If you’re tired of scrolling through the seemingly endless list of shows on Netflix to figure out what to watch, you’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve done the hard work for you and found the best series available right now on the streaming platform in the UK. If you fancy watching a movie, see the best movies on Netflix UK instead.
Note that the shows – and films – on offer on Netflix UK may differ from the selection available to US subscribers, but you can still watch US Netflix from the UK.
Assuming you’re sticking with the UK edition, there are scores of TV shows to choose from. We’ve taken the hard work out of deciding to watch, so sit back and work your way through our choice of the best TV shows on Netflix in the UK.
All information is correct at time of writing, but the availability of these shows is subject to change as Netflix adds and removes shows regularly. You can also check out who the Mole is on Netflix’s popular reality series.
Netflix has a plethora of K-Dramas in its library, but the one that has taken the world by storm is Squid Game.
Citizens of Korea who are struggling financially are recruited into a game with a huge cash prize. The tasks are simple enough – children’s games that most players are familiar with. However, the consequences of losing are far greater than expected.
This is a gory, heart-wrenching and thrilling experience, and arguably one of the best things Netflix has produced in years.
With sprawling timelines, kickass action sequences and a whole lot of lore, The Witcher is shaking up the fantasy genre and is the perfect fulfiller to the Game of Thrones shaped hole that’s in our lives.
Henry Cavill is born to play Geralt of Rivia, a mutated monster hunter who traverses across the kingdom on numerous quests, making friends and foes alike along the way.
You don’t necessarily need to have read the books or played the games to follow this series, but it certainly will enhance the experience. And who knows? Perhaps after binging this, you may catch the bug for The Witcher series (we know we have).
Meet your new favourite animated comedy about a depressed actor in the twilight of his career, crippled by alcoholism and self-destructive tendencies, who also just so happens to be a horse.
This bleak animation hides its dark side under cutesy animation and a taste for silly animal puns, but make no mistake: this is not an upbeat show. Lead character BoJack (Will Arnett) is a former sitcom star trying to keep his career (and personal relationships) afloat while battling his worst enemy: himself.
BoJack Horseman veers between sharp satire of the inner workings of Hollywood, incessantly silly in-jokes, and surprisingly touching, genuine commentary on mental health and addiction.
Speaking of addiction, next up is Breaking Bad, arguably the best TV show ever made about drugs and the dark industry around them.
Bryan Cranston was almost unrecognisable when he first appeared as chemistry teacher turned drug dealer Walter White, but the show has made his name as a dramatic actor following his early comedic career.
Sprawling and operatic, across its five seasons Breaking Bad charts Walt’s descent into the criminal underworld of Albuquerque, New Mexico, along with the relationships he makes (and breaks) along the way. It’s pioneering, groundbreaking TV, unafraid to take massive creative risks.
Oh, and if you make it to the end, be sure to check out Better Call Saul, the prequel spin-off that’s a worthy rival to the original.
Four seasons in and Stranger Things is already a worldwide phenomenon, and arguably one of the most successful original series Netflix has ever made.
Set in the ’80s and taking obvious homage from that decades biggest horror and sci-fi hit, the show follows a group of young friends in Hawkins, Indiana who stumble across a mystery that involves a secret government lab, a strange young girl, and a terrifying monster from a world known only as the Upside Down.
With season four out and a final fifth season on the way, now’s the time to jump in and catch up if you haven’t yet.
Charting the reign of Queen Elizabeth II – and the general progress of the British crown and nation – across a planned six seasons of prestige drama, The Crown is exactly the sort of heritage telly that sells well in Dullsville, Wyoming. But if you can’t bear period drama or monarchy stuff, please don’t be put off.
Yes, it’s consummately crafted, and the outfits look great, and everyone talks proper. But it’s also exciting and sad and occasionally sexy and generally extremely grown up. And more than the costumes and the ceremonies, this is a show about self-sacrifice: the need to subsume your own personality, and the wishes of the people you love, within something larger.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness
Netflix doesn’t just make fiction, and one of its most wild original shows is the hit documentary series, Tiger King.
