It's the streaming service that needs no introduction. Netflix is still the unbeaten giant of online viewing, with thousands of documentaries, period dramas, sitcoms, reality TV series, and more all available at the click of a button. The only problem is knowing where to start. With that in mind, we've narrowed down what we believe to be the best TV series available on Netflix UK to ensure minimum scrolling, maximum vegging out.
Whether you're hunting for a show that will have you laughing until you cry or a true-crime doc to send you straight down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, Netflix is the first place to which many millennials turn. It's got just about everything and, in comparison to other streaming services, it offers a mouthwatering mix of U.S. and UK content. A few episodes of Riverdale or Mindhunter can be followed up by The Office, Doctor Foster or, best of all, Gavin & Stacey. The list we've put together below stretches the length and breadth of Netflix UK and what it has to offer, with a great mix of genres from TV and film makers on both sides of the pond. Keep reading to find out our choice of the best TV series on Netflix UK.
'Love Is Blind'
Maybe I’m not a romantic but nothing has induced the ick-factor in me quite like Love Is Blind. And yet, few dating shows have kept me quite as gripped. The premise: Singles go into individual pods and date without seeing who they’re talking to. It sounds simple enough but, here’s the kicker: If you find your true match, you go ahead and propose to the stranger in a matter of days. Days! The show then follows the blind-daters as they prepare for their weddings, despite only knowing each other for a few weeks. Programmers have really taken Cilla Black’s Blind Date to the next level. While the show and ‘social experiment’ attempts to prove that love is truly blind, the contestants' experiences prove that it still does has its conditions. It’s a must-watch if you want to see some truly cringe-worthy moments at the altar.
Japanese reality program Terrace House began to make waves on UK shores after it launched on Netflix three years ago. It’s like Love Island but more wholesome and without cash prizes or gross "mouth-to-mouth" challenges. Instead, three men and three women (aged between 18-32) try to navigate chasing their dreams and falling in love while living in an incredible house. The truly slick production lets you witness all the fights (extremely reasonable ones by UK reality TV standards) and stolen kisses. Yes, they speak Japanese and yes, there’s subtitles but the storylines totally translate. And, there’s added benefit of hilarious commentary from four comedians who say what we’re all thinking. — Escher Walcott
'The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez'
This docu-series contains a trigger warning for good reason. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez details the short life of 8-year-old California boy Gabriel, who suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his mother and step-father which eventually led to his death. The trial, which saw Isuarro Aguirre and Pearl Fernandez sentenced to life imprisonment, also revealed the gross failures of organisations meant to protect vulnerable children like Fernandez. The heart-wrenching documentary sees testimonies from the prosecutors who covered the case, Gabriel’s family, and documents the journey to the judge’s final verdict. It’s an extremely graphic and difficult watch, yet an important call-to-action to everyone to speak up if you see something wrong. — Escher Walcott
‘American Crime Story’
American Crime Story reopens some of the most prolific criminal cases of all time, and if you haven’t stumbled across the series just yet, this gripping true-crime anthology is about to become your latest streaming obsession. The show’s first two seasons centre around the trial of O. J. Simpson and the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace, respectively — and although both cases were indeed highly-publicised, this brilliant U.S. drama manages to shed a captivating new light on the crimes that shook America and beyond. — Sam Ramsden
Now, this is a series which needs no introduction, and after more than 16 years off the air, there’s still no shortage of Friends reruns on British telly. However, Netflix offers instant access to the legendary sitcom, and users can make their way through each of the hilarious 10 seasons.
