The 50 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now

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Netflix adds original programming at such a steady clip that it can be hard to keep up with which of its dramas, comedies and reality shows are must-sees. And that’s not including all the TV series Netflix picks up from broadcast and cable networks. Below is our regularly updated guide to the 50 best shows on Netflix in the United States. Each recommendation comes with a secondary pick, too, for 100 suggestions in all. (Note: Netflix sometimes removes titles without notice.)

We also have lists of the best movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, along with the best TV and movies on Hulu and Disney+.

In this smart and energetic drama, Keri Russell plays a foreign policy expert who lands a surprise appointment to become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom as part of a larger plan to see if she has to stuff to be vice president. Created by Debora Cahn (a writer-producer who worked on “Homeland” and “The West Wing”), “The Diplomat” is concerned with the ways protocol complicates politics; and it features winning performances by Russell and by Rufus Sewell, who plays the new ambassador’s headline-grabbing husband. Our critic called the show “a political thriller laced with romance and written, with some success, in an Aaron Sorkinesque high-comic, high-velocity style.” (The showbiz dramedy “Call My Agent!” is another savvy, fast-paced series about managing powerful people’s egos.)

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Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke play longtime best friends in this heart-tugging melodrama, which tells a sprawling story about the struggle to maintain a tight bond while leading very different lives. Heigl’s Tully Hart is a popular Seattle TV talk-show host who survived a tumultuous childhood. Chalke’s Kate Mularkey grew up as a nerdy kid in a relatively stable home, but she has found her own adulthood as a wife and mother to be naggingly unfulfilling. Based on a Kristin Hannah novel, “Firefly Lane” is set across multiple decades and contains narrative surprises in nearly every episode, frequently presenting conflicting perspective on these two BFFs. (“Dead to Me” is another twisty series about a complicated friendship between two women.)

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It’s rare to find a post-apocalyptic saga as heartwarming as “Sweet Tooth,” the writer-director Jim Mickle’s adaptation of the Jeff Lemire comic book series. Christian Convery plays Gus, a human-animal hybrid who looks like a cross between a deer and a little boy. Traveling with a burly guardian who has his own painful secrets (Nonso Anozie), Gus sets off on a mission to find more of his kind, wandering a near-future America that has been transformed by a pandemic and a wave of mutations. Along the way, these two cross paths with other people trying to fix a damaged world. Our critic wrote, “The show can be brutally dark, and its plague stories are sometimes uncomfortably resonant right now, but it’s also, well, hugely endearing.” (For another imaginative fantasy series, try “The Witcher.”)

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A road-range incident boils over into an epic feud in “Beef,” a darkly comic thriller about how the pressures of modern life can curdle into envy and frustration. Steven Yeun plays Danny, a hard-working, self-employed contractor who has an unpleasant encounter in a parking lot with Amy (Ali Wong), a more successful small business owner who is overwhelmed with personal and professional stress. The two strangers charge into an escalating war of revenge that brings some renewed purpose to their lives, even as it threatens to wreck everything they have. Our critic wrote, “What makes this one of the most invigorating, surprising and insightful debuts of the past year is how personally and culturally specific its study of anger is.” (“The Watcher” is another offbeat mini-series about ordinary people dealing with extraordinary hostility.)

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This popular reality dating series is presented as a unique social experiment, meant to determine if physical attraction is a necessary component of a sturdy relationship. In “Love Is Blind,” couples embark on a series of get-to-know-you outings — blindfolded — until they feel that they care enough about each other to get engaged. The two see each other for the first time after the proposal, after which the show follows them and other newly matched couples in the weeks leading up to their weddings, as they learn how to live together. Our critic wrote, “Watching the series is like playing a surreal version of ‘The Game of Life’: The most basic universal stages of adulthood — or in this case, courtship — are condensed into a convenient quickie narrative for viewers’ consumption.” (The reality competition series “The Mole” also has contestants trying to get a quick read on each other with limited information.)

