The Netflix name has meant many things, including the best shows not on TV. And while there are some glaring omissions in their selection of good movies, there's still plenty to peruse. Narrowing them down to just 50 of the best Netflix films wasn't easy. Nonetheless, here's a ranked list of the bestmovies on Netflix streaming no film lover should miss, all of them just a simple click away.
Related: The Best Shows On Netflix Right Now, Ranked
The Indiana Jones franchise has been housed on Amazon Prime for a while now, but it's finally making its way to Netflix with the streaming platform hosting all four feature films. Of course, nothing beats the original, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and as far as travel and adventure go, this movie has everything you could possibly want. A hero with a love for archeology and whips? Check. An adventure to recover a stolen artifact with destructive powers? Check check. Harrison Ford beating up Nazis while uttering sarcastic one-liners and with a twinkle in his eye? Did movies even exist before this?
2. Schindler's List 1993 Universal
Run Time: 195 min | IMDb: 8.9/10
In 1993, Steven Spielberg released two movies: The highly entertaining Jurassic Park and Schindler's List, an adaptation of Thomas Keneally's fact-based novel Schindler's Ark, which tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi officer who actively works to save Jews from concentrations camps. The former again confirmed his reputation as the premier creator of crowd-pleasing Hollywood spectacles. The latter helped cement his status as a director whose artistry extended far beyond the ability to craft blockbusters. Liam Neeson stars as Schindler, and the film's at once a depiction of his awakening conscience and an unsparing depiction of the Holocaust. Spielberg brings all his filmmaking power to bear on the film, which he was inspired to make in part by the rise of Holocaust deniers and a resurgence of interest in fascism at the time. Where some historical films feel stuck in their time, Schindler's List remains an urgent act of remembrance that will remain timely as long as power and prejudice combine to make the world unsafe.
Possibly the most famous of Quentin Tarantino's masterpieces, Pulp Fiction stars John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman spitting out punchy dialogue, pop culture references, and committing some pretty violent crimes along the way. Tarantino's love of non-linear storytelling is on full display here with three separate plots, all entwined in some way, take shape over the course of the film. Travolta plays Vincent, a hitman for a mob boss who, along with his partner Jules Jackson, survives a couple of shootouts in the film as the two contemplate their life of crime, escort mob wives across town, help fix boxing matches, and dispose of dead bodies.
The Oscar-winning animated film is making its way to Netflix this summer, which means if you didn't get a chance to see it in theaters, you no longer have to wonder what all the hype is about. The story follows a young kid named Miles, who becomes the web-slinging hero of his reality, only to cross paths with other iterations of Spider-Man across different dimensions who help him defeat a threat posed to all realities. Mahershala Ali, John Mulaney, and Jake Johnson make up the film's talented voice cast, but it's the striking visuals and daring story-telling technique that really serves the film well.
Leonard DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and Alec Baldwin star in this crime thriller from Martin Scorsese about an undercover cop and a mole in the police department who attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in Boston. DiCaprio plays the good guy or as close as with Billy, a disturbed officer playing the part of a criminal to get close to Nicholson's kingpin, Frank. Damon plays the rat, Sullivan, who serves as a police officer on the force, but really works for Frank. The two unknowingly thwart each other at every turn, playing a thrilling game of cat and mouse before their secrets eventually come out.
Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise star in this drama about a playboy conman and his autistic savant brother. Cruise plays Charlie, the rich kid who discovers his dad left him nothing following his death. When he meets Ray, the brother he never knew he had Hoffman, the two embark on a cross-country road trip to save Charlie's car import business and rediscover their connection. Cruise is his usual charming self, but Hoffman gives a brilliant turn as a misunderstood genius with quirks that make him endearing, even if they contribute to his otherness and isolation from his family.
7. Roma 2014 Neflix
Run Time: 135 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Oscar-winning writer/director Alfonso Cuaron delivers what may be his most personal film to date. The stunningly-shot black-and-white film is an ode to Cuaron's childhood and a love letter to the women who raised him. Following the journey of a domestic worker in Mexico City named Cleo, the movie interweaves tales of personal tragedy and triumph amidst a backdrop of political upheaval and unrest.
Christian Bale stars in this horror thriller from director Mary Harron that focuses on a wehy New York businessman with bloody habits. Bale plays Patrick Bateman, an investment banker seemingly dissatisfied with his life of excess and envious of his successful colleagues. To cope, he entertains psychotic fantasies that see him hacking prostitutes up with chainsaws and torturing his co-workers. It's an edge-of-your-seat gore fest that leaves you questioning any sense of reality you may have in the end.
Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Tim Robbins star in this heartbreaking drama about a group of high school friends whose lives are shattered following a terrible family tragedy. The men have reunited after years apart after the daughter of one, Jimmy Penn is murdered and another member of the group, Dave Robbins is suspected of the killing. Sean Bacon is a detective investigating the case as the story takes unpredictable, often frustrating twists and turns before revealing the truth of what happened.
The final installment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy returns to Netflix. Return of the King marks the final battle of Middle Earth as Sauron's power reaches its , and Frodo attempts to destroy the ring once and for all. There's plenty of epic battles and satisfying story conclusions to be had here in the same visually-stunning style as Peter Jackson's previous films.
Alex Garland's sci-fi thriller breathed new life into the tired A.I. trope when it landed in theaters a few years ago. The film focuses on a naïve young programmer Domhnall Gleeson, who's selected amongst a pool of applicants to evaluate a new A.I. life form. The poor kid is whisked away to a remote villa to spend time with the eerily-human-looking robot, Ava Alicia Vikander, and her eccentric, often cruel creator Nathan Oscar Isaac, a genius with an ego to match his talent. The film takes some twists you don't expect, and Isaac gives cinema one of its greatest dance sequences, in case you needed more reason to watch.
12. Black Panther 2018 Marvel/Disney
Run Time: 134 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Ryan Coogler's superhero flick revolutionized the Marvel Universe when it landed earlier this year, so it's only right that we're given the option to watch it over and over again. The film gives us a fully-realized, otherworldly Wakanda as it follows the trials and tribulations of a newly-minted king, T'Challa Chadwick Boseman. While trying to govern his people and embrace is Black Panther er-ego, he's also got to fight off a would-be usurper in Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger, who may just be the best villain the franchise has ever seen.
13. Trainspotting 1996 Channel Four
Run Time: 93 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Danny Boyle's black comedy crime film has become a cult classic and made it on plenty “best movies” lists over the years. Ewan McGregor plays Mark Renton, an unemployed heroin addict, who shares a flat with his equally unimpressive friends, Spud, Sick Boy, Franco, and Tommy. The group parties together constantly, doing drugs, getting into fights, and committing petty crimes before Renton attempts to get clean only to return home to make a drug deal that could set him up with a clean slate. It's darkly comedic, with some ridiculous twists thrown in, but the core of the story is surprisingly emotional.
14. Room 2015 A24
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay star in this gripping drama about a mother and son held hostage for nearly a decade. The film, based off a work of fiction, pulls elements from real life trauma cases as it follows a woman named Joy Larson and her son Jack Tremblay who exists in a singular room, cut off from the outside world. The two plot an escape, are eventually rescued and must cope with the effects of their harrowing ordeal while adjusting to life outside of the room. Larson is deserving of every award she won for this thing, and her chemistry with Tremblay will have you grabbing for the tissues throughout the film.
Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Christoph Wz, and Eli Roth star in Quentin Tarantino's imaginative World War II drama about a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers with a plan to assassinate Hitler. The film flip-flops between Pitt's Southern-accented Lt. Aldo Raine's mission to scalp Nazis and blow-up an exclusive event for SS officers in Paris and French actress Melanie Laurent, who plays a theater-owner with a devious plan of her own. It's full of mesmerizing performances and Tarantino's unique brand of humor — oh, and a lot of Nazi killing.
Any historical drama with Daniel Day-Lewis starring is going to be worth a watch but Lincoln is Day-Lewis at his best. The actor's eerily-accurate portrayal of one of the most famous presidents in the history of the United States is powerful and moving, even though everyone already knows the story of Lincoln's terms in office and his eventual, tragic ending. The film touches on the Civil War, the fight for racial equality, the need to end slavery, and the president's personal investment in the cause. Lincoln is a master-class in acting and an enthralling history lesson all in one.
17. Boyhood 2014 IFC Productions
Run Time: 165 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
A lot of films can claim to be one of a kind but few can back up that claim like Richard Linklatter's Boyhood. Shot between 2002 and 2013, it follows the progress of Mason Ellar Coltrane, a Texas kid being raised by a single mother Patricia Arquette and occasionally visited by his absent father Ethan Hawke. With a few exceptions, the episodic film is short on big dramatic moments, letting a lot of major milestones play out offscreen. Instead it mostly just checks in on Ethan each year, watching as time passes, Ethan's relationships shift, and the title starts to lose its meaning as adulthood looms. It's a remarkable, deeply moving film made all the more amazing by how effortless Linklater makes it seem as if we were just being given the privilege of watching a life take shape.
The early aughts action-comedy borrows elements from famous Kung Fu films of the '70s and pairs them with a completely ridiculous plot and some impressive cartoon-style fight sequences to produce a wholly original flick that we guarantee you'll marvel at. The film follows the exploits of two friends, Sing and Bone, who impersonate gang members in the hopes of joining a gang themselves and inadvertently strike up a gang war that nearly destroys the slums of the city. Of course, the real draw here is the absurdist, over-the-top comedy that takes place during some of the film's biggest action sequences. It's laugh-out-loud funny, but only if you check your brain at the door.
Ang Lee's Oscar-winning martial arts flick defied the odds to become one of the most influential films in the genre, crossing multicultural barriers and introducing audiences to some great talents in the international acting world. The film follows the story of Li Mu Bai, an accomplished Wudang swordsman who retires his legendary weapon only to be pulled back into a battle with his arch-nemesis, a woman who killed his master years earlier and seeks to claim his sword for her own. There's more happening plot-wise — Bai has a love interest in another skilled warrior, Yu Shu Lien, and they're both forced to face off against a Wudang prodigy that's been studying under their enemy — but the real draw here is the perfectly-mapped-out fight sequences, which include just enough special effect to be awe-inducing, but not too much to distract from the beautiful choreography that Lee puts on display.
Spike Jonze imagines a world in which Artificial Intelligence can become something more than just a personal assistant program. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a depressed introvert going through a divorce who starts up a relationship with an OS named Samantha. Things get serious before Theodore begins to realize that romance with an A.I. is more complicated than he thought. What follows is a thoughtful exploration of love, relationships, and the ways human beings find connection in a plugged-in world.
We're in the end game now. The Russo brothers return to direct the first of this two-part wrap-up. Josh Brolin plays the ultimate villain, a purple meat-head named Thanos, who's insistent upon solving the Universe's over-population problem. The film does a good job of giving fans some long-awaited pairings — Thor meets the Guardians of the Galaxy crew while Tony Stark and Doctor Strange square off — and it manages to fit its enormous, A-list cast into an over two-hour flick that never feels like it's running too long.
Before Greta Gerwig's remake hits screens revisit the original, a sweeping, heartbreaking drama starring Wynonna Rider, Christian Bale, Susan Sarandon, and Kirsten Dunst. Rider plays Jo March, the rebellious tomboy of the group who dreams of becoming a writer and eschews traditional norms. She leads her group of unruly sisters who have adventures and struggles of their own, but the throughline is family bonds and the strength of sisterhood. It's a sappy classic you can't miss.
24. Moonlight 2016 A24
Run Time: 111 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Barry Jenkins' Moonlight will always be remembered for winning the Academy Award for Best Picture after a mix-up that initially named La La Land as the winner. But that's just an asterisk attached to a momentous coming-of-age story set over three eras in a young man's life as he grows up in Miami, grappling with the sexuality he feels will make him even more of an outcast while searching for guidance that his drug-addicted mother Naomie Harris can't provide. The film is both lyrical and moving and won justifiable acclaim for its talented cast, including a Best Supporting Actor award for Mahershala Ali as a sympathetic drug dealer.
Before Black Panther became one of the highest grossing films in the Marvel Universe, Chris Hemsworth's hammer-loving hero gave the superhero franchise a much-needed dose of humor and fun with Thor: Ragnarok. Directed by Taika Waititi, the film follows the Asgardian warrior as he tries to save his home from the brutal reign of his long-lost sister Hela a wickedly good Cate Blanchett and fight his way out of off-planet gladiator pits with the help of the HulkMark Ruffalo and a Valkyrie played by Tessa Thompson.
26. The King's Speech 2010 Momentum Pictures
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 8/10
Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter star in this British period flick that follows the impromptu and unexpected ascension of King George VI. Firth plays the king in question, a man thrust into a leadership role while trying to overcome a career-impeding stutter and break free from the shadow of his older brother. Rush plays an Australian speech therapist tasked with helping the king overcome his stutter, and his unorthodox methods cause a stir among the royal household. Firth is terrific as always and watching both him and Rush bounce off each other makes up the best this film has to offer.
Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, and Cybill Shepherd star in this Martin Scorsese crime thriller about a veteran with mental heh issues who works a night job, driving a taxi around New York City. De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a Vietnam war vet who moonlights as a cap driver to cope with his insomnia. During a long shift, he contemplates assassinating a politician to help out the woman he's fallen in love with Shepherd and killing a pimp after befriending an underage prostitute Foster. It's a wild ride, full of darkly comedic moments, and an even more harrowing looks at the consequences of war.
28. Coco 2017 DISNEY
Run Time: 105 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
Disney continued its trend of spotlighting underserved communities and lesser-known cultures with Coco, a Pixar project that follows a young boy learning the importance of family during a traditional Mexican celebration, “Dia de Los Muertos.” The Day of the Dead is probably a holiday you've heard of before, but the film adds a rich history and vibrancy to a time held sacred by so many. Miguel has dreams of becoming a singer but when he finds himself amongst the dead, he must rely on his courage and his ancestors to help him return to the living. Bring your tissues for this one.
Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart play a mother-daughter duo stuck in a terrifying situation in this dramatic thriller. Foster's Meg Altman is a recently divorced mother to a diabetic young daughter named Sarah Stewart. The two move into a new home following the family split but have the most horrific of housewarmings when three men break into their home looking for a hidden fortune, forcing them to lock themselves inside the home's panic room.
