EletiofeThe 46 Best Shows on Netflix Right Now (May...

The 46 Best Shows on Netflix Right Now (May 2024)

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Streaming services are known for having award-worthy series but also plenty of duds. Our guide to the best TV shows on Netflix is updated weekly to help you know which series you need to move to the top of your queue. They aren’t all sure-fire winners—we love a good less-than-obvious gem—but they’re all worth your time, trust us.

Feel like you’ve already watched everything on this list that you want to see? Try our guide to the best movies on Netflix for more options. And if you’ve already completed Netflix and are in need of a new challenge, check out our picks for the best shows on Hulu and the best shows on Disney+. Don’t like our picks, or want to offer suggestions of your own? Head to the comments below.

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Dead Boy Detectives

Edwin Payne died in 1916. Charles Rowland passed in 1989. United in death, together they solve mysteries—ghost mysteries! On the surface, The Sandman spin-off Dead Boy Detectives seems ludicrous, but its breezy pace and bounty of weird ideas (including a Cat King, a walrus cursed to live as a human, and a demon named David) keep things interesting. A solid central cast—George Rexstrew as uptight Edwin, Jayden Revri as bruiser Charles, and Kassius Nelson as their psychic (and living) ally Crystal Palace—bristle with chemistry, while the longer mysteries of how the deceased protagonists passed and why they choose to linger on Earth offer a touch more depth and emotional heft. It’s got more of a YA flair than the parent series—think Buffy meets Smallville, rather than the philosophically tinged Sandman—but a few well-placed cameos, including Death (Kirby, formerly credited as Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Despair (Donna Preston), help connect the two. A palate-cleansing crowd pleaser to fill the gap before The Sandman itself returns.

Chicken Nugget

Some shows really make you stop and think about big, meaningful, existential questions. For example: “What is it like to live as a chicken nugget?” Adapted from a Korean webtoon by Park Ji-dok—whose other work includes a comic called Killer Farts, as a starting reference point—Chicken Nugget follows Choi Sun-man (Ryu Seung-ryong), president of technology company More Than Machines, and his eccentric intern Baek-joong (Ahn Jae-hong) as they seek a way to return Sun-man’s daughter Min-ah (Kim You-jung) to human form after she’s accidentally transformed into a … well, it’s in the title. Look, there’s no getting around how utterly weird this one is, but somehow, this incredibly surreal show somersaults over its bizarre premise to become an unexpectedly warm and endearing tale of human connection. Netflix’s strangest series in years, but also oddly compelling.

Blood of Zeus

You’d be forgiven for thinking this adult animated take on Greek mythology was another victim of Netflix’s tendency to cancel shows with impunity—the first season dropped in 2020, then, despite a relatively early renewal order, nothing, (Clearly nothing else happened that year to explain the delay …) Now, four years later, the odyssey of demigod Heron, son of Zeus and mortal woman Electra, makes a welcome return. Picking up with Olympus in disarray following a godly coup and the fate of the cosmos at stake, Heron is sent on a decidedly more personal quest to rescue—and possibly redeem—his estranged brother. Blood of Zeus continues to impress with smart twists on classic stories (its take on the relationship between Persephone and Hades being a particular highlight) and fantastic animation. Let’s just hope it’s not another four years until the next season.

Bodkin

When American podcaster Gilbert Power (Will Forte) and his enthusiastic assistant Emmy Sizergh (Robyn Cara) descend on the sleepy Irish town of Bodkin—reluctantly aided by investigative journalist Dove Maloney (a brilliantly acerbic Siobhán Cullen, cussing out everyone who glances her way)—he thinks he’s going to crack a decades-old missing-persons cold case. What he finds is a community with absolutely zero interest in his investigation, and even less in his attempts to “connect” with his Irish roots. But before long, the villagers’ quirky behavior starts to feel stereotypical, performative even—and Power realizes the cold case may not be quite so chilly. Bodkin suffers from a slow start—give it at least two episodes before writing it off as not for you—but once this darkly comedic mystery gets going, you’ll likely be just as invested as in your favorite true crime podcast. (Just don’t take inspiration and try sleuthing any cold cases yourself.)

