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Best Shows to Binge-Watch on Netflix, By Genre

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Here’s something to know about me: I don’t sleep much. I’m a bit of an insomniac, and I blame it on my brain — it never shuts up. No matter how tired I am, I cannot stop thinking. Fortunately, Netflix keeps me company. Between my insomniatic viewing habits and my job as an entertainment/TV writer, I’m forever being asked what the best shows to binge-watch on Netflix are.

For that very purpose, I’ve always kept a handy list saved to my desktop in case I should ever need to update the “shows you should be watching” feature I created for SheKnows or to rattle off some ideas to a friend languishing in a showhole (the emptiness you experience after finishing a series on Netflix and just don’t even know what to do with yourself anymore).

I’ve been thinking of updating it for awhile now, and today’s #NaBloPoMo prompt gave me the perfect excuse. The question posed was: “What fall TV show should just be canceled already?” Well, I racked my brain and didn’t have a good answer for that. Instead, I decided to go in the opposite direction and share watch-worthy shows.

It still kind of works, right? Just think of it this way — if you’re watching a fall TV show and it gets canceled or you lose interest, you could simply refer to this list to find a filler show to entertain you until a new crop comes to network television.

In full disclosure, this list is yuuuuuge. We’re talking 226 titles (and counting). Hopefully my genre categorization will help you hone in on the types of shows you’ll find most interesting. Or, at the very least, help you rule out some you know wouldn’t be your scene. It goes without saying, though, that I’m happy to answer questions about any of the shows listed or offer suggestions for whittling down your watch list based on my own personal favorites. Believe me, I have a few I feel like everyone should watch — which is why I’ve included a “Top 5” for every category.

Without further ado then, I present my curation of the best of Netflix. Oh, for your convenience, I’ve also linked the titles to their page on Netflix for easy access. Happy binge-watching!

Girly (For Lack of a Better Word)

Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, One Tree Hill, Love, Hart of Dixie, Revenge, Pretty Little Liars, Girlfriends Guide to Divorce, Glee, The Carrie Diaries, Lipstick Jungle, Cedar Cove

Top 5: Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, Revenge, Pretty Little Liars

Dramas About Families But Not Necessarily Family-Friendly

Army Wives, Parenthood, Shameless, Bloodline, Weeds, Friday Night Lights, United States of Tara, Heartland, Offspring, When Calls the Heart, Blackstone, Last Tango in Halifax, Doctor Foster

Top 5: Parenthood, Shameless, Bloodline, Weeds, Doctor Foster (new fave!)

Comedy

Raising Hope, How I Met Your Mother, Wilfred, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, New Girl, The League, The Office, Jane the Virgin, Grace & Frankie, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, Chewing Gum, Derek, Haters Back Off, Cristela, Lilyhammer, The Bernie Mac Show, Louie, The Riches, Maron, The Ranch, Easy, Trailer Park Boys, Flaked

Top 5 Older: Raising Hope, HIMYM, The Office, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development
Top 5 Newer: 
New Girl, Jane the Virgin, Grace & Frankie, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Louie

Crime — Light

Bones, How to Get Away with Murder, Orange is the New Black, Graceland, Law & Order: SVU, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Criminal Minds, NCIS, Scream, Blacklist, Republic of Doyle, Person of Interest, Burn Notice, White Collar, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Glades, Crossing Jordan, Leverage, Quantico, Limitless, Vexed, Spotless

Top 5: Bones, Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, OITNB, HTGAWM

Crime — Dark

Rectify, Hinterland, Luther, The Following, The Fall, River, Prison Break, Wentworth, Marcella, The Killing, Broadchurch, Breaking Bad, Bates Motel, Dexter, Slasher, Top of the Lake, Wallander, American Crime, Happy Valley, Longmire, Narcos, Sons of Anarchy, Crossing Lines, Red Road, Paranoid

Top 11 (impossible to narrow it down anymore… this entire category is amazing): Rectify (!), Hinterland, The Following, The Fall, Wentworth (!), Marcella, The Killing, Broadchurch (!), Breaking Bad, Bates Motel, Dexter (!), Paranoid

Medical

Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Nurse Jackie, Royal Pains, Scrubs

Top 5: You’re lookin’ at ’em (above).

Supernatural/Sci-fi/Paranormal

Salem, Haven, The 100Stranger Things, American Horror Story, Zoo, Lost, Supernatural, The X-Files, Black Mirror, The Returned, The 4400, Ghost Whisperer, Charmed, Glitch, Sense 8, The OA (new fave!), The Travelers

Top 5: Salem, The 100, Stranger Things, AHS, The OA

Vampires, Werewolves & Zombies

Bitten, Hemlock Grove, Lost Girl, The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Z Nation, Being Human (US version), Being Human (UK version), iZombie, Helix

Top 5: Bitten, Hemlock Grove, The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, iZombie

Superheroes

Flash, Arrow, Jessica Jones, Once Upon a Time, Gotham, Luke Cage, Supergirl, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

Top 5: Flash, Arrow, Jessica Jones, Once Upon a Time, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Docu

Master of None, Making a Murderer, Planet Earth, The Blue Planet, Fixer Upper, Africa, Human Planet, Frozen Planet, UnBranded, Virunga, Miss Representation, Life, Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons, Monster Fish, Genevieve’s Renovation, Fearless, Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau, 13th, The Siege of Jadotville, The Ivory Game, Into the Inferno

Top 5: Making a Murderer, Planet Earth, Fixer Upper, The Siege of Jadotville, The Ivory Game

Tasty

Cooked, Chef’s Table, Super Size Me, Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, Kids Baking Championship, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, The Great Food Truck Race, Fed Up, The Layover, Cupcake Wars, Food Inc.

Top 5: Chef’s Table, Super Size Me, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, The Great Food Truck Race, Food Inc.

Political/Legal

Scandal, Damages, House of Cards, The Crown, Boss, Drop Dead Diva, Madam Secretary, Better Call Saul

Top 5: Scandal, Damages, House of Cards, The Crown, Madam Secretary

Historical(esque)

Hell on Wheels, Sherlock, Strange Empire, Reign, Peaky Blinders, Marco Polo, Penny Dreadful, Turn, The Last Kingdom, Merlin, Foyle’s War, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, Spartacus, The Tudors, The Borgias, Galavant, Hatfields & McCoys, Ripper Street, Copper, Murdoch Mysteries, Call the Midwife, Madmen, Medici

Top 5: Hell on Wheels, Peaky Blinders, Penny Dreadful, The Last Kingdom, Madmen

Nostalgic

Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twin Peaks, Freaks and Geeks, Quantum Leap, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, The Andy Griffith Show, Cheers, The Munsters, The Twilight Zone, That ‘70s Show, Roseanne, Frasier, Ally McBeal, The Wonder Years, Murder She Wrote, Xena: Warrior Princess, SeaQuest DSV, Jericho, Bill Nye the Science Guy

Top 5: Friends, Quantum Leap, That ’70s Show, Murder She Wrote, Xena: Warrior Princess

Images: Giphy (14)

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