After a stint in Hollywood, Alfonso Cuarón returned to Mexico for this story of two privileged high school boys Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal who road trip with an older woman Maribel Verdú in search of an unspoiled stretch of beach. In the process, they discover freedom like they'd never imagined — and maybe more freedom than they can handle. Cuarón's stylish film plays out against the backdrop of Mexican political upheaval and plays with notions of upturning the established order on scales both large and small, all the while suggesting that no paradise lasts forever.
31. Mudbound 2017 Netflix
Run Time: 134 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Netflix spent much of 2017 trying to establish itself as an ernative to movie theaters as a place to find quality new films. The results were mostly strong, and none stronger than Mudbound, Dee Rees' story of two families — one white and one black — sharing the same Mississippi land in the years before and afterWorld War II. Rees combines stunning images, compelling storytelling, and the work of a fine cast that includes Jason Mitchell, Carey Mulligan, Garett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, and Mary J. Blige to unspool a complex tale about the forces the connect black and white Americans and the slow-to-die injustices that keep them apart.
32. Carrie 1976 United Artists
Run Time: 98 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Sissy Spacek's blood-drenched teen horror flick made high school seem even more terrifying when it landed in theaters in the late '70s. The film follows a young girl suffering under the abuse of her religiously-devout mother and being bullied by the more popular kids at school. She has some embarrassing moments — getting her period during swim class — and some tension-filled fights with her mother that begin to unleash her supernatural abilities. Good ol' mom thinks they're powers given by the Devil himself, but Carrie decides to use them to exact her vengeance, and it's as gruesome as you'd hope.
Matthew McConaughey's Dallas Buyer Club is a searing look at how the world failed the LGBTQ community during the devastating AIDS crisis. McConaughey stars as Ron Woodruff, a man diagnosed with the disease in the 80s during a time when the illness was still misunderstood and highly stigmatized. Woodruff went against the FDA and the law to smuggle in drugs to help those suffering from the disease, establishing a “Dallas Buyers Club” and fighting in court to the right to aid those in need. The story is all the more powerful because it's true and McConaughey delivers one of the best performances of his career as Woodruff, a man who changes his entire outlook on life after being de a tragic blow.
There's always going to be backlash when a studio decides to revive a beloved franchise and take it in a new direction but The Last Jedi continues to anger space fanboys everywhere and honestly, we're not sure what their gripe is. Rian Johnson gave us a masterclass in how to take something old and make it new again with his interpretation, injecting a bit of fun and fantasy into the age-old story. Mindblowing Jedi fights, Force connections, Porg, and Artic Foxes, the movie has something for everyone and it challenges both old and new characters alike with interesting arcs and climactic moments. Plus, did we mention Porgs?
When this French coming-of-age drama premiere in 2013 it sparked plenty of controversies. The film centers on a blooming romance between a naïve teenager named Adele and her free-spirited lover, Emma. Praised for painting an honest portrait of a lesbian romance on screen while also scrutinized for its sometimes graphic sexual content, the film marked a turning point in how the LGBTQ community was represented on film and gave people a heartbreaking look at a young woman discovering herself and her sexual identity in an unforgiving world.
Bill Murray has some great comedies living on his resumé, but none are as iconic, or at least, well-loved as Groundhog Day. That's because watching Murray play a surly weather-man forced to relive the same day over and over again is basically a comedy goldmine of a plot. At first, Phil Murray enjoys the time loop, binge-drinking, filming some half-hearted news segments in a hick town in Pennsylvania, having one-night stands, etc, but eventually, he realizes that in order to escape his never-ending bed-and-breakfast hell, he's got to better himself, not an easy task.
37. Rocky 1981 United Artists
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
One of the greatest sports films of all time, Rocky helped put Sylvester Stallone on the map. Stallone plays a small-time boxer from Philly looking to break out of his working-class background and be a contender. When he gets the rare opportunity to fight in a heavy-weight match against an infamous Russian opponent, Rocky trains harder than ever before, battling against his class, his background, and his self-doubt to go the distance.
38. Frances Ha 2012 IFC
Run Time: 86 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Before Greta Gerwig was directed Oscar-nominated coming-of-age dramas, she was writing and starring in this black-and-white dramedy about a young woman also trying to find her way in the professional dance world of New York City. Gerwig is magnetic in the titular role of Frances, a dancer dissatisfied with her career prospects and forced to contemplate a move to Tribeca on the whim of her best friend and roommate. That trek across Manhattan serves as a jumping off point for Frances, who travels home, then to France, before settling in Washington Heights on her journey to self-discovery.
Look, it's hard to keep track of the Marvel Universe timeline so we're not going to explain where Ant-Man and the Wasp fits into the grander scheme of this blockbuster monopoly. The only thing you really need to know about this action flick, which sees Paul Rudd returning to play the shrinking superhero and Evangeline Lily playing his partner in fighting crime, is that it's a hell of a fun watch. Rudd returns to the character more seasoned in the superhero verse and thus, more comfortable with his leading man status, but he benefits greatly from a team-up with Lily and a well-written script.
Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller star in this fast-paced crime drama from Matthew Vaughn. Craig plays a London-based drug dealer known simply as XXXX. His plans to retire from crime are interrupted when he's given two impossible tasks by his boss: to recover a kidnapped woman and to sell some dirty pills stolen from a Serbian war lord. XXXX must navigate betrayals and criminal hierarchies to keep himself and his crew alive.
41. Winter's Bone 2010 Roadside Attractions
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
A film noir set in the Ozarks of Missouri, Winter's Bone was the breakthrough role for Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old who looks after her family since her father disappeared. With the looming threat of losing her home, Ree goes in search of her missing father, drawing her into a world of distrust and violence. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and though it didn't take any Oscars home, it did win the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
Hijinks-y teen movies and all, 1999 was an impressive year for movies. Magnolia, Fight Club, The Green Mile, Being John Malkovich, The Matrix... The list goes on and on. Among those entries is M. Night Shyamalan's first big release, and one of his best behind Unbreakable, of course. This was a simpler time, before seeing his name in trailers garnered skepticism. Centered on a boy who can't separate the dead from the living and his child psychologist with issues of his own, The Sixth Sense remains one of four horror movies to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. It's endlessly tense, driven by strong performances from the two leads over jump scares. It's held up well, even if it's established a tough hurdle for the director's future efforts to clear.
It seems almost perverse to think about watching The Hateful Eight at home, given how big a deal Quentin Tarantino made of its 70mm format at the time of its release. And while it looks great on the big screen it's not like that's an option right now. And, in some ways, the film feels just at home on the small screen, since it's at heart a chamber mystery that brings together a collection of unsavory characters Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh among them as mystery and murder unfold in their ranks.
When a punk rock group accidentally witnesses the aftermath of a murder, they are forced to fight for their lives by the owner of a Nazi bar Patrick Stewart and his team. It's an extremely brutal and violent story, much like the first two features from director Jeremy Saulnier Blue Ruin and Murder Party, but this one is made even tenser by its claustrophobic cat-and-cornered-mouse nature. Once the impending danger kicks in, it doesn't let up until the very end, driven heavily by Stewart playing against type as a harsh, unforgiving, calculating character.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonard DiCaprio, and Cameron Diaz star in Martin Scorsese's historical epic that re-imagines the birth of New York City. DiCaprio plays Amsterdam, an Irish immigrant who returns to the Five Points years following his father's murder, looking for revenge. To get it, he infiltrates Bill the Butcher's Lewis gang, a group of proud natives tired of the influx of foreigners in their city. Diaz plays a prostitute who forms a relationship with Amsterdam as he befriends Bill, then struggles to follow-through with his plan to kill the man who murdered his father and lead the Five Points in a rebellion against the city's elite.
At the tail end of a decade of teen films dominated by John Hughes movies came Heathers, which turned Hughes' observations of high school cliques into black comedy. There's no Saturday-morning detention long enough to bring peace to the warring factions of Westerburg High, so outsider JD Christian Slater decides to expose the underlying hypocrisy with the help of Veronica Winona Ryder — but without telling her there will be a corpse or two involved. Though much-imitated, Daniel Waters' screenplay remains a model of dark wit. It's still the take-no-prisoners high-school comedy all others want to be.
Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg star in this boxing drama about a dysfunctional family plagued by trauma. Wahlberg plays Micky, an up-and-coming fighter, a guy struggling to free himself from the shadow of his older brother, a former boxer named Dicky Bale. Dicky was talented in the ring but fell victim to drug abuse. Amy Adams also stars in this thing, marking just one of many collaborations between her, Bale, and director David O. Russell, but the real draw here is Bale who once again transforms himself for a challenging role that pays off.
48. Burning 2018 CGV Arthouse
Run Time: 148 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Walking Dead alum Steven Yeun stars this psychological thriller from South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong. Yeun plays Ben, a rich millennial with a mysterious job who connects with a woman named Shin Hae-mi on a trip to Africa. The two journey back home together where Ben meets Shin's friend/lover Lee Jong-su. The three hang-out regularly, with Lee growing more jealous of Ben's weh and privilege while he's forced to manage his father's farm when his dad goes to prison. But it's when Shin disappears, and Lee suspects Ben's involvement, that things really go off the rails.
Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges star in this neo-Western crime thriller about a pair of brothers who go on a bank-robbing spree to save their family's ranch. Pine plays Toby, a down-on-his-luck father struggling to live right under mountains of inherited debt while Foster plays Tanner, his ex-con brother who has a wild streak that often endangers the two men on their jobs. Bridges is the aging sheriff tasked with bringing them to justice but his job is made harder by the locals, who have no love for the bank chain the boys are stealing from. It's a gritty, unapologetic tale of a forgotten America brought to life by some brilliant performances and an impressive script from Taylor Sheridan.
50. Doubt 2008 Miramax
Run Time: 104 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
John Patrick Shanley's Oscar-nominated drama is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the film's casting sheet. Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams star in this mystery about a priest's questionable relationship with one of his Catholic school students and the nun determined to get to the truth. Hoffman plays Father Flynn while Streep plays the strict Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the parish school principal who suspects him of wrongdoing. The story lulls at times, but Streep is magnetic on-screen and lively enough to keep the audience interested.
Recent Changes Through October 2019: Removed: Snatch Added: The Departed
While Netflix features more and better original programming, Amazon Prime holds their own in that department, and they continue to beef up their offerings. As far as licensed content goes, however, Amazon Prime may hold a slight edge, thanks to owning exclusive rights to HBO's back catalog.
If you're trying to figure out what to watch next, a great place to start are the 35 best shows on Amazon Prime Video right now, and none of these titles are currently available on Netflix.
Related: The Best Movies On Amazon Prime Right Now, Ranked
1. The Americans
6 seasons, 75 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
The Americans follows Russian spies Keri Russell and Mathew Rhys posing as a married couple living in America, and while the missions are enjoyable, and the glimpse into the early 1980s is fascinating, the real pull in this show is the relationship drama, both between the married spies — who are often pulled between their love for one another and their love of country — an FBI agent Noah Emmerich who is pulled between his own relationship with his family and country, and the children of the Russian spies, pulled between their family and their love of America. Well-crafted, engrossing, and hypnotic, The Americans is one of best TV shows — if not the best TV show — right now, and its phenomenal recently completed fourth season finally gained the series the Emmy recognition it so richly deserves. The series has unfortunately finally reached its end, but that means there's no better time to start binge-watching The Americans than now.
6 seasons, 78 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
The fifth season might have been the one minor letdown in its run, but Justified came back strong in its sixth and final season, making it one of television's best all-time complete series. Justified boasts not only the two most charismatic characters around in trigger-happy Raylan Givens Timothy Olyphant and its sly villain, Boyd Crowder Walton Goggins, but also the quickest 42 minutes on television. No hour-long drama flies by faster than Justified, which also makes it a great series to binge watch. Moreover, Justified not only boasts smart, economic Elmore Leonard-inspired writing and crackling dialogue under the direction of showrunner Graham Yost, but the stories are as engrossing as Leonard's were page-turning. It's not a perfect series, but even its flaws are endearing. Bonus: Justified also features nearly every major actor from Deadwood at some point in the series.
3. The Wire
5 seasons, 60 episodes | IMDb: 9.3/10
The Wire gave us Omar Little. It gave us Stringer Bell. And Bunk, McNulty, Kima, Bubbles, and so many other characters. The Wire examines the Baltimore drug scene from the perspective of the police and the drug dealers, and it humanizes both sides of the war on drugs. It confronts deep-seated problems in the inner city in accessible ways, and it unpacks the bureaucracy surrounding those issues in a way that makes us understand the struggles of law enforcement in their efforts to tackle the drug problem and the plight of the dealers. Spanning five seasons, The Wire is like a series of interconnected novels featuring deeply flawed, but deeply human characters. It's a one-of-a-kind series, a show that is not only entertaining, thoughtful, and insightful, but also necessary.
4. The Sopranos
6 seasons, 86 episodes | IMDb: 9.2/10
The godfather of prestige dramas, David Chase's series follows the life of Tony Soprano James Gandolfini, as he struggles like so many of us with the work-life balance, only his work is running a criminal organization and his life involves a complicated, suburban Italian family. Spanning six seasons, The Sopranos may be the best-written series of all time and often places first or second on lists of the greatest television series of all time. This author would place it third, behind The Wire and Breaking Bad, though both of those shows owe a great debt to The Sopranos, which created the template for the modern anti-hero and kicked off the Golden Age of television. Regardless of where it is placed among the greatest of all time, it is essential television viewing, a masterpiece rich with nuance, comedy, brutality, and emotion, as well as some of the best-drawn characters in any medium.
5. Parks And Recreation
7 seasons, 125 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
There simply isn't a better show to binge watch when you need a pick me up than this one. Hilarious, smart, and relentlessly sunny, Parks and Recreation is a balm to weary viewers. Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope has joined the ranks of television icons, but the supporting cast is no less wonderful. If you're looking for a show about good people trying to do good things while making good jokes, this will be your new-old favorite show. While the first season feels a bit too much like a riff on The Office, it finds its feet in season two and never relents. While so much of today's comedy is mired in cynicism, Parks and Recreation will make you want to do better. It also gets better with each rewatch, so pour yourself some Snake Juice and enjoy.
6. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
2 seasons, 18 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
By now, we should just know to expect great things from showrunner Amy-Sherman Palladino. The woman who gave us Gilmore Girls and Bunheads also brought a fast-paced, wit-infused drama about a 1950s housewife with a hidden talent for stand-up to Amazon, and the awards season voters ate it up. The show follows Rachel Brosnahan as she plays Midge Maisel, a Jewish housewife disillusioned with her marriage to a cheating, joke-stealing scumbag and ready to break out on her own in the comedy world.
7. Mr. Robot
3 seasons, 32 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
USA Network's Mr. Robot follows Elliot, a hacker with an acute social anxiety disorder who suffers from delusions and paranoia. During the day, he works as a computer programmer for a company that protects other companies from cyber threats. Elliot has other designs in mind, too, namely taking down one of the biggest corporations in America, E Corp, unsettling America's financial system, and taking power away from the rich and giving it back to the people. Heavily influenced by American Psycho, Fight Club, the films of Stanley Kubrick, and Taxi Driver, among others, Sam Esmail's Mr. Robot is an unnerving mindf*ck full of conspiracy theories and misdirections. Nothing is ever as it seems in Mr. Robot, and much of the fun is in trying — and mostly failing — to stay ahead of the twists.
2 seasons, 18 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Arguably the best comedy on television, and easily the smartest, Veep is the rare political satire that still works in the post-Trump political environment because it's not about electoral politics, it's about the futility of politics. It's about how people stumble into positions of leadership, not because they are good people, or smart people, or even politically savvy people, but because the system rewards mediocrity and dysfunction. It is a sharp, profane, and intensely funny series, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus — winner of six consecutive Emmy awards for her role in Veep — turns in the best comedic performance of the decade, and she is surrounded by television's best ensemble.
3 seasons, 36 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
In television's greatest all-time Western series, David Milch creates a brilliantly distinctive universe peopled with characters who speak their own language, a pungent one that is Shakespeare, profanity, and gunslinger all rolled into one. Set in 1870's South Dakota, Deadwood charts the growth of Deadwood from a small camp into town, basing many of the characters on real-life historical figures like Al Swearengen, Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp, and George Hearst. It also stars an incredible collection of talent — Timothy Olyphant, Anna Gunn, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, John Hawkins, Kim Dickens, and John Hawkes, among many others — who bring the town alive with all its danger, corruption, and family struggles. Those sensitive to profanity, however, should steer clear — in three seasons, nearly 3,000 utterances of the word “f*ck” are employed, and not one is ever wasted.
10. Curb Your Enthusiasm
8 seasons, 80 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
The long-running HBO series about a fictionalized version of Larry David is as uncomfortable as it is funny, as misanthropic as it is clever. David, of course, was the inspiration for George Constanza on Seinfeld, and Curb Your Enthusiasm often feels like a Constanza spin-off which makes the Seinfeld reunion season within the show complicated. Like Seinfeld, Curb is about nothing — or more specifically, the minutia of daily life — with a particular attention paid to daily annoyances. It's a brilliant show for the way it unpacks trivialities — as its dozens of Emmy nominations attest — but it should be binged in short bursts because the show's cynicism and general disdain for humanity are often hilarious, but it may also weigh heavily after several hours.
5 seasons, 50 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
Titus Welliver stars in this police procedural from Amazon about a renegade detective charged with solving some hauntingly grisly murders. Harry Bosch is a former military man with a healthy respect for the rules and an unquenchable thirst for the truth. Each season, he's presented with a case that threatens his carefully molded view of the world, often leading him to uncover conspiracies, corrupt cops, and even his own mother's murderer. The subject matter might be dark, but Welliver is clearly having fun playing the brash, give-no-f*cks badass, which is why you should give this crime series a watch.
12. Downton Abbey
6 seasons, 52 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
From 2010-2015, you couldn't have a conversation about favorite TV shows without someone in your friend group mentioning Downton Abbey. The British series about the inner workings of an aristocratic English family and their manner full of servants became the biggest thing to invade America from across the pond since The Beatles. Watching the crusty Crawley family navigate historic events like the sinking of the Titanic and the First World War while their servants dealt in gossip, intrigue, and scandal below stairs was as entertaining and juicy as any good British drama should be.
13. The X-Files
9 seasons, 202 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
Many sci-fi shows have come into the geeky pantheon of television, but The X-Files remains a benchmark. While the revival series wasn't quite what fans were hoping for, seeing the unbeatable team of Mulder David Duchovny and Scully Gillian Anderson back in action was a treat. Still, going back to the beginning is the only way to go with the show. Whether you get caught up in the monster of the week storylines or like digging into the overarching mythology, The X-Files will stick with you for years to come.
4 seasons, 16 episodes | IMDb: 8.5/10
Maybe the bleakest, grittiest cop show you'll ever see, Luther is so intense that it may at times rattle your brain stem. It's got the best elements of other of its ilk as it follows a genius detective who struggles to separate his personal and professional lives. But it is also pummeling great drama, and Idris Elba is a tour de force Ruth Wilson is fantastic, too.
2 seasons, 12 episodes | IMDb: 8.5/10
Fleabag was co-produced by Amazon and England's BBC Three. Set in London, it stars the magnificent Phoebe Waller-Bridge who also created the show as “a young woman attempting to navigate modern life in London.” That description hardly does the series justice. It's a hysterical, dirty, sexually devious and surprisingly thoughtful meditation on grief and loneliness that goes by so quickly there are only six half-hour episodes in each season that viewers will wish they savored it more before it ends. It's truly one of the most distinctive, original comedies of the last several years — think Tig Notaro crossed with Broad City — and if we're lucky, Waller-Bridge will become one of the leading creative voices of her generation.
5 seasons, 59 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
This legal thriller starring Glenn Close is an intimate character portrait of a ruthless, powerful attorney who takes a rookie under her wing. Close is Patty Hewes, the head of a New York City law firm, a woman with questionable morals, who must fight to exist in a very male-dominated profession. Her protege, played by Rose Byrne, both worships and actively questions her mentor and her methods over the course of five seasons as the two tackle high-profile cases. Glenn Close in the starring role of a gripping drama? What's not to like?
17. Doctor Who
10 seasons, 840 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
Doctor Who is a long-running British series that follows the adventures of a Time Lord and his companion as they travel throughout space and time in the TARDIS. Doctor Who can be a little cheesy, but it is nevertheless one of those shows that's difficult not to become completely invested in once you begin. Viewers who may not even consider themselves sci-fi geek should give it a shot because Doctor Who may be the show that converts them. It isn't just a sci-fi show, it is a series about love and heartbreak and loneliness, about coming of age, about humanity and about loss. Maybe even more than that, watching Doctor Who is not just a television experience, it's a cultural one, one of the rare shows capable of connecting people across the globe.
18. The Good Wife
7 seasons, 156 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
Fans of Suits will love The Good Wife, as it's essentially the rich man's version of that show, dealing with the same brand of interoffice politics while mixing in some legal procedural elements to its ongoing serialized storylines. The Good Wife also covers the conflicts that arise between work and relationships, as well as the marriage between a law firm associate and her husband, a state district attorney — and later governor — caught early on in a prostitution scandal. Having just completed its seven-season run on CBS, The Good Wife was one of few Emmy-worthy dramas remaining on the broadcast networks, and no show on television filled its guest roles better — it had 13 Emmy nominations and two wins in the guest acting categories alone. The show began to run out of steam near the end of its run, but it remained mostly entertaining throughout.
8 seasons, 120 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
For the eight seasons that Psych was on the air, it entertained a kind of cult following. Fans tuned in religiously to watch this buddy-cop drama about an eccentric police detective who claimed “psychic” abilities and his reluctant, by-the-book partner. Stars James Roday and Dule Hill have incredible chemistry on the show which pushes the worn-out, fun-cop-boring-cop trope past its usual limits.
20. Friday Night Lights
5 seasons, 76 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
Friday Night Lives caught the attention of critics and fans alike when it premiered on NBC in 2006. Its gritty, unapologetic look at football culture in the deep red of Texas felt authentic in a way most dramas just didn't at the time. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton became household names thanks to their on-screen romances as Coach Taylor and his feisty wife Tami Taylor, but it was the Dillion Panthers, a football team that shouldered the burden of greatness while it's members dealt with more immediate issues like high school relationships, graduation worries, and career-ending injuries, that really fueled the story.
4 seasons, 24 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
The British sitcom is essentially You're the Worst if the couple at the center of it were 10 years older. Like the FX series, it's another anti-romcom romcom, although this one involves pregnancy, children, and culture clash he's an American wanker, she's an acerbic, potty-mouthed Irish school teacher. However, the constant bickering and sexual disagreements between Rob Rob Delaney and Sharon Sharon Horgan are what makes Catastrophe so exhilarating. A more apt name for the series would be Amazon's other series, Transparent, because the relationship between Sharon and Rob — warts and all — is the most open and honest in television, and maybe the funniest. The only downside to Catastrophe is that its three seasons are each only six half-hour episodes long, and nine hours is not enough time to spend with these characters.
22. Battlestar Galactica
4 seasons, 78 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
Another imperfect sci-fi entry, Battlestar Galactica dared to be different. Following in the Star Trek vein of “thinking person's science fiction,” Battlestar Galactica was equal parts thrilling and frustrating. After most of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol are wiped out by the Cylons, humanity is left to wander space looking for a new home. Under the leadership of Commander Adama Edward James Olmos and President Rosen Mary McDonnell, the military ship Galactica is the only thing standing between the remaining humans and the Cylon threat. This Peabody Award-winning show featured ever-shifting alliances, interesting philosophical ponderings, and plot twists that will make you scream in frustration, and is a must-watch show for more than just sci-fi fans.
5 seasons, 41 episodes | IMDb: 7.8/10
Amazon may not stack up favorably against Netflix in the original series department, but Transparent is as good or better than most of Netflix's original series. It sees Jeffrey Tambor decide, late in life, to transition into a woman, and we see how that decision affects her family in the most hilarious and poignant ways imaginable. It's a light series with heavy themes, and it has racked up 28 Emmy nominations and eight wins, so far.
8 seasons, 177 episodes | IMDb: 8.8/10
Binge watchers love their medical dramas, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a show about the ill that's as fun as House. Hugh Laurie plays the episodic's anti-hero, an opioid-addicted, dry-humored, uncaring genius and doctor with a knack for solving unsolvable cases. He's joined by a rotating team of famous faces Olivia Wilde, Jesse Spencer, and Jennifer Morrison all starred on the show at some point but they usually just end up getting in the way of his natural prowess with mysterious illnesses.
25. Orphan Black
5 seasons, 50 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
Tatiana Maslany plays several clones variations of the same woman in the sweeping conspiracy thriller Orphan Black, and she breathes so much life and so many distinct personalities into each clone that viewers often forget that one woman is playing all the characters and it's impossible not to pick a favorite. The supporting cast is mostly great, as well, and for a Canadian series, the production values are excellent. Unfortunately, Orphan Black suffers from a great first season that the rest of the series can't quite live up to. It gets so bogged down in its own confusing mythology that it begins to run out of steam, although it picks up its momentum again in the fourth season before reaching its fifth season finish line.
3 seasons, 39 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
Bryan Fuller's Hannibal is a perfect series to binge-watch, as the ability to watch the episodes back-to-back evens out some of the slow pacing. Hannibal is dark, macabre, and brilliantly creative, and while it has many of the same characters viewers know and appreciate from the movie/book series, it also has an entirely different and unique tone some would even say better. The murder scenes are equally gruesome and gorgeous, the series' long arc is as disturbing as it is engrossing, and the acting from Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelson, and Laurence Fishburne is superb. It's a slow, morbidly addictive burn, and viewers must stick around for Michael Pitt's Mason Verger in season two, if only for one of the most beautifully unsettling sequences ever seen on network television.
3 seasons, 24 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
Goliath is an old-school legal thriller from an old-school television writer, David E. Kelley The Practice, Boston Legal, who is still the reigning king of legal dramas. It's a meat-and-potatoes show driven by an entertaining storyline and compelling, flawed characters led by Billy McBride, a character played Billy Bob Thornton, who won a Golden Globe for the role. McBride is an alcoholic has-been lawyer who, in typical Grisham fashion, has a case against a big tech firm fall into his lap. On the other side of the case is McBride's former firm, his ex-wife Maria Bello and his old legal partner turned nemesis William Hurt. There's nothing new or novel about Goliath except for the fact that it doesn't try to be new and novel: It's an old-fashioned, well-made, well-acted and gripping television show with bad guys, morally questionable good guys and a strong supporting cast that also includes Olivia Thirlby, Kevin Weisman Alias, Dwight Yoakum, and Harold Perrineau.
5 seasons, 69 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
Loosely based on the exploits of the 9th century Viking ruler and king, Ragnar Lodbrok, Vikings doesn't match the level of complexity in Game of Thrones — the universe is smaller, there are fewer characters, and the plotting isn't as dense — but it's a solid, if not sometimes spectacular drama that gets progressively better over the course of the series. There's crunching violence, lots of axe play, and frequent battles as Ragnar extends his rule over parts of Europe. Compared to Game of Thrones, it's less about mind games and schemes, and more about brute force — and Ragnor's victories are seldom in doubt. Nevertheless, It's entertaining to watch the unrelenting violence unfold and revel in the demise of Ragnor's rivals. While Travis Fimmel is excellent in the lead role and Gustaf Skarsgård's Floki provides the often necessary comic relief, it's Katheryn Winnick — as Lagertha — who is the show's biggest draw.
29. Jack Ryan
1 season, 8 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
John Krasinski's return to television marks a dramatic departure from his The Office days. He plays famed CIA analyst Jack Ryan in this series that explores the character's beginnings as an up-and-coming agent whose confidence in his abilities often lead to him clashing with higher-ups like his boss, James Greer a fantastic Wendell Pierce. Ryan infiltrates a terrorist cell with nefarious plans after uncovering how the criminal communicate with each other, but when he's thrust into the field, things get dangerous.
