Every season is binge-watching season.
To answer the perennial question of, “What do I watch next?” TODAY rounded up some of the best shows currently streaming on Netflix.
There are classics worth catching up on, like “Girlfriends” and “Friday Night Lights;” thought-provoking anthology series you can dip into at your leisure like “Black Mirror;” long-running comedies like “30 Rock;” and feel-good contemporary romances like “Sweet Magnolias.” Couples might enjoy racing through “Ozark” and “The Lincoln Lawyer” together, and teens may find comfort and camaraderie through shows like “Sex Education” and “Heartstopper.” And there are even shows to learn Spanish with, like “Elite.”
Essentially, there’s a show for everyone, and every mood. Without further ado, get lost in these TV shows, all streaming on Netflix.
“Outlander” is a time-traveling love story based on a stories of popular novels. by Diana Gabaldon. It’s the tale of a woman who was transported back in time from 1945 post-war U.K. to 1743 Scotland, where the rules of society are completely different. She has to catch on fast if she’s going to survive. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) — considered strange by her new neighbors — is arranged to marry Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), and luckily for her, the match works.
Considered one of the best political thrillers of all time, this Danish show doesn’t let up. A tale of political ambition, this is how Birgitte Nyborg Christensen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) became the prime minister, and how she stayed prime minister. Full of shady dealings and problems untangled out of the public eye, this will fill the “West Wing”-shaped hole in your heart.
Our advice? Block off an entire afternoon or evening and watch the entirety of this intense drama. It starts on a train, where Richard Madden’s David Budd averts a worst-case-scenario attack. As a reward, the veteran-turned-PPO is promoted to be the bodyguard of a politician (Keeley Hawes) whose politics he can’t stand, and refutes his experiences in the Afghanistan war.
‘Old Enough’ (2013)
In this delightful reality TV show from Japan, toddlers are sent to run their first errands, all on their own. It’s a simple concept — but watching two-year-olds go grocery shopping, and take their first steps toward independence (literally), is a conversation-starting experience, especially for parents.
Seven seasons of a feel-good, friend-filled sitcom? “New Girl” will hit the spot. Jess (Zooey Deschanel) moves in with three single guys, and her life is suddenly filled up with their antics (and theirs, with hers).
‘Peaky Blinders’ (2013)
This popular British drama is about a well-dressed criminal gang in post-WWI Birmingham. The show’s crime family is based on real people.
‘Love on the Spectrum’ follows a group of individuals on the autism spectrum as they search for love, and captures how families are also involved in the process. The series broadened its scope with the U.S.-based third season. “We want to continue to shine a light on the diversity of the spectrum,” creator Cian O’Clery told TODAY of the new series.
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. By the time you finish “Friday Night lights,” you may be tempted to buy some merch that has Coach Taylor’s (Kyle Chandler) inspiring motto. “Friday Night Lights” is set a Texas town that ranks football above all else, and follows the characters who are part of that ecosystem, including the football players living in a blaze of glory.
Based on a series of novels by Michael Connelly, “The Lincoln Lawyer” is a lawyer drama that will keep you transfixed until the nail-biting conclusion. Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) inherits the cases of a defense lawyer after he’s mysteriously killed. Mickey’s not prepared for any of them – but it just so happens that thinking under pressure is what he excels at. Follow Mickey as he travels around L.A. in the back of a Lincoln Town Car, trying to come up with a defense for a tech executive accused of murdering his wife.
If you can stomach the shootouts and occasional violence, then “Narcos” is sure to pull you in with its larger-than-life plots — all based on true stories. “Narcos” and its spinoff “Narcos: Mexico” focus on drug cartels in South America, starting with Pablo Escobar’s syndicate in Colombia, and the Drug Enforcement Agency’s efforts to interfere.
This propulsive dystopia is based on graphic novels created and written by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, and illustrated by Gabriel Bá. The show’s premise is poised to hook you in: One day, 43 women find themselves suddenly pregnant. They each gave birth to a baby, seven of whom are adopted by a billionaire. The babies develop superpowers, which the billionaire hones at the Umbrella Academy so that one day they can save the world. Talk about high expectations.
The central trio of “Sweet Magnolias,” played by JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Brooke Elliott, and Dana Sue Sullivan, deal with different problems, from cheating spouses to business ventures. The one thing they have in common? They’re not alone. Based on a series of romance novels, the real focal point of this dramedy is friendship. More episodes are on way, as the show was renewed for a third season.
Considered one of the hallmarks of the Golden Age of TV, “Breaking Bad” is a show worth watching if you haven’t already. In a role that earned him four Emmy wins, Bryan Cranston stars as Walter White, a broke high school science teacher who, when diagnosed with cancer, turns to alternative means for funding his treatment — namely, making and distributing meth. “Breaking Bad” charts Walter White’s transformation from hero to antihero.
For Theresa Mendoza, the protagonist of this high-octane USA series, drug cartels are a means of upward mobility — but they come at a cost. The series follows her rise out of poverty and what it takes to be part of the system in Sinaloa.
