Squid Game
Photograph: NetflixSquid Game

The 30 best TV series to stream on Netflix right now

From ‘Seinfeld’ to ‘Squid Game,’ these are the binge-worthy shows to stream right now in the UK

Written by: Kate Lloyd

Now that Netflix is essentially a network unto itself, finding the most binge-worthy series is more difficult than ever. Between resurreccted network shows, original series and curiosity piquing imports, it can be hard to find a show worth committing to amid the endless scroll of the world’s biggest streamer.

To give your remote control a break, we’re highlighting 30 shows that represent the best that Netflix has to offer in the UK. You’ll find original series, vintage sitcoms and global phenomena flitting wildly between comedy, horror, drama and true crime. Get ready for a lost weekend: These are the most binge-worthy shows on Netflix UK right now.

The best Netflix TV shows

1. Squid Game

Netflix’s newest – and potentially biggest – hit, this South Korean import is forged at the intersection of Battle Royale and The Running Man, pitting scores of desperate players against one another in extremely deadly variations of children’s games in a bid to win billions. The playground competitions – from a bullet-riddled take on ‘Red Light, Green Light’ to a vertiginous ‘Tug-of-War’ bout – provide shocks and suspense, but it’s the character-driven drama and high stakes that make Squid Game a marvel of deranged storytelling.

2. The Crown

Four seasons in and with a fifth arriving like some kind of opulent carriage in 2022, The Crown has gone from being dismissed as royalty porn with a soapy tang to a show revered and award-winning in equal measure. Its dazzling recreation of Queen Elizabeth's age-old world at the heart of a fast-changing realm feels like it cost $100m to put together, mostly because it did. But it's the pitch-perfect casting, from Claire Foy as the young version of Her Maj to newcomer Emma Corrin as Princess Di, that really makes this show sing. Next up? Imelda Staunton dons the crown.


3. Bojack Horseman

This is a show about a drug-addled '90s sitcom star navigating a comeback in current-day Hollywood. It's also a stark, emotionally draining examination of addiction, depression, guilt, transgenerational trauma, sexual politics and spiritualism that will reduce even the most hardened cynic into a puddle of tears at least three times per season. Oh, and the main character is a talking horse living in an alternate Hollywood – sorry, Hollywoo – full of anthropomorphic beasts and constant sight gags. That's right, perhaps the most emotionally engaging show on television is also a lunatic animated show about talking animals… but hey, you try not to cry when cheery labrador Mr Peanutbutter faces a devastating divorce.

4. Breaking Bad

The lines between good and evil get very blurred indeed in this dark drama series about a chemistry teacher turning into a drug kingpin. Bryan Cranston plays said kingpin Walter White with terrifying intensity, while the transformation of Aaron Paul’s Jesse – from stoned loser to conflicted criminal – is just as terrifying. The show is a clinic in escalation, with jolts of dark humour interspersed to keep the whole affair from plunging too deep into the amoral abyss.


5. Stranger Things

The tale of small-town Goonies embroiled in a bizarre plot involving government spooks, psychic kids and interdimensional monsters is dripping with nostalgia. Nods to John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, Terminator, Red Dawn and John Hughes hit with alarming frequency. But the real reason that audiences felt at home in the Upside Down is its young cast of outsiders, who sell the wonder and terror they face while sprinkling the story with an earnest dose of humour, empathy, awkwardness and gee-whiz energy. The series became a worldwide phenomenon, going on to influence the very things it was riffing on, from It to Ghostbusters. All the while, it's stayed true to its charmingly macabre vision. Season 4 can't come quickly enough

6. Better Call Saul

VInce Gilligan’s Breaking Bad prequel series seemed like a bad idea, focusing as it does on Bob Odenkirk’s comic-relief side character. Yet Better Call Saul manages to carve out its own unique place in the corpse-strewn sandbox of the Arizona desert and emerged with arguably an even better show. The comedy at the heart of the shady lawyer’s tale is prevalent, but Better Call Saul is so much more: a searing legal drama, a tragic character study of good intentions gone sour and a meticulous dissection of Breaking Bad’s own mythmaking. Slow, meticulous and enthralling, it’s also one of TV’s best-acted dramas thanks to devastating performances by Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn and Michael McKean. 