9 seasons, 131 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
A legal drama that almost never steps inside a courtroom, Suits stars Gabriel Macht and Patrick Adams as a brash, big-league attorney and his whiz-kid protégé, who is practicing illegally without a law degree. Suits, which has a tenuous understanding of the law, deals week-to-week mostly with settling disputes with cocky threats and yellow manilla folders. It's rounded out by a fun, USA Network-perfect cast Sarah Rafferty, Gina Torres, Meghan Markle, and Rick Hoffman and later seasons of the series are more serialized in nature, dealing primarily with interoffice politics and relationship drama. Nothing about Suits is altering the television landscape in fact, every episode is the same, and the show is certainly not any threat to television's heavier dramas. However, over the course of the series, it's become a rock-solid show, one that was willing to break out of the typical USA Network procedural format years before Mr. Robot came along.
31. A Very English Scandal
1 season, 3 episodes | IMDb: 7.8/10
Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw star in this mini-series biopic about British Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe and his gay lover, Norman Scott. Grant plays the stiff-lipped politician, a man who ignites an affair with a young stable-boy while climbing the political ladder. When that dalliance ends, he tries to bury the story his ex-love threatens to go public with by having him killed. Grant is superb in the role of an increasingly-panicked straight-laced type while Whishaw brings a touch of eccentricity and empathy to his scorned lover, Norman.
32. The Night Manager
1 season, 7 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston star in this limited series from AMC. Laurie is the big bad, a criminal and arms dealer with a ruthless way of doing business. Hiddleston is the night manager of a Cairo hotel, recruited to spy on the guy and infiltrate his inner circle. He's clearly way out of his depth and most of the edge-of-your-seat action comes from watching Hiddleston lie, cheat, and steal his way through a bogus cover and a convoluted plan hatched by higher-ups happy to sacrifice him for the greater good.
33. The Killing
4 seasons, 44 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman star in this subversively brilliant crime mystery. The main plot focuses on the police investigation into the murder of a 17-year-old girl whose body was found in the trunk of a submerged car but over the course of four seasons, the show manages to weave conspiracy plots, a corrupt mayoral campaign, and commentary of grief, loss, and guilt into the story. It's all carried by rich performances from Enos and Kinnaman, who investigate the case.
34. Mozart in the Jungle
4 seasons, 40 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Created by Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, and Paul Weitz, Mozart in the Jungle stars Gael García Bernal as an orchestra conductor and Lola Kirke as an oboist/protégé. The cast is rounded out with beloved actors like Malcolm McDowell and Bernadette Peters, and familiar faces like Safron Burrows. Mozart is sweet and low-key. Viewers who like Canada's exceptional Slings and Arrows will like Mozart in the Jungle because it's essentially Slings and Arrows with classical music instead of Shakespeare. It is frothy and fun, and an absolute pleasure to watch, even if it is not exactly essential television.
35. The Man in the High Castle
3 seasons, 30 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
Loosely based on Phillip K. Dick's 1962 novel of the same name it also bears some resemblance to Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, The Man in the High Castle is set in an alternative, dystopian world where Germany won World War II. Basically, the East Coast is occupied by the Germans, and the West Coast is occupied by the Japanese, and there's a no-man's land in between. Exec-produced by Ridley Scott and Frank Spotnitz The X-Files, the series sees various characters working to form a resistance against their occupation by collecting “forbidden newsreels” that show the alternate history in which the Allies won the war in an effort to reveal a larger truth about how the world should be. A dark exploration of what it means to be American, The Man in the High Castle is a well-acted, tense, and often violent dystopian thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep viewers guessing.
Whew – what a way to start a show. In the annal of great TV pilots, you can bet that Watchmen‘s initial launch will be held up alongside such iconic pilots as those for Lost, The Sopranos, Twin Peaks, Deadwood, and more. So much information is crammed into this opener, and yet it never feels overstuffed. And while there’s an overwhelming amount of world-building, you never get lost in all the details. It’s one of the most exciting hours of TV in recent memory. The big question is: where the hell does Watchmen go from here? Wherever it goes, it’s going to be thrilling to go along with it.
Watch Over This Boy
Watchmen starts in an unexpected place: Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921. The first frames we see, though, are from a fictional silent movie. Up on the flickering screen a man all in black atop a black horse rides after a man all in white mounted on a white horse. The man in black lassos the man in white right in front of a church, at which point townspeople come spilling out. Through a series of title cards, we learn that the man in white is the town Sheriff and that he’s corrupt. The man in black pulls back his hood to reveal he’s a black man – Bass Reeves, the Black Marshall of Oklahoma. The townsfolk want to lynch the Sheriff, but Bass Reeves won’t have it. “There’ll be no mob justice today,” he declares via title card. “Trust in the law!”
With this seemingly extraneous moment, Watchmen is subtly setting up what’s to come, from themes to plot-points. We just don’t know it yet.
The silent film is being watched by a young African American boy, and he’s hustled out of the theater by his parents – into chaos. Black people are being slaughtered en masse by whites, some of whom are decked out in Klu Klux Klan robes. It’s a scene of brutal, unflinching chaos and slaughter – and it’s all based on reality: the Tulsa Race Riot, in which 100 to 300 African Americans were killed.
Director Nicole Kassell sweeps the camera across this anarchy, relying on shaky hand-held shots to fully convey the nightmarish atmosphere. All of this is aided by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross‘ brilliant, disturbing score – get ready to get addicted to this music, folks. It’s one of the best parts of the show.
The young boy is hidden away in a car and given a note by his father: WATCH OVER THIS BOY is all it says. Who is the note for? Why is it so brief? We don’t know, and Watchmen isn’t about to tell us. Not yet, anyway. Because the boy never reaches his destination – a bombing via air destroys the car he was in, killing the driver, and also killing his parents. Only a crying baby is spared, shrieking in the grass. The baby is hoisted up by the boy, wrapped up in a blanket with an American flag pattern. It’s a haunting image – the child holding the infant as Tulsa burns on the horizon.
Can I Take A Look At Your Face?
After the 1921 intro, we’re thrust into the present day – 2019. A 2019 where cell phones don’t seem to exist, nor the internet. It’s the same world from the Watchmen comic – a world that was saved from the brink of nuclear war thanks to a giant alien squid being dropped onto Manhattan, killing millions. In this world, Robert Redford is President – and has been for 30 years.
And in this world, the cops wear masks. A tense traffic stop seems to mimic the silent film opening: a black lawman stopping a white man. The white man driving the car is squirrely, the black cop is tense – half his face hidden in a bright yellow mask. The white driver insists he’s hauling lettuce, but the cop isn’t buying it. He asks to see for himself – at which point the driver asks to see the cop’s face. It’s an intense moment that only escalates, leading to the driver donning a mask modeled after the one worn by the dead vigilante Rorschach, and then shooting up the cop car with the cop in it.
This burst of violence triggers a propulsive journey in which we meet many of our main characters, primarily Chief Judd Crawford Don Johnson, the one cop who doesn’t wear a mask, and Detective Angela Abar Regina King, who claims to be retired from the force but is still very much active – even though she tells people she’s opening a bakery. The bakery is just a front – a building Angela uses as a base of operations. And lurking outside the building is a mysterious wheelchair-bound old man Louis Gossett Jr..
While uniformed cops all have the same yellow half-masks, detectives get to create their own fully-fledged superhero-like characters. Angela’s is Sister Night – a persona that has her decked out in a slick jet-black nun outfit, complete with a knife crucifix and some painful rosary beads. We also meet Looking Glass Tim Blake Nelson, a detective who wears a mirrored face mask.
All of these characters band together to get answers about the shooting of the cop. They believe a white supremacist group known as the Seventh Kavalry is back. And sure enough, the 7K releases a video taking credit for the shooting, and promising more bloodshed to come. Three years ago the 7K attacked several cops – Angela included. The attack, dubbed the White Night, lead to the cops being able to wear masks to protect their identities against future attacks.
After learning of the return of the 7K, Angela rolls into a trailer park known as Nixonville and hauls in a suspected 7K member. “I got a nose for white supremacy, and he smells like bleach,” she tells Judd. An interrogation by Looking Glass in a sensory depravation-like chamber known as the Pod confirms – at least in Looking Glass’ opinion – that the man is indeed a member of the Kavalry, which gives Angela an excuse to beat the shit out of him and learn about a current 7K hide-out at a cattle ranch.
A huge shoot-out ensues at the cattle ranch, giving way to an air battle in which Kavalry members try to escape via plane, but are burned to a crisp via a police airship that looks a heck of a lot like the Owlship, the flying vehicle used by Nite Owl in the Watchmen comic. Angela and the others aren’t able to ascertain what the 7K are up to, but Angela does find a duffel bag full of watch batteries. And not normal batteries, but the “old kind”, she tells Judd – the kin with “synthetic lithium” that were “making people sick.” But just what does the Seventh Kavalry plan to do with that?
It’s Your Anniversary
I hope you’re ready for sudden whip-lash inducing diversions because Watchmen is about to unload a bunch of them on you over the coming weeks. After spending so much time with Angela and company in Tulsa, we suddenly find ourselves in a distinctly European looking landscape. Here, we meet a dapper, snobby, high-class man Jeremy Irons, who occupies a castle with two servants who constantly refer to him as “Master.”
If you hop onto IMDb or Wikipedia you’ll know exactly who Irons is playing. You might even be able to figure it out for yourself. But since the first episode chooses to keep his identity a secret, I won’t give it away here. Whoever he is, there’s something distinctly off-kilter about his living situation. It’s almost surreal; dreamlike. The two servants proclaim that it’s the man’s anniversary, and proceed to serve him a cake – a cake he clearly doesn’t like the taste of. He’s also presented with a watch as a gift.
What does this all mean? Where are we going with this character?
At this point, I want to make it clear that while Watchmen has plenty of secrets and mysteries up its sleeve, it never feels like a “mystery box” show. The secrecy seems utterly natural to the storytelling process, and not something being forced into the narrative to keep you guessing. It’s organic, and it works like gangbusters.
It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice
The pilot ends with a shocking twist. After a dinner party with Angela, her husband Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and their three children, Judd and his wife Frances Fisher go back home, only for Judd to receive a page. Cell phones might not exist in this world, but pagers do.
The page informs him that the cop shot in the traffic stop has woken up in the hospital, and Jud decides to head over to speak to him. But before he can get there his car runs over a spike strip, flattening all of his tires. And a bright light hits him straight in the face.
Angela, meanwhile, has some lovemaking with Cal interrupted by a phone call. The caller is the mysterious old man in the wheelchair, and he seems to know an awful lot about Angela, including her father’s name, and her secret identity. He demands Angela come and meet him by a big oak tree. “I know who you are, so don’t wear no goddamn mask,” he barks at her.
Angela complies, at which point she discovers – to her horror – Judd’s dead body hanging from a tree. The man in the wheelchair sits below the tree clutching a piece of paper. Scrawled across it: WATCH OVER THIS BOY, confirming that this is the boy we met at the start of the show, all grown-up.
I’ll confess Judd’s death was a huge surprise, primarily because I thought Don Johnson was going to be a major player in the show. To be clear, we haven’t seen the last of him – there are always flashbacks. But bumping him off in the first episode is bold. It’s also upsetting, because Johnson’s performance is wonderful – lively, funny, and warm. We were just getting to know him – and now he’s gone. The episode starts with a fictional character in a movie refusing to hang a man of the law. The real-life lawman wasn’t so lucky.
Watchmen‘s Journal The episode’s title is a lyric from a song from the musical Oklahoma! – a musical we catch a scene from early in the episode. The song itself is called “Pore Jud is Daid”, which cleverly foreshadows Judd’s fate long before we see it. Speaking of that title, how cool was the title card reveal? We see the letters – in that huge, yellow Watchmen font – hovering in shadow behind the young boy at the start before a camera angle switch reveals them in full. Every episode will do something like this with their titles. It’s neat! Everyone is great here, especially Regina King. But I want to single-out Tim Blake Nelson for his deadpan work as Looking Glass. “There was a head of lettuce,” he tells Judd while briefing him on the cop’s shooting. “I believe it was Romaine.” “Were there any croutons?” Judd dryly asks. “Not that I could ascertain,” Looking Glass replies, and Nelson’s line delivery is so pitch-perfect it had me guffawing. Yes, we get to see a very brief shot of Dr. Manhattan on Mars. Jeremy Irons’ mysterious character tells his servants his writing a play – a tragedy in five acts called The Watchmaker’s Son. Jon Osterman, the alter ego of Dr. Manhattan, was a watchmaker’s son. Under President Redford, African Americans appear to have finally received some form of Reparations – which Redford-haters have nicknamed “Redfordations.” The brief moment where baby squid rain down is a nice way of calling back the alien squid attack. As is Looking Glass’ interrogation question: “Do you believe that transdimensional attacks are hoaxes staged by the U.S. government?” The old man in the wheelchair is reading a newspaper with the headline “Veidt Officially Declared Dead.” Vedit is Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias, aka the real cause behind that giant alien squid attack so many years ago. Judd has a copy of Under the Hood on his desk. Under the Hood is a book in the Watchmen universe written by Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl. While superheroes themselves are nowhere to be found in this episode, they do get a shoutout in a TV show called American Hero Story: Minutemen. In the comic, the Minutemen were a group of heroes from the 1940s, consisting of Captain Metropolis, Silk Spectre, Hooded Justice, Nite Owl, Silhouette, Dollar Bill, Mothman, and The Comedian – all of whom appear in animated form for American Hero Story‘s opening credits. The drop of blood that falls on Judd’s fallen badge looks exactly like the drop of blood that falls onto the Comedian’s smiley face button in the Watchmen comic.
There are horror movies, and then there are campy horror movies. Both bring the frights, and both leave you with nightmares, but these B-list horror flicks on this list have a little something extra: they're just fun as hell to watch. Hauntings, slashers, and evil babysitters — these movies have unlimited imaginations and zero regard for the rules of reality. They're quirky, funny, and plain ridiculous, which is how they lure you in before scaring the ever-loving sh*t out of you.
