Netflix is known to have a huge catalog of movies and TV shows that can be instantly streamed. While some of the best TV shows are not available to be streamed like Stargate SG-1, The Simpsons and 24, there are still tons of great TV shows. Choosing the 10 best shows was not easy from the hundreds available. Here are the 10 best TV shows on Netflix that can be streamed in no particular order.
The X-Files is one of the best science fictions shows ever created. In the 1990s this show was simply massive, like Breaking Bad or Lost but bigger. The X-Files was a generation defining TV show. The show follows Mulder and Scully, two FBI agents who are tasked to solve paranormal cases known as the X-files. The show explores paranormal phenomenon like mutants, monsters, psychics and focuses heavily on aliens with a surprisingly large amount of humor in between. Mulder is open-minded and an obsessed with proving the existence of extraterrestrial life due to the his sister’s questionable abduction when he was a child. Scully on the other hand has a deep reliance on science and hard evidence to solve the X-Files. These two opposite personalities create a very interesting friction yet respect among each other. The show is both well written and entertaining even with its 90s special effects. Mulder and Scully’s unique personalities and the crazy cases they are assigned carry this show into a real special place. The X-Files capitalized on government and alien conspiracies in the 90s that at the time seemed a bit insane but now are more relevant than ever. It’s the best science fiction show ever made and a must watch for any science fiction or buddy cop fan.
Undoubtedly the most important and biggest show of the last 5 years, breaking Bad was created by Vince Gilligan, who previously worked as a writer and producer on the X-Files. Breaking Bad follows two unique people, Walter White, a loving father, husband and high school chemistry teacher, who is dying of lung cancer and Jesse Pinkman a young small time crystal meth dealer. The show starts off simple, Walter is dying of cancer and needs a way to make money to leave his family something after his death. Using his knowledge of chemistry he partners up with a former student of his, Jesse and starts a crystal meth operation that quickly expands into a multimillion-dollar business. What makes this show so great is the characters. Their transformations from the beginning of the series to the end is astounding. The show is creatively shot and each episode leaves viewers wanting more. You would think watching this show in the beginning it would fall into a cliché gangster film like Scarface, but rather it plays out more like the Godfather. A focus on the characters, family, and the problems that arise from living double lives as drug kingpins make this a hugely entertaining show. The show has been showered with so many awards it’s ridiculous but, it truly does deserve them.
Created by Seth Macfarlane, Family Guy is one of the best animated shows ever made. Much like the Simpsons, Family Guy follows a fictional family who resides in Quahog Rhode Island. This comedy is both hilarious and insane. The situations the Griffin family get into are sometimes plausible and other times completely insane, making for some great laughs. Just like the Simpsons, Family Guy focuses on the Griffin family, a suburban American family that is seemingly normal but far from that idea. Peter is a fat, ignorant alcoholic who works at a beer brewery and Lois is Peter’s hot stay-at-home wife and mother. Then there is Chris and Meg, Peter and Lois’ teenage children, Chris is the dumb, immature teenage son and Meg is an odd one, she basically exists to be made fun of by everyone in the family. Lastly are the most unique family members, Brian and Stewie. Brian is the family talking dog, he is a struggling writer, hardcore liberal and Peter’s best friend and Stewie is a 1 year old who can also talk and is extremely intelligent and maniacal. Family Guy is filled with pop culture references and creates comedy out of immature themes and adult themes. Easily one of the best animated shows since The Simpsons.
Easily one of the best TV shows of the 2000s, Lost followed a group of plane crash survivors on a mysterious island. It’s a simple premise that expanded due to the mysterious island and the large variety of characters. What made the show so addicting is two things, the mysterious island filled with bizarre events and of course the great characters. Instead of focusing on a few characters and having viewers learn about their backstory and develop throughout the series, Lost focuses on over 30 characters according to Wikipedia. While this seems too much, over the course of six seasons it works quite well. The plot is quite convoluted and there is a lot of jumping between the past, present and future especially when focusing on a specific character’s backstory, a style that has become iconic in the show. The show is very well made, with its beautiful and versatile tropical island setting and stellar acting. The only real issue with Lost, is the writers were too ambitious, with multiple sub plots and things introduced in the beginning of the series that were not adequately explained by the end of the series.