3 Body Problem

In 1960s China, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, gifted scholar Wenjie Ye witnesses her physicist father being beaten to death for his research, only for her to be recruited to a secret project relying on that same knowledge. Fast-forward to the present day, and physics is broken: Particle accelerators around the world are delivering impossible data, while scientists are being plagued by countdowns only they can see. Meanwhile, strange VR headsets appear to be transporting players to an entirely different world—and humanity’s continued existence may rely on there being no “game over.” Game of Thrones’ creators D. B. Weiss and David Benioff and True Blood executive producer Alexander Woo reimagine Chinese author Cixin Liu’s acclaimed hard sci-fi trilogy of first contact and looming interplanetary conflict as a more global affair. Wildly ambitious, and boasting an international cast featuring the likes of Benedict Wong, Rosalind Chao, Eiza González, and GOT alum John Bradley, Netflix’s 3 Body Problem serves up the opening salvo in a richly detailed and staggeringly complex saga.

Parasyte: The Grey

Alien spores rain down on Earth, releasing aggressive larvae driven to burrow into other creatures’ heads, devour the brain, and take control of the body. Once in possession, these parasites are indistinguishable from regular people—apart from the ability to warp the flesh and bone of their hosts’ head into terrible weapons, which they use to hunt and consume humans from the shadows. Su-in Jeong (So-nee Jeon) almost became one of them, but when the parasite trying to take control of her exhausts itself saving her from a violent attacker, she’s left sharing her body with an increasingly self-aware monster. Helmed by Train to Busan director Sang-ho Yeon, this Korean drama expands the world established in Hitoshi Iwaaki’s sci-horror manga Parasyte, building on its social and environmental themes even as it delivers a terrific, and often terrifying, slice of body horror.

Ripley

Perhaps best known nowadays from 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon, novelist Patricia Highsmith’s inveterate criminal Tom Ripley has a longer, darker legacy in print and on screen. For this limited series, creator Steven Zaillian goes back to Highsmith’s original text, presenting Ridley (a never-more-sinister Andrew Scott of All of Us Strangers) as a down-on-his-luck conman in 1950s New York, recruited by a wealthy shipbuilder to travel to Italy and persuade his spoiled son Dickie Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn) to return home. But once in Italy, Ripley finds himself enamored with Dickie’s lavish lifestyle—and will do anything to take it for himself. Shot in black and white to really sell its noir credentials, this is an instant contender for the finest interpretation of Highsmith’s works to date.

Girls5eva

Saved from Peacock after two seasons, Netflix has gotten the band back together for this sharp comedy from creator Meredith Scardino. Twenty years after they split up, girl group Girls5Eva—Dawn (Sara Bareilles), Gloria (Paula Pell), Summer (Busy Philipps), and Wickie (Renée Elise Goldsberry)—find themselves back in demand after their one big hit is sampled by popular rapper Li’l Stinker (Jeremiah Craft). Turning their renewed popularity into an opportunity to reunite, the women try to gain the stardom, respect, and musical integrity they never had in their youth, even as life has taken them in very different directions. Poking fun at the absurdity of the late ’90s/early ’00s pop scene—and how little has changed since—and heightened by an almost surrealist edge in places, Girls5eva is a comedy that deserves its time in the spotlight.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

A talented young cast bring to life the tale of Aang (Gordon Cormier), the latest in a long line of avatars who can control all four cardinal elements, but is frozen in time for a century when his world needed him most. Awakened by new friends Katara (Kiawentiio) and Sokka (Ian Ousley), he sets about continuing his training as the Avatar in an attempt to restore balance, all the while pursued by the relentless Prince Zuko (Dallas Liu), heir to the imperialist Fire Nation that has conquered the word. Consider this a cautious recommendation—the original animated version, also on Netflix, remains superior—but Netflix’s live action Avatar remake serves up scale and spectacle, without betraying the heart of the classic show. It’s also already confirmed for two more seasons, so viewers can look forward to the complete saga without the now-familiar Netflix cancellation worries.

The Legend of Korra

If you’re still not sold on the live-action Avatar, this sequel to the original series is well worth your time. Set 70 years after the animated Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra explores how Aang’s world has progressed after decades of relative peace. When Korra, the new Avatar, moves to Republic City to complete her training under the tutelage of Tenzin—Aang’s son, now with a family of his own—she finds herself and new friends Mako and Bolin caught in the growing tensions between element benders and the Equalist movement, who claim the unpowered are an oppressed class. As the series progresses over its four seasons, The Legend of Korra proves itself a very different beast than its predecessor, exploring political themes and social prejudices in deeper—and often darker—detail, while also expanding the more fantastic elements of the universe and revealing the origins of the first Avatar. Even more brilliantly animated, and with a unique 1920s inspired aesthetic, Korra is a show that grew up alongside its audience, and is all the stronger for it.

