There’s no way to select just 75 TV shows from a catalog as large as Netflix’s without making someone mad. Even if you start off by eliminating non-theatrical (formerly “made for TV”) movies, one-off comedy specials and others that could reasonably exist under the TV show umbrella, you’re left with an almost impossible array of options. Who’s to say this anime is better than that sitcom, or that melodrama is better than this docuseries?
Still, a 75-item unranked list is no fun — and perhaps not terribly helpful if you too need help sorting through all the streamer has to offer. So we surveyed the eight-member Times TV team about individual picks for the best TV shows on Netflix and compiled the results into this master list. The choices, as you might expect, are sometimes idiosyncratic, possibly controversial and always deeply personal. For us, there’s no other way to talk about TV.
So, without further ado, here’s our anything-but-exhaustive guide to the 75 best TV shows on Netflix, which we’ll be updating regularly as tastes change and titles come and go from the platform. We’re sure it’ll leave everyone dissatisfied in one way or another. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a very good list. —Matt Brennan
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75. Wynonna Earp
2016 | TV-MA | 4 Seasons | LGBTQ TV Shows
Created by Emily Andras
Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), the quippy great-great-granddaughter of the famed lawman Wyatt Earp, returns to her hometown of Purgatory and activates a family curse that tasks her with sending resurrected demons back to hell with her ancestor’s magical gun. Despite her insecurities and aversion to responsibility, she’s loyal to those she loves and knows it’s up to her to save the day. Her support network includes her younger sister Waverly, town sheriff Nicole Haught and gunslinger-turned-vampire Doc Holliday.
This supernatural western, loosely based on a comic book series by Beau Smith, is a show about family and love and embracing who you are meant to be, wrapped in a package that includes whiskey, donuts, steamy romance and creepy monsters. “Wynonna Earp’s” feminist perspective and LGBTQ-inclusive storytelling quickly drew a passionate following of fans known as “Earpers.” It’s a TV fandom known not only for its commitment to the show but also for its collective niceness. (Read more) —Tracy Brown
2020 | TV-MA | 1 Season | TV Dramas
Created by Chris Van Dusen
This charming and addictive series, based on the romance novels of Julia Quinn, is set in the competitive marriage market of Regency London’s high society, where wizened matriarchs present their eligible offspring at an exhausting number of balls, luncheons and parties in a sumptuous pageant of exquisite gowns, sparkly tiaras and silken waistcoats.
But underneath all that finery is the raw desire, lust and treachery you’d expect from a production helmed by creator-showrunner Chris Van Dusen, Shonda Rhimes’ protégé and former producer on both “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
The uptight decorum and prudish manners of the era are reimagined through a modern lens. Historians and Jane Austen purists may take offense, but this well-crafted, escapist drama — where orchestras play covers of Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish hits — is not meant for them.
A powerful gossip columnist known only as Lady Whistledown, voiced by Julie Andrews, narrates the series, though her identity remains a mystery until the season’s closing moments. Central to the game of human chess are the lovely Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and dashing Duke Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page). Daphne is sheltered and naive to the ways of the world, but she is clever when it comes to navigating the perils of high society. (Read more) —Lorraine Ali
73. The Umbrella Academy
2019 | TV-14 | 2 Seasons | Sci-Fi TV
Created by Steve Blackman
“The Umbrella Academy” is a superhero series adapted from the comic book created and written by My Chemical Romance’s frontman Gerard Way, and it stars Elliot Page, Tom Hopper and Mary J. Blige. The sibling rivalries and roller-coaster emotions of the characters play a central role in this not-so-average family drama.
Their narrative starts with a global phenomenon: It’s the 1980s and 43 unrelated women who showed no signs of pregnancy suddenly give birth to infants on the same day. Wealthy inventor and philanthropist Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) adopts seven of these miracle babies, creates the Umbrella Academy and teaches them to hone their powers and become superheroes. Good thing they have a strategic edge. Vanya (Page), a.k.a. No. 7, is the only one without powers — or at least that’s what they all think.
“The Umbrella Academy” stands out among the countless other superhero series splashed across billboards and viewing queues. (Read more) —Lorraine Ali
72. The Haunting of Hill House
2018 | TV-MA | 1 Season | TV Mysteries
Created by Mike Flanagan
“The Haunting of Hill House” is “based on” Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, which is to say it lifts a setting, a couple of characters, several names, selected incidents, odd details and occasional passages of prose from the book and makes something almost entirely different out of them.
Meet the Crains, late 20th century edition. Mom Olivia (Carla Gugino) and dad Hugh (Henry Thomas) have taken temporary possession of an imposing old Massachusetts mansion they intend to restore and flip to become rich. (That this is a ghost story, and a less ambiguous one than Jackson’s, means that just who is in possession of what, or what of whom, will be in question.)
Meet the Crains of today. A quarter-century has passed. (The series hops back and forth in time.) Mom is no longer in the picture; dad (Timothy Hutton) isn’t around much. Steven (Michiel Huisman) has gotten rich writing books about ghostly phenomena, beginning with one about the summer his family spent in what came to be known as “America’s most famous haunted house,” though he has never seen a ghost himself. Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser), having discovered her calling young, is a mortician who has no time for phantoms. She is not happy about Steven’s book.
One senses that creator-director Mike Flanagan felt this material keenly and that he had some things of his own about parents and children and brothers and sisters and life and death he really needed to say, and said them all, literally to the last word. (Read more) —Robert Lloyd
2010 | TV-MA | 3 Seasons | Social Issue TV Dramas
Created by Adam Price
Thrusting an intelligent idealist into a leadership position is a time-honored method of chronicling the corruptive nature of power, particularly the political variety. In recent years, television writers have done a bit of narrative multitasking by making that person a woman — in the U.S. it was “Commander in Chief,” in the U.K., “The Amazing Mrs….
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