King novels like "Doctor Sleep" and "Gerald's Game," this mystery drama series follows siblings who used to live in the haunted Hill House. When they have to return to the house with their own children, they're faced with more than just haunting memories.

35 / 50
Netflix

#16. Mindhunter

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

In this crime thriller set in the 1970s, investigators interview convicted serial killers in an effort to understand their motives and help solve existing open cases. "Fight Club" director David Fincher directed seven episodes.

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36 / 50
Netflix

#15. Daredevil

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

Created by Drew Goddard ("Alias," "Lost," "The Good Place"), this Marvel superhero series follows Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), a blind lawyer by day and vigilante by night, who fights crime in New York City. Over its three-season run, the show was nominated for five Primetime Emmys, among other honors.

37 / 50
Netflix

#14. The Queen's Gambit

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- On air: 2020

Anya Taylor-Joy ("Peaky Blinders," "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance") stars as orphan Beth Harmon, who emerges as a chess prodigy at 9 years old. Once adopted, she enters the chess championship circuit but discovers there are pros and cons to winning. The series was adapted from the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis.

38 / 50
Netflix

#13. Lenox Hill

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- On air: 2020

Four doctors working at New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital are followed in this documentary series. Viewers witness the joy and pain of helping others in the interactions between doctors and patients and the drama in the doctors' own lives.

Joe Locke and Kit Connor in "Heartstopper".
39 / 50
Netflix

#12. Heartstopper

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- On air: 2022-present

British prodigy Alice Oseman adapted her own graphic novel and webcomic when bringing this coming-of-age drama series onto the screen. Set in an all-boys grammar school, it explores the budding romance between two close friends (Joe Locke and Kit Connor) of different dispositions. "It's messy, it's raw, and it's incredibly authentic," wrote critic Katherine Singh for Refinery29.

40 / 50
Netflix

#11. Anne with an E

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- On air: 2017-2019

A new take on the L.M. Montgomery books about Anne of Green Gables, "Anne with an E" follows an orphan named Anne (Amybeth McNulty) as she adapts to her new life on Prince Edward Island in the 19th century. The series has won several Canadian TV awards.

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41 / 50
Netflix

#10. The Crown

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

Spanning decades, "The Crown" follows the political rivalries, romances, and events that have shaped England and its people during Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Created by Peter Morgan ("The Queen," "Frost/Nixon," "The Last King of Scotland"), "The Crown" had its fifth season premiere in November 2022. Filming for Season 6 commenced in the summer of 2022, and rumor has it the series will introduce actors depicting Prince William and Prince Harry.

42 / 50
Netflix

#9. Dark

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- On air: 2017-2020

Netflix's first German (subtitled) production, "Dark" tells the story of two children who disappear from a German town in the present-day. However, a turn toward the supernatural takes the story—and its four families—back to the same town in 1986.

43 / 50
Netflix

#8. House of Cards

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

When "House of Cards" ended its run after six seasons, it had already been nominated for 33 Primetime Emmy awards. The show originally starred Kevin Spacey as a congressman on a mission to get revenge against those who betrayed his trust. After Spacey's departure, the series' focus shifted to his wife, played by Robin Wright.

44 / 50
Netflix

#7. Stranger Things

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

The fantasy-horror series created by the Duffer brothers takes place in a small town, where a boy goes missing, and his family and friends must confront supernatural beings in order to get him back. Despite "Stranger Things" Season 4 being hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the series' two-part summer 2022 comeback had a record turnout for Netflix, becoming the streamer's second title to exceed 1 billion viewership hours within 28 days of its release.

45 / 50
Netflix

#6. BoJack Horseman

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

This animated dramedy follows a washed-up horse actor (Will Arnett) in Hollywood, California. Although he's a horse, BoJack struggles with many of the same issues as other actors who have fallen out of the spotlight—depression, addiction, and relationship issues. The show, loved by critics and audiences alike, also features the voices of Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, and Aaron Paul.

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46 / 50
Netflix

#5. Narcos

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

Centered on the Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, the three-season biographical drama "Narcos" chronicles the true story of international drug cartels and law enforcement's efforts to stop them. The series was nominated for three Primetime Emmys and two Golden Globes over its three-season run.

47 / 50
Netflix

#4. When They See Us

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- On air: 2019

Created by Ava DuVernay ("Queen Sugar," "The Red Line") and based on a true story of the Central Park Five, this legal drama follows five teens in Harlem who are falsely accused, and eventually exonerated, of the violent sexual assault of a 28-year-old woman. The story can be difficult for some to watch but it is also an important look at what can happen when the legal system fails its citizens.

Hailee Steinfeld's character in scene from "Arcane".
48 / 50
Netflix

#3. Arcane

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

This Emmy-winning animated fantasy series adapts the online multiplayer video game "League of Legends" to eye-popping results. It takes place in a future world of stark class division and puts two sisters on opposite sides of a deadly conflict. Season 2 is currently in production.

49 / 50
ESPN Films

#2. The Last Dance

- IMDb user rating: 9.1
- On air: 2020

This critically acclaimed sports documentary chronicles the 1990s basketball dynasty of the NBA's Chicago Bulls, led by the legendary Michael Jordan. The series jumps back and forth in time to profile key players and examine the personal and collective factors that spurred the team to greatness.

50 / 50
Netflix

#1. Our Planet

- IMDb user rating: 9.3
- On air: 2019

From the BBC, creators of "Planet Earth" and "Blue Planet," this latest docuseries brings viewers closer than ever to Earth's animal habitats and showcases nature's diversity. It was filmed over four years in 50 different countries.

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