If you’re somehow unfamiliar with the show’s premise, Friends centres around a group of six close-knit pals as they navigate through relationships, careers, and seemingly never-ending cups of coffee in New York City. Following its debut on the platform, the U.S. sitcom quickly became one of the most streamed TV shows in the UK, and after being introduced to a whole new audience, the popularity of Friends is showing no signs of slowing down. — Sam Ramsden
‘Always Sunny In Philadelphia’
Now in its 14th season, the hilarious Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been a favourite amongst comedy fans for quite some time. The long-running U.S. sitcom, which debuted across the pond way back in 2005, follows a group of outcast pals known as “The Gang,” who run the Paddy’s Pub Irish bar in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The series was created by Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney, both of whom also star in the hit series — and if you're in search of some much-needed comic relief, Always Sunny should absolutely be the focus of your next streaming marathon — Sam Ramsden
‘The Umbrella Academy’
The Umbrella Academy is the X Men x Miss Peregrine’s Home For Extraordinary Children mash up that you never knew you needed in your life. This show has it all: action, mystery, crush worthy stars, and some of the most gorgeous sets and scenes you’re likely to see. And set decorator Jim Lambie describes the look as “retrofuturistic,” which is potentially the best description ever.
It’s the tale of seven gifted children, all mysteriously born at precisely the same time, who were adopted by an eccentric billionaire. They become a troop of superhero-esque characters who end up with completely separate lives when they grow up. After the death of their strange adoptive father, they are thrust back together. With a whole heap of drama coming alongside this particular reunion.
This show so clearly big budget and entertaining from start to finish. Ideal for fans in need of a bit of escapism. — Aoife Hanna
Mindhunter is a psychological crime drama with its roots deeply imbedded in the true crime genre. A marriage of fact, fiction, and personal narratives.
It's the story of the early days of FBI Behavioural Science Unit and its profiling of murderers. These are the people who not only developed ways to understand killers according to their behaviours, but also coined the term “serial killer” itself. The first two seasons have been a smash hit but, according to Digital Spy, there's yet to be a third confirmed.
Ideal for those who are hooked on true crime and learning more about serial killers as analysed by the brightest minds in the business. — Aoife Hanna
'American Horror Story'
Wow, where do I start? From day one this show has been an absolute delight. Not only is American Horror Story deliciously creepy, it's also stylish, beautifully shot, sexy as hell, and filled with cameos to delight and thrill. From haunted houses and cursed hotels to covens that make you want to be a witch more than ever — this show has it all.
As an anthology series, each series stands on its own, with the same actors playing different characters in different tales. However, in the later series, the show has begun to sew the storylines together like a fabulous patch quilt.
The show’s ninth season is currently airing on U.S. and UK television, but is not yet available on Netflix. But the previous eight are available for you to marathon and then argue about which is the best with your pals. IMO, Asylum was the scariest, Coven was the most emotionally engaging, and Apocalypse was the best all rounder. Dont @ me on this. — Aoife Hanna
Charming, funny, and a joyful slice of comedy in the shape of 30 minute episodes, Schitts Creek is, in essence, perfection.
It's the story of an uber rich family whose fall from grace forces them to go and live in the only asset they have left: a town called Schitts Creek.
Life in the rundown town is far removed from their formerly glamorous existence. Watching them adapt to a place filled with eccentric characters and devoid of life’s luxuries all while living in a motel is obviously a piece of pure entertainment.
The show was created by Eugene Levy and his son Daniel who also play father and son in the show. However, IMO the real star of the series is mum Moira, played by comedy legend Catherine O’Hara who you’ll recognise from Beetlejuice, For Your Consideration, and of course Home Alone.
The Guardian rightfully described the show as, “the funniest sitcom you're (probably) not watching.” — Aoife Hanna
‘Surviving R. Kelly’
This docu-series focuses on the alleged abuse numerous teenage girls faced at the hands of R Kelly, all of which has been vehemently denied by the singer. Surviving R. Kelly takes testimony from not only alleged victims but from those close to Kelly who claim to have witnessed inappropriate incidents between the R&B star and teenagers. It also looks at the timeline of his career and his marriage to Aaliah, and examines how those around the star reportedly shielded him from allegations of inappropriate relationships with young girls.