Here are the best Halloween movies on Netflix right now, filled with campy fun, B-list horror, and slashers galore.
Related: The Scariest Shows On Netflix Right Now
Candyman 1992 TriStar
Run Time: 99 min | IMDb: 6.6/10
When a graduate student in Chicago who's completing her thesis on urban legends accidentally summons the ghost of an artist murdered in the late 19th century, things become a bit hellish. The Candyman was the son of a slave who grew up in polite society, became a painter, and fell in love with a white woman before a lynch mob cut off his painting hand, replaced it with a hook, and doomed him to his current existence. It's a terrifying commentary on race relations and what we inherit, but even if that flies over your head, you'll still be sufficiently spooked.
Scream 1996 Dimension Films
Run Time: 111 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
This totally '90s slash-fest has become a cult classic decades after it first landed in theaters. It's spawned sequels and TV shows and plenty of comedy sketches and internet memes, but if you actually sit down to watch this thing, you're bound to have night terrors. That's because the plot, which follows teens in a small town who are terrorized by a masked murderer who enjoys taunting them before hanging their entrails in backyard trees, capitalizes on our worst fear: that nowhere is safe, not even your own home.
Little Evil 2017 Netflix
Run Time: 94 min | IMDb: 5.7/10
Evangeline Lilly and Adam Scott star in this ridiculous horror-comedy flick that satirizes some old genre tropes. Scott plays Gary, a guy who falls in love with a woman with a young son who might just be the Antichrist. He goes to a stepdad support group, tries to take the kid to waterparks, and even visits the lone surviving ex of his new girlfriend in hopes of bonding with the evil gremlin, but it's a no go. Not until the boy's in danger and Gary has an epiphany, does he truly understand just what this child is — and why everyone around him keeps dying.
Creep 2014 The Orchard
Run Time: 82 min | IMDb: 6.3/10
One of the better found-footage movies to come down the pike in Paranormal Activity's wake is this creepy gem about a videographer director Patrick Brice who answers a strange Craigslist ad from a man Mark Duplass that requests to be followed around with a camera for 24 hours. There are a few points late in the narrative where suspension of disbelief becomes an issue a not-atypical problem for the genre, but if you can look past that, you'll be treated to a very scary turn by Duplass and a supremely-unnerving epilogue.
Shutter 2004 GMM Grammy Phenomena Motion Pictures
Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
This Thai horror film follows a young man named Tun and his girlfriend, Jane, who accidentally run over a young woman after a party and are haunted by her spirit. Hauntings and horror go hand-in-hand, but this film digs deeper into the supernatural trope by revealing a surprising, gruesome connection between the woman's ghost and the film's protagonist. We won't spoil anything here, but let's just say there's a reason this death follows this guy wherever he goes.
The Bar 2017 A Pokeepsie Films
Run Time: 102 min | IMDb: 6.4/10
A varied group of people is stuck in a bar after a man is gunned down outside. As the paranoia spreads and they turn on one another, they discover a mysterious sickness could be the culprit. It's a bottle-type plot that has been done before — locking a bunch of frenzied folks in a cage and let instincts take their course — but this Spanish horror comedy injects its own dark humor and keeps the answers to a minimum, making an entertaining story that unfortunately favors the “dark” over the “comedy” in its final act.
Murder Party 2007 Magnolia Pictures
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 5.9/10
Jeremy Saulnier is someone who knows how to make a story of thrilling and brutal violence. Director of Blue Ruin and Green Room, he manages to make his stories gripping and tense with slight touches of offbeat humor. Well, for his first feature, that offbeat humor is just as extreme as the violence. An awkward guy finds an invite to a random Halloween party and decides to attend, unbeknownst to him that he'll be the murdered main attraction for a group of eccentric artists. It's a slow build toward its inevitably over-the-top and bloody conclusion, but it's a fun ride for a low-budget gory comedy.
The Babysitter 2017 Netflix
Run Time: 85 min | IMDb: 6.3/10
Samara Weaving who has another fantastic horror film out called Ready Or Not stars in this comedy scare about a serial-killer babysitter and the young boy she looks after. Weaving plays Bee, a babysitter who befriends a boy named Cole. While she's watching him one night, Cole witnesses Bee and a group of her friends kill a man and perform a demonic ritual, which sets off a string of events that end in blood, death, and talk of cults.
Secrets in The Hot Springs 2018 Netflix
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 6.1/10
This Taiwanese horror flick follows three youngsters, who meet by accident at a mysterious hot springs hotel. When strange occurrences begin to take place, the group must band together to save each other and the family that lives there. This thing starts off scary, but it won't give you the kind of nightmares that the rest of the films on this list might.
Scream 2 1997 Dimension Films
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 6.1/10
Surprisingly, despite internet leaks and constantly rewritten scripts, this sequel to Wes Craven's cult slasher flick performed even better than its predecessor, especially with critics. The story treads along the same lines as the first: we're still following Sydney Prescott Neve Campbell around, this time as she navigates college life. But when a copycat killer begins donning Ghostface's disguise and stalking her, she's forced to turn to some old friends for help. The whole world feels more lived in, and Craven's not afraid to take shots and exploit sequel clichés, which makes this a terrifying, at-times hilarious, follow-up.
There are plenty of good TV series on Netflix. Arguably, too many, in fact. If you're trying to figure out what to watch next, here's a great place to start with a look at 60 of the best shows on Netflix right now including some of the best Netflix original series. You can also find recent changes, including new seasons and removed shows, at the bottom of this list, while some of the most recently added entries listed first.
Related: The Stand-Up Specials On Netflix Right Now, Ranked
Netflix When They See Us
1 season, 4 episodes | IMDb: 9/10
Director Ava DuVernay's limited series about the wrongfully accused men in the Central Park Five case is an emotionally heavy reimagining of a truly tragic event in our history. The series sheds light on racial profiling and corruption in the NYPD as a group of young Black men are targeted for a heinous crime and put on trial with little evidence. It's a gripping, heartbreaking retelling, but one that feels sadly relevant.
Netflix Tuca & Bertie
1 season, 10 episodes | IMDb: 7.4/10
Ali Wong and Tiffany Haddish voice the stars of this animated comedy from BoJack Horseman artist Lisa Hanawalt. Wong plays Bertie, a 30-something songbird thrush with debilitating anxiety, a knack for baking, and a truly toxic work environment. Haddish plays her best friend Tuca, a loud-mouthed toucan who loves to party and hates the thought of settling down. The friends try to hold on to their single days, even as Bertie takes the next step in her long-term relationship and Tuca struggles to find her place in the world. It's a more colorful, comforting world than BoJack, but it's got the same great humor and surprisingly-thoughtful musings.
Netflix Dead To Me
1 season, 10 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
Christina Applegate returns to TV with this grief-com about a woman trying to pick up the pieces after her husband is murdered in a horrible hit-and-run accident. Applegate plays the angry, grieving widow with equal parts humor and empathy while Linda Cardellini plays her sunny, optimistic best friend. The two meet in a grief group and navigate the challenges of moving on after loss while also solving a murder mystery. There's no way you'll know what to expect here, which is half the fun of watching.
Netflix Russian Doll
1 season, 8 episodes | IMDb: 7.9/10
Natasha Lyonne stars in this Groundhog Day-from-hell remake about a woman who's forced to relive the last day of her life over and over again. It's been done before, but this series stands out thanks to its mix of dark humor and a tinge of the supernatural. Lyonne is one of the often overlooked OITNB stars, but it looks like this series is giving her a chance to show off her comedic chops as her character, Nadia, endures a constant loop of partying, dying, then waking up to do it all over again. As bleak as the premise is, Lyonne manages to find a silver lining, a universal message that basically read, “The world is sh*t, let's help each other out if we can.”
Netflix The Umbrella Academy
1 season, 10 episodes | IMDb: 8/10
Superhero team-ups are a dime a dozen, but the TV adaptation of this award-winning comic series created by Gerard Way — yes, the lead singer of My Chemical Romance — feels wholly unique and thus, totally refreshing. The show follows the story of seven kids, all born on the same day to mothers who didn't even know they were pregnant. They're adopted by a mysterious billionaire and trained to use their supernatural abilities to fight evil in the world, but when they grow up, their dysfunctional upbringing catches up with them, and they're left struggling to live normal lives. It's all kinds of weird, which is exactly what the genre needs right now.
Netflix Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
2 seasons, 21 episodes | IMDb: 7.7/10
Kiernan Shipka stars in this witchy revival of a sitcom classic. This Sabrina Spellman is darker than what millennials are used to. As a half-mortal, half-witch, Spellman is an outcast with the magical community and the first season explores the cult-like fervor of magic users, their worship of Satan, and why Sabrina is being pressured to sign her name over to the Dark Lord. The show also tackles issues of romance, friendship, and sexism in clever, crafty ways and with season two newly released, expect things to get even more nightmarish for the Spellman clan.
BBC One Bodyguard
1 season, 6 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
The UK's most popular new drama has made its way across the pond. The procedural thriller stars Game of Thrones' Richard Madden as David Budd, a military vet turned police officer tasked with protecting a high-profile politician during a, particularly dicey time. There's plenty of suspense and action to string you along, coupled with a vulnerable performance by Madden, who ditches his King of the North swagger to play a man conflicted by his past and his present duty to his country.
Netflix The Haunting of Hill House
1 season, 10 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
Mike Flanagan knows how to do horror, and his latest series for Netflix, The Haunting of Hill House, is proof of that. The show, like the book off which it's based, follows the fractured Crain family as they try to make peace with their dark and twisted path. Of course, through some carefully-timed flashbacks, we see why the Crain siblings are so messed up: They lived in a haunted house as children, a house that eventually caused the death of their mother. There are plenty of frights to keep horror fans interested in this thriller, but the real point of this show is investigating trauma and its lingering effects. Makes sense that horror is the best way to do that.
amc Breaking Bad
5 seasons, 62 episodes | IMDb: 9.5/10
Not just the best series on Netflix, Breaking Bad is the best series of all time. There's no debate about that.
NETFLIX BoJack Horseman
5 seasons, 60 episodes | IMDb: 8.5/10
Not enough people on the Internet have explained that BoJack Horseman is not what it might seem like. Not enough people raved that it was an often very funny, often very heartbreaking meditation on depression. It's an animated sitcom about a washed-up horse, and somehow, it's also an incredibly profound look at deeper themes. It's amazing, but it may also leave you in a depressive funk for days afterward. Its fourth season even placed it among our best TV shows of 2017, and, thankfully, Season 5 is just as funny and sad as ever.
Netflix Stranger Things
3 seasons, 25 episodes | IMDb: 8.9/10
A throwback and love letter to the early 1980s movies of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter, the Duffer Brothers' Stranger Things feels both familiar and new. It's about a boy named Will think E.T.'s Elliot who is captured by a The Thing-like creature and trapped in a Poltergeist-like world. His mother Winona Ryder recruits the local sheriff to investigate Will's disappearance. Meanwhile, Will's dorky, Goonies-like best friends take to their bikes to do some sleuthing of their own and eventually befriend an alien-like girl with telepathic powers the E.T. of the series. Season two continues that vibe as the show dives deeper into government conspiracies and alien monsters intent on wreaking havoc on small-town Indiana. It's great PG horror/sci-fi, like the blockbusters of the early '80s, and even if you didn't come of age in the era, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
AMC Mad Men
7 seasons, 92 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
Mad Men is one of the best-written, best acted, and engrossing dramas on television. Period. The first season is a little slow, but keep with it: Matthew Weiner eventually layers in a lot of fun elements, and takes it home for a great ending.
NBC The Office
9 seasons, 201 episodes | IMDb: 8.8/10
The original UK The Office mainstreamed Ricky Gervais' awkward, uncomfortable humor, while The Office diluted it some, layered in one of sitcom's greatest romances for four seasons, anyway, and surrounded Steve Carell with a remarkable, quirky supporting cast. The first four seasons still stand as the best workplace comedy in American sitcom history, even if the final four seasons were increasingly mediocre — though the series did redeem itself in the end.
NBC Parks and Recreation
7 seasons, 125 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
Witty, heartfelt, and funny, you're not likely to find a more likable sitcom than Parks and Recreation. The first six episodes aren't very good, but once they figured out what to do with Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope, the sitcom began to thrive, thanks in huge part to its endearing supporting cast. Parks and Rec is blissful television, and a must watch for any fan of great sitcoms.
10 seasons, 236 episodes | IMDb: 8.9/10
There's nothing to say Friends that you don't already know, and unless you're under the age of 15, you've probably already seen every episode, but — along with Seinfeld available on Hulu — Friends remains the most durable, re-watchable sitcom ever.
Netflix Arrested Development
5 seasons, 84 episodes | IMDb: 8.9/10
The series lost some of the mystique it had gained after its cancellation because Netflix's season four wasn't to everyone's satisfaction — though it flowers with repeat viewings, especially with the recut version of it. Arrested Development still stands as one of the funniest, most inventive, and most influential sitcoms of the generation.
Netflix Orange is the New Black
7 seasons, 91 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
One of the best original shows on Netflix, this prison dramedy is a deeply human, funny, moving, realistic, progressive show about life and the bad decisions we're all destined to make. OITNB humanizes the dehumanized, transforms labels — felons, thieves, murderers, embezzlers — into real human beings and reminds us that, even in prison, life isn't put on hold. Life is being led. It's a remarkably excellent series, and addictive as hell.
AMC Better Call Saul
3 seasons, 30 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
In its first season, Better Call Saul quickly put to rest any fears anyone might have had about a spin-off from arguably the greatest drama of all time, Breaking Bad which sits atop this list. Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould return as showrunners, and they continue to bring the same level of complexity, intensity, and character development to Saul as they did for Breaking Bad. What's most remarkable about the series, however, is that they managed to transform the Saul character into someone humane and sympathetic while staying true to the same character in the original series. Indeed, Saul is the most detail oriented and perhaps the smartest show on television, and one hell of an intense, suspenseful drama, which is all the more impressive because we know roughly where it will end up.
