The best Netflix TV shows to binge-watch
18 March 2020, 16:56 | Updated: 10 August 2021, 17:58
From sitcoms to season long dramas, here's a guide on what to what if you're stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trying to find a new TV show to watch can be a mission on the best of the days but with self-isolation and coronavirus quarantine becoming the norm for most of us, that decision seems to be getting harder.
From multi-season 30-minute episode sitcoms and TV drama series with hour-long episodes to stand up comedy specials, reality competitions and true crime shows (both dramatised and documentaries), there's truly something for everyone.
What to watch on Netflix? See all the best TV shows and series below
Elite is the glossy Spanish love child of Riverdale and How To Get Away With Murder, who has Gossip Girl for a Godmother. This group of Spanish high schoolers engage in sex, drugs, out of control parties, scamming, sleuthing, murder… and all while dressed as the Warblers from Glee (which is also streaming on Netflix UK).
PRO TIP: Watch Elite in its native Spanish and read the English subtitles. Don’t be lazy. Consume Elite in the way God (aka Danna Paola) intended it to be consumed.
If you like Stranger Things, watch The Umbrella Academy.
Take certain elements of Stranger Things, pair it with Gerard Way’s brilliant graphic novel series and an ensemble cast led by Elliot Page and BAM! You’ve got yourself a new favourite TV show. The Umbrella Academy follows the seven Hargreeves siblings – each with their own special powers – as they try to stop the end of the world. Watch it before season 2 drops later this year... you won’t regret it.
If you’ve seen both of these shows, try Sense8, Orphan Black (available on Netflix UK) or The OA.
If you like your teen shows a little more on the comedic side, watch On My Block.
If you like laugh-out-loud sitcoms, watch these shows...
There's Brooklyn Nine-Nine (for fans of The Office), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (for fans of 30 Rock) and The Good Place (for fans of Parks & Rec). If you're up to date on all of these, watch Schitt's Creek. If you've seen that, watch One Day At A Time or try Grace and Frankie.
Arrested Development, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, That '70s Show, The Big Bang Theory, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Office UK, Gavin & Stacey, Kath & Kim, The IT Crowd, How I Met Your Mother and Friends are also available to stream on Netflix UK.
For something a little less sitcom-y yet still funny and under 30 minutes, watch Santa Clarita Diet, Living With Yourself or Russian Doll.
If you like Netflix stand up comedy specials, here's some of the streamer's best...
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra, John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous, Tig Notaro: Happy to Be Here, Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King, Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats, Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah, Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark, Donald Glover: Weirdo and Patton Oswalt: Annihilation.
If you like Bojack Horseman, watch Tuca & Bertie or Big Mouth.
If you like musicals in TV form, watch Crazy Ex Girlfriend (available on Netflix UK).
If you like Queer Eye or fashion competitions, watch Next In Fashion.
The fashion design competition will have you obsessed from episode 1 and even though there’s only one season of the show so far, it’s enough to get you hooked and screaming for more. Tan France and Alexa Chung provide some of the most refreshing critiques on TV right now – and their hosting dynamic is dynamite. A must watch.
(If you prefer cakes to fashion, The Great British Bake Off is also available to watch on Netflix UK.)
If you like uplifting documentaries, watch Cheer.
If you’ve been feeling down or stressed about this whole quarantine business, take a day out and lose yourself in Cheer. Cheer follows Navarro College as they prepare their routine for the notorious National Cheerleading Championships in Daytona, FL. Six episodes in the series, just over an hour each – and there's even some free uplifting mat talks from one of the breakout stars, Jerry. (If you've already watched Cheer, try Last Chance U.)
If you like romance reality competitions, watch Love Is Blind.
If you like Drag Race, watch Pose or Paris Is Burning (available on Netflix UK).
If you like royal family drama, watch The Crown.
One of Netflix’s best series in recent years, The Crown will keep you entertained for hours. There’s 30 episodes of The Crown available to watch right now, so if you pace yourself with one episode a night? Congratulations! You’ve made it one month into quarantine!
If you like Meghan Markle-specific royal content, watch Suits (available on Netflix UK).
Our beloved Duchess may have stepped away from this messy country, but we’ll always have Rachel Zane. Eight seasons of this slick law drama, mixed with some of the finest quality ships TV has to offer? Sign yourself up now. And listen, by the time your self-isolation is over, you might have even picked up enough legal jargon to confidently pose as a paralegal! Binge-watching and securing the bag with a faux law education!
If you like American Horror Story, watch The Haunting of Hill House.
What American Horror Story can sometimes lack in actual horror, Hill House makes up for it by the bucket load. Similar to Murder House in that it is...set in a haunted house... Hill House has twists you never saw coming, easter eggs to look out for and one episode that will leave you absolutely floored. (Bent Neck Lady hive, you know what I'm talking about.)
If you like YOU, watch Mindhunter or The Ted Bundy Tapes.
Listen, watching something this dark and disturbing in this economy is not ideal but if this kind of content is what keeps your mind busy and thinking about something else, then go for it. If you're after something a little less dark but just as intense, watch The Stranger or How To Get Away With Murder.
If you like powerful crime dramas based on true stories, watch Unbelievable or When They See Us.
If you like Ryan Murphy shows, watch The People v. OJ Simpson or The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
If you like Sex Education, watch I Am Not Okay With This or The End of The F***ing World.
Do you like TV shows that take place in ambiguous settings with a '70s/'80s aesthetic? Do you like teen coming-of-age stories? Do you like awkward relationships and everything in between? Perfect! Listen up
Sex Education, I Am Not Okay With This and TEOTFW are three very different shows in terms of storyline, but if you like one, the chances are, you'll enjoy the other. IANOWT follows a teen girl in a small town, coming to grips with her mental health and her sexuality ft. supernatural elements. TEOTFW is a lot darker, and the subject matter is less "coming-of-age" and more "on the run from the police for crimes".
If you like Euphoria, watch Dear White People.
Much like Euphoria, Dear White People will give you a much more realistic and honest take on today's youth. While it's more witty than it is glitzy and gritty, Dear White People also has a similar narrative in that it focuses on individual characters in each ep.
If you've already watched Dear White People, watch She's Gotta Have It. For Euphoria fans, Skins is also available to watch on Netflix UK.
If you like Big Little Lies, watch Dead To Me.
Dead To Me revolves around two new friends both dealing with grief, one of which has a dark secret that ends up causing catastrophic bombshell in everyone's lives. Fronted by Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini (both iconic), season 1 contains 10 x 30 minute episodes. And it slaaaaaaps.
If you like Desperate Housewives, watch Good Girls (available on Netflix UK).
A group of women who fall on hard times and do a whole lot of shady stuff to help fix their problems? Hello! Also, if you have yet to sit down and watch Desperate Housewives from start to finish, now is the time. It's not on Netflix but don't let that stop you!
If you like female-led excellence, watch GLOW.
If you like deep, psychological shows, watch Black Mirror.
Nothing says "distract me from how terrible everything is" than a show that highlights just how much worse it could all be. Recommended episodes: 'San Junipero', 'USS Callister', 'The National Anthem', 'Hang The DJ', 'White Christmas', 'Nosedive' and 'White Bear'.
If you've already watched Black Mirror, watch Cary Fukunaga's Maniac starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.