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One of the most influential animated series of its era, the hyperactive superhero spoof “The Powerpuff Girls” combines elements of Japanese popular culture, American comic books and Bullwinkle cartoons into something so exciting and clever that a lot of animators have been trying to imitate it ever since. A typical episode sees three wide-eyed superpowered kindergartners — Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup — trying to save the city of Townsville from mad scientists or giant monsters. The creator, Craig McCracken, keeps the pace manic and the tone wry, producing something appealing to kids and cool parents alike. Our critic called it “a lighthearted dose of retro-pop and kitsch design with vibrant, bubble-gum colors and anime gimmicks.” (For another fun, cool animated take on science-fiction adventure, watch “Super Giant Robot Brothers.”)

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One of the most influential sitcoms of the 21st century, “Arrested Development” is ostensibly about an entitled and clueless California family that suffers hard times when its patriarch is thrown in jail. But describing the premise alone does not even begin to capture the complexity of a show packed with so many sight gags, puns and double entendres that sometimes jokes set up in one episode do not land until several episodes later. This series gets funnier as its dense story of privilege and presumption gets more tangled. Our critic wrote, “The humor lies in balancing the characters’ loopiness with sly, satisfying digs at the rich.” (“Community” is another classic TV sitcom dense with self-reference.)

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This three-part documentary is partly about the high-profile trial of Alex Murdaugh, the South Carolina attorney who was convicted of the 2021 murder of his wife, Maggie, and his adult son Paul. The directors Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason broaden that story though to include scandals from years earlier — including when Paul crashed a boat after drinking excessively, resulting in the death of a young woman. “Murdaugh Murders” relies heavily on emotionally charged interviews with the many people who have crossed paths with Alex and his kin over the years. They describe a politically connected and frequently reckless family accustomed to getting its way. Our critic called it “an unbeatable crime story.” (“Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey” is another true crime docu-series about the abuse of power in a tight-knit community.)

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Although it is based on a Matthew Quirk novel, this political thriller is identifiably the work of the writer-producer Shawn Ryan, best-known for punchy and mature crime shows like “The Shield” and “The Unit,” which are concerned with both the procedural details of law enforcement and the dangers of unchecked authority. In “The Night Agent,” Gabriel Basso plays Peter Sutherland, an F.B.I. agent who works late at the White House, taking emergency calls from field operatives. He gets pulled into a dangerous investigation when a panicked young woman named Rose (Luciane Buchanan) tips him off that there may be a Russian mole in the executive branch. Our critic wrote, “It strings the viewer along in sufficiently teasing fashion to carry hard-core fans of the genre through.” (For a different kind of action series, try the Israeli thriller “Fauda.”)

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Because Elvis Presley was such a larger-than-life figure, artists across the decades have played with the rock legend’s image, sometimes turning him into a fictional character with roots in mythology and pulp fiction. That is the approach of the adult animated series “Agent Elvis,” in which Elvis (Matthew McConaughey) navigates his late 1960s itinerary of making cheesy movies and playing big concerts while also working with a covert organization to fight hippie-era bad guys. The voice cast includes such very funny folks as Kaitlin Olson, Johnny Knoxville, Niecy Nash, Tom Kenny and Don Cheadle. And while the humor is raunchy, the visual design of the show is snazzy, resembling a hip underground comic book. (Fans of absurdist cartoons aimed at grown-ups should also watch “BoJack Horseman.”)

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In this combination game show and athletic challenge, 100 people — mostly from South Korea, and representing a range of body types and ages — compete against one another in tests of strength, endurance and agility to determine who has the perfect physique. The elaborate sets are impressive to look at; and the contestants are charming and relatable in their mix of confidence and nervousness. But what really makes the series work is that its various “quests” are diverse enough that being muscular or limber alone does not guarantee a win. “Physical 100” pushes the audience to question what “a good body” really means. (For a fictionalized version of an extreme reality competition, watch the addicting Korean thriller “Squid Game.”)

