25 Netflix Series That Are Essential Viewing

25 Netflix Series That Are Essential Viewing

Can you remember a time before Netflix? When you had to sit through 10 ad breaks, check a weekly TV guide or pay for a VPN to access half of your favourite shows?

They were definitely not the best of times but now we have Netflix in Australia and with it, a whole world of opportunity.

Netflix has brought us some absolutely stellar series and the streaming platform is now pumping out so much content it’s almost too hard to know where to start. To help you on your journey, we’ve compiled a list of the top Netflix series you need to watch at least once.

Top Netflix drama series

Anatomy of a Scandal

top netflix series anatomy of a scandal
Anatomy of a Scandal – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

If you love political dramas then Anatomy of a Scandal was made for you. The series follows the wife of a high ranking British MP whose life begins to unravel after her husband’s secrets come to light and he is accused of a terrible crime.

This one is the top TV series in the world right now on Netflix with over 75 million hours viewed. That many people can’t be wrong, right?

Watch it here.

Ozark

Ozark season 4
Ozark – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

Ozark is a dark Breaking Bad style drama you will absolutely get addicted to.

Jason Bateman stars as a financial planner who relocates his family to a summer resort community and has to launder $500 million over five years to please his drug lord boss.

The fourth and final chapter of Ozark is dropping in 2022 so you have plenty of time to catch up before the series ends.

Watch it here.

Heartstopper

heartstopper netflix
Heartstopper – Top Netlix Series (Image: Netflix)

It’s hard to find a more wholesome teen romance than Heartstopper, particularly one that also happens to be queer. The series, based on the web comic of the same name, follows the burgeoning romance between high schoolers Charlie and Nick who learn that their friendship is becoming something more.

Heartstopper is a whirlwind eight episodes of young LGBTQ+ love that you won’t regret watching.

Watch it here.

Behind Her Eyes

behind her eyes netflix
Behind Her Eyes – Top Netflix Series. (Image: Netflix)

The British supernatural psychological series Behind Her Eyes took Netflix by storm when it was released.

The show follows a single mother as she begins an affair with her psychiatrist boss and befriends his mysterious wife. It’s a love triangle with a heavy dose of mind games which you just cannot look away from.

Starring Simona Brown, Eve Hewson and Tom Bateman, Behind Her Eyes is based on the best-selling book of the same name. You can catch all six episodes of the show on Netflix now.

Watch it here.

Queen of the South

queen of the south
Queen of the South – Top Netflix Series. (Image: Netflix)

Another top Netflix series based on a bestselling book, Queen of the South recently finished its fifth and final season.

After a cartel kills her boyfriend, Teresa Mendoza is forced to flee her home in Mexico. She crosses the border into the US and vows to avenge her boyfriend’s death and bring down the leader of the drug trafficking ring.

All five seasons of Queen of the South are streaming now.

Watch it here.

The Queen’s Gambit

queens gambit netflix
The Queen’s Gambit – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

Who knew a game of chess could be so interesting? But The Queen’s Gambit makes it so.

The miniseries follows the life of an orphan chess prodigy that takes on the world’s most elite chess players. The series is a poignant look at the struggles of addiction and the prejudices facing a woman in a male-dominated field in the ’50s and ’60s.

The Queen’s Gambit is raking in awards nominations right now for Best Limited Series and high praise for Anja Taylor-Joy as the literal chess queen, Elizabeth Harmon.

Watch it here.

Bridgerton

sexy Bridgerton
Bridgerton – Top Netflix Series (Credit: Netflix)

The regency era period drama of Bridgerton took over the internet when it launched in late 2020.

The tale of wealth, lust and power hooked fans in as the eight Bridgerton siblings seek love in London’s high society. Produced by Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy), Bridgerton made waves for its progressive and diverse portrayals of an era that was anything but.

You can catch up on all of season one of Bridgerton on Netflix right now. If you’ve already done that sit tight because a second season is on the way.

Watch it here.

Squid Game

squid game what to watch on netflix
Squid Game – Top Netflix Series. (Image: Netflix)

Now that Squid Game is the most viewed Netflix series of all time it should come as no surprise that the show has made its way to this list.

The violent Korean drama pits hundreds of contestants against each other in a series of children’s games with a deadly twist, all for the chance at a huge cash prize.

Squid Game will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish and you’ll soon realise why it’s taken out the top spot on Netflix.

Watch it here.

Maid

Maid – Top Netflix Series. (Image: Netflix)

Maid is a dark yet gripping look at single parenting and living in poverty.

It follows Alex, a single mother who turns to house cleaning to make money as she escapes an abusive relationship and tries to make a better life for her daughter. The series stars Margaret Wualley, Andie MacDowell and Nick Robinson.

Watch it here.

Money Heist

money heist netflix what to watch
Money Heist – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

This Spanish-language thriller is all about, you guessed it, a money heist which is orchestrated by a mysterious mastermind and his band of thieves.

The fifth season of Money Heist was the final one for the series, finally answering the question: will the group pull off their ambitious plan?

Watch it here.

The Serpent

the serpent netflix
The Serpent – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

If you’re partial to a true-crime drama with a sinister serial killer, look no further than The Serpent.

Inspired by true events, The Serpent follows notorious murderer and conman Charles Sobhraj as he and his girlfriend travel Asia in the 70s committing a spree. of crimes on the ‘Hippie Trail’.

Watch it here.

You

You Netflix relationship counselling main
You – Top Netflix Series (Photo: Netflix)

A charming awkward bookstore owner becomes dangerously obsessed with a new love interest and uses social media and other means to become as close to her as possible. And that’s just the start of the wild ride that is Netflix’s You.

