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 many millennials turn to. 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.
‘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
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