7. Lupin

The preposterously charismatic Omar Sy (Jurassic World) is just one of the good reasons to dig into a breezy Paris-set series that wants you to think it’s a stern-jawed revenge thriller but that’s just having far too much of a good time to carry it off for long. The others? Well, as a showcase for the city’s photogenic charms, it’s pretty unbeatable, from the moment its plot gets underway with a heist at the Louvre. The tangled web of intriguing that connects Sy’s French-Senegalese trickster Assane Diop (a version of the books’ master thief Arsène Lupin) with the rich-as-sin Pellegrini family provides a twisty-turny story arc on which to hang Lupin’s many slick set pieces.

8. The Thick of It

Running from 2005 until 2012, The Thick of It is an iconic satire of modern government and the reign of the spin-doctor. The show follows the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship as they’re watched over by Downing Street’s angry enforcer Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) – a man from whom we can all learn a swear or two.


9. Seinfeld

10. Master of None

If you’re over maudlin sitcoms or slapstick romcoms, Aziz Ansari's Master of None is the perfect antidote. Yes, it’s a show partly about dating, and yes it highlights just how darn complicated that is now we have social media and text message anxiety, but it does it with warmth. Better still, the characters are likeable as they explore their complexes about intimacy and relationships on screen, especially in the recent third season, which shifts focus to Lena Waithe's Denise. It might not be a laugh-a-minute type sitcom, but its humour stems from its acute depictions of dating, and for that it should be essential viewing.


11. Orange is the New Black

While Orange is the New Black is not without its faults, its heart, humour and humanising approach to the American prison system has made it one of Netflix's most compelling shows. Our entry to the prison is Piper Chapman, a spoiled white woman indicted on drug trafficking charges, but it's the other inmates, their stories and personalities that pull you into the goings on at Litchfield Prison. We sure miss it.

12. Making a Murderer

This documentary series tells the story of Steven Avery, who spent 18 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit only to be arrested for another crime he claims he didn't commit either. The show became a phenomenon, spawning a whole library of Netflix true-crime docs (and the satirical American Vandal), but Making a Murderer remains the high-water mark. 


13. Bridgerton

When TV maverick Shonda Rhimes signed a $100 million deal with Netflix, the last thing people expected the Grey’s Anatomy creator to produce was a steamy Regency-era romp based on a series of romance novels. Fast forward a few years and Bridgerton is among Netflix’s most-watched series ever, so what do we know? The show follows the aristocratic Bridgerton family, focusing on eldest daughter Daphne, who is reluctantly entering society for the first time in order to secure herself a husband. There she encounters the rakish Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings, who is determined not to marry. Together the pair hatch a scheme that will ensure his bachelordom remains intact and that Daphne finds a suitable match. Think of it all as sitting somewhere between Pride and Prejudice and Gossip Girl and you get the general idea.

14. Fargo

Noah Hawley’s serialized anthology series may share a name with the Coen Brothers classic, but Fargo smartly foregoes the film’s beloved characters and simply rides its dark, oddball vibes, creating a lived-in world of sinister forces, ink-black humour and extremely thick midwestern accents. The first and third season are good, but the show hits its peak in the second, crafting a sprawling gang war against warring factions that calls back to everything from Miller’s Crossing to The Man Who Wasn’t There and Barton Fink. Part crime drama, part nightmarish horror and part comedy, it’s a series that very much does its own thing while paying respects to the Coen’s madcap worldview. 


15. Dark

Despite its Stranger Things-esque cast of kids and time-travel antics, this nihilistic German time-travel saga is actually more indebted to David Lynch than Steven Spielberg. Merrily kicking off with a series of child murders, the show leaps back and forth in time over the course of three seasons as teens in a small town attempt to thwart a nuclear disaster. Hilariously void of humour and gorgeously shot, the series starts off intriguing, takes a delightfully batty turn in the middle and nearly spins out in the homestretch before miraculously sticking the landing. 

Find films on Netflix

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Feeling overwhelmed or uninspired by the choice on Netflix UK? We’ve all been there. If you can’t decide what to watch, try one of these solid gold winners – and take your pick from hilarious comedy movies, reach-for- the-tissues heartwarmers and Oscar-winning nail-biting dramas.

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