Since its first original series ten years ago, Netflix has released hundreds of more original shows, increasing its entertainment catalog to include every imaginable genre. In addition, the platform’s binge approach has given showrunners unheard-of creative flexibility and the chance to experiment heavily with structure, timing, and aesthetics.
Prestige dramas, head-spinning science fiction, ground-breaking animation works, outrageous sketch-comedy shows, breathtaking documentaries, touching coming-of-age tales, and everything in between have all been produced by Netflix. Therefore, without further ado, we present the best 20 original Netflix series to binge-watch in 2023.
Table of Contents
20. Sweet Tooth (2021-present)
A post-apocalyptic story as endearing as Jim Mickle’s adaptation of the Jeff Lemire comic book series, “Sweet Tooth,” is uncommon. Gus, a human-animal hybrid who resembles a cross between a deer and a young kid, is portrayed by Christian Convery.
Gus embarks on a search for others of his type while traveling with a hulking guardian, played by Nonso Anozie, who carries his dark secrets. They explore a future version of America that a virus and a wave of mutations have altered. Along the journey, these two come into contact with others working to repair a broken world.
19. The Night Agent (2023-present)
The writer-producer Shawn Ryan is best known for his punchy and sophisticated crime shows like “The Shield” and “The Unit,” which are concerned with the procedural specifics of law enforcement and the dangers of unchecked authority. This political thriller is based on a Matthew Quirk novel, but it is unmistakably his creation.
In the movie “The Night Agent,” Gabriel Basso plays Peter Sutherland, an F.B.I. agent who works late at the White House field operatives’ emergency calls. When Rose (Luciane Buchanan), a young lady in fear, alerts him that a Russian mole might be in the executive branch, he is drawn into a risky investigation.
18. You (2018-present)
This romantic thriller series, starring Penn Badgley as a charismatic creep, debuted on Lifetime to underwhelming numbers before taking off on Netflix. Based on many novels by Caroline Kepnes, “You” stars Badgley as a man who adopts several guises while living in various locations. He first investigates and then manipulates the ladies he is compulsively attracted to.
The show’s success is partly attributable to the fact that it is such a well-acted and well-written potboiler and to how it taps into the paranoia of the social media age. However, it is equally captivating and alarming.
17. The Lying Life of Adults (2023)
This fiery Italian miniseries, based on an Elena Ferrante book, is set in Naples in the 1990s and centers on the disobedient adolescent Giovanna (Giordana Marengo). Giovanna seeks out her aunt Vittoria (Valeria Golino) after her upper-class academic father complains that her misfit daughter resembles his estranged sister too much. Vittoria’s bohemian lifestyle teaches the little girl some lessons about what money can and cannot buy.
16. Wednesday (2022-present)
For this spinoff of the long-running pop culture phenomenon “The Addams Family,” Tim Burton teams up with the “Smallville” producing team of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. It features the elaborate gothic sets and cartoonish style beloved by fans of the franchise’s last TV shows, movies, stage productions, and original cartoons. Jenna Ortega plays the teenage daughter of the Addams family in “Wednesday,” who unflappably manages the pressures of puberty and the spooky craziness occurring in and around her high school.
15. Outlander (2014-present)
The television adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s books has epic battles, wild adventure, and open sexuality about a time-traveling 20th-century English doctor (Caitriona Balfe) and her romance with an 18th-century Scottish rebel (Sam Heughan). It also has an impressive historical sweep, spanning centuries of factional strife in Europe and the Americas. Viewers who enjoy accents, muskets, and the occasional roll in the heather will enjoy this series.
14. The Diplomat (2023-present)
Keri Russell plays a foreign policy specialist who unexpectedly accepts a position as the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom as part of a broader scheme to determine whether she has what it takes to become vice president in this clever and energetic drama.
“The Diplomat,” written and produced by Debora Cahn (a writer-producer who worked on “Homeland” and “The West Wing”), is about how protocol affects politics. Russell and Rufus Sewell perform strongly as the new ambassador’s headline-grabbing spouse.
13. Cunk on Earth (2023)
The English comedian Diane Morgan has been portraying Philomena Cunk for over ten years. Philomena Cunk is a profoundly severe television anchor whose historical and cultural programs frequently contain humorous, factual errors. The five-part “Cunk on Earth” series by “Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker is a great way to get acquainted with Morgan’s subtle, astute parody of the willfully ignorant.
Cunk’s ignorance of history serves as a scathing satire of a particular type of TV personality, which hides their lack of interest with pomposity. Yet, at the same time, they converse with actual historians about the development of human civilization.
12. 1899 (2022-present)
The creators of the genre-defying German TV series “Dark,” Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, reunite for “1899,” another mystery with a touch of science fiction. At the start of the series, a group of travelers from various social classes and nationalities set sail for New York City to begin new lives at the close of the 19th century.
The crew and passengers begin to experience weird occurrences and receive enigmatic messages once they are at sea, though. Odar and Friese keep the viewer wondering with regular shocks and cliffhangers up to the last major surprise of the first season finale.