FX American Horror Story
8 seasons, 106 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
Ryan Murphy's horror anthology on FX is an unpredictable tour-de-force that, when it sticks its landing, is one of the best shows on TV. The series chronicles truly terrifying, mind-warping plots across multiple seasons, connecting some, ignoring others. What grounds these outrageous storylines involving haunted hotels, murder houses, insane asylums, cults, and covens is the cast, most notably Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, and Evan Peters. Murphy relies on their visceral portrayals of individuals unhinged to sell this whacky, nightmare-inducing rollercoaster and sell they do.
2 seasons, 29 episodes | IMDb: 8.5/10
At first glance, this bodice-ripper from Starz reads like the television adaptation of a dime-store paperback romance novel. It's got time travel, sexy Scottish men in kilts, an arranged marriage, even a bit of witchcraft. But the show, starring Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, elevates itself beyond those tropes, touching on everything from love and loss to the politics behind some of history's most infamous conflicts. From the highlands to the French court, the series delivers awe-inducing visuals, career-making performances, and the kind of drama to keep you hooked.
IFC Documentary Now!
2 seasons, 14 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers have created something truly unique with their riff on our culture's obsession with docu-style TV series. The SNL alums mock the stylistic choices and subjects of other shows of its ilk, with episodes dedicated to everything from Grey Gardens to The Thin Blue Line. And the guest list for this thing is unbelievable.
2 seasons, 20 episodes | IMDb: 8.5/10
In Mindhunter, Jonathan Groff plays Holden Ford, a character based on the real-life John E. Douglas the inspiration for Jack Crawford in the Hannibal series. The series itself is based on the origins of an actual behavioral science unit in the FBI used to study serial killers in the 1970s and 80s. Ford is a young FBI Agent who takes a keen interest in psychology which, in turn, grows into an interest in the psychology of sequential killers. It's a fascinating exploration into the origins of what now seems commonplace, a science that has inspired dozens of police procedurals. What's more interesting here, however, is that while Ford is studying serial killers all of whom are based on actual serial killers from that era, Ford develops his own obsession with serial-killers that mirrors the obsession serial killers have with their victims. It's engrossing and fascinating. The series comes from Joe Penhall and executive producer David Fincher who also directs several episodes, and fans of Fincher's Zodiac will appreciate Mindhunter for its same attention to detail, and the same dedication to character and research over surprising twists and reveals.
Showtime Twin Peaks
2 seasons, 30 episodes | IMDb: 8.8/10
If small-town murder mysteries full of camp and supernatural phenomenon are your thing, well then why wouldn't you watch or re-watch Twin Peaks? The series, crafted all the way back in the '90s by David Lynch, is a cult-favorite and for good reason. With Kyle MacLachlan playing Special Agent Dale Cooper, a poor schmoe who's called in to investigate the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer, he's met with more than he bargained for. Conspiracies theories and otherworldly beings, time travel, and dwarves in red business suits soon follow. The original series may have ended with cliffhangers and unexplained plot-holes, but with the more recent Showtime revival, now's as good a time as any to catch up on all the strange events that seem to plague this sleepy town.
Netflix Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
4 seasons, 51 episodes | IMDb: 7.7/10
This Tina Fey-produced sitcom — which was originally supposed to air on NBC before the network agreed to give it to Netflix — is as dense and irreverent as 30 Rock, but it's also immensely life-affirming. It's funny, fast-paced, chock-full of pop-culture references and maybe the easiest Netflix original series to binge-watch. And, like 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt also includes a lot of fun — and unexpected — celebrity cameos and pop culture references throughout its four seasons.
AMC The Walking Dead
9 seasons, 131 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
Currently, the highest-rated scripted series on cable television, The Walking Dead is an up-and-down show. When it's good, it's phenomenal; when it's not, it can be a slog especially in the earlier half of the series, when Frank Darabont was showrunner. Greg Nicotero does fantastic FX work, and the series is particularly compelling because no one — no matter how high they are listed in the credits — is safe from the zombie apocalypse, and the showrunners seem to relish in killing off cast members other than the almighty Rick Grimes. Some of the binge-watching value, however, is lost because it's so difficult to avoid being spoiled to plot points of one of the most talked about series on TV. Nevertheless, unlike almost any television drama, up until the sixth season, The Walking Dead improved with age, Beware of the cliffhangers, however, in season six, and a precipitous fall off in quality thereafter.
FX American Crime Story
2 seasons, 19 episodes | IMDb: 8.5/10
Although the original trial took place 20 years ago, and despite the fact that anyone watching the series already knows the outcome, The People vs. O.J. Simpson somehow remains a tense, suspenseful watch. Buoyed by incredible performances the season was nominated for over 20 Emmy Awards, winning 8, The People vs. O.J. Simpson recreates the events following the murder of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson and recasts them in the light of what we know now. In its second season, the shows moves focus on the assassination of design legend Gianni Versace by Andrew Cunanan. While not as strong as the amazing ensemble in Season 1, Season 2 boasts memorable portrayals of conflicted, complex figures by Darren Criss, Penelope Cruz, Édgar Ramírez, and surprisingly Ricky Martin.
4 seasons, 13 episodes | IMDb: 9.2/10
Sherlock is the best iteration of the Sherlock Holmes ever to air on television. The British series from Steven Moffat stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, and despite the fact that it has been updated, it brilliantly captures the same spirit of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic stories. It's fast-paced, engrossing, brilliantly acted, often very funny, and frequently tragic.
Netflix 19. Master of None
2 seasons, 20 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
Intimate, funny, warm and kind, Master of None confidently tackles issues of sex and race from a perspective original to mainstream television. Creator, writer, and star Aziz Ansari loads the sitcom with smart observations and wry humor, and when it comes to dating as a thirty-something, Ansari just gets it. Sweet, sentimental, but never sappy, the mold-breaking Master of None may be the most thoughtful and well-considered dating sitcom on television.
3 seasons, 30 episodes | IMDb: 8/10
Packed full of hairspray, '80s nostalgia, leotards, and neon eyeshadow, 2017's GLOW surprised us all with a comedy about a group of unconventional women wrestling with stereotypes in and out of the ring. Led by Alison Brie and Marc Maron, the show is both a subversive commentary on issues of gender equality and sexism, and a raucous imagining of what goes on behind the scenes of an adult women's wrestling league. In other words, it's a damn good time. Brie carries the series, playing a struggling actress forced to take a “role” in this televised nonsense, but she's by no means a heroine. In fact, it's her battle to find her character and herself while making amends for her bad behavior along the way that's so entertaining. Well, that and some good ol' fashioned body slamming. Season two focuses the spotlight on the supporting cast as the women ready for their television debuts and contend with sexual harassment and misogyny in the workplace.
3 seasons, 57 episodes | IMDb: 7.4/10
Riverdale is a dark teen comedy based on characters from the Archie comics. It mixes in elements of a conventional teen drama — romance, small-town life, and the high-school ecosystem — with a compelling, adult murder mystery. The series takes place in a small-town with a 1950s vibe despite being firmly set in the present where a high-school teenager is found dead under mysterious circumstances that implicate much of the community as suspects. Riverdale is powered not just by the mystery, but by characters who are instantly likable Betty, Veronica, and Jughead are all standouts and easy to invest in. The mystery is so incredibly intriguing that it's almost impossible not to get wrapped up in it as the storyline guides us through numerous red herrings. It's a madly addictive series, occasionally campy, and just self-aware enough not to take itself too seriously.
Netflix Black Mirror
5 seasons, 22 episodes + interactive film | IMDb: 8.9/10
It cannot be stressed enough how amazing Britain's Black Mirror is. It's severely biting social commentary about the current and future technological age in the form of twisted, dark Twilight Zone episodes. It's an incredible and incredibly short four seasons of television, and episode for episode, perhaps the best series on this list. Watch one episode, and you'll be hooked.
Netflix Dear White People
3 seasons, 30 episodes | IMDb: 6.2/10
Netflix's original series Dear White People builds on the foundations laid by Spike Lee's drama of the same name. The show kicks off during the aftermath of an event that happened in the film — a blackface party held by a white fraternity on a fictional college campus. Sam, a radio personality and student at the school, covers the fallout for her listeners and serves as a pseudo-narrator to all the goings-on at school. There are brief moments of humor and plenty of satire, but watching these kids deal with racist learning institutions and police brutality and ignorance from the privileged peers feels uncomfortable real and relevant. It's a must-watch, not only because the acting is superb, and the storylines are rich, but because you'll probably learn something you didn't know but should.
4 seasons, 30 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
Rectify is maybe the best series on television that no one watched. Aden Young, in a soulful performance, plays Daniel Holden, a man locked up and put on death row nearly 20 years ago for raping and murdering his girlfriend. However, DNA evidence has come to light that casts doubt on his guilt, so the court system has no choice but to release him. Is he actually guilty? Or is he innocent and misunderstood? That's the question at the heart of the series, and the question the people in his small town, including his family, have to ask themselves. Is this man we're letting back into our family a murderer and a rapist, or is he the kind, thoughtful man he appears to be? Rectify is a beautiful show about appreciating life that manages to perfectly straddle the line between bleak and hopeful, and quietly features some of the best performances on television.
1 season, 7 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
Exec produced by Steven Soderbergh and written, directed, and created by Scott Frank, who wrote Logan and Out of Sight, Godless, is equal parts a feminist Western and s a show about fathers and sons. The series is set in the 1880s in the small mining town of La Belle, where nearly all of the town's men have died in a mining accident. Enter Roy Goode Jack O'Connell, a charming gunslinger on the run from the mentor he double-crossed, Frank Griffin Jeff Daniels, who — along with his crew out desperadoes — had already murdered everyone in another small town for harboring Goode. The series ultimately pits a town of mostly women against a brutal, merciless outlaw gang. Scoot McNairy, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Sam Waterston play lawmen, but the standouts in Godless are Downton Abby's nearly unrecognizable shotgun wielding pioneer woman Michelle Dockery and Merritt Wever, a bisexual woman all out of f—ks to give. It's a tremendously good series buoyed by beautiful cinematography, poetic language, a few great shoot-outs, and fine performances from the entire cast. It's one of the best Netflix series of 2017.
3 seasons, 39 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
Daredevil is unquestionably the best superhero series of all time. It has the addictive qualities of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it's darker and more intense than any of those films. It's harsh, with brutal eye-popping fight sequences. It has an excellent cast led by Charlie Cox as the title character with tons of chemistry, and nails the tone of the source material.
NBC The West Wing
7 seasons, 156 episodes | IMDb: 8.8/10
Television's all-time best political drama The West Wing is Aaron Sorkin at his absolute best, working with one of the finest ensemble casts in television history. The show wavers after the fourth season when Sorkin left, but it picks back up in its final season with Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda. Here's a celebration of the greatest fictional President of all time to get you warmed up for it.
Netflix Big Mouth
3 seasons, 31 episodes | IMDb: 8/10
The animated, coming-of-age comedy from Nick Kroll is full of familiar voices and even more familiar life problems. Centered on a group of pre-pubescent friends, Kroll voices a younger version of himself, a kid named Andrew who's going through some embarrassing life changes like inconvenient erections and strange wet dreams and bat-mitzvah meltdowns. All these traumatizing and hilarious happenings are usually caused by Maurice, Andrew's own Hormone Monster also voiced by Kroll who takes pleasure literally in abusing the poor kid. As painfully accurate as the show is, if you're lucky enough to be removed from that angst-ridden era of life, you'll probably appreciate the humor in all of it.
Netflix Marvel's Jessica Jones
3 seasons, 39 episodes | IMDb: 8/10
As an episodic series, Jessica Jones occasionally falters in its first season. Jones is a private detective with certain special powers, but the series doesn't put her P.I. talents to much use, instead focusing on one storyline surrounding the big bad, Kilgrave David Tennant for the entire 13 episodes. Tennant's character, however, is the best reason to watch the series — he's captivating yet repugnant, alluring yet vile — and the themes of rape and domestic abuse resonate loudly. Unfortunately, when Kilgrave is not onscreen, the series drifts, and that's especially apparent in Season 2. Krysten Ritter's title character is too often dour and sarcastic, robbing the series of some much-needed levity. Still, it's a captivating, thematically-rich series that covers ground no other superhero series would dare to explore, and while that doesn't make it the most entertaining Marvel series, it is the bravest and most unique among the Netflix originals.
Netflix American Vandal
2 seasons, 16 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
In theory, American Vandal sounds silly and sophomoric, and it is, but it's also a genuinely brilliant, incredibly clever, smartly written satire of true-crime documentaries. It plays just like any other true crime docuseries — interviews, investigations, multiple suspects, and numerous conspiracy theories — only the crime here is not a murder. In its first season, it's a high-school student who has been accused by the school board of spray painting dicks on 27 cars, a crime that threatens his ability to graduate. It's a brilliant whodunnit that just happens to also be the best parody of 2017, and it even took home a Peabody Award. The show's follow-up season trades dick picks for explosive diarhhea which is just as fun, if not ten times as gross.
Netflix Gilmore Girls
7 seasons, 153 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Maybe the wittiest, pop-culture rich drama ever, Gilmore Girls has nevertheless managed to hold up incredibly well over the years. It's a great show to watch with a new generation of television viewers, it's a great show to watch while bingeing on food, and it's a great show to re-watch many times. The relationship between single mother Lorelai and her daughter, Rory, never gets old.
3 seasons, 24 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
A young boy is found dead in a seemingly idyllic small town, and the detectives charged with solving the case turn up twist after twist in tracking down the murderer. Despite its familiar premise see also: Twin Peaks, The Killing, Broadchurch relies on its ensemble cast — specifically the impeccable David Tennant and Olivia Colman — to keep viewers caring after each red herring is tossed back into the ocean. The first series centers on the hunt for the killer while the second is on both the suspect's trial and a reopened case from the past, but they both don't let up in intrigue. A word of warning, though: This isn't one of those TV dramas you should binge even if you want to. It gets heavy and emotionally exhausting, and unrestrained streaming kinda negates the effect of the show's mysteries.