The show centres around the eccentric big-cat collector Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, and all the weird connections that surround him. From his bizarrely loyal staff to his nemesis Carole Baskin and the crime underworld woven throughout, this show just gets more and more unbelievable and shocking as the episodes go on.
It’s true crime combined with issues on animal welfare – and unlike anything else you’ve seen before.
Sex Education is a frank and refreshing coming-of-age show that discusses the unexplored and often taboo subject of sex and identity amongst young adults in high school.
With many parents and teachers determined to keep their children on the straight and narrow, Sex Education is a celebration of reclaiming yourself and being proud of your insecurities. However, be prepared to cringe… a lot.
After launching on Channel 4 way back when, Black Mirror has only expanded with its move to Netflix, bringing with it bigger stars, crazier stories, and twice as many episodes each season.
Unfailingly dark, this series from British writer Charlie Brooker looks at the future through the lens of modern technology, each time imagining the worst possible direction a current technological trend could go in, usually to crushing effect.
It’s an anthology series, which means there’s no over-arching plot to follow, and you can dip in and out of seasons as you please. That also means the quality can be up and down, but the show’s finest moments are more than the worth the time it takes to find them.
The fifth season is now out, but keep an eye on our Black Mirror news round-up for the latest news on more from the show.
Arcane is based on the video game League of Legends, but rest assured that both fans of the title and those who don’t know it will still love the complex characters, high-actions sequences and the sprawling, immersive world.
The show follows the origins of two League champions and the power imbalance between the utopia of Piltover and and the struggling underground of Zaun.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Imagine Friends. But all the friends are the alcoholic owners of a Philadelphia bar. And also the worst people in the world. And also one of them is Danny DeVito. That’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Now fifteen seasons in (!) the show has never lapsed in quality, all the way skewering the American Dream through its ragtag group of absolute nightmares, perpetually looking out for number one no matter the cost.
The show puts its stars through the absolute ringer, but somehow they almost always deserve it, and serves as absolute proof that as long as your writing is sharp enough, your characters being ‘unlikeable’ needn’t get in the way of anything.
Few people predicted that when Netflix revived ’90s reality TV classic Queer Eye for the Straight Guy it would become not only a global hit, but also a champion for progressiveness and diversity – not just in orientation, but in gender identity, race, body shape, and more.
The modern Queer Eye no longer only visits straight guys – instead women, men, trans, and non-binary people are all fair game, whether they’re straight, gay, or anything else.
The message throughout is one of acceptance – of each other and ourselves – but heartwarming as it is, there’s also style, charm, comedy, and some genuinely good advice to boot.
Before the Russo Brothers directed the blockbuster MCU films, they were best known for the 2000’s sitcom hit, Arrested Development.
The show follows the extremely dysfunctional Bluth family, who were once at the height of real estate in Orange County, California. But when the business goes bust, the family encounter numerous problems of a bizarre nature.
Michael Bluth is the only seemingly sane member of the family. His father is in prison, his mother and sister are spoilt beyond belief, his brothers are a man-child and mad magician respectively, as his son is in love with his cousin. One of the best bits about it is that every episode sets up a joke that is paid off later on in the show.
The Good Place
The Good Place is the Lost of comedy. That might sound like an odd comparison, but it holds up: this is plot-driven, filled with twists and turns, constantly reinvents its own storytelling structure, and is all about the afterlife.
Kristen Bell is Eleanor, who wakes up one day to find herself in Heaven – aka The Good Place. The only problem is, she knows full well that she doesn’t belong there – she’s many things, but good is not one of them.
As the show explores its own bizarre conception of life after death it tackles love, religion, and philosophy – the latter with genuine skill, not just name-dropping philosophical figures but actually bringing their theories into the show in a way that’s actually faintly educational, and constantly hilarious.