Crucially, the show focuses more on the experience and trauma of the alleged victims rather than a true-crime-style reckoning and quest for justice. It's very difficult piece of viewing but an important insight into abuse and those affected by it. — Aoife Hanna
IMO one of the funniest, most charming, heartfelt, and brilliant comedy series to come out of the UK in the last decade.
It's a show about a group of young teenage girls, and one boy, living in Derry, Northern Ireland, during the troubles. The series is truly unique not only for its killer script, incredible actors, and hilarious one-liners, but also for showing a young female perspective of the troubles, which is an almost unprecedented move, especially in the comedy genre.
Dark but also hilarious, Derry Girls will have you laughing at a world that’s unfamiliar to many but, for Irish Catholics, especially north of the border, is an all too recognisable part of our history.
Lisa McGee, the writer behind the show, is from Derry herself and very much based her script on her experiences. She explained to Channel 4 that showing what it was like to be there and still have a relatively normal life was important to her: “I think Northern Irish people have never seen themselves represented this way before. They really responded to being shown a more positive, funny side to home.” — Aoife Hanna
‘Dead To Me’
OK so are you in need of mystery, drama, suspense, but also some low key LOLs? Look no further, I got you. And I got you good. Dead To Me is about a family dealing with the grief of losing the father. Sad and straightforward enough right? Well in actual fact no, there’s a lot more to this show than meets the eye. Including one super incredible and rambunctious dance routine that left star Christina Applegate in a pretty rough state, according to an interview she did with Variety.
There’s more twists and turns in this show than a country road and you’ll be completely stunned that they manage to reel you in with all those cliff hangers episode after episode.
Although there’s only one season online, Digital Spy reports that Netflix have confirmed a second season. Rejoice, TV fans. — Aoife Hanna
‘Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner’
If you enjoyed Ugly Delicious, then award-winning chef David Chang’s new celebrity-encrusted docu-series is for you. Chang cooks and travels across the globe with famous faces finding out more about them in the cities and towns they love or call home.
Split into four chunky episodes, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner has Chang visiting to Vancouver with actor and comedian Seth Rogen, finding out more about his activism and charity work along with his favourite food joints. Chang destroys a giant saddle of lamb with the hilarious Chrissy Teigan in Marrakech, and he takes on LA with actor and producer Lina Waithe, dispelling myths about the city, while finding out more about her life as a gay black woman in the public eye. And lastly, we learn about how Cambodia’s history has impacted food in the Capital city Phnom Penh with Saturday Night Live actor Kate McKinnon
You learn so much about these cities, their best food spots, and the celebrities who love them through this travel-cooking show mashup. — Niellah Arboine
‘Living With Yourself’
What’s better than one Paul Rudd? Two! Hollywood’s seemingly ageless nice guy known for his roles in Clueless, Anchor Man and more recently Marvel’s Ant-Man, is back with the first season of a new Netflix original dark comedy: Living With Yourself.
Without giving too much away, the series follows the miserable protagonist Miles who’s struggling with his work life and relationship, so decides to take a trip to a mysterious spa, under his friend’s recommendation, which promises to sort out all his problems. As the title suggests, he ends up with another version of himself and the two have to navigate this surreal discovery.
Half the time it’s unclear if you should be deeply disturbed and scared or if you should burst out laughing, which is definitely the best aspect of the series. — Niellah Arboine
Set in the 1960s, Mad Men places you straight into the hectic world of a fictional New York advertising agency. An immensely detailed insight into the decade, the series also delves deep into the lives of the firm's employees. Mad Men primarily focuses on Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm), whose mysterious past comes back to haunt him throughout the series.
Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) and Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks) are also stand-out characters, who rise above the conventions of women in the workplace throughout the show's run. — Sophie McEvoy
'The Good Place'
The Good Place offers a touch of light relief from the endless stream of gritty true crime and dark drama on Netflix. At just over 20 minutes per episode, this is a show you can whack on while you're hungover, scrolling endlessly through your phone.
Featuring Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, and Jameela Jamil, The Good Place is a lighthearted fantasy series based on the premise that when you die (bear with me), you either go to "the good place," or "the bad place."