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Based on the best-selling novel by Sarit Yishai-Levi, this domestic melodrama is set in multiple time periods and shows how the region that would become the State of Israel changed in the 1920s and ’30s, as the Ottoman Empire gave way to the British mandate. Swell Ariel Or plays the title character: the pretty and popular Luna, who is the grown daughter of a doting father, Gabriel (Michael Aloni), and a resentful mother, Roza (Hila Saada). While covering the secret romances and internal conflicts of Luna’s family, “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem” also depicts tensions between different ethnic groups, focusing especially on the divisions between the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews. (For a different take on how faith and culture intersect, try “Unorthodox,” an adaptation of a memoir about a woman escaping her strict religious upbringing.)

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Penn Badgley plays a charismatic creep in this romantic thriller series, which drew low ratings in its first season on Lifetime before becoming a phenomenon on Netflix. Based on multiple Caroline Kepnes novels, “You” has Badgley playing a man who takes on multiple identities — in multiple cities — as he first researches and then manipulates the women he obsessively loves. Equal parts gripping and disturbing, the show’s success is due primarily to its being such a well-acted and well-written potboiler — and to the way it taps into the paranoia of the social media age. Our critic called it “one of television’s more addictive treats.” (“The Sinner” is another arty mystery series where the line between the heroes and villains is blurred.)

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For over a decade now, the English comedian Diane Morgan has played a character named Philomena Cunk: a gravely serious television host whose documentaries about culture and history get most of the facts hilariously wrong. The five-part series “Cunk on Earth” — created by the “Black Mirror” mastermind Charlie Brooker — is an excellent introduction to Morgan’s sly, knowing spoof of the stubbornly ill-informed. As Cunk talks with real historians about the evolution of human civilization, her ignorance serves as a biting satire of a certain kind of TV personality, who uses pomposity to mask incuriosity. Our critic wrote, “The show’s comic strategy is simple but relentless.” (Nearly every modern absurdist TV parody owes a debt to the seminal British series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” which is also available on Netflix.)

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Adapted from the writer Robert Kirkman’s long-running comic book series, “The Walking Dead” is a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller that is more about the violent clashes among the surviving humans than about the flesh-eating monsters lurching out of the shadows. The show begins with one desperate man, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), and then, over the course of 11 seasons, it adds dozens of other major characters, some of whom are trying to rebuild a better world and some of whom are just reveling in the chaos. Our critic wrote, “What made the show terrifying in its early seasons wasn’t its gore, but the seemingly certain extinction faced weekly by its small, thrown together band of wanderers.” (“The Sandman” is another horror-fantasy series adapted from a popular comic book.)

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The producers of Netflix’s popular docu-series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” turn their attention to tennis for “Break Point,” which takes a close look at the routines and anxieties of some of the top contenders on the A.T.P. and W.T.A. tours. Each episode focuses primarily on one or two different players as they prepare for and compete in some of tennis’s biggest tournaments. The sport lately has featured a new generation of players with personalities as outsized as their talent, including Ons Jabeur, Taylor Fritz, Nick Kyrgios and Maria Sakkari. “Break Point” takes viewers to their hotel rooms and practice courts, capturing the physical and psychological grind of success. (“Formula 1: Drive to Survive” is also still a must for fans of behind-the-scenes sports drama.)

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The accomplished Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda makes a rare foray into television for this adaptation of an Aiko Koyama manga series about a teenager named Kiyo (Nana Mori), who becomes the cook for a geisha house where her best friend, Sumire (Natsuki Deguchi), is a rising star. Kore-eda produced “The Makanai” and wrote and directed several episodes after doing his own research into modern-day geishas. He has also provided a showcase for some of Japan’s emerging writing and directing talent, who share his career-long interest in exploring Japan’s evolving culture and customs through warmly relatable slice-of-life vignettes. (Another world cinema auteur, Nicolas Winding Refn, is behind a very different Netflix series: the spooky crime thriller “Copenhagen Cowboy.”)