NBC The Good Place
3 seasons, 37 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Set in the afterlife, The Good Place sees a lazy, entitled selfish, Arizona woman Eleanor Shellstrop Kristen Bell enter into “Heaven” only to discover that — due to a mixup — she was incorrectly assigned. With the help of her new friends and, Shellstrop endeavors to be a better person and earn her place in Heaven. In the early goings, the high-concept premise feels like it's going to run out of runway, but Mike Schur Parks and Recreation continually finds new directions to take the show and the characters, as the show humorously and sweetly tackles an array of moral dilemmas before arriving at a surprising twist ending. It's a charming, clever and delightful series with a freshly-imagined approached that only improves as the season progresses and new wrinkles are explored, while Ted Danson is his usual remarkable self. It's a fantastic comedy, one of the best TV shows on network television in recent years.
9 seasons, 110 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
The long-running Showtime series understands better than any other drama on television what it's like to be poor in America. Set in Chicago, Shameless follows the lives of the Gallagher family as they struggle beneath the poverty line to make ends meet. The family is afflicted with alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, poor decision-making skills, and the kind of terrible luck that so often follows poor families, but they've also got each other, their resilience, and a determination to break the cycle, but in Shameless, impoverishment is the boogeyman that always comes back, hilariously and heartbreakingly.
BBC Peaky Blinders
5 seasons, 30 episodes | IMDb: 8.8/10
Another British import, Peaky Blinders is roughly the Netflix UK equivalent of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, taking place in the same time period and covering similar terrain. Peaky has one thing that Boardwalk does not, however, and that's the piercing, intense Cillian Murphy. The show also features Tom Hardy as a phenomenal recurring character debuting in season two along with Noah Taylor.
Netflix The Crown
2 seasons, 20 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
At once intimate and sweeping, The Crown presents an inside view of the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II, played by Claire Foy, and the first few years of her reign. John Lithgow is featured as the indomitable Winston Churchill, struggling with the ignominy of age at the end of his career. Churchill's support and mentorship of Elizabeth, despite his limitations, creates an important emotional center around which various historical events turn. Elizabeth's relationship with her husband, Prince Phillip Matt Smith is also wonderfully explored; his role as consort is one that he by turns delights in and rebels against. The production spared no expense in painstakingly recreating the physical environments and rigid protocols that constrained and defined the royal family. The challenges posed by modernity and the post-colonial period are filtered through the Palace's political structure, in which despite her role, Elizabeth's personal needs and wishes are continually subsumed to protocol and appearance. This series will appeal to anyone who enjoys costume drama, but it is also a fascinating exploration of the post-WWII period and the development of a monarch who managed to maintain and even expand the popularity and stability of the British Monarchy against significant odds.
3 seasons, 33 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
Bloodline is engrossing, so much so that somewhere along the way, you may find yourself wondering if you skipped an episode. You'll start in on episode 7, fall into a trance, and wake up somewhere around episode 10, wondering what happened to the last four hours of your life. Ben Mendelsohn will hook you immediately, but after four or five episodes into season one — once the pieces begin to fall into place — the story will sweep you along toward the dark and sickly satisfying end, capping the season off with four of the best episodes in the short but stellar history of Netflix's original programming. Unfortunately, the following seasons — while still a fine TV — don't live up to the first.
The CW Jane the Virgin
5 seasons, 100 episodes | IMDb: 7.8/10
Based on a Spanish telenovela, Jane the Virgin plays more like a brilliant but genial satire of conventional telenovelas. Gina Rodriguez plays the virgin here, who is impregnated through an accidental artificial insemination. Matters are complicated, however, because she has to break the news of her pregnancy to her deeply religious family, as well as her fiancé, with whom she has never had sex. Jane also develops feelings for another man who just so happens to be the baby's father. It sounds like a premise that could not sustain itself beyond 5 episodes, but the writing is so good and the characters so delightful that Jane never gets bogged down by its premise. It's a genuinely delightful, heartwarming show, and Gina Rodriguez lights up the screen every second she is on it.
Fox New Girl
7 seasons, 146 episodes | IMDb: 7.7/10
Fox's comedy about a quirky girl who moves in with three male roommates quickly evolved from a pretty straightforward premise to become one of the best shows on TV. Zooey Deschanel plays Jess, a teacher who's forced to room with three other guys, Nick Jake Johnson, Schmidt Max Greenfield, and Winston Lamorne Morris after she discovers her boyfriend's been cheating on her. For the next seven seasons, the gang grows to become close friends — getting married, having babies, experiencing sympathy PMS, and getting stuck in Mexico, among other disasters. Still, it's the chemistry between the four mains that makes every outlandish episode work.
Netflix House of Cards
6 seasons, 78 episodes | IMDb: 8.8/10
House Of Cards, Netflix's first major foray into original programming, is worth every cent of its $100 million production budget, featuring searing performances, a droll sense of humor, slick writing, engrossing plot-lines, and Kevin Spacey chewing the face off the scenery. The first season is phenomenal, but the show rapidly goes downhill through its six seasons with some sparks of life in scattered seasons, with the final season focused on Robin Wright's Claire Underwood being cluttered at best.
8 seasons, 96 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
Michael C. Hall is absolutely terrific as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami police department who moonlights as a serial killer and tries to keep his two lives separate. There's a great opening season, a fantastic fourth season, and in between the two, a couple of decent ones. Do yourself a favor, however, and don't bother with Dexter's final four seasons. It's a testament to how good the first and fourth seasons were that it still gains a place upon this list, despite a deeply disappointing final season.
The CW Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
4 seasons, 62 episodes | IMDb: 7.7/10
A musical series about a woman who leaves her prestigious job in Manhattan to follow an ex-boyfriend to a small town in California, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is like no other show on a show on television. The premise is not unlike that of Felicity, but the tone is unique: Quirky and hilarious on the surface, but dark and subversive underneath. As co-creator along with Aline Brosh McKenna and star, Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom provides catchy songs with irreverent lyrics that offer dark meditations on depression, insecurity, and the challenges of balancing careers and love lives. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is funny, feminist and infectious.
2 seasons, 24 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
Once the Wachowskis' underappreciated sci-fi series establishes its characters, there's at least one profoundly moving moment in every episode. Sense8 is rich with brilliant ideas, and, though they're not always executed with perfect logic, the chemistry between the characters is undeniable. It's impossible not to root for them, to feel and experience their ups and downs, their confusion and heartbreak, and, most of all, their love. The Wachowskis first foray into television is at once romantic, life-affirming, and thought-provoking.
Netflix Grace And Frankie
4 seasons, 52 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
It's rare that older women get a chance to shine on a half-hour comedy series, but if your stars happen to be Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, you'd be insane not to have all the action center on them. Grace and Frankie follows the pair as they discover that their husbands have been carrying on an affair with each other. The news throws life into chaos, forcing Grace and Frankie to room together and pick up the pieces. Along the way, there are family squabbles, online dating drama, and a battle over the ladies' organic lube company but at the heart of the show are these two women who bond after a devastating ordeal and support one another during a time of change and growth. Did we mention organic lube? There's that, too.
3 seasons, 34 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Travelers is a sci-fi series co-produced by Netflix and a Canadian television network Showcase starring Eric McCormick Will & Grace. It's a light sci-fi drama about people from hundreds of years in the future whose consciences are sent back to the present day to take the place of others who are already about to die. They're sent back, a la Terminator, to prevent a bleak future from taking place. In the present day, this group of people is tasked with missions to prevent the future dystopia from happening, but they also have to acclimate into the lives of their host bodies. It is a quintessential Netflix show: Easy-to-binge, madly addictive, fun as hell, and immediately engrossing. While it certainly borrows heavily from other sci-fi shows and movies, it does an excellent job of shaking it up and bringing fresh life to the genre.
BBC Happy Valley
2 seasons, 12 episodes | IMDb: 8.5/10
A gruff police sergeant Sarah Lancashire in North England tries to unravel an increasingly complicated and violent string of crime, stemming from a kidnapping of a young woman. As the pieces fall into place, she struggles to find justice for her own daughter who died years before and to care for the son she left behind. While the series follows plots done plenty of times before — kidnapping gone wrong, a killer targeting prostitutes — Lancashire's commanding performance is more than captivating. A relatively unknown face for the casual American viewer, her portrayal of the very flawed yet non-compromising officer has earned Lancashire multiple BAFTA nominations and a win.
Netflix One Day at a Time
3 seasons, 39 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
A remake of a 1970s sitcom produced by 94-year-old iconic television producer Norman Lear, One Day at a Time manages to not only match its predecessor but miraculously improve upon it. This new version centers on a Cuban America family headed by a single mom Justina Machado raising three kids with the help of her mom Rita Moreno. It's broad jokes and laugh track feels somewhat out of place on the streaming service, but the jokes still land and more importantly, the characters connect in an honest way as they attempt to live on a modest nurse's salary and maintain their Cuban heritage while adapting to modern progressivism much like Fresh Off the Boat. It's more poignant sitcom than it is funny, but it's a warm, loving look at difficulties of single parenting that resonates as much today as it did in the '70s.
The CW iZombie
5 seasons, 83 episodes | IMDb: 8/10
Creator Rob Thomas takes the same formula he applied to Veronica Mars and relocates it to iZombie, a police procedural with a twist. Liv More Rose McIver is a zombie who works in a Seattle morgue, where she eats the brains of murder victims. Doing so gives her access to the victims' memories, which allows her to assist police in the investigations of their murders. Meanwhile, as the zombie virus spreads across Seattle, Liv Moore is also searching for a cure while also dealing with a love life complicated by the fact that she is undead. It's a lightweight procedural that, like Veronica Mars, is bookended each season with a serialized arc. The series mostly succeeds, however, on the charms of its cast — Rahul Kohli is a particular standout, while David Anders plays the series' Spike — and the clever, quick-witted writing despite the presence of a zombie, the weekly cases tend to be fairly conventional.
1 season, 8 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
On paper, Happy! feels more like an Adult Swim-inspired fever dream than a Syfy series. Disgraced detective-turned-hitman Nick Sax Christopher Meloni meets his new best friend and partner, a lovable blue unicorn that only Sax can see named Happy voiced by Patton Oswalt, who tasks him with rescuing a young girl who's been abducted by a maniac Santa Claus. It's a ridiculously violent and dark, with Sax getting hurt more than Harry and Marv in both Home Alone movies combined, with enough comedy and twists to keep you bingeing episode after episode. It's a fun, over-the-top show, and it relishes in its unique elements.
Netflix The Fall
3 seasons, 17 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
With a serial killer Jamie Dornan on the loose in Belfast, the authorities bring in a cold, calculating detective Gillian Anderson to put an end to the murders. The Fall presents a compelling, frightening look at an intelligent murderer without dumbing down the authorities on his trail, unlike other serial killer-themed shows out there. While the series gets slowed down by a few subplots in its third season, the performances of Dornan and Anderson are captivating, turning the series into an intense game of cat-and-cat. Anderson has even said this is her all-time favorite role even over Dana Scully, with good reason.
CBC Schitt's Creek
5 seasons, 66 episodes | IMDb: 8/10
Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara star in this Canadian sitcom about a wealthy family forced to scale down their extravagant lifestyle with hilarious results. Levy plays Johnny Rose, a rich video-store magnate who loses his fortune when his business manager fails to pay his taxes. O'Hara plays his wife, Moira, a former soap opera star who, along with her husband and their two pampered children, must move to a town called Schitt's Creek. Johnny bought the town as a joke when the family had more money than they could spend, but now, the town and its residents serve as a comedic wake-up call for a guy who has problems rooting himself in reality. Levy is brilliant in this thing and it's a damn shame the show is so overlooked by American audiences. Let's change that.
Recent Changes Through October 2019:Added: Big Mouth: Season 3, The Walking Dead: Season 9, Shameless: Season 9, Riverdale, Schitt's Creek: Season 5Removed: Portlandia
Comedies can be difficult to compare. Sometimes you're in the mood for something cerebral, and other times you just want to watch people get punched in the nuts. While there are definitely some gems in Netflix's movie sections, you have to dig through a lot of straight-to-DVD sequels and bad indie flicks to find the best comedies to watch. While people have cracked the code for finding the best comedies on Netflix right now, we've put together a list of some of the funniest movies as a starting point in your quest for the perfect Friday night in.
1. Trainspotting 1996
Run Time: 93 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Danny Boyle's black comedy crime film has become a cult classic and made it on plenty “best movies” lists over the years. Ewan McGregor plays Mark Renton, an unemployed heroin addict who shares a flat with his equally unimpressive friends, Spud, Sick Boy, Franco, and Tommy. The group parties together constantly, doing drugs, getting into fights, and committing petty crimes before Renton attempts to get clean only to return home to make a drug deal that could set him up with a clean slate. It's darkly comedic, with some ridiculous twists thrown in, but the core of the story is surprisingly emotional.
2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975
Run Time: 91 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Even if you've never seen any of the Monty Python films, you most certainly know of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It's been quoted, memed, gif-ed, and idolized by comedy fans for generations. At its core, it's a parody of the legends of King Arthur and his knights. It's stocked with an impressive cast — John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, etc — and its full of eccentric characters, bizarre adventures, and gut-bustingly funny jokes. Think failed Trojan Rabbits, modern-day murder investigations, animated monsters, and musical numbers. Intellectual midgets everywhere will love it.
3. Snatch 2000
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Brad Pitt and Jason Statham star in this crime comedy from Guy Ritchie. One half of the story follows Benicio del Toro, who plays a diamond thief trying to sell his stolen goods to some double-crossing gangsters. The other story follows Statham as small-time boxing promoter struggling to get out from under the thumb of a ruthless drug lord with a love for torture. Ritchie's patented vibe is on full-display here, which makes it a quintessentially fun British jaunt.
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4. Caddyshack 1980
Run Time: 98 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Harold Ramis' outrageous 80s classic is a whos-who of comedy legends. Rodney Dangerfield plays Al Czervik, a loud, brash newcomer to a prestigious golf club who irks the co-owner to no end and bets the fate of the place on a high-stakes game. Chevy Chase plays another member, a suave ladies' man who helps Czervik screw over the club's owner, Judge Elihu Smails Ted Knight while Bill Murray plays a deranged grounds manager in a war of wits with a clever gopher that's been terrorizing the course. It's not the most high-brow of comedies, but the performances make up for the unintelligible plot.
