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 a while now, and a #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, Love, Hart of Dixie, Pretty Little Liars, Girlfriends Guide to Divorce, The Carrie Diaries, Queen of the South, Being Mary Jane, Cable Girls, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The L Word, Client List, Sensitive Skin, The Let Down
Top 5: Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, Pretty Little Liars, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, Queen of the South
Dramas About Families But Not Necessarily Family-Friendly
Top 5: Parenthood, Shameless, Bloodline, Weeds, Doctor Foster (new fave!)
New Girl, The Office, Jane the Virgin, Grace & Frankie, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development, Chewing Gum, Derek, Lilyhammer, Maron, The Ranch, Easy, Trailer Park Boys, Flaked, The Good Place, Schitt$ Creek, Santa Clarita Diet, Rules of Engagement, Master of None, Glow, Disjointed, Portlandia
Top 5 Older: The Office, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development, New Girl, Portlandia
Top 5 Newer: Jane the Virgin, Grace & Frankie, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Good Place, Santa Clarita Diet
Crime — Light
Orange is the New Black, Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, NCIS, Blacklist, Republic of Doyle, Person of Interest, White Collar, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Glades, Crossing Jordan, Leverage, Quantico, Limitless, Father Brown, Death in Paradise, Mind Hunter, Breaking Bad, Longmire
Top 5: Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, OITNB, Breaking Bad, Mind Hunter
Crime — Dark
Rectify, Hinterland, Luther, The Following, The Fall, Wentworth, Marcella, The Killing, Broadchurch, Bates Motel, Dexter, Slasher, Top of the Lake, Wallander, American Crime, Happy Valley, Longmire, Narcos, Sons of Anarchy, Crossing Lines, Red Road, Paranoid, The Sinner, Secret City, Seven Seconds, Shooter, Harlan Coben’s Safe, Harlan Coben’s The Five
Top 6 Older: Rectify (!), Broadchurch, The Killing, The Fall, Dexter, Bates Motel
Top 6 Newer: Marcella, Wentworth, Seven Seconds (!), Harlan Coben’s The Five, Harlan Coben’s Safe, The Sinner
Heartland, When Calls the Heart, Lost in Space, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Anne with an E, Beyond Stranger Things, Girl Meets World, One Day at a Time, The Good Witch, The Worst Witch, Liv and Maddie, Alexa & Katie, Bunk’d, Fuller House, Richie Rich, Mako Mermaids, Free Rein, The Who Was? Show,
Top 5: When Calls the Heart, Lost in Space, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Anne with an E, The Worst Witch
Top 5: You’re lookin’ at ’em (above).
Haven, American Horror Story, Zoo, Supernatural, Black Mirror, The Returned, The 4400, Glitch, Sense 8, The OA, The Travelers, Altered Carbon, Crazyhead, Dark Matter, Merlin, Residue, The Mist, Wynonna Earp, The Rain, 3%, Into the Badlands, Once Upon a Time, Ash vs Evil Dead
Top 5: AHS, The OA, Altered Carbon, The Mist, Once Upon a Time, Ash vs Evil Dead (honorable mention!)
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, Van Helsing, Containment, Penny Dreadful
Top 5: Bitten, Hemlock Grove, The Walking Dead, Penny Dreadful, Van Helsing
Top 5: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, Punisher, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones
Reality TV, Y’all
Fixer Upper, Monster Fish, Genevieve’s Renovation, Fearless, Churchill’s Secret Agents: The New Recruits, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Alaska State Troopers, Girls Incarcerated, Queer Eye: More Than a Makeover, Skin Wars
Top 5: Fixer Upper, Monster Fish, Churchill’s Secret Agents, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Queer Eye
Making a Murderer, Planet Earth, Blue Planet, Africa, Frozen Planet, UnBranded, Virunga, Miss Representation, Life, 13th, The Ivory Game, Into the Inferno, American Vandal, Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution, Departures, Evil Genius, The Staircase, The Confession Tapes, Tales By Light, The Keepers, World War II in Color, Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons
Top 5: Making a Murderer, Planet Earth, 13th, The Confession Tapes, The Keepers
Cooked, Chef’s Table, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, The Layover, Cupcake Wars, Food Inc., Rotten, Nailed It, The Great British Baking Show, The Wild Chef, Zumbo’s Just Desserts, Young & Hungry, The Big Family Cooking Showdown, Ugly Delicious, Somebody Feed Phil
Top 7 (couldn’t do just 5): Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Nailed It, The Great British Baking Show, Zumbo’s Just Desserts, Young & Hungry, Ugly Delicious, Somebody Feed Phil
Top 5: Scandal, The Crown, Better Call Saul, The West Wing, How to Get Away with Murder
Hell on Wheels, Sherlock, Strange Empire, Reign, Peaky Blinders, Marco Polo, Turn, The Last Kingdom, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, Spartacus, The Tudors, The Borgias, Galavant, Hatfields & McCoys, Ripper Street, Call the Midwife, Mad Men, Alias Grace, Frontier, Grand Hotel, Marseille, North & South, The Frankenstein Chronicles, Godless
Top 5: Sherlock, Peaky Blinders, Call the Midwife, Alias Grace, Godless (fingers crossed for a second season!)
Friends, Twin Peaks, Freaks and Geeks, Star Trek, The Andy Griffith Show, Cheers, The Twilight Zone, That ‘70s Show, Frasier, Jericho, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Charmed, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return, Party of Five, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, The Dick Van Dyke Show
Top 5: Friends, Charmed, Cheers, That ’70s Show, Frasier
Somewhere Between, Life Sentence, Vexed, Spotless, Rectify (yes this is in two categories… it’s that good), River, About a Boy, Emily Owens M.D., Gypsy, Life Unexpected, Nikita, Reckless, The Mysteries of Laura, Valor, Girlboss
Top 5: Somewhere Between, Life Sentence, Rectify, Gypsy, Girlboss
Friday Night Lights, 90210 (the new years), Glee, Haters Back Off, Scream, Switched at Birth, The Fosters, Atypical, Degrassi: Next Class, Everything Sucks, Greenhouse Academy, On My Block, The End of the F***ing World, Riverdale, 13 Reasons Why, The 100, Stranger Things
Top 5: Scream, Riverdale, 13 Reasons Why, The 100, Stranger Things