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Like its predecessor “On My Block,” this spinoff series is set in South Central Los Angeles, where a handful of Black and Hispanic teenagers balance some typical high school melodrama with the difficulty of growing up in rough neighborhoods. The new show follows a fresh group of characters — a small circle of friends anchored by two bickering sisters, Gloria (Keyla Monterroso Mejia) and Ines (Bryana Salaz) — who become convinced that their bad luck is due to a witch’s curse. “Freeridge” is split between the goofy comedy of watching these kids attempt a series of arcane exorcism rituals and the more sobering drama of their personal lives, which are marked by conflict and even tragedy. (All four seasons of the original “On My Block” are also still available on Netflix.)

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Easily the most upbeat sitcom ever made about a woman who escaped from an oppressively patriarchal religious cult, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” stars Ellie Kemper as Kimmy, who somehow keeps her youthful enthusiasm when she arrives in New York City after 15 years imprisoned in a bunker. A stellar supporting cast — including Tituss Burgess as Kimmy’s perpetually jobless roommate, Carol Kane as her activist landlord and Jane Krakowski as her overprivileged boss — brings range to this show’s unusually sunny, zingy vision of 2010s New York. Our critic wrote, “The series leavens wacky absurdity with acid wit and is very funny.” (The “Kimmy” creators, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, also produced the equally hilarious but under-seen sitcom “Great News.”)

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The writer, producer and comic actor Mindy Kaling created and stars in this lively sitcom, inspired by her love of romantic comedies and her experiences as an Indian American woman often surrounded by opinionated men. Kaling plays Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a New York OB/GYN who over the course of the show’s six seasons builds her practice while juggling relationships. In an interview with Kaling for The New York Times, David Marchese wrote that she “has helped change Hollywood’s ideas about who’s in charge of making us laugh.” (Kaling is also the creator of the charming teen rom-com “Never Have I Ever,” about a high schooler handling heavy cultural expectations and a complex love triangle.)

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The popular reality competition series “Top Chef” has, from its inception, always included a few scenes in each episode where the contestants unwind from the daily challenges — and sometimes snipe at each other — at the temporary home they share for the duration of the game. “Pressure Cooker” produces more of those uncomfortable exchanges through its unique format, which forgoes the traditional host and judges and instead has the chefs rank one another’s dishes while living together 24/7. The result is a show as much about personality conflicts as it is about food or camaraderie. In a way, it’s a pushback against the recent trend of reality shows in which everyone is always nice to one another. (Fans of intense culinary competitions should also watch “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend.”)

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Based on an Elena Ferrante novel, this spiky Italian mini-series is set in Naples in the 1990s and follows the rebellious adolescent Giovanna (Giordana Marengo). After her upper-class academic father suggests that his misfit daughter is too much like his estranged sister, Giovanna goes looking for her Aunt Vittoria (Valeria Golino), whose bohemian life teaches the youngster a few things about what money can and can’t buy. In an article for The Times about the “The Lying Life of Adults,” Elisabetta Povoledo wrote that it “underscores the slippery social standing of Italian girls, and women, seeking to find a footing in a world where men call the shots.” (The popular Netflix series “Ginny & Georgia” is another rich melodrama about teenagers, parents and the strictures of social class.)

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“Game of Thrones” gets more attention, but “Outlander” has been just as successful at adapting a sprawling book series — and at mixing political intrigue with high fantasy. Based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels about a time traveling 20th century English doctor (Caitriona Balfe) and her romance with an 18th century Scottish rebel (Sam Heughan), the show offers big battles, wilderness adventure and frank sexuality. It has a rare historical scope as well, covering the changing times and factional conflicts in Europe and the Americas, across centuries. Our critic wrote that it should appeal to viewers who “have a weakness for muskets, accents and the occasional roll in the heather.” (Fans of adult fantasy should also watch “Midnight Mass,” a Stephen King-like series about supernatural phenomena in tiny fishing village.)

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Tim Burton joins with the “Smallville” producing team of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar for this spinoff of the long-running pop culture phenomenon “The Addams Family,” which features the elaborate gothic sets and cartoonish style beloved by fans of the franchise’s previous TV shows, movies, stage productions and original cartoons. “Wednesday” stars Jenna Ortega as the Addams family’s stubbornly deadpan, gloom-and-doom-loving teenage daughter, who unflappably handles the stresses of adolescence and the supernatural weirdness happening in and around her high school. Our critic wrote of Ortega’s performance, “She gets at the small core of poignancy that’s there among the soap opera machinations and routine scary-creature battles.” (Fans of teen-friendly fantasy might also enjoy “Fate: The Winx Saga.”)

