19 Surprisingly Brilliant Things To Watch On Netflix

JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Netflix and you may actually lose your chill. Netflix is a treasure trove of brilliant TV shows, movies, and documentaries for whatever mood you're in, but it's difficult to actually find them. That's because you spend so much of your precious viewing time endlessly scrolling to find something new to watch. To stop some of this madness, I've put together a list of Netflix's most unexpectedly brilliant shows that you may have passed by without giving a second thought. It's time to start thinking about these hidden streaming gems.

From Netflix original series that deal with death (yes, The OA is as intense as you heard) to documentaries that focus on foodie genius (Pro tip: Eat before watching Chef's Table), there's a lot of highfalutin entertainment that you've been missing out on. It's time to check out the Oscar-winning documentary White Helmets that is going to educate you and totally wreck you. There's no better time than now to acquaint yourself with the genius that is Chewing Gum, a British series that is the female equivalent of the 40-Year-Old Virgin.

So, what are you waiting for? Turn yourself on to some of the smartest entertainment Netflix has to offer.


'The OA'

This Netflix original starring Brit Marling is about a mysterious girl with even more mysterious power will keep you questioning life and death — and that's part of its magic.


'Chef's Table'

This Netflix original documentary series gives us a taste of what's going on inside the minds of some of the world's best chefs. Turns out, it's both delicious and insightful inside there.


'Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things'

The title really puts it all out for you, but here, "important things" really doesn't mean "things" at all. With a less-is-more attitude, this documentary series focuses on those who reject America's consumer culture.


'Imperial Dreams'

Star Wars: The Force Awakens' John Boyega stars as a man trying to change his life after a stint in prison. Unfortunately, he's going to have to move forward by going back to his hometown.


'Camp X-Ray'

Kristen Stewart is a new Army recruit who finds herself working at Guantanomo Bay and making an unexpected connection with one of the detainees.


'Little Sister'

When her brother comes home from duty in Iraq disfigured, Colleen, a goth turned nun, decides she needs to go home too.


'Amanda Knox'

Did Amanda Knox brutally murder her British roommate Meredith Kercher when she was an exchange student in Italy? That's the question everyone watching this Netflix documentary wants to know. Spoiler: You may not get the answer you want.


'Finding Vivian Maier'

This 2013 documentary looks at the life and work of Vivian Maier, who spent most of her life as a nanny. But after her death in 2009, she was celebrated for her street photography.


'Chewing Gum'

This hilarious British series focuses on Tracey Gordon, a 24-year-old virgin, who has lived a rather restrictive religious life. She's now looking to expand her horizons and finally get lucky. Pun intended.


'The White Helmets'

The Oscar-award winning Netflix documentary takes a look at those who are looking for survivors in the wreckage of the Syrian war — the ones in the white helmets.


'The Crown'

If you haven't already delved into this biographical series that tells the story of how Queen Elizabeth II came to be, it's time. Long live Claire Foy.


'The Paradise'

This slow burning British costume drama focuses on the people who worked in the first English department store. The costumes alone make this one worth it.


'Black Mirror'

Sure, watching this show may make you way more paranoid than you've ever been, but it may inspire you to put down your phone for a change.


'Top Of The Lake'

Before Season 2 of this mystery premieres, catch up with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss as she investigates the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old in New Zealand. Like True Detective, but better.



This German drama about a girl named Victoria, who gets caught up in the dirty dealings of four guys she meets while on vacation in Berlin, is an exciting ride. Even more exciting once you know that it was shot in one single continuous take.


'I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore'

After her house is robbed, a depressed nurse (Melanie Lynskey) takes things into her own hands, recruiting her loner neighbor (Elijah Wood) to help her take the guys down. Unfortunately, these robbers are a lot more dangerous than she expected.


'Abstract: The Art Of Design'

This Netflix series gets at how design impacts your everday life by speaking to the creators behind it.



Gillian Jacobs is spellbinding on this Netflix original that gets at the highs and lows of romance. Oh, let's be honest, it's mostly lows. As Mickey, she's working through some things and Gus is along for the bumpy ride.


'Audrie & Daisy'

This heartbreaking documentary looks at what happens when cyberbullying goes too far.