Prison Break is debatably one of the best shows of the last decade. While it was successful in the United States it was a huge success in Europe. It follows Michael Scofield a brilliant man and engineer who gets himself sent to Fox River State Penitentiary on purpose with the intent of helping his brother break out of said prison. His brother Lincoln Burrows has been framed for a crime he didn’t commit by people in the US government. The show does a great job of developing the two brothers through the series as well as introducing a wide variety of friends, foes and allies who each have their own interesting backstories. While you may think how can a series about escaping a prison last 4 seasons, well the first two seasons, focus on how Michael plans the escape and what happens when he, his brother and his prison acquaintances go on the run. Season 3 and 4 have Michael once again trapped in another prison and then follow his escape and goal to expose the government conspiracy that led to his brother’s imprisonment. What really makes the show special is the tense situations in each episode that Michael or his allies undergo to avoid getting caught. Almost every episode is a cliffhanger and it makes you watch the following episode immediately, something that was extremely nerve-racking when it originally aired on TV. Another great thing about the show is the range of characters and their super interesting backstories. Just as the TV show Lost featured an eclectic range of unique characters. Fellow inmates, Michael’s friends and family and the shady government characters trying to stop Michael and his brother from exposing them. The first two seasons are outstanding but 3 and 4 are much weaker and become a bit of a mess. The show really captures the tone of prison life and makes for a super entertaining drama.
Supernatural is a great fantasy show that plays out very similarly to the X-files. It follows Sam and Dean Winchester, two young brothers on their journey to hunt supernatural creatures. There is a main story arc that focuses on the brothers for many of the episodes and then there are episode long cases or stories just like in the X-Files. The episodic stories explore hunting ghosts and shapeshifters to demons and even Bloody Mary. X-Files fans will definitely likely enjoy the pacing and source material in Supernatural. Along with that the show has a nice balance between Sam’s seriousness and comedy due to Dean’s immature personality. Just like Fox Mulder’s witty jokes in serious situations, Dean throws out a good joke or two to break the tense or slow moments in the show. Dean and Sam are driving across the US which creates a lot of variety in what they encounter in terms scenery, characters and of course spirits. The special effects are solid and do their job well and keep things interesting. Supernatural is one of those shows that you can turn on and watch an episode or two or marathon through a season in a weekend. It’s an easy show to get hooked on because of its fun supernatural material, much like the X-Files.
What can be said about Jericho? It’s one of those shows that was destined to be great but was canceled. With much support by its fans it was brought back for a few episodes and ultimately canceled again. Jericho centers around the small town of Jericho, Kansas in the midst of turmoil when a nuclear bomb is detonated in the nearby Denver Colorado area. The citizens of Jericho are left to fend for themselves after the modern world they once knew vanishes in an instant. The series focuses heavily on one man, Jake Green played by Skeet Ulrich. Jake is a young man who returns to Jericho to pay his respects to his recently deceased grandfather and collect his inheritance right before the nuclear attack occurs. Jake and his family become the focus of the series with supporting characters and their stories being linked to the Green family in some important way. The show features a great range of actors playing parts of friends, foe and mysterious acquaintances. Jericho depicts the confusion and anarchy of what would happen if multiple nuclear attacks occurred simultaneously in the United States. Instead of the series just focusing on Jericho and its fight to survive in a world where the United States no longer exists, it presents a very intriguing mysterious side story about who caused the attacks and why. In season 1 The conspiracy doesn’t receive as much focus as it deserves until the season 2. It is revealed that the US has been broken into separate governments like the Allied States of America and the Independent Republic of Texas. Just as this information is revealed and the conspiracy is being explored the show was canceled. Jericho is a great show that had a lot of potential and could of been one of those shows to go for a long time and leave an impact like Lost or the X-files but was tragically cut short. If you decide to invest the the time in the show remember it ends just as things are getting really good. The show ends on such a big cliffhanger that canceling it should have been a crime.
