The 11 Best Shows on Netflix Right Now (July 2020)

Sit back, relax, and hit play, it doesn't get any better than this

With its focus on binge-worthy content, the massive Netflix library is more focused on TV shows than movies. With hundreds of fantastic options, including Netflix original shows, it can be exceedingly difficult to decide what to binge next. To help, we have hand-picked 12 of the best shows on Netflix that you can queue up and jump right into.

01
of 11

Stranger Things (2016): Best Love Letter to 80s Synths

Stranger Things

Netflix

IMDb rating: 8.8

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Drama

Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder

Created By: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer

TV Rating: TV-14

Number of Seasons: 3

Stranger Things is a deeply atmospheric love letter not just to synths, but to 1980s cinema in general. This Golden Globe-winning series follows a group of young teens as they try to figure out which way is up in a world that no longer makes any sense. When Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) goes missing, his mother (Winona Ryder) and friends ultimately come to the conclusion that he may have been somehow transported to another world.

Meanwhile, another of the teens, Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), finds and gives shelter to a young girl (Millie Bobby Brown) who seems to have escaped a nearby military facility. Nicknamed Eleven, she manifests strange powers that may be the key to saving Will. And that's just the beginning, as Stranger Things already has three binge-worthy seasons with another on the way.

02
of 11

Avatar: The Last Air Bender (2005): Best Beautifully Animated Fantasy Adventure

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Nickelodeon 

IMDb rating: 9.2

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure

Starring: Zach Tyler, Jack De Sena, Dee Bradley Baker 

Created By: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko

TV Rating: TV-Y7-FV

Number of Seasons: 3

This beautifully-animated fantasy adventure is essentially a coming of age story as Aang (Zach Tyler), the titular last Airbender, wakes up to a world where his people are long gone and he is the last hope to save the world from a monstrous force.

Joined initially by siblings Katara (Mae Whitman) and Sokka (Jack De Sena), Aang enlists a whole host of new friends, learns new abilities, and comes to terms with what it means to be the Avatar in a world that went without one for so long. Tackling grown-up subjects like free choice, genocide, and totalitarianism, there's a reason this show won a number of Primetime Emmies, Peabody Awards, and others.

03
of 11

BoJack Horseman (2014): Best Netflix-First Dark Comedy

Bojack Horseman

Netflix 

IMDb rating: 8.7

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama

Starring: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie 

Created By: Raphael Bob-Waksberg

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 6

BoJack Horseman made history as the first Netflix original series to land a cable syndication deal after first appearing on the streaming platform. It's just so good that Comedy Central had to snatch it up for linear broadcast despite the fact that it was already available to stream on Netflix.

In this multi-award winning animation, former sitcom star BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett) is a drug- and alcohol-addicted washout, skating by on his fading fame, and refusing to come to terms with reality as he constantly leans on agent Princess Caroline (Amy Sedaris) and biographer Diane (Alison Brie). This is a dark show that just gets darker with each passing season, but sharp writing and a never-ending procession of genuinely interesting animal-headed characters will keep you coming back for more.

04
of 11

Luke Cage (2016): Best Socially Conscious Super Hero Series

Luke Cage

Netflix 

IMDb rating: 7.3

Genre: Super Hero, Action, Crime

Starring: Mike Colter, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi 

Created By: Cheo Hodari Coker

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 2

Luke Cage might not be the most critically-acclaimed or well-loved of the Netflix Marvel series, but it's the most important, and the most thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. Featuring Luke Cage (Mike Colter) as he sets out to clean up Harlem, pitting him against the likes of Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) and his sister Mariah (Alfre Woodard). Mustafa Shakir shines like the sun as the Bushmaster in season two, announcing himself as "the stone the builders refused" while he pounds Cage into the pavement.

If you only watch one Marvel Netflix series, make it Luke Cage. If you have time for more, they all fit together in a nice joined narrative that culminates with The Defenders.

05
of 11

Arrested Development (2003): Best Resurrected Off-Beat Comedy

Arrested Development

Netflix

IMDb rating: 8.7

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi

Created By: Mitchell Hurwitz

TV Rating: TV-14

Number of Seasons: 5

Arrested Development is the story of a screwball family and the prodigal son Michael (Jason Bateman) who attempts to keep everything together. Together with his son George-Michael (Michael Cera), Michael takes the wheel and does his best to right the ship while the family patriarch (Jeffrey Tambor) languishes in jail.

Constantly butting heads with his mother (Jessica Walter), sister (Portia de Rossi) and older brother (Will Arnett), Michael is substantially less equipped to handle the situation than he thinks. This family comedy is more of a grand farce than anything, full of clever dialog, fast-paced word play, and colorful characters. It's no wonder that Netflix yanked it out of cancellation purgatory for two additional seasons.