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This six-part British series takes a unique approach to the nature documentary, zooming out — way, way out — to trace the ways that primal elemental forces have been shaping Earth’s habitats and their inhabitants since the dawn of time. Morgan Freeman narrates “Our Universe,” which despite its name is really about the creatures of our planet, with episodes focusing on cheetahs, bears, turtles and more. Through striking footage and animation, the show’s creative team connects the daily experiences of these animals to the cosmic origins of water, sunlight, nourishment and the like. (“Our Planet” is another visually splendid nature series, equal parts educational and beautiful.)

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This Spanish romantic comedy series begins with a meet-cute mix-up, as a cerebral architect named Bruno (Miki Esparbé) responds to a voice mail message he wasn’t supposed to receive. The result is a memorable night of passion with a buff bartender named Alex (Carlos Cuevas), the kind of guy he rarely dates. Adapted from a Guillem Clua stage play, “Smiley” puts the unlikely couple’s love affair at the center of several interconnected stories about Bruno’s and Alex’s friends and families, who are experiencing their own ups and downs in their relationships. The eight lively episodes play out mostly during the holiday season in beautiful Barcelona. (For another romance with gay themes, watch the moving teen melodrama “Heartstopper.”)

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Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese — the creators of the genre-bending German TV series “Dark” — reteam for “1899,” another science-fiction-tinged mystery. The series begins as a group of travelers of differing nationalities and social classes, all of whom set sail for New York City in hopes of starting new lives at the end of the 19th century. Once they’re at sea, however, the passengers and crew start receiving mysterious messages and experiencing strange phenomena. Through frequent shocks and cliffhangers, Odar and Friese keep the audience guessing, all the way up to the first season finale’s last big surprise. (All three seasons of “Dark” are also still available on Netflix.)

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By the time this sweeping historical drama is done, the writer-producer Peter Morgan intends to have spent 60 episodes covering Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, from coronation to funeral. Claire Foy plays the Queen for the first two seasons, which take place from the late 1940s through the mid-60s. Olivia Colman takes over for Seasons 3 and 4, which begins in 1964 and moves the story into England’s psychedelic, punk and Thatcher eras. Imelda Staunton has the role starting in Season 5, which gets into the royal family’s scandal-plagued years. The A-list cast and the lavish production are the primary selling points of “The Crown,” which our critic called “an orgy of sumptuous scenes and rich performances.” (For another addicting take on British high society, watch “Bridgerton.”)

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Like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” the supernatural action-adventure series “Warrior Nun” has a goofy title, a plucky young female protagonist, and a richly drawn fantasy world that gets more complex from episode to episode. Alba Batista plays Ava, an orphan teen who dies in a Catholic institution after a life of pain and infirmity, but then is resurrected with the aid of an ancient artifact that both gives her superpowers and binds her to a secret demon-fighting organization known as the Order of the Cruciform Sword. While battling evil forces — some of which are originating from inside the church — the heroine tries to balance her responsibilities with her desire to enjoy being strong and healthy. (For another intense show about intricate conspiracies, try “The Umbrella Academy.”)

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Although it’s aimed at children, the animated adventure “The Dragon Prince” has one of the most fully realized fantasy universes of any TV series of recent years. Set in a magic-filled world where humans, elves and dragons warily coexist, the story follows three younger heroes working to bring peace to their land, despite dangerous political machinations and the stirrings of war. There’s a lot of action and plot packed into the first three seasons, which constitute the series’s first arc and culminates in a big battle. Season 4 — subtitled “Mystery of Aaravos” — picks up the saga a few years later and deals with the old bitter struggle between light and dark magic. (Also recommended for youngsters who like animation and fantasy: “Kung Fu Panda: Dragon Knight.”)