The Gentlemen

Created by Guy Ritchie, and loosely following his 2019 film of the same name, this darkly comedic series follows Eddie Horniman (Theo James), a former British Army officer, after he inherits the family estate and title of Duke following his father’s death. Oh, and the massive cannabis farm hidden beneath the grounds. Drawn into a literal criminal underground, Eddie finds himself having to deal with his family’s legacy, his only real support coming from Susie (Kaya Scodelario), who’s been running the drug empire. With a cast bolstered by Ray Winstone as Bobby Glass, Susie’s incarcerated father and criminal kingpin, and Giancarlo Esposito as Stanley Johnston, an American investor with his own designs on the Horniman estate, The Gentlemen is a violent and blood-splattered crime caper in the heart of the British aristocracy. Consider it the antithesis of The Crown—or not far removed from it, depending on your stance on the British Monarchy.

Griselda

Charting the life of infamous drug lord Griselda Blanco, who rose from a desperate life in Colombia to become a major player in the Miami drug wars, this dramatization shines largely thanks to a phenomenal performance from Sofía Vergara in the title role, channeling a chilling persona that makes her turn on Modern Family seem a lifetime away. While not entirely historically accurate, this limited series (co-created by Narcos’ Doug Miro) weaves a mesmerizing tale of Blanco’s efficiency in dominating the cocaine trade—and her brutality in enforcing that control. A tight six episodes makes for a compelling, if shockingly violent, binge watch.

Star Trek: Prodigy

Paramount+’s loss is Netflix’s gain with the license rescue of this great Star Trek spin-off. Kicking off on a distant prison planet, a group of young escapees are forced to become a crew when they commandeer a lost—and highly experimental—Starfleet vessel. Guided by a hologram version of Star Trek: Voyager’s iconic Captain Janeway (voiced by the venerable Kate Mulgrew), the untested cadets face a crash course in Federation ethics as they try to escape their former captor. While aimed at younger audiences and intended as an intro to the wider Trek universe, Prodigy packs in plenty for older Trekkies to appreciate—and with the complete first season available now and another 20-episode season expected later in 2024, there’s a lot to enjoy.

Queer Eye

The Fab Five are back for another round of life-changing makeovers in New Orleans. With heroes including a deaf football coach who needs to step up to support his students, a Kiss superfan committed to caring for his brother, and a former nun looking for love, there’s plenty to tug at the heart strings. With this season marking the last for design guru Bobby Berk, Queer Eye will doubtlessly be evolving when it returns for its already-confirmed ninth season, but for now, grab the tissues and prepare to ugly-happy-cry again.

One Day

Based on David Nicholls’ 2009 novel of the same name, this limited series charts the lives of Emma (Ambika Mod) and Dexter (Leo Woodall) over the course of 20 years. Starting with their graduation from Edinburgh University in 1988, each episode jumps forward one year at a time, revisiting them for a single day and exploring how their existences swirl around each other, even as fate seems to drag them apart. It’s all gorgeously shot and produced, each half-hour episode a time capsule of its period, while the sizzling chemistry between the leads keeps you rooting for them even when you begin to suspect they’re not meant for each other. An unexpectedly beautiful romcom.

Beef

Ever been cut off in traffic? Ever had it happen when you’re having a really bad day? Ever just wanted to take the low road, chase the person down and make them pay?! Then—after a few deep breaths—Beef is the show for you. It’s a pressure valve for every petty grievance you’ve ever suffered, following rich Amy (Ali Wong) and struggling Danny (Steven Yeun) as they escalate a road rage encounter into a vengeance-fueled quest to destroy the other. Yet Beef is more than a city-wide revenge thriller—it’s a biting look at how crushing modern life can be, particularly in its LA setting, where extravagant wealth brushes up against inescapable poverty and seemingly no one is truly happy. Part dramedy, part therapy, Beef is a bad example of conflict resolution but a cathartic binge watch that clearly resonates—as evidenced by its growing clutch of awards, including the Golden Globe for Best Limited Series.