The show is full of easy going lols, genius cultural references, and Kristen Bell’s wit and charm. Sadly it's currently on its forth and final season, with episodes being released weekly (the previous three seasons are all available to stream). Speaking about the ending of the show, Jameela Jamil said that it was “devastating,” but that the show had a “perfect ending.” Can’t wait! — Rebecca Fearn
As an Australian show, Glitch will be unfamiliar to many UK Netflix users, but I can guarantee you it’s worth getting to know. Glitch follows a group of Aussies that have come back to life from the dead, having awoken and climbed out of their graves in the fictional town of Yoorana. Each undead person comes from a different era, and has a completely different back story and reason as to how they died.
I know so far this sounds a little out there, but it completely works. The show is full of emotion, joy, and life-affirming moments, and the twists and turns take mean it’s never predictable.
Glitch hasn't always have the best reviews, but I reckon it’s some of the best TV Netflix has to offer. — Rebecca Fearn
'The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina'
True fact: I hated this show at first. I felt completely betrayed by how the darker, more gothic take on the Sabrina comics strayed so far from the version we all watched as children on Nickelodeon. But this was a slow burner I came to love and re-watch more than once.
The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina follows Sabrina Spellman, a 16-year old who’s half witch, half mortal. Sabrina is forced to make a tough decision about whether she signs the "book of the beast" and denounces her mortal life and friends, or keeps her non-witch side in tact.
Netflix’s version of Sabrina features demons, ghouls, curses, and a whole lot of praising Satan. Also, Aunt Zelda is quite frankly terrifying in this adaptation, and Salem doesn’t talk. Series one and two of the show are available to stream now, and Digital Spy reports that season three and four will be on their way soon. — Rebecca Fearn
'The Confession Tapes'
If gritty true crime is your thing, this (slightly) lesser-known series is definitely worth looking up. The devastating real life series features a series of Americans who have been convicted of a serious crime through a seemingly false confession.
The Confession Tapes really highlights the cracks in the American criminal justice system, make it a fascinating watch. It'll leave you thinking differently about the way we approach crime and the nature of a confession.
The show released a second season earlier this year (2019), but it's unclear as of yet whether we will be getting a series three. — Rebecca Fearn
The wait has been excruciatingly long, but The Crown is finally returning for its third season this Sunday (Nov. 17). Not only that, but it'll be the first time viewers will see the cast change from Claire Foy and Matt Smith as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip to Olivia Coleman and Tobias Menzies.
The second series ended with the birth of Prince Edward in 1964, and the third continues a year after right through to 1977. A lot of history is set to be covered, including Harold Wilson as Prime Minister, the moon landings, the decolonisation of Africa, and the death of Winston Churchill.
Series 3 will also see Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Marion Bailey as the Queen Mother, and Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles. This series will also see the introduction of Diana Spencer (played by Emma Corrin) and Camilla Shand (Emerald Fennell). — Sophie McEvoy
Being a fan of true crime, you'd think that I'd have stumbled across Forensic Files sooner. But it was only until I watched Bill Hader talk about how he's seen every episode of Forensic Files that I discovered Netflix had nine collections of the series ready to stream.
Basically, as Hader succinctly puts it, "there's a billion of 'em, which means there's been about a billion weird murders in the United States". It's literally neverending, and it's scary to think how many murders have happened in the States that have ended up being covered by the series.
Each episode is only 21 minutes long, and it's very easy to get lost in a Forensic Files hole if you're not careful. If you manage to get through the entire collection before February next year, Forensic Files is being revived by American cable news channel HLN with 16 new episodes as Variety reports. Whether or not they'll make there way across to the UK remains to be seen. — Sophie McEvoy
‘Call The Midwife’
If you’ve not caught any of the BBC’s spectacular Call The Midwife yet then where have you been? If Downton Abbey or Cranford are your deal then you’ll love it. This series follows a group of nuns and newly qualified midwives working in impoverished 1950s East London. Undeniably feel-good, this is the period drama you didn’t know you needed.