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The Oscar-winning director-producer Guillermo del Toro is both the host and the creator of this high-class horror anthology series, which features tales of suspense and the supernatural rooted as much in character and atmosphere as in shocks and gore. An ace team of adventurous directors (including Jennifer Kent, Panos Cosmatos and Ana Lily Amirpour) and quirky actors (including Essie Davis, Crispin Glover and Tim Blake Nelson) tackle original scripts and adaptations of short stories by the likes of H.P. Lovecraft and Henry Kuttner. (For another visionary, auteur-driven anthology series, watch “Love Death & Robots.”)

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Based on Tembi Locke’s memoir of the same name, this mini-series stars Zoe Saldaña as Amy, a lightly fictionalized version of the author: an American who lived abroad in Italy, where she met the love of her life and changed her entire career path. Tembi’s sister, Attica, is the showrunner of the series, which depicts how the heroine’s choices rocked her family back home before an unexpected tragedy helped bring everyone back together. “From Scratch” is a small, personal story that touches on racial and cultural divisions, but it is mostly about the bonds and the passions that make life worth living. (The melodrama “Virgin River” also balances romance, heartbreak, conflict and warmth in another stunningly beautiful location.)

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The Northern Irish playwright Lisa McGee spins some bawdy coming-of-age comedy out of her own experiences of growing up in Londonderry in the early ’90s, during a time of intense sectarian violence between Catholics and Protestants. A cast of very funny young women bring a zany energy to the rapid-fire dialogue and fast-paced stories, which are more about typical teenage high jinks than about bombings and riots. Our critic called the show’s third and final season “a bubblegum-punk document of growing up in a conflict zone, with a feisty, optimistic spirit.” (For a more dramatic take on the turbulent history of the British Isles, watch “Peaky Blinders,” which tracks the changes in the English and Irish criminal underworlds after World War I.)

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The original concept for this wildly unpredictable show involved taking the teenage characters from the kid-friendly Archie Comics line and dropping them into a dark and sexy adult mystery, inspired by film noir, soap operas and “Twin Peaks.” Six seasons later, it’s hard to describe what “Riverdale” has become. The head writer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and his team have introduced serial killers, demonic cults, supernatural oddities, superheroes, time-jumps, alternate realities and musical episodes. Our critic said, “It chucks the comics’ old clichés for a new pastiche, drawn from decades of moody teen dramas, that occasionally adds up to something new.” (For another twisted riff on Archie characters, watch “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”)

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A “30 years later” sequel to the hit 1984 movie “The Karate Kid,” this fan-friendly series — which packs “a surprising emotional punch,” according to Bruce Fretts in The Times — brings back the original’s hero and villain, still played by Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. The story sees them facing off against each other again as mentors to a new generation of karate students. The show has enormous nostalgic appeal, but it is also more complicated than the usual “underdogs versus bullies” story. Instead, “Cobra Kai” gets into the family histories and the socioeconomic circumstances that made these characters who they are. (“Raising Dion” is another family-friendly action-adventure story.)

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A handful of home bakers gathers in a tent in the English countryside, where they make baked goods in front of demanding judges and supportive comedians. The cooking competition show has been done dozens of different ways, but there’s something special about “The Great British Baking Show,” a life-affirming series in which contestants of various ages and socio-ethnic backgrounds hug one another, cry together and enjoy one another’s company. Writing for The Times, Tom Whyman called it “the key to understanding today’s Britain.” (For a similarly heartwarming food and culture show, watch “Somebody Feed Phil.”)

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The stand-up comic Mohammed Amer turns his memories of growing up as a Palestinian refugee in Houston, Tex., into a well-balanced mix of comedy and drama in his series “Mo.” Amer plays the title character: a burly, wry, Muslim American hustler, trying to make a life for himself while staying off the government’s radar because his citizenship status is shaky. The show thoughtfully explores what it’s like for this man to grow up in a country — and to embrace its culture — while often being made to feel unwelcome. Our critic wrote, “The show slides among English, Spanish and Arabic — and between goofy and serious — to create a rich and vivid portrait.” (For another look at the immigrant experience — but in Toronto’s Korean Canadian community — watch “Kim’s Convenience.”)