Loudermilk

Something of a sleeper hit for years—its first two seasons debuted on AT&T’s now-defunct pay TV channel Audience in 2017, before its third season appeared over on Amazon—all three seasons of this bleak comedy are now available on Netflix. Ron Livingston stars as Sam Loudermilk, a vitriolic former music critic and recovering alcoholic who proves almost pathologically incapable of holding his tongue when faced with life’s small frustrations—a personality type possibly ill-suited to leading others through addiction support groups. It’s dark in places, and its central character is deliberately unlikeable, but smart writing and smarter performances shape this into something of an acerbic anti-Frasier.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off

Adapted from the beloved graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, animated by one of the most exciting and dynamic studios in Japan, and voiced by the entire returning cast of director Edgar Wright’s 2010 live-action adaption, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off would have been cult gold even if it was a straight retelling of its eponymous slacker’s battles against lover Ramona Flowers’ seven evil exes. Yet somehow, in a world devoid of surprises, this packs in killer twists from the very first episode, making for a show that’s as fresh and exciting as ever. Saying anything else would ruin it—just watch.

Sweet Home

Based on the Korean webcomic by Kim Carnby and Hwang Young-chan, Sweet Home offers a very different vision of apocalyptic end times—rather than pandemics, disasters, or even zombies, this posits an end of the world brought about by people’s transformation into grotesque monsters, each unique and seemingly based on their deepest desires when they were human. The first season was a masterclass in claustrophobic horror, as the residents of an isolated, run-down apartment building—chiefly suicidal teen Cha Hyun-soo (Song Kang), former firefighter Seo Yi-kyung (Lee Si-young), and Pyeon Sang-wook (Lee Jin-wook), who may be a brutal gangster—battled for survival, while the long-awaited second season explores what remains of the wider world, delving into the true nature of both monster and man. With phenomenal effects work blending prosthetics, CGI, and even stop-motion animation for some disturbingly juddering creatures, this stands apart from the horror crowd.

Castlevania: Nocturne

France, 1792: as the French Revolution rages, citizens rise up against a parasitic ruling class—but vampire hunter Richter Belmont and his magic-wielding ally Maria Renard are more concerned with what’s literally bleeding the people dry. Yet conventional bloodsuckers turn out to be the least of their worries when the pair meets Annette and Edouard, who have travelled halfway around the world to warn of a coming “Vampire Messiah” prophesized to devour the sun—let’s just say the stakes have never been higher (sorry). Set centuries after the previous Castlevania animated series, this proves a perfect jumping on point while maintaining the high quality animation, tight plotting, and brilliant action that made the original such a hit.

Bodies

Four detectives. Four time periods. Four murders? Maybe—but only one body. This time-twisting thriller—adapted from the comic of the same name by writer Si Spencer and artists Tula Lotay, Meghan Hetrick, Dean Ormston, and Phil Winslade—hops from Victorian London to a dystopian future and back again, as the same corpse is found in the same spot in each era. The only thing stranger than the impossible crime itself is the conspiracy behind it, one that spans decades, impacting and linking every figure investigating the body. A brilliantly high-concept sci-fi crime drama, Bodies is one of the best one-and-done limited series to hit Netflix in years.

Pluto

Think you know Astro Boy? Think again. In 2003, Naoki Urasawa (Monster, 20th Century Boys) updated original creator Osamu Tezuka’s hugely influential “The Greatest Robot on Earth” story arc for his manga Pluto, opting for a more adult approach. The focus shifts from the heroic boy robot to grizzled cybernetic detective Gesicht as he investigates a series of murders of both humans and robots, each victim left with makeshift horns crammed into their heads. Meanwhile, Atom (Astro’s Japanese name) is recast as a former peace ambassador, effectively a propaganda tool rolled out at the end of the 39th Central Asian War, still dealing with trauma from the experience. This adaptation is not only a faithful recreation of Urasawa’s retelling, but is stunningly animated to a standard rarely seen in Netflix’s original anime productions. With eight episodes, each around an hour long, this is as prestigious as any live-action thriller the streamer has produced, and a testament to both Tezuka and Urasawa’s respective geniuses.

Blue Eye Samurai

In the 17th Century, Japan enforced its “sakoku” isolationist foreign policy, effectively closing itself off from the world. Foreigners were few and far between—so when Mizu (voiced by Maya Erskine) is born with blue eyes, nine months after her mother was assaulted by one of the four white men in the country, it marks her as an outsider, regarded as less than human. Years later, after being trained by a blind sword master and now masquerading as a man, Mizu hunts down those four men, knowing that killing them all is the only way to guarantee her vengeance. Exquisitely animated—which makes its unabashed violence all the more graphic—and with a phenomenal voice cast bolstered by the likes of George Takei, Brenda Song, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and Kenneth Branagh, Blue Eye Samurai is one of the best adults-only animated series on Netflix.

