The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (2023)

By Jade Budowski@jadebudowski

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (1)

These series are the bread and butter of the platform's programming. What are you waiting for?!

Photos: NETFLIX ; Illustration: Dillen Phelps

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (2)

Master of None
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Aziz Ansari stars as a struggling New York City actor perhaps best known for his Go-Gurt commercial navigating New York with the rest of his crew on this ridiculously smart comedy. Featuring poignant social commentary in the places you least expect, this offbeat, heartfelt series gives new life to an old premise and offers moments that will make you cringe and laugh.
[Stream Master of None]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (3)

Dear White People
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
The series that prompted a wild response and boycott was met with critical acclaim and is more binge-able than you might expect.Dear White People is a satirical continuation the 2014 movie of the same name, and follows activist and radio show host Sam White after she is elected head of a residence hall at a predominantly white Ivy League college and deals with race dynamics within her university. This fresh, innovative series does not shy away from the tough stuff and puts topics on our radar that are more necessary now than ever.
[Stream Dear White People]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (4)

Chewing Gum (British): 100%

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Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (5)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
The Gizmonic Institute is back and better than ever under the guidance of Joel Hodgson on Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return, and it couldn't feel more at home on Netflix. The comedy series centers on a flunky named Max who is sat in front of horrendously bad movies at the leisure of a mad scientist as she studies the effects on his brain. Max and his companions make light of each flick and leave us with absurdly funny, memorable sequences bound to keep you watching till there aren't any episodes left.
[Stream Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (6)

Lovesick
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
This under-the-radar British comedy is as snappy and smart as anyone could ask for; after finding out he has an STD, Dylan decides to get back in touch with every girl he's ever slept with to let them know what's happened. Rife with a range of different comedic styles and stand-out performances from every cast member, Lovesick is the perfect cure to any illness.
[Stream Lovesick]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (7)

Happy Valley
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Happy Valley doesn't just refer to Penn State. This drama follows Catherine, a stern police sergeant who leads a team of officers in a rural West Yorkshire valley. She soon finds herself involved in something much darker and closer to home than she ever anticipated, and must reckon with her own past as horrific events unfold around her.
[Stream Happy Valley on Netflix]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (8)

River
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
This police drama puts a fresh, supernatural spin on the genre - the central detective (played by Stellan Skarsgaard) is haunted by "manifests" (AKA ghosts) of his murdered partner, victims, and criminals involved in the cases he's working). Chillingly performed and truly original, River is one you won't want to skip.
[Stream River]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (9)

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (Japan)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
At a diner only open from midnight to 7 am, the chef, known only as "The Master" befriends patrons who share a love for one of his dishes. Each episode, The Master meets a new customer and learns about their life, and he often breaks the fourth wall to speak to viewers about the show's action.
[Stream Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories on Netflix]

Photo: Netflix

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The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (10)

Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
An expansion of the documentary film that first delved into the subject, Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On explores the mainstream integration of internet pornography and how sex and technology have begun to cross over in a way that we might not be able to fully understand yet. Told through the people creating it and consuming it, this fascinating series paints an entirely new picture of an industry laden with stereotypes.
[Stream Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (11)

Black Mirror
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
This unfailingly dark, brilliant anthology series takes a deep dive into the way technology impacts our everyday lives in ways that we may not be noticing. Each episode tells a different story (and likely offers a whole new nightmare) with a new, star-studded cast, and the lessons taken away from every one of them - no matter how horrifying - will stay with you for days afterwards.
[Stream Black Mirror]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (12)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
This campy, clever comedy helmed by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock stars Ellie Kemper as the eponymous Kimmy, a cult-member turned eccentric New York City gal just doing her best to navigate the wild world alongside pals played by Tituss Burgess and Carol Kane. The sincere, irreverent, off-the-wall series will make you laugh, occasionally tear up, and keep watching until you've unknowingly blown through the entire series.
[Stream Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (13)