Strap in for a soap opera. This popular Israeli drama is about an ultra-Orthodox family in Jerusalem. Over 33 episodes, follow their love, their longing, and their joys, all set within an isolated community you might not have access to otherwise.
“Orange Is the New Black” holds an important role in TV history: It was Netflix’s first original streaming hit, changing the way we watch (and binge-watch) TV. The prison-set drama begins when Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) is sent to Litchfield Correctional Facility for a crime committed years prior. While she’s the protagonist initially, the story becomes about so much more than her, as side characters step into the spotlight and their stories are told with empathy.
‘The Queen’s Gambit’ (2020)
This coming-of-age drama was a hit when it dropped on Netflix in 2020, with fans following along on Beth Harmon’s (Anya Taylor Joy) journey from an orphanage to chess championships in the 1950s and 60s. Some even took up playing chess as a result. The miniseries, based on a novel by Walter Tevis, earned 11 Emmys, including Best Limited Series.
Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) wasn’t always a high school principal in an underfunded Georgia district. He used to moonlight as Black Lightning, a superhero. In the DC comic-inspired series, a life changing event prompts Jefferson to put his super suit on again. Turns out he’s not the only one with powers.
Actor Eugene Levy and his son, Dan Levy, co-created this popular riches-to-rags comedy. After going suddenly bankrupt, the Rose family is forced to rely on the one asset they have left: The tiny Canada town that the patriarch once bought for his son as joke. While living in the close quarters of a ramshackle motel, the Roses come together as a family in a way they never had to before.
“Squid Game” addresses wealth inequality in a uniquely heart-thumping way. In the South Korean show, people desperate enough sign up to participate in a competition at an unknown location, where they’re promised a jackpot. They participate in tournaments modeled from childhood games. To lose means to die, and there’s only one way out: Winning. “Squid Game” is confirmed to return for a second season, so catch up if your stomach can handle the show’s gruesome violence.
You are cordially invited to delight in “Bridgerton,” a steamy period drama based on the novels by Julia Quinn. Each season focuses on the unfolding romance of one of the eight Bridgerton siblings, part of an esteemed Mayfair family. The show will have you looking up Regency-era words, and awaiting the next season with almost as much anticipation as the Duke (Rege-Jean Page) looks at Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) in Season One.
First love is as daunting as it is exciting — and that’s especially true for Nick Nelson (Kit Connor), who falls for Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) when, until that point, he’d mostly been attracted to girls. “Heartstopper” celebrates queer friendship and relationships, across many forms. “Heartstopper” had an impact on audiences, as evidenced in this essay written by a young woman who used a scene to help come out to her parents.
Enjoy your music with a side of drama, thanks to this Netflix original. In the Paris-set series, Andre Holland plays a jazz club owner who becomes entangled with criminals threatening his life and his club, if he doesn’t continue to be their puppet.
In “Sex Education,” a famous sex therapist’s (Gillian Anderson) son brings his mom’s teachings to his high school. Otis (Asa Butterfield) becomes entangled in his classmates’ private lives, as a result — but he’s figuring out the awkward teen years just as much as they are.
“All American” was inspired by the real football player Spencer Paysinger. Spencer (Daniel Ezra) experiences culture shock after he goes from an underfunded school in south L.A. to one in Beverly Hills.
Premiering in 2007, the UPN comedy “Girlfriends” put showrunner Mara Brock Akil on the map. At the time, seeing four Black women just living their lives was not common. For eight seasons, four friends get through work drama, family drama and — of course — dating drama.
Part horror, part coming-of-age story, “Stranger Things” focuses on a group of pre-teen (and later teenage) friends who discover supernatural forces and classified government actions in their community. If the $30 million per episode budget is any indication, “Stranger Things” is a blockbuster of a show. The first part of season four premieres May 27 and it’s already been renewed for a season five.
“Moesha” is a refreshing coming-of-age sitcom that follows Moesha (Brandy) as she adjusts to her father remarrying after her mother dies, all the while navigating school drama. For six seasons, Moesha experiences life, unfiltered, and grows up before viewers’ eyes.
“Love Is Blind” is part dating show, part dating experiment. A group of singles go on dates in “pods,” in which they can talk about anything, but can’t see each other. If they feel passionately enough about one another, they get engaged — sight unseen. “Love Is Blind” spurred other international spinoffs, so keep the dating drama coming.
“Never Have I Ever” follows 16-year-old Devi Vishwakumar, played by newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who — in Season One — is desperate to climb the school popularity ladder. Along the way, she learns who are her “real friends” and who are her “fake friends,” so to speak. This endearing teen drama, co-created by Mindy Kaling, will span four seasons, with Season Three premiering in August 2022.
“Ozark” concluded in 2022 with a divisive finale — but given the amount of nail-biting action that goes down in every episode of the series, three was no way the finale was going to be calm.