Sex Education

Talking about sex with your parents is always awkward, but for teenager Otis (Asa Butterfield) it’s even worse: His mother Jean (a captivating Gillian Anderson) is a renowned sex therapist who won’t stop talking about sex, leaving Otis himself ambivalent toward it. Still, something must have sunk in, and after helping a fellow student navigate a sexual conundrum, Otis finds himself almost accidentally running his own sex therapy clinic on campus. While the situations are often played for laughs, over its four seasons Sex Education thoughtfully explores intimacy, sexuality, and relationships in tender and even profound ways. With a fantastic ensemble cast including incoming Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa as Otis’ best friend Eric and Emma Mackey as love interest Maeve, this UK-set and Welsh-filmed coming-of-age dramedy has proven itself one of Netflix’s best series.

La Révolution

In a triumph of on-the-nose conceptualizing, La Révolution spins an alt-history romp in on-the-cusp-of-revolt France, where the cruel aristocracy become literal “blue-bloods,” thanks to a contagion that turns them into inky-veined, dandyish fiends ravenous for human flesh. A plucky reformist contessa who sympathizes with the commoners’ plight—first being exploited by the ruling class, and then being eaten by them—allies with forces both rebel and supernatural as she tries to prevent the undead disease spreading from the elite of Versaille to the whole of France’s upper crust. The melding of surprisingly great production values and a cast that’s clearly enjoying themselves elevates this above your standard zombie nonsense—and it’s subtitled, which definitely means it’s art house, right?

Pending Train

Netflix: License one of Japan’s best SF dramas in years. Also Netflix: Do nothing, literally nothing, to promote it, not even create an English subbed trailer. Which is where WIRED comes in—Pending Train is a show you (and Netflix) shouldn’t sleep on. When a train carriage is mysteriously transported into a post-apocalyptic future, the disparate passengers’ first concern is simply survival. Between exploring their new surroundings and clashing with people from another stranded train car over scarce resources, one group—including hairdresser Naoya, firefighter Yuto, and teacher Sae—begins to realize that there may be a reason they’ve been catapulted through time: a chance to go back and avert the disaster that ruined the world. A tense, 10-episode journey, Pending Train offers a Japanese twist on Lost, but one with tighter pacing and showrunners who actually have a clue where they want the story to go.

One Piece

Mark one up for persistence: After numerous anime adaptations ranging from “awful” to “not too bad,” Netflix finally strikes gold with its live-action take on the global phenomenon One Piece. Despite fans’ fears, this spectacularly captures the charm, optimism, and glorious weirdness of Eiichiro Oda’s beloved manga, manifesting a fantasy world where people brandish outlandish powers and hunt for a legendary treasure in an Age of Piracy almost verbatim from the page. The perfectly cast Iñaki Godoy stars as Monkey D. Luffy, would-be King of the Pirates, bringing an almost elastic innate physicality to the role that brilliantly matches the characters rubber-based stretching powers, while the crew Luffy gathers over this first season—including swordsmaster Roronoa Zoro (Mackenyu), navigator and skilled thief Nami (Emily Rudd), sharpshooter Usopp (Jacob Romero Gibson), and martial artist chef Sanji (Taz Skylar)—all brilliantly embody their characters. A lot could have gone wrong bringing One Piece to life, but this is a voyage well worth taking.

Ragnarok

If you’re a fan of Norse mythology but Marvel’s Thor got too goofy for you with Love and Thunder, this Norwegian fantasy drama may be more to your liking. Set in the present day, young Magne Seier (David Stakston) finds he is the reincarnation of the god of thunder just in time to take a stand against the sinister Jutul family, whose polluting factories blight his hometown of Edda. No, the show is not subtle with its references, nor its environmental message, but it’s a fun reimagining of myth, especially as more members of the Norse pantheon start cropping up. Best of all, with only three six-episode seasons and an actual ending—no surprise cancellations here!—it’s a nicely digestible binge-watch.