Videogame adaptations are, as a rule, pretty terrible. Castlevania is an exception.
This animated series started small before expanding in its second season, exploring the strange take on the Dracula mythology introduced in the classic Konami game series.
It’s dark, violent, and gory, but there’s also more to it than that. It’s thoughtful, with fleshed-out characters and a deep world, bolstered by some of the most beautiful animations we’ve seen on the small screen in years.
Whether you’re a fan of the games or not, this horror-fantasy series is well worth a watch.
This oddbeat action show from The Wachowskis (of The Matrix fame) is typically high concept: eight strangers from around the globe discover that they are in fact psychically connected, able to communicate with each other, share sensations, and even jump into each other’s bodies.
What follows is part sci-fi thriller, with classic tropes around evolution and evil corporations, and part soap opera, delving into each of the leads’ disparate personal lives.
What stands above it all is a massive commitment to diversity – ethnic, cultural, sexual, and more – which is part of what keeps the show touching and thoughtful even when the story gets occasionally ropy. The fact that it was shot on location all around the world doesn’t hurt either though: this is one of the prettiest series Netflix ever produced.
The Queen’s Gambit
If a series about the game of chess doesn’t get you excited, don’t worry, as The Queen’s Gambit is not a series of strategy tutorials, although it does credit Garry Kasparov as an adviser.
In fact, it’s a blistering coming of age drama full of booze and pills and sixties fashion. It’s like Mad Men with nerds, and a star even sexier than Don Draper.
It’s based on the novel by Walter Trevis, who also wrote sporty pool thrillers The Hustler and The Color of Money, as well as the more mystical The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Anya Taylor-Joy plays troubled orphan Beth Harmon, who becomes a child chess prodigy disrupting the sexist and previously stuffy world of international chess from the late 50s through to the late 60s, while battling her own addictions.
It’s smart, funny and historically accurate in the same way that Mad Men fashionably portrayed the world of 60s and 70s advertising. Check mate.
The Spectacular Spider-Man
There are many animated Spider-Man series out there (the majority of which are over on Disney+). However, the one that beats them all is The Spectacular Spider-Man, which has a compelling over-arching narrative, a charming version of Peter Parker and fun twists on the comic origin stories.
Peter Parker feels like Tom Holland’s Spider-Man (ironic, considering that this series pre-dates the character’s first MCU appearance), whilst some of Peter’s closest friends – Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy – both play pivotal parts in the superhero’s life.
Every episode there’s a new villain for Peter to challenge, and the plot will leave you guessing until the very end. It’s just a shame that there isn’t more of this show, because it is darn good.
Over the last few years Netflix has been busy amassing a great library of original content, but it’s not all in English. Dark is one of the best non-English shows on the platform: a sinister German sci-fi series that has interest way beyond early comparisons to Stranger Things.
It’s the teen cast and (partial) ’80s setting that led to those nods, along with a plot involving the disappearance of a young boy, but Dark is its own beast entirely. The sprawling time travel series drops into multiple generations of the small German town of Winden, and if there’s a fault it’s that it takes a lot of work to keep up with the web of different relationships at play here.
It’s worth the effort though – this is mysterious and moody, but clever enough to get away with a touch of melodrama. Season two is now out, followed by a third and final series – a reassuring sense of finality that suggests the writers know exactly where this is all going.
The Bold Type
Netflix UK has acquired the rights to The Bold Type, a comedy-drama series about three young women who are finding both their feet and voices at a top glossy magazine called Scarlet.
The show is produced by the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, and it’s not afraid to comment on relevant social issues and showcase how female empowerment can take many different forms – from exploring your sexuality, to examining your privilege, to challenging yourself in your career and much more.
If you’re looking for a show that you can simply switch off to with a glass of wine and a slice of pizza that’s not your fiftieth re-watch of Friends (I’m guilty), then this is it.