06
of 11

Breaking Bad (2008): Best Anti-Hero Crime Drama

Breaking Bad

AMC

IMDb rating: 9.5

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Created By: Vince Gilligan

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 5

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) starts out as a mild-mannered chemistry teacher who turns to cooking meth in the name of providing for his family in this crime thriller, and you'll just have to watch all the way through to see how that turns out for him.

White enlists the help of former student Jesse Pinkerton (Aaron Paul) along the way, does his best to hide his secret life from wife Skyler (Anna Gunn), and leads brother-in-law DEA agent Hank (Dean Norris) in a dangerous game of cat and mouse as the situation rapidly escalates out of his control. This careful study of a man's descent, and the madness that blooms around him, is quite possibly the peak of antihero TV drama.

07
of 11

Black Mirror (2011): Best Dystopian Speculative Fiction Anthology

Dark Mirror

Netflix

IMDb rating: 8.8

Genre: Speculative Fiction, Drama, Thriller

Starring: Daniel Lapaine, Hannah John-Kamen, Michaela Coel

Created By: Charlie Brooker

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 5

Black Mirror is a tech-focused anthology series that explores the horrific, wonderful, and devastating worlds we might inhabit in just a few years' time if our obsession with technology continues. The ostensible "black mirror" refers to the appearance of phones, televisions, and other displays when shut off, reflecting a darker version of the world.

While Black Mirror started life as a Channel 4 production in the United Kingdom, Netflix snatched it up for streaming after the second season and has bankrolled three additional seasons. Some episodes hit better than others, but the series is fantastic when taken as a whole, having taken home multiple International Emmys and other awards. The episode "USS Callister," in particular, walked away with three Emmys in 2018, while "Bandersnatch" took two in 2019.

08
of 11

Ozark (2017): Moodiest Crime Thriller

Ozark

Netflix

IMDb rating: 8.4

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Starring: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner

Created By: Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 3

In this moody crime drama, crooked accountant Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) finds himself staring down the barrel of a gun when his partner slips up. Rather than accept his fate, Byrde suggests a solution: he'll move to the Lake of the Ozarks and set up a money laundering operation. The deal accepted, Marty heads south with wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and their two kids.

Like a set of dominos falling one after the other, Marty and Wendy can't help but get deeper and deeper into this mess, even sucking locals like Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) into their wake. In a dangerous world where any slip up could result in brutal death, Marty and Wendy do their best to stay one step ahead of the cartel to which they are indebted and each other as well.

09
of 11

Altered Carbon (2018): Best Mind-Warping Science Fiction

Altered Carbon

Netflix 

IMDb rating: 8.1

Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Action

Starring: Chris Conner, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Will Yun Lee

Created By: Laeta Kalogridis

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: 2

Altered Carbon is a Sci-Fi action drama that sees humanity having spread to the stars, but in a slightly peculiar way. After the discovery of a way to store human consciousness in what they call a "stack," interstellar travel became a matter of digital transmission, and changing your body is almost as easy as changing your clothes.

The story of Altered Carbon is concerned with Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman, Anthony Mackie, Will Yun Lee), a mercenary who is taken off ice after hundreds of years to solve a peculiar crime. With the help of an AI patterned after Edgar Allan Poe (Chris Connor) and hard-nosed cop Kristin Ortega (Martha Higareda) Tak discovers that the crime he was brought in to solve is just the tip of a massive iceberg.

10
of 11

The Witcher (2019): Best Fantasy Action and Adventure

The Witcher

Netflix

IMDb rating: 8.3

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Action

Starring: Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, Anya Chalotra

Created By: Lauren Schmidt

TV Rating: TV-MA

Number of Seasons: TV-MA

The Witcher tells the story of Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), a Witcher, which is an order of mutated monster hunters. The first season also weaves in stories about Ciri (Freya Allan), a young princess linked to Geralt by a mistake of destiny, and sorceress Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), whose origin story is explored most thoroughly of the three.

If you aren't familiar with the source material, The Witcher may confuse you at first. It freely weaves the three main stories together without always making it clear that they aren't actually happening at the same time. The first season ties together nicely though, setting the stage for a massively epic fantasy to come.

11
of 11

The IT Crowd (2006): Best British Workplace Comedy

The IT Crowd

Fremantle

IMDb rating: 8.5

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson

Created By: Graham Linehan

TV Rating: TV-14

Number of Seasons: 5

Series creator Graham Linehan is a giant of British comedy, with series like Black Books and Father Ted already under his belt before he brought us the The IT Crowd. In this BAFTA-winning workplace comedy, lazy Roy (Chris O'Dowd) and socially awkward Moss (Richard Ayoade) work tech support for Reynholm Industries.

Saddled with a well-meaning boss (Katherine Parkinson) and joined by a hilarious supporting cast that includes possible vampire Richmond Avenal (Noel Fielding) and replacement CEO Douglas Reynholm (Matt Berry), Roy and Moss do their best to make it through each day while regurgitating such classic troubleshooting advice as, "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"