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. If you’re looking for upcoming shows, why not check out our guide to what’s coming soon on Netflix?
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.
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 play 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).
Already caught up on The Witcher? Find out everything you need to know on season 2.
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 Arizona, 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 already a worthy rival to the original.
Three seasons in and Stranger Things is already a worldwide phenomenon, and arguably 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 three out and a final fourth series on the way, now’s the time to jump in and catch up if you haven’t yet. And if you’re already a fan, make sure to check out our round-up of all the news ahead of Stranger Things season four.
A show that needs no introduction (though then we wouldn’t have very much to write here…), Sherlock is the BBC’s latest and greatest adaptation of the iconic detective stories.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson, this series, set in the modern day, adapts the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories in some very smart ways, updating them for today’s tech and storytelling sensibilities.
Right now Netflix has all four series, including the Abominable Bride special.
Charting the reign of Queen Elizabeth II – and the general progress of the British crown and nation – across a planned 60 episodes 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 it’s absolute best original shows is the current 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.
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.
When Marvel decided to expand its hugely popular films to the smaller screen, it made the wise decision to partner with Netflix for a handful of them, spinning off four of its characters into their own gritty corner of New York: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
Daredevil was the first to arrive, and its opening season remains among the finest of any of the shows – and certainly much better than the messy crossover series The Defenders.
This is worlds away from the glossy Avengers movies, with death, drugs, and destruction across a dimly lit Hell’s Kitchen, but there are bright spots too.
It’s now been cancelled after three seasons, but it’s definitely still worth watching all the way through. Once you’re done here, move onto Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, which are just as great.
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 fourteen 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.
Star Trek: Discovery
Modern Star Trek has been a bit of a mixed bag, but Discovery is a real winner. Eyebrows were raised when it was announced that the show would be set just a few years before the original Shatner series, and turmoil behind the scenes left us even more worried, but against the odds the end result really works.
The slick style still pays homage to classic designs, while the show itself neatly subverts the form: for the first time the lead character is not the Discovery’s captain, but one of its other officers, allowing the show more flexibility to play with the format and expand its storytelling.
The first season is a little reliant on some twists that you’ll definitely see coming, but season two is some of the best that Trek has ever been. Let’s hope there’s a lot more left to discover.
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 animation 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.
Next in Fashion
One of the reality competitions that requires some serious skill – Next in Fashion pools together small-time designers from across the world to compete in a series of weekly themed challenges.
Typically they have just two days to take an outfit from concept to runway, taking charge of the creation and construction. The winner is the recipient of $250,000, and the chance to host their own line on Net-a-Porter.
Presented by Tan France and Alexa Chung, the show also features appearances from industry icons throughout, judging all the pieces that make it on the runway. It’s completely and utterly extra – but you’ll be hooked.
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 round the world doesn’t hurt either though: this is one of the prettiest series Netflix ever produced.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
Yes, this is a show about tidying up. But we promise, it is really, really good.
Marie Kondo’s Netflix series follows on from her hit books in which she lays out the KonMari method of tidying: to split all your possessions into specific categories, to touch every single one, and to only keep those that ‘spark joy’ when you do so.
To the show’s credit it resists only visiting people with over-the-top hoarding habits, so not only keeps things relatable but also avoids ever laughing at its subjects. Instead this is a surprisingly sweet, and occasionally moving, look at our relationships with our belongings that should help anyone find a little extra space in their life.
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 Thick of It
This classic BBC comedy couldn’t get made any more – not because it’s too risqué, but just because its skewed vision of political life feels a little more mundane in our new post-Trump, post-Brexit world.
That doesn’t get in the way of how consistently brilliant The Thick of It is though, highlighting the hypocrisies and confusions of our political class in a way that feels disconcertingly genuine even at its silliest moments.
Best of all, of course, is Peter Capaldi’s Malcolm Tucker, a character so brilliant his popularity has far outstripped the show itself. The foul-mouthed spin doctor is a presence as terrifying as he is cathartic, both an embodiment of the nastiest side of modern politics and a voice for all of our continual frustrations with it.
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