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5. Thor: Ragnarok 2017
Run Time: 130 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Before Black Panther became one of the highest grossing films in the Marvel Universe, Chris Hemsworth's hammer-loving hero gave the superhero franchise a much-needed dose of humor and fun with Thor: Ragnarok. Directed by Taika Waititi, the film follows the Asgardian warrior as he tries to save his home from the brutal reign of his long-lost sister Hela a wickedly good Cate Blanchett and fight his way out of off-planet gladiator pits with the help of the Hulk Mark Ruffalo and a Valkyrie played by Tessa Thompson. Is this technically a superhero film? Sure, but with Waititi directing, it doubles as a comedy.
6. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 1998
Run Time: 107 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn pair up for this British comedy about a group of friends who become entangled in a turf war of sorts after a card game gone wrong. Eddy Nick Moran is a card shark who buys into a high stake game hosted by a mob boss named Harry. The game is rigged, and Eddy and his friends soon owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to the gang. To score the cash, they decide to rob a rival gang, who in turn have stolen money and weed from some local cannabis suppliers. Eventually, all of this thieving leads to shootouts and brawls over money, drugs, and two antique shotguns. Ritchie put himself and Jason Statham on the map with this one, patenting a fast-action, quick-witted type of storytelling that works well here and is a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
7. Groundhog Day 1993
Run Time: 101 min | IMDb: 8/10
Bill Murray has some great comedies living on his resume, but none are as iconic, or at least, well-loved as Groundhog Day. That's because watching Murray play a surly weather-man forced to relive the same day over and over again is basically a comedy goldmine of a plot. At first, Phil Murray enjoys the time loop, binge-drinking, filming some halfhearted news segments in a hick town in Pennsylvania, having one-night stands, etc, but eventually, he realizes that in order to escape his never-ending bed-and-breakfast hell, he's got to better himself, not an easy task.
8. As Good As It Gets 1997
Run Time: 137 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt star in this rom com from James L. Brooks. Nicholson plays Melvin, a misanthropic author with obsessive-compulsive disorder who forms a friendship with a waitress named Carol Hunt, who good-naturedly puts up with his many quirks. When Melvin's gay neighbor Simon Greg Kinnear is attacked during a robbery, Melvin's carefully cultivated routine is upended, forcing him to make new connections and confront past hurts.
9. Kung Fu Hustle 2004
Run Time: 99 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
The early aughts action-comedy borrows elements from famous Kung Fu films of the '70s and pairs them with a completely ridiculous plot and some impressive cartoon-style fight sequences to produce a wholly original flick that we guarantee you'll marvel at. The film follows the exploits of two friends, Sing and Bone, who impersonate gang members in the hopes of joining a gang themselves and inadvertently strike up a gang war that nearly destroys the slums of the city. Of course, the real draw here is the absurdist, over-the-top comedy that takes place during some of the film's biggest action sequences. It's laugh-out-loud funny, but only if you check your brain at the door.
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10. The Lobster 2015
Run Time: 119 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in this dark, absurdist comedy about a man searching for love under some very strange circumstances. Farrell plays David, a man whose wife recently left him. David is sent to a hotel where he's told he must find a mate within 45 days or be turned into an animal. While there, David witnesses strange rituals and must follow strict rules in order to find love, but it's not until he ventures into the woods, where the “loners” live, that he pairs up with a woman Weisz who may be his soulmate. It's weird, eccentric, and the perfect Farrell-starring vehicle.
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11. Superbad 2007
Run Time: 113 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Jonah Hill and Michael Cera play a couple of best friends in search of a good time in this raunchy high school comedy from pals Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Seth Hill and Evan Cera hope to close out their senior year by getting wasted and getting laid with a blow-out to end all blow-outs. Their mission to get booze for the party, impress their crushes, and have a memorable night is derailed rather quickly thanks to fake IDs, a couple of incompetent cops, bar fights, and their own bickering. It's a gross, over-the-top, and surprisingly poignant look at friendship and what happens when we outgrow people.
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12. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs 2009
Run Time: 133 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
The Coen brothers are back with a slick new Western romp, one that serves as an ode to all of the tropes present in Hollywood's best Wild West adaptations. Split into six parts, each story is loosely connected although thematically and tonally different. Tim Blake Nelson stars as the titular hero, a sharpshooting songster who takes part in the film's opening musical portion. From there, we get stories of outlaws getting their due, prospectors mining for gold, ghostly hauntings, and wagon trails. Forget trying to follow the thread and simply enjoy the ride with this one.
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13. Bad Boys 1995
Run Time: 119 min | IMDb: 6.9/10
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star in this foul-mouthed buddy comedy film as two detectives tasked with protecting a witness while investigating a case of stolen heroin from their own precinct's evidence storage facility. Marcus Lawrence and Mike Smith have been friends since childhood and are now working the beat together in Miami. When $100 million of heroin goes missing from their unit's storage facility, they're sent to track down who might have taken it before Internal Affairs intercedes. Smith and Lawrence have an easy, lived-in chemistry that really sells this thing, and the action's not too bad either.
14. Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil 2010
Run Time: 88 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
This indie comedy has quickly become a cult classic, turning familiar scary movie tropes on their heads in bloody and hilarious ways. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine star as two bumbling-yet-well-meaning hillbillies who get pulled into a nightmare scenario when a group of horny coeds think they're trying to kill them. In a series of events that escalates in violence, Tucker and Dale try to do the right thing while managing to stay alive in the process. As one of the best horror comedies, it's a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by those looking for off-the-beaten-path hilarity.
15. Four Weddings and a Funeral 1994
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
A Hugh Grant-starring rom-com, this one sees the witty British playboy wrestle with the unwelcome realization that he may have finally found love over the course of five social occasions. The epiphany upends his comfortable bachelorhood and amuses his family and friends, but Grant's character fights the inevitable at every turn, giving us plenty of humor and sexual tension to keep things interesting.
16. Heathers 1981
New World Pictures
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
One for the outsiders, Heathers is the darkest of the '80s teen comedies. While your “teen-angst bulls*t” may not have had a body count, everyone can relate to the constant pressure to be popular that plagues high school hallways. Winona Ryder proves herself to be the ultimate cool girl as Veronica, who takes matters into her own hands in order to destroy a toxic clique. Cynical and more than a little cruel, Heathers changed the game for teen films forever. While Mean Girls may be its spiritual successor, Heathers remains the one Queen Bee to rule them all.
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17. Swiss Army Man 2016
Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 7/10
If you like your wanderlust just a bit on the weird side, may we recommend this adventure comedy starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. Dano plays Hank, a man marooned on an island, ready to commit suicide, before a corpse washes ashore. Radcliffe plays the dead man, whom Hank soon befriends and discovers he can manipulate like a Swiss Army Knife. As Hank treks through the wilderness in search of civilization, he uses the corpse, which slowly comes to life, goes by the name Manny, and, at one point, is used as a jet-ski powered by uncontrollable flatulence, to reconnect with the world around him. It's strange, there's lots of farting, but there's also some great Survivor Man-type of adventuring going on.
18. Goon 2011
Run Time: 91 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Goon proves that a movie about hockey can not only be hilariously profane, but it can also be kind of sweet. Doug Glatt Sean Williams Scott is so dumb, but so incredibly nice that it's impossible to root against him. When it becomes clear that he has a real affinity for punching the hell out of people, he gets recruited onto a semi-pro hockey team as an enforcer. Tired of being labeled the family loser, Doug just wants to find his thing, and it turns out, hockey is definitely that thing. Even those rolled their eyes at Scott's Stifler shtick in the American Pie movies will be pleasantly surprised at what he brings to the table in this film, an extremely funny twist on the traditional underdog sports tale.
19. Wet Hot American Summer 2001
Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 6.7/10
David Wain's raunchy summer camp comedy avoids focusing on young kids whose parents have shipped them off for the season and instead, turns its lens to the counselors in charge of their care, horny, hormonal young adults who behave just as badly. Set on the last day of camp, the film follows the group as they hook up, get married, put on talent shows, and try to save the camp from a rogue piece of satellite debris. It's a weird plot but the cast, which includes greats like Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon, Bradley Cooper, Christopher Meloni, and more, makes up for it.
20. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World 2010
Run Time: 112 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Edgar Wright's 2010 action comedy about a hapless boy who must defeat evil ex-boyfriends in order to win the hand of the girl he loves is a fast-paced ride that bombards the senses. Michael Cera plays a loveable goof in the titular hero, a young man enamored with a woman named Ramona Flowers Mary Elizabeth Winstead. In order to be with his lady love, Scott must fight her evil exes, six guys, one girl, who challenge him to truly strange contests. The film is a cinematic mash-up of Japanese anime and gamer culture, intended for the crowd who grew up on Nintendo and comic books, but it brings plenty of laughs all the same.
21. The Waterboy 1998
Run Time: 89 min | IMDb: 6.1/10
Remember when we used to like Adam Sandler? Sure, his comedies were never high art, but you still find yourself quoting them to this very day. The Waterboy is the classic example of this comfortable familiarity. Sandler mugs his way through his performance as a football team's waterboy who gets a shot at playing due to his ability to channel his rage into unexpected prowess on the field, and you'll find yourself cocooned in the welcoming embrace of '90s nostalgia.
22. Obvious Child 2014
Run Time: 84 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Jenny Slate is one of the more underrated comedians in the game right now, but she proved herself a capable leading lady in Gillian Robespierre's indie rom-com, Obvious Child. Slate plays Donna, a young hopeful trying to make it in the world of stand-up. She frequents a few undergrounds around New York City, honing her set while disappointing her successful academic mother by phoning it in at a used bookstore in Brooklyn for her regular 9-5. She has a brief and promising love affair with Max Jake Lacy before facing a dilemma: an unplanned pregnancy. There aren't many films that can tackle the sensitive topic of abortion with dignity, grace, and a ton of poop jokes, so you'll want to check this one out.
23. 50/50 2011
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in this dramedy based on a true story about a 27-year-old guy battling cancer, and the friend that tries to support him along the way. Levitt plays Adam, a reserved young man facing a cancer diagnosis that requires a risky surgical operation to cure. Rogen plays his best friend Kyle, an outspoken slacker who uses his friend's illness to pick up women. The two share some darkly comedic jabs on the topic that'll have you laughing out loud, even though you probably shouldn't.
24. Burn After Reading 2008
Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 7/10
Burn After Reading is for people who like their comedy unapologetically mean. Pitch black and filled with irredeemable idiots, Burn After Reading features Brad Pitt as the opportunistic himbo Chad who accidentally acquires the sensitive memoirs of a CIA agent and George Clooney as the inept and unscrupulous U.S. Marshall who is trying to retrieve it. While these two morons may be at the center of the film, scene-stealing supporting performances from Frances McDormand and John Malkovich really elevate this to one of the Coens' funniest and best films to date.
25. Someone Great 2019
Run Time: 92 min | IMDb: 6.2/10
Gina Rodriguez, Brittany Snow, and DeWanda Wise team up for this romantic comedy about a young woman's final hurrah before leaving NYC. Rodriguez plays a journalist named Jenny who must pack up her life, leave her friends, and travel to the West Coast for an exciting job opportunity. Unfortunately for her, her boyfriend of nearly 10 years decides to call it quits, which leaves Jenny on the party warpath, determined to have one final night of fun before her big trip. Lakeith Stanfield also stars in this, and with Netflix's pretty stellar rom-com track record lately, bet on this being a fun watch.
26. Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back 2001
Run Time: 104 min | IMDb: 6.9/10
Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith return in their roles as stoner duo Jay and Silent Bob. The two travel to Hollywood to stop production of a movie based on their comic book characters after discovering negative reactions to the film online. Along the way, they hook up with a group of diamond thieves, an orangutan named Suzanne, and they land on the police's radar for allegedly being a part of an eco-terrorist group. The film was meant to be the final installment in Smith's View Askewniverse, and it's got a hefty list of celebrity cameos as well.
27. The Incredible Jessica James 2017
Run Time: 83 min | IMDb: 6.5/10
Anyone who caught Jessica Williams during her tenure on The Daily Show knows that she's destined for greatness. Despite being so young, she had a confidence, a voice, and a commanding presence that you just can't fake. The Incredible Jessica James is her first starring vehicle since her time as a correspondent, and it is a true testament to where she's headed. In a clever look at the life of a struggling playwright who is getting over a breakup, The Incredible Jessica James allows Williams to unleash her fire in the most charming way possible, and she and Chris O'Dowd have an easy chemistry that makes you root for them to make it despite not having a thing in common. Having just come out last year, The Incredible Jessica James is still one of the best comedy movies Netflix has delivered.
28. Junebug 2005
Run Time: 106 min | IMDb: 7/10
A fresh-faced Amy Adams stars in this family dramedy about an art dealer from Chicago who travels South, meets her new husband's family, and must contend with the unknowns in their fairly-new romance. Embeth Davidtz plays Madeleine, a gallery owner pursuing an up-and-coming artist who just happens to live in the same town as her new in-laws. She spends time with them as she courts the artist, befriending the wife of her brother-in-law Adams and slowly discovering how little she knows about her husband and his relatives. It's messy and complicated, which makes it all the funnier, and Adams is a stand-out.
29. Bridget Jones' Baby 2016
Run Time: 123 min | IMDb: 6.5/10
Renee Zellweger returns in her role as the quirky British heroine in this rom-com franchise that ends just as hilariously as it began. Bridget Jones is adjusting to single life after her failed marriage to Mark Colin Firth, but a pesky pregnancy and a question about the baby's paternity complicate her plans. Mark has competition in Jack Patrick Dempsey a handsome, successful rival who milks the most out of his competition with Bridget's ex. Fans of the original should be satisfied with how this film wraps things up.
30. Always Be My Maybe 2019
Run Time: 101 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Ali Wong and Randall Park star in the latest rom-com from Netflix. This time around, the plot follows two childhood sweethearts who've spent the last 15 years apart and try to reconnect when one moves back home. Wong plays a successful chef opening a new restaurant in San Francisco while Park plays her former best friend still living at home and working for his dad. Both have some growing up to do, but the film eschews classic romcom tropes for bits that are funnier and more poignant than your average lighthearted fare.
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