Making a Murderer
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
Perhaps the documentary series that cemented Netflix as a true force of the genre, Making a Murderer chronicles the life of DNA exoneree Steven Avery who finds himself the prime suspect of a new crime while investigating corruption within local law enforcement. Filmed over 10 years, the docuseries takes viewers on an intimate journey that only confirms that things are never quite what they seem to be.
[Stream Making a Murderer]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (14)

Five Came Back
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
This riveting miniseries takes a fascinating look at the World War II-era work of 5 of Hollywood's biggest directors. Armed with industry legends like Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Greengrass, and Lawrence Kasdan, this eye-opening series exposes the sacrifices made by these artists and the impact of the work they did even now, some 50 years later.
[Stream Five Came Back]

Photo: Netflix

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The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (15)

Marvel's Luke Cage
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
Mike Colter stars as the iconic Luke Cage, a man who discovers he has super strength and unbreakable skin after an experiment gone awry leaves him forever changed. This fugitive-turned-superhero is willing to give up everything to fight for the New York City he knows and loves, with some help from familiar faces along the way.
[Stream Marvel's Luke Cage]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (16)

One Day at a Time
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
This surprisingly smart, heartfelt comedy follows three generations of a Cuban-American family coexisting in the same household. Justina Machado stars as recently divorced former military mom Penelope, and she's surrounded by her teen daughter, tween son, and tradition-loving mother, played by the legendary Rita Moreno.
[Stream One Day at a Time]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (17)

Stranger Things
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
Rife with the 80s nostalgia we all know and love, this groundbreaking drama/fantasy/horror series hybrid sees a young boy disappear and the fallout in his small hometown of Hawkins, Indiana as his mother, the police chief, and his ragtag group of friends all search for him and confront the terrifying truth about his fate. Gorgeously shot, brilliantly written, and undeniably fun, Stranger Things belongs in the Netflix Hall of Fame.
[Stream Stranger Things]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (18)

The Keepers
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
This true-crime documentary series investigates the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, a nun who taught English and drama at Archbishop Keough High School. As the scandal unfolds and different theories are revealed, former students express their belief that the murder was part of a coverup to protect a priest at the school that Sister Cesnik suspected of sexual abuse.
[Stream The Keepers]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (19)

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A Series of Unfortunate Events
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Adapted from the Lemony Snicket book series of the same name, this darkly funny series introduces us to the three Baudelaire orphans who are placed in the custody of their distant relative, the completely kooky and mildly evil Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris). Wonderfully weird and totally dry, this imagining of the iconic children's series is enjoyable for viewers of all ages.
[Stream A Series of Unfortunate Events]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (20)

Easy
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Helmed by writer and director Joe Swanberg, this comedy anthology series explores interwined groups of friends throughout Chicago who are just doing their best to navigate the tumultuous waters of sex, technology, love, communication, and culture on a daily basis. Featuring a slew of stars in unexpected turns, Easy will surprise you in the best ways.
[Stream Easy]

Photo: Netflix

The 20 Best Netflix Original Series (21)

GLOW
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Set in 1980s Los Angeles, this dramedy series stars Alison Brie as a struggling actress named Ruth Wilder who gets invited to audition with a group of other women for a professional wrestling organization - the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW). Featuring an outstanding ensemble cast, this witty, biting, completely shameless (and fabulously feminist) should be at the top of your queue.
[Stream GLOW]

Photo: Netflix

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Netflixseemingly puts out an endless stream of original series every month. Whether they’re knocking us out with a chilling crime thriller, uproarious comedy, or addicting drama, our binge habits are damn near unbeatable with the slate they deliver.

There are actuallya tonof Netflix original series – which means there are likely upwards of a hundred episodes awaiting your viewing. You can crack up at comedies likeMaster of None,GLOW, andUnbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, or lean into the true-crime documentaries of your nightmares withThe KeepersandMaking a Murderer. The best part? These shows are largely beloved by critics, meaning that they’re both crazy accessibleandcrazy good.

Wondering where to kick things off? We’re here to help. We went throughNetflix‘s long list of acclaimed original content to find you the best of the best. These are the top 20 Netflix Original Series, ranked by theirRotten Tomatoesscores.

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