The Chosen One

Based on the comic American Jesus by writer Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Kingsman) and artist Peter Gross (Lucifer), The Chosen One follows 12-year-old Jodie (Bobby Luhnow), raised in Mexico by his mother Sarah (Dianna Agron). While the young boy would rather hang out with his friends, his life—and potentially the world—changes forever when he starts exhibiting miraculous powers, attracting dangerous attention from sinister forces. While this could have been yet another formulaic entry in Netflix’s expansive library of supernatural teen dramas (the Stranger Things vibe is particularly strong), the decision to shoot on film and in a 4:3 aspect ratio make this a visual delight, unlike almost anything else on the streamer at present. There’s an English dub, but stick to the original Spanish with English subs for a better viewing experience. (Confusingly, there’s another show with the exact same title on Netflix, a 2019 Brazilian series following a trio of relief doctors in a village dominated by a cult leader—also worth a watch, but don’t get them confused!)

Heartstopper

Arguably the most joyful show on Netflix is back for another school year of teen drama and heartfelt romance. With Charlie (Joe Locke) and Nick (Kit Connor) now officially dating, this long-awaited second season starts off with Nick struggling to come out as bisexual—but it’s openly-gay Charlie’s parents who seem to struggle the most with their relationship. Meanwhile, Elle (Yasmin Finney) and Tao’s (William Gao) will-they-won’t-they saga continues to sizzle, and a school trip to Paris turns into a crucible for everyone’s emotions. Although it steps into slightly darker terrain this season, the brilliant adaptation of Alice Oseman’s graphic novels continues to be an utter delight—the show younger LGBTQ+ viewers need now, older ones needed years ago, and that everyone needs to watch whatever your sexuality.

Cobra Kai

While this latter day sequel to The Karate Kid films of the 1980s started life on YouTube Red (remember that?), it’s really come into its own since moving to Netflix. Picking up decades after Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence’s iconic fight at the end of the first movie, the debut season of Cobra Kai finds the tables turned, with Daniel living the charmed life while Johnny is washed up. Yet after defending his young neighbor Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) in a fight, Johnny finds new meaning by re-opening the eponymous karate dojo and guiding a new generation of students. As the series progresses, the stakes get higher—and frankly, increasingly, gloriously, ludicrous—as rival martial arts schools start cropping up all over California and alliances are forged and broken with alarming regularity. It’s all presented a little bit tongue-in-cheek, and with Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their 1980s roles, the show is an unabashed love letter to the classic action flicks, but thanks to some seriously impressive fights and stunt work, and with a younger cast you can’t help but root for, it’s a retro-styled delight. With a sixth and final season in the works, now is the perfect time to binge the first five.

Cunk on Earth

British comedy alert: This might not be for you. If, however, you appreciate drier-than-a-desert humor and cringe-inducingly awkward interviews, this is a must-watch. A perfectly framed lampoon of globe-trotting documentaries, Cunk on Earth sees host Philomena Cunk (in reality, comedian Diane Morgan) exploring world history, from the development of agriculture through to the space race, offering deranged insights and skewering real-world experts with incredibly stupid questions along the way. Morgan’s relentlessly deadpan delivery alone makes this five-episode series worth a watch, but it’s those interviews that make this comedy gold.

Glitch

To those in the northern hemisphere, this Australian supernatural drama might be one of the best kept secrets of the last decade. Centred on a small town in Victoria, an entire community is shaken when seven people rise from their graves, seemingly in perfect health but with no memory of who they are or how they died. As police sergeant James Hayes (Patrick Brammall) and local doctor Elishia McKellar (Genevieve O’Reilly) try to contain and examine “The Risen,” Hayes’ world is rocked when he learns his own late wife Kate is among them. Over the course of three seasons and 18 episodes, the reasons for the dead’s return is teased out, starting with simply “how” and “why,” but building up to something that questions the rules of reality. A fantastic ensemble cast and brilliant pacing make this a must-see.

Black Mirror

As creator Charlie Brooker recently told WIRED, “Black Mirror wasn’t meant to be ‘this is what’s going on in technology this week.’ It was always designed to be a more paranoid and weird and hopefully unique show.” And that it is, but rather than displaying what’s going on in technology as it’s happening, the show has a way of beating its viewers to the paranoid punch, addressing dystopian anxieties before they even happen. (Black Mirror was talking about AI long before your mom ever heard of ChatGPT.) Netflix just released the sixth season of Brooker’s show, and if you haven’t watched, now may be the time. How else will you know what you’ll be worried about five years from now?