Once an eccentric FBI agent obsessed with conspiracy theories, David Duchovny returns to play Hank Moody, a writer plagued by writer’s bloc and addicted to booze, sex and drugs. The series follows Hank as he tries to be a good father to his daughter and on and off girlfriend while battling his demons in Los Angeles. What makes Californication so special is Hank. He floats through life, saying and doing what he wants, and makes little to no compromises except it has to do with his family. Hank is a very likable guy, he embodies a cool, laid back yet honest and caring personality. A day in the life of Hank Moody usually consists of a physical altercation, having sex with a beautiful woman and drinking heavily and it never gets old. David Duchovny shines in Californication. He shows us what it’s like to be an intelligent, cool writer while dealing with the mental anguish of not being able to keep his family together. The writing is stellar, Hank’s lines are frequently intelligent and witty making it a delight to watch. Great writing, likable characters, and beautiful women/scenery make this the perfect show to just sit and absorb while enjoying a stiff drink, just like Hank.
House of Cards
Netflix’s own crown jewel House of Cards is one of the best dramas ever created. It focuses on politics and does a fantastic job mixing sex, murder, corruption and everything else that is attached to politics without the boredom of politics. Kevin Spacey plays the protagonist Frank Underwood, a conniving, ruthless and manipulative politician who stops at nothing to reach the American Presidency. With his equally conniving wife Claire, played by Robin Wright, they show how far they will go to become Mr. and Mrs. President. House of Cards has superb writing and because of this and its talented cast it transcends the average political drama. You do not have to pay attention to politics to enjoy this show on the contrary you can enjoy it just by appreciating how far the Underwoods will go to get what they want. Breaking laws and screwing over colleagues is just a taste of how far they go. The show is also beautifully shot which you wouldn’t think is notable for a show about politics but, it certainly has a unique style that conveys the tension of a life in politics and its bureaucracy. While season 3 is weaker than the first two seasons it still is one of the best shows ever made and definitely deserves the 4 Emmys and 2 Golden Globes it has earned so far. It definitely has earned it’s crown jewel status among all of Netflix’s original shows.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead is a drama that focuses on a group of individuals trying to survive after a zombie outbreak has overtaken the world. Originally focusing on Rick Grimes, a deputy officer who awakens in a hospital after the zombie outbreak overtakes the country, the show expanded its focus to an everchanging group of survivors. While shows and films have explored the zombies to death, The Walking Dead does a good job keeping the idea fresh by focusing on the people trying to survive this new world instead of focusing on killing every walking corpse. It is less of a zombie show and more of a show that shows what anarchy is and the deterioration of society and what happens when ordinary people begin fighting for power and survival. The undead still play a pivotal role in the show. They are the constant, they are the consistent threat that keeps every person in the group tense and always ready to defend themselves. This is due to the amazing makeup design and acting, every zombie looks like a decomposing carcass with only the animal instinct to feed keeping itself going. One thing that truly makes this show special among all TV shows is they kill off main characters regularly. This is a breath fresh air because it constantly keeps viewers excited not knowing who is next to get killed or bitten. This creates a consistent inflow of new survivors that join the group and begin to develop their own stories. While in recent seasons it has become apparent there is a select few that probably won’t get killed until maybe the last episode of the series. Season 1 was a great way to start the series mainly due to showrunner Frank Darabont who created a different vibe compared to the later seasons. Overall the show has been great and consistent minus season 2, which is easily the weakest season. If you are looking for a good show that features zombies and the collapse of society look no further.