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This long-running sitcom is similar to hit shows of its era like “Friends” and “Sex and the City” in that it’s also about the professional and romantic highs and lows for an eclectic circle of pals. The key difference? The main characters in “Girlfriends” are all Black women, living in Los Angeles. The group gathers around Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross), an attorney who meddles in her friends’ affairs while often overlooking her own problems. “Girlfriends” offers an alternately funny and soapy look at women who sometimes have to work hard to remain a part of each other’s lives as careers, romance and family keep pulling them apart. (The “Girlfriends” spinoff “The Game” is also available on Netflix.)

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The first three seasons of this Danish political drama first became a favorite of TV connoisseurs back when foreign-language shows were often available only on hard-to-find DVDs and marginal cable channels. Then Netflix made the series more widely available and even more popular, prompting a fourth season, titled “Borgen: Power & Glory.” Throughout its run, this riveting drama has told the story of the pragmatic politician Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen), who tries to maintain her ideals and while dealing with the rivals and the press who criticize her initiatives. Our critic wrote, “It is remarkable how much suspense and psychological drama the show squeezes out of cabinet shuffles and health-care-reform bills in a small Scandinavian nation.” (For an equally addicting political thriller about a different era and country, stream “Babylon Berlin.”)

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In this Emmy-winning crime drama, Jason Bateman plays a shady money manager who moves his family to a Missouri resort community, where they adjust to the culture while finding themselves increasingly beholden to criminals. Bateman is also a producer and a director of “Ozark” and is canny enough to give his co-stars room to shine. Julia Garner is especially strong as a damaged young femme fatale while Laura Linney gives one of the best performances of her career as a wife making impossible choices to keep her loved ones safe. Our critic said, “The show isn’t a tragedy — most of the time, it’s a satirical (though quite violent) culture-clash caper with pretensions.” (For another gritty take on crime cartels, watch “Narcos.”)

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The most obvious point of comparison for this oddball science-fiction dramedy is the movie “Groundhog Day,” given that the first season of “Russian Doll” is also about a character who keeps reliving the same 24 hours. Here, the trapped person is a sad-sack software engineer named Nadia (played by Natasha Lyonne, who also created the show with Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler). On the night of her 36th birthday, Nadia keeps dying and rebooting — like a video game character — and has to figure out what she needs to change about her life to survive. In Season 2 things get even weirder, as time travel enters the mix. Our critic wrote, “This is a show with a big heart, but a nicotine-stained heart that’s been dropped in the gutter and kicked around a few times.” (For another series about alternate realities, watch the anthology “Black Mirror.”)

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The first season of the retro science-fiction series “Stranger Things” arrived with little hype and quickly became a word-of-mouth sensation. Viewers were enchanted by this pastiche of John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and John Hughes, all scored to ’80s pop. Subsequent seasons have upped the scale of this story of geeky Indiana teenagers fighting off an invasion of extra-dimensional creatures from “the Upside-Down,” while maintaining the focus on likable characters in a familiar milieu. The show has the look and feel of a big summer blockbuster from 30 years ago — “a tasty trip back to that decade and the art of eeriness,” our critic noted, but “without excess.” (If you prefer ’90s teen nostalgia, try “Everything Sucks.”)

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The “Breaking Bad” prequel series, “Better Call Saul,” covers the early days of the can-do lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) as he evolves into the ethically challenged criminal attorney “Saul Goodman.” Jimmy occasionally crosses paths with another “Breaking Bad” regular, the ex-cop Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), during Mike’s first forays into the Albuquerque drug-trafficking business. Throughout this incredibly entertaining crime story, these two very different men discover the rewards and the perils of skirting the law as they anger powerful enemies and make trouble for their own allies. Our critic wrote, “Cutting against the desperation and violence that frame it, ‘Saul,’ in its dark, straight-faced way, is one of the funniest dramas on television.” (Also a must-see? “Breaking Bad,” of course.)