Jason Bateman plays Marty Byrde, a financial planner with a side hustle laundering money for a Mexican cartel. When his scheme goes awry and he owes the cartel a debt, Marty — in a desperate bid for his own life – relocates his family to a resort town in the Ozarks, where he’ll set up avenues for money laundering. He and his wife turned partner-in-crime (Laura Linney) spend four seasons looking over their shoulder, hoping danger doesn’t catch up with them.
And now, for a classic. For nine seasons, Jerry Seinfeld (playing a version of himself), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and George Costanza (Jason Alexander) entertained viewers with conversations about nothing that somehow became so memorable.
“Lupin” offers a gripping heist plotlines and a hero you’ll root for — even as he commits crimes. Assane Diop (Omar Sy) is the show’s main character, a world class thief and master of disguise. All those jewels and artifacts are stolen with a higher purpose in mind: He wants to clear his father’s name.
If you’re longing for the coziness of a small town where everybody knows your name, then head over to Virgin River. Following personal tragedy (lots of them, actually), Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge) starts over in a medical practice in the small California town. Her relationship with Jack Sheridan (Martin Henderson), a gruff bartender, gets off to a rocky start, but grows to become one of TV’s most captivating romances.
“Queer Eye” is a reimagining of the series “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which ran from 2003 to 2007. Rather than a conventional makeover show, the the new Fab Five pays as much attention to the guest’s emotional well-being as their physical appearance, if not more. The main subjects are called “heroes.” This reality show offers six seasons of fashion, fun and purpose, set in states around the U.S.
In this clever NBC comedy, the afterlife turns out to be as complicated and surprising as real life. Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) leaves Earth far earlier than she expected, but ends up learning some life lessons in the Great Beyond with the help of an afterlife architect named Michael (Ted Danson) and her new spectral friends. Best to approach this philosophy-infused show before hearing any spoilers.
“Black Mirror” is an anthology series, so each episode stands alone with a different plot and cast. Across seasons, all the episodes are united by the through-line of how a piece of technology impacts characters. Some big names who have starred in episodes are Daniel Kaluuya, Miley Cyrus and Jerome Flynn.
Set in a Parisian talent agency, this fast-paced, character-driven show follows the antics of a few devoted agents who will do anything to keep their high-profile and demanding clients happy.
This delightfully meta show is a self-aware soap opera. It all begins when Jane Gloriana Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) gets accidentally pregnant via artificial insemination, despite being a virgin — and, believe it or not, the twists only get more unbelievable from there. But Jane and the rest of the show’s endearing characters couch the larger-than-life plot in emotional believability. The narrator explains everything with a wink.
In this charming British show, first love becomes last love, too. Two high school sweethearts reconnect after years and two marriages apart. The 70-something paramours’ relatives then have to adjust to the new normal, and being a blended family.
The Tina Fey-created comedy is set at fictional sketch show. The cast and crew mingle and have madcap adventures, producing some memorable one-liners you’re liable to quote. Tina Fey stars as Liz Lemon, the wrangler of TGS with Tracy Jordan who has to manage all of these personalities.
One of the most popular shows on Netflix, “Money Heist” will appeal to people who want extravagant, complicated plots, as well as deep connections between characters. The Professor and his crew make their way into some of Spain’s institutions. Yes, they’re after money (heaps of it) — but they also want to make a point about wealth, inequality, and greedy institutions, a mission that renders them folk heroes.
A show made for the rom-com obsessed, “Lovesick” will give you the friends-to-lovers romance you’ve been yearning for. Upon receiving an STI diagnosis, Dylan (Johnny Flynn) has to contact all his past flings and ex-girlfriends. Meanwhile, as he undergoes this somewhat embarrassing process, he can’t ignore his feelings for his flatmate, Evie (Antonia Thomas).
Lorelei (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) have a special mother-daughter bond — one that’s made complicated when Lorelei lets her own mother back in the picture after years of estrangement. Set in a charming town of Stars Hollow, “Gilmore Girls” is a show marked by warm relationships, fast dialogue, and an enduring fandom.
This long-running AMC show is set in a hostile world where zombies roam and people can’t be trusted. Try not to develop any favorite characters — they might not last long.
In Season One of this time-bending show, Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne) finds herself trapped on the night of her 36th birthday. She ends the day, each time, dying gruesomely — and waking up where she started. Season Two sees her going back in time to untangle her mother and grandmother’s pasts.
Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) were always opposites, until finding themselves in the same situation. Their husbands leave them — for each other. In the wake of this upheaval, Grace and Frankie move in, and find friendship where before there had only been animosity. Keep an eye out for a Dolly Parton appearance, and “9 to 5” reunion, in the last season.
Netflix’s reality show “Selling Sunset” takes place at the Oppenheim Group, a luxury real estate brokerage in L.A. The views of the houses are a draw, but the interpersonal drama takes the spotlight ever time. New agents continue to join the cast, and a potential Season Six might be different if Christine Quinn really left the Oppeneheim Group.
This story will be updated, so check back for the latest TODAY recommendations.
Randi Richardson reports for TODAY Digital and NBC BLK from New York.
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