11. The Crown (2016-present)
For the first two seasons, from the late 1940s until the mid-1960s, Claire Foy portrays the Queen. For Seasons 3 and 4, which begin in 1964 and shift the narrative into England’s psychedelic, punk, and Thatcher eras, Olivia Colman becomes the lead role. Beginning with Season 5, which covers the scandal-riddled years of the royal family, Imelda Staunton will play the part. The main selling points of “The Crown” are the A-list ensemble and the extravagant staging.
10. Riverdale (2017-present)
The original idea for this highly unpredictable show was dumping the teenage protagonists from the family-friendly Archie Comics line into a gritty, seductive adult mystery influenced by “Twin Peaks,” film noir, and soap operas. It’s difficult to pinpoint what “Riverdale” has evolved into after six seasons. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the show’s lead writer, and his staff have introduced musical episodes, superheroes, time travel, demonic cults, supernatural anomalies, and serial killers.
9. Warrior Nun (2020-present)
“Warrior Nun” features a brave young female protagonist and a beautifully rendered fantasy setting that develops in complexity throughout the series. Ava, a young orphan played by Alba Batista, dies in a Catholic facility after a life of suffering and infirmity but is later brought back to life with the use of an ancient artifact that grants her superpowers and ties her to the Order of the Cruciform Sword, a clandestine demon-hunting group.
The protagonist attempts to strike a balance between her obligations and her desire to take pleasure in being strong and healthy while confronting evil forces, some of which are coming from within the church.
8. Russian Doll (2019-present)
A character in the first season of “Russian Doll” relives the same 24 hours. Nadia, a depressed software developer (played by Natasha Lyonne, who also co-created the show with Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler), is the person who is trapped in this situation.
Nadia must choose what she must do to survive the night of her 36th birthday because she keeps rebooting and dying, just like a video game character. As time travel is introduced, things become even more bizarre in Season 2.
7. Stranger Things (2016-present)
The first season of the vintage science-fiction show “Stranger Things” debuted with little publicity and suddenly gained widespread popularity. The scale of this tale of geeky Indiana kids fending off an invasion of creatures from “The Upside-Down” has increased in later seasons, but the emphasis on likable characters in a recognizable setting has not changed. As a result, the show has the appearance and feel of a major summer blockbuster from thirty years ago.
6. Borgen (2010-present)
This Danish political drama’s first three seasons first rose to popularity among TV fans during a time when foreign-language programming was frequently only offered on sporadic cable channels and difficult-to-find DVDs. Then, thanks to Netflix, the show became even more broadly accessible and well-liked, which led to the creation of a fourth season with the working title “Borgen: Power & Glory.”
This gripping drama has chronicled the career of the pragmatist politician Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen), who struggles to uphold her values while fending off competitors and the media who attack her policies.
5. Cobra Kai (2018-present)
The hero and villain from the original “The Karate Kid,” still portrayed by Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, return in this fan-friendly series that serves as a “30 years later” sequel to the popular 1984 film. As mentors to a new group of karate pupils, the plot shows them competing with one another once more.
The show has a strong sense of nostalgia, but it also has a more nuanced plot than the typical “underdogs versus bullies” tale. Instead, “Cobra Kai” delves into the personal backgrounds and socioeconomic contexts that shaped these characters.
4. Smiley (2022-present)
A cerebral architect named Bruno (Miki Esparbé) accidentally answers a voicemail message he wasn’t supposed to receive in the first episode of this Spanish romantic comedy series, which starts with a meet-cute mix-up. The outcome is a fantastic night of lust with a handsome bartender, Alex (Carlos Cuevas), who he hardly ever dates.
In “Smiley,” a stage adaptation of a Guillem Clua play, the unlikely couple’s love affair is the focal point of several interconnected tales about Alex and Bruno’s families and friends, each of whom is going through their relationship ups and downs.
3. The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem (2021-present)
Based on the best-selling novel by Sarit Yishai-Levi, this domestic melodrama is set in multiple periods. First, it shows how the region that would become the State of Israel changed in the 1920s and ’30s as the Ottoman Empire gave way to the British mandate. Swell Ariel Or plays the title character: the pretty and popular Luna, the grown daughter of a doting father, Gabriel (Michael Aloni), and a resentful mother, Roza (Hila Saada).
2. Beef (2023-present)
In “Beef,” a darkly comedic drama about how the demands of contemporary life may curdle into jealousy and fury, a road-range incident explodes into an epic rivalry. Danny, a hardworking independent contractor played by Steven Yeun, meets Amy, a more successful small business owner stressed out on a personal and professional level, in a parking lot. Although it threatens to destroy everything they have, the two strangers’ escalating war of vengeance gives their lives new meaning.
1. Ozark (2017-22)
Jason Bateman plays a crooked money manager in this Emmy-winning crime drama who relocates his family to a Missouri resort enclave, where they settle in a while becoming more and more dependent on crooks. Bateman, who is also “Ozark”‘s producer and director, is wise enough to allow his co-stars to shine.
As a wounded young femme fatale, Julia Garner is particularly compelling. At the same time, Laura Linney turns forth one of her best performances as a woman who must make difficult decisions to protect her family.