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

On the planet Etheria, Adora loyally serves the Horde, rising through its ranks with her close friend Catra by her side, until the discovery of a strange sword transforms her into the legendary warrior She-Ra. Learning the truth about the oppressive forces she’s served her whole life, Adora joins the Rebellion against the Horde—but can she really turn her back on everything she’s ever known? And will Catra ever forgive the betrayal? Developed by ND Stevenson—whose own Nimona delighted viewers as an animated movie on Netflix—the modern She-Ra reimagines the 1980s classic, eschewing the original’s connection to He-Man and episodic structure in favor of its own unique mythology and long-form storytelling, packed with complex characters, high stakes, and some powerfully emotional moments. Perfect for fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender or The Legend of Korra, this dazzlingly animated five-season action-fantasy is as compelling for older fans as it is younger viewers—and some of the best LGBTQ+ representation to be found in any medium doesn’t hurt either.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

A prequel spin-off to Bridgerton—the Shondaland-produced Regency era historical romance that continues to break Netflix viewership records—Queen Charlotte takes viewers back to 1761, exploring how a young Charlotte (India Amarteifio) meets and marries George III (Corey Mylchreest). In typical Bridgerton fashion though, there’s far more going on than a period love story, with the spirited Charlotte initially trying to escape the arranged marriage before learning to navigate the corridors of power—and manage George’s deteriorating mental health. Interspersed with scenes in Bridgerton’s “present day” 1817, where the now-formidable stateswoman Queen Charlotte (a returning Golda Rosheuvel) deals with a succession crisis to the throne, this limited series is compulsory viewing for fans of the series, and a great entry point for anyone yet to be wooed by its charms.

Inside Man

Jefferson Grieff (Stanley Tucci) is a former criminology professor on death row for killing his wife, telling his story to a journalist named Beth (Lydia West). Harry Watling (David Tennant) is an unassuming English vicar, tending to his parishioners. The two men are a world apart—until a horrific misunderstanding leads to Watling trapping a friend of Beth’s in his basement. As Watling’s situation and mental state deteriorate, Beth turns to the killer for help finding her friend. Created and written by Stephen Moffat, this tense transatlantic thriller has just a dash of The Silence of the Lambs, and with a cast at the top of their game, it’s gripping viewing. Best of all, its tight four episodes mean you can binge it in one go.

The Diplomat

If there’s a West Wing-shaped hole in your life, look no further than The Diplomat—a tense geopolitical thriller elevated beyond the norms of the genre by a superb central performance by The Americans’ Keri Russell as Kate Wyler, newly appointed US ambassador to the UK. Far from being an easy assignment in a friendly country, Kate’s role coincides with an attack on a British aircraft carrier, leaving her to defuse an international crisis before it escalates into full-blown war. It’s a job that might go easier if her own special relationship with husband Hal (Rufus Sewell) weren’t fraying, as his resentment at being demoted leads him to interfere in her efforts. One of Netflix’s biggest hits of 2023, The Diplomat has already been renewed for season two.

Sweet Tooth

Based on the comic book by Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth is set 10 years after “The Sick,” a viral pandemic that killed most of the population and led—somehow—to babies being born with part-human, part-animal characteristics. The first season follows Gus, a half-deer hybrid boy who leaves the wilderness in search of his mother, and “Big Man” Tommy Jeppard, a grizzled traveler who becomes his reluctant guide, protecting him from surviving humans who hate and fear the hybrids. The newly dropped second season takes things into darker territory, merging Gus and Jeppard’s path with the once-disparate storyline of Aditya Singh (Adeel Akhtar), a scientist researching the origins of The Sick—and its connections to Gus. Part sci-fi, part fantasy, part mystery, Sweet Tooth offers viewers a postapocalyptic dystopia unlike any other.

Alice in Borderland

When slacker Ryohei Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) is mysteriously transported to a deserted Tokyo, his keen gaming skills give him an edge navigating a series of lethal games that test intellect as much as physical prowess. Yet after barely scraping through several rounds, Arisu is no closer to uncovering the secrets of this strange borderland, or to finding a way home—and the stakes are about to get even higher. Not only are Arisu and his allies Usagi (Tao Tsuchiya), Kuina (Aya Asahina), and Chishiya (Nijiro Murakami) faced with another gauntlet of sadistic games, but they find themselves caught between rival card suit “courts” vying for power—and not everyone can be trusted.

With its willingness to kill off main characters at a moment’s notice, the first season of this gripping adaptation of Haro Aso’s manga kept viewers on tenterhooks throughout. As the long-awaited second season leans further into its twisted Alice in Wonderland imagery, expect more shocking developments in this taut thriller.