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“Seinfeld” is often referred to by its co-creators, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, as “a show about nothing,” but that is only partly true. Ostensibly about a self-absorbed stand-up comic (Seinfeld) and his cranky friends, the series became one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1990s thanks to its impressively intricate plots, featuring intertwining story lines that convert the minor annoyances of everyday life into a source of complicated and absurd adventures, rewarding to watch and rewatch. Reviewing the early episodes, our critic praised Seinfield himself, saying he is “fascinated with minute details and he collects them with a keen sense of discernment.” (For another landmark show created by a stand-up comedian, watch the sketch comedy series “Chappelle’s Show.”)

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The former “Saturday Night Live” and “Detroiters” writer and performer Tim Robinson created (with Zach Kanin) this fast-paced and funny sketch series, which is steeped in the comedy of obnoxiousness. Nearly every segment is about how people react when someone in their immediate vicinity behaves rudely or strangely. The show is both a sharp depiction of how social mores sometimes fail us and — through two seasons now — a reliable generator of viral memes. Our critic wrote that Robinson “channels a recognizable brand of Midwestern ticked-off-ness: a freak-out that bursts through his mild exterior like a volcano erupting out of a lake of mayonnaise.” (For another comedy about hellish human behavior, watch “The Good Place.”)

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This lacerating social satire loosely adapts the 2014 film by Justin Simien about a group of African American students managing microaggressions and intra-racial infighting at a mostly white Ivy League university. The show addresses modern collegiate controversies using character-driven, episodic storytelling and a sharp sense of humor; over the course of its run it becomes more daring, culminating in a final season that employs flash-forwards and musical interludes. Our critic wrote that “Dear White People” “keeps the movie’s essence but recognizes that TV is not just the movies with smaller screens and longer run times.” (For another look at contemporary Black culture, watch Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It.”)

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Based on a book by the culinary historian Jessica B. Harris, this docu-series connects African recipes to American recipes, by way of the experiences of slaves and their descendants. Hosted by Stephen Satterfield, “High on the Hog” is both a vibrant travelogue and a valuable education, going in-depth into the reasons ingredients like rice, ham, okra and yams have become staples. In an essay for the Times, the James Beard award-winning food writer Osayi Endolyn called the series “an incredible reframing of history that reintroduces the United States to viewers through the lens of Black people’s food — which is to say, American food.” (For another globe-hopping culinary docu-series, watch “Salt Fat Acid Heat,” hosted by Samin Nosrat.)

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Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir about serving time in a minimum security women’s prison, “Orange Is the New Black” is a remarkable showcase for its eclectic cast, depicting a wide spectrum of social classes and sexual orientations. The series was created by Jenji Kohan, who, as our critic wrote, “plays with our expectations by taking milieus usually associated with violence and heavy drama — drug dealing, prison life — and making them the subjects of lightly satirical dramedy.” (For another lively dramedy about feisty women, watch “GLOW,” about the 1980s rise of pro wrestling.)

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This spoof of the Latin American soap operas known as telenovelas also wholeheartedly embraces their schtick. “Jane the Virgin” starts as the story of an aspiring writer who is accidentally impregnated through an artificial insemination mix-up. The show then gets wilder, with at least one crazy plot twist per episode — all described with breathless excitement by an omnipresent, self-aware narrator. Our critic called it “delicious and dizzyingly arch.” It’s also emotionally affecting, featuring a nuanced portrait of three generations of Venezuelan-American women in Miami. (For another wild mix of heart-tugging melodrama and wacky comedy, try the musical series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”)

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As a producer and director, Ava DuVernay has tackled the Civil Rights Movement, in her Oscar-nominated film “Selma,” and racial bias in the American criminal justice system, in her Emmy-winning documentary “13TH.” In her four-part mini-series “When They See Us,” she dramatizes the story of the Central Park Five, who were convicted of raping and almost killing a jogger in New York City in 1989, then exonerated in 2002. Salamishah Tillet wrote that the Five “emerge as the heroes of their own story — and if we pay heed to the series’s urgent message about criminal justice reform, ours too.” (For another politically pointed true-crime drama stream “Unbelievable,” which examines gender bias in policing)

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