With seven series behind it, a lot has happened at Nonnatus House so you’ll have plenty of drama to sink your teeth into. Along with plenty of laughs and really loveable characters Call The Midwife has also opened up important conversations about women’s reproductive health before the turn of the century and contraception and abortion. — Alice Broster
Unbelievable hit the headlines when it was first released for its hard-hitting, phenomenal storyline. Toni Collette stars as Karen Duvall, a detective tasked with investigating the case of Marie Adler (Kaitlyn Dever), who is accused of lying about a rape. The series covers a lot of important, but harrowing, topics and is incredibly emotional.
In their review of Unbelievable, the Guardian praised how it managed "to find another way" to portray such a sensitive topic without becoming "another drab procedural, heavy on cliches borrowed from a thousand crime stories before it." I couldn't agree more. — Alice Broster
Easy is a Netflix original that will get you a little hot under the collar and feed that innate desire to get a little bit of an insight into other people's relationships. Following seven storylines and intertwining relationships over three series, it’s impossible not to get hooked.
While one couple fight to keep the fire alive another are about to embark on the unplanned adventure of becoming parents. And one couple are left wondering if bringing a third person into their bedroom was the wrong decision all along. It's a modern, attention-grabbing take on love, sex, and dating and I guarantee you'll love it. — Alice Broster
'Never Have I Ever'
Created by Lang Fisher and Mindy Kaling and inspired by Kaling’s own upbringing, Never Have I Ever is the coming of age series you need right now. Devi (played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) just wants to up her social status. However it’d seem her friends, mum, and just about everybody else, has other plans.
As time goes on, Devi finds out she’s not as invisible as she first thought. Dealing with the stresses of growing up and her first forays into the world of dating, love and life start to look a lot more complicated than she ever could have imagined. — Alice Broster
If you’re going to watch one docu-series then make it Cheer. A camera crew headed to the small town of Corsicana, Texas to follow head coach Monica Aldama and her hard working cheerleaders on the run up to the biggest annual competitive college cheerleading competition. You’ll become totally obsessed with the Navarro College cheerleaders, the hard work they put in, and their moving back stories. In the last episode Aldama and Navarro College cheer head to Daytona but it’s not without a lot of injuries and tears along the way. If the last routine doesn’t have you on the edge of your seat you’re not watching close enough. — Alice Broster
With big cats, a mysterious disappearance, and some seriously questionable fashion choices, Tiger King may be one of the wildest documentary series that’s ever graced the halls of Netflix. Following the feud between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin and their big cat enclosures, it’ll be all you talk about for weeks afterwards. The rivalry between Baskin and Exotic starts out as humorous, but soon things take a very dark turn. And now it’s been reported that the series is getting its own fictionalised miniseries, with Nicolas Cage playing Exotic. — Alice Broster
New Girl is undeniably feel good and showcases Zooey Deschanel at her finest. Jess breaks up with her boyfriend of six years and needs somewhere to stay. After answering an ad online, she ends up living in a seriously beautiful flat with three male roommates. While it isn’t always functional, it’s totally hilarious. Starring Jake Johnson, Lamorne Morris, and Max Greenfield, New Girl is a super easy watch and will make you wish you had your own Nick, Winston, and Schmidt. And prepare for a serious on/off romance that you’ll be backing from the start. — Alice Broster
Directed by Anna Winger and starring Shira Haas, Amit Rahav, and Jeff Wilbusch, Unorthodox is one of the best mini-series to come out of Netflix in 2020. Esther is a Hasidic Jew in Brooklyn. Before entering an arranged marriage she flees the U.S. to reinvent herself in Berlin. A group of musicians take her in but she soon realises the past will catch up with her.
Esther’s story is based on real life events documented in Deborah Feldman’s memoir Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots but the Netflix series takes the story into new territory. — Alice Broster
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