Arcane

Let’s be honest: Animated series based on video games often run the gamut from cheap cash-ins to half-decent if forgettable tie-ins, inaccessible to anyone but hardcore devotees. In contrast, Arcane stands apart from the crowd by making its connections to Riot Games’ League of Legends almost optional. While its central figures, orphaned sisters Vi and Jinx, are playable characters in the game, viewers don’t need foreknowledge of their story to enjoy this steampunk saga of class war, civil uprising, and the people caught in between. With a gorgeous painterly art style, strong characters, and frequently shocking story beats, Arcane defies its origins to become one of the best animated series in years—and it has racked up plenty of awards, including a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, to prove it.

The Sandman

The Sandman is one of the most beloved comic series of the past 40 years. A dark fantasy about dreams, reality, stories, and the mercurial relationship between them, Neil Gaiman’s books have endured as essential reading for goth teens and literati alike. While attempts to bring the saga of Dream of the Endless—sometimes known as Morpheus, immortal embodiment and master of the nightlands, fierce and terrible in his wrath—to the screen have been underway practically since the comic debuted in 1988, this long-in-development Netflix adaptation is worth the wait. It’s a perfect translation of the first two graphic novels in the series and follows Dream (a sombre and imposing Tom Sturridge) as he restores his power and kingdom after being held in captivity for a century by occultists who snared him instead of his sister Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). Fittingly, the show has a dreamlike pacing to it, blurring the lines between episodic narratives and longer arcs, and it is as likely to leave viewers crying over a gargoyle’s fate as it is to shock them with the sadistic actions of an escaped nightmare-turned-serial killer named the Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook). The Sandman’s journey to the screen might have been the stuff of restless nights, but the result is a dream you won’t want to wake up from.

Stranger Things

Netflix’s nostalgic sci-fi/horror series is back for its fourth season, set six months after the Battle of Starcourt and with its core cast separated for the first time. The Byers family and Eleven are off in California, Hopper is still (somehow) in a Russian prison, and the remaining crew are home in Hawkins, Indiana, about to face down a terrifying new threat—high school. Oh, and another incursion from the horrific Upside Down. The Duffer Brothers continue to offer up plenty of 1980s nostalgia for viewers who grew up on a diet of Spielberg, Lucas, and Craven, while upping the stakes with a significant new threat. Expect drama, scares, and—of course—plenty of Dungeons & Dragons as the cult show roars toward its fifth and final season.

Russian Doll

In Russian Doll, Nadia has one very big problem: Time keeps breaking around her. Season one finds Nadia—played by Natasha Lyonne, who is also a cocreator on the show—dying at her own birthday party, only to wake up there over and over again, trapped in a Groundhog Day-style loop until she can unravel her personalized knot in the space-time continuum. Things only get stranger in season two, where Nadia finds herself traveling back in time to 1982 and inhabiting the body of her own mother—currently heavily pregnant with Nadia herself. Both seasons are funny and thought-provoking, reflecting on personal and generational trauma, all without overegging the potential for philosophical musing.

Squid Game

Produced in Korea, Squid Game blends Hunger Games and Parasite with a battle-royal-style contest. Hundreds of desperate, broke people are recruited to a contest where they can win enough money to never need to worry about their debts again. All they have to do to win the ₩45.6 billion ($35.8 million) jackpot is complete six children’s games. But it’s not that simple: All the games have a twist, and very few people make it out alive. Squid Game is intense, brutal, and often very graphic, but it is also completely gripping. Netflix’s dubbing isn’t the best in this instance, but the nine episodes are compelling enough to make up for it.

Lupin

Arsène Lupin, the belle epoque burglar created by French novelist Maurice Leblanc in the early 1900s, is reinvented as Assane Diop, a first-generation Frenchman with a mania for Lupin books and a grudge against the powerful forces who decades ago framed his father for a theft he didn’t commit—and led him to die in prison. Pairing drones, social media bots, and hacking skills with traditional tools of the trade like fake beards, picklocks, and quick wits, Diop hunts down his adversaries as he searches for the truth about his father’s fate. In his spare time, Diop also tries to patch together a crumbling marriage and build a better rapport with his son. Worth watching in the French original, this five-episode series’ strength lies in the dialog, the character development, and the charismatic performance of Omar Sy as Assane. The actual escapades and daring heists are beautifully choreographed, but a lot of the mechanics—how a certain piece of legerdemain worked, when an impenetrable building was infiltrated—are left to the viewer’s imagination.

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