If you’re up for a dark psychological thriller that pushes the boundaries of normal social conventions, You is your show.

Watch it here.

Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders season 6
Peaky Blinders season 6. Best shows on Netflix. Image: BBC/Netflix

Tommy Shelby and the Peaky Blinders run into all kinds of trouble as they navigate life as a crew of gangsters based in Birmingham. Starring Cillian Murphy in the leading role, this is a show made for folks who have obsessed over shows like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad in the past.

Watch it here.


Top Netflix comedy series

Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai on Netflix
Image: YouTube

You may know the story of the Karate Kid, but Cobra Kai tells the other half of that story.

Set 34 years after the events of the original film Cobra Kai brings back Ralph Macchio and William Zabka as their iconic characters who reignite their rivalry when Johnny Lawrence decides to reopen the Cobra Kai karate dojo.

Four seasons in and the Netflix series is a total favourite among Karate Kid fans both old and new.

Watch it here.

Sex Education

sex education netflix september streaming services
Sex Education – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

There hasn’t been a better teen drama out of Netflix than Sex Education.

On the surface, the show follows Otis, a socially awkward high school student, who becomes the school’s resident sex expert thanks to the advice he garners from his sex therapist mother.

But underneath that, Sex Education is so much more thanks to its diverse and accurate depictions of teenage sexuality. This show doesn’t shy away from awkward topics and it’s literally the sex education we all could’ve used in high school.

Sex Education has already been renewed for season 4 and you can catch up on the other three seasons on Netflix now.

Watch it here.

Russian Doll

Russian Doll – Top Netflix Series. (Image: Netflix)

We’re all familiar with the concept of Groundhog Day but Netflix’s top comedy-drama series Russian Doll really gives it new meaning.

When Nadia Vulvokov gets stuck in a time loop of repeatedly dying on the same night, she sets out to solve the mystery and meets someone who is experiencing the exact same thing.

Brought to you by Natasha Lyonne (Orange Is the New Black), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) and Leslye Headland (Sleeping With Other People), Russian Doll is the perfect comedy, sci-fi, mystery hit that you can finish in under a day.

Watch it here.

Emily in Paris

Emily in Paris – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

Can you get through life without binging Emily in Paris? Yes, however, it is one of Netflix’s most popular shows and has even earned itself a Golden Globe award so why not see what all the fuss is about?

The story follows Emily, a marketing executive from Chicago, who is hired by a firm in Paris to provide a new perspective. It’s returning for more seasons, too.

Watch it here.

Big Mouth

Big Mouth. Best Netflix series.

Big Mouth is the crudest, funniest, most accurate animated series there is about kids going through puberty. It is, quite frankly, disgusting as hell. But it’ll also have you snort-laughing at the antics of these tweens.

Created by Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, there are five ridiculous seasons of this show so far and they’re all worth your attention.

Watch Big Mouth here.


Top Netflix Sci-Fi and Fantasy Series

Stranger Things

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Stranger Things – Top Netflix Series. (Image: Netflix)

Stranger Things is hands down one of the best sci-fi shows on Netflix. It blends a nostalgic ’80s small-town mystery with the terrifying sci-fi creatures of your nightmares and original characters you can’t help but love.

Season one starts with the disappearance of Will Byers but slowly unravels into a global conspiracy as his friends investigate and uncover shady government secrets far bigger than their small Indiana town.

Stranger Things is currently filming its fourth season so you can catch up on the other seasons now without fear of an unresolved cliffhanger.

Watch it here.

The Witcher

the witcher netflix
The Witcher – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

The Witcher has been successful in both the book, video game and now TV series forms.

Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) is a Witcher, a shunned magically enhanced human, who slays monsters for a living. After roaming the continent for years killing beasts, Geralt gets wrapped up in the wars between kingdoms and becomes linked by destiny to Princess Ciri of Cintra.

The Witcher is a rollicking ride for fans of fantasy, the supernatural and horror. The first two seasons are available now with a third one on the way.

Watch it here.

Shadow and Bone

shadow and bone netflix streaming april
Shadow and Bone – Top Netflix Series. Image: Netflix (Supplied)

You can’t deny that young adult fantasy books make for good watching and Shadow and Bone was long overdue for an adaptation.

Finally, Netflix took the initiative and brought us the stunning Shadow and Bone series, which perfectly blends two series of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse books. Both fans of the novels and newcomers will find something to love in Shadow and Bone’s epic fantasy tale, so what are you waiting for?

Watch it here.

The Umbrella Academy

umbrella academy netfix
The Umbrella Academy – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

A family of estranged superheroes reunite after their father’s death and uncover the shocking secrets that make up their history. The Umbrella Academy is a strange ride from start to finish and it encapsulates everything from time travel, to crazy cults, to dance parties.

You’ll fall in love with this cast of characters played by an all-star cast including Elliot Page, Aidan Gallagher, Robert Sheehan and Tom Hopper.

Season 3 of the Umbrella Academy is hopefully, finally coming out later this year but you can check out seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix in the meantime.

Watch it here.

Sweet Tooth

sweet tooth netflix
Sweet Tooth – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

Adapted from the popular DC comic, Sweet Tooth is set in a post-apocalyptic world where hybrid human and animal babies have emerged.

One of these such hybrids is Gus, a nine-year-old who searches for a new beginning after his father’s death with the help of a gruff protector.

Watch it here.


Best reality series

Too Hot To Handle

too hot to handle
Too Hot To Handle – Top Netflix Series (Image: Netflix)

Netflix’s library covers a huge range of genres, and that includes reality TV.

The dating series Too Hot To Handle puts forward a new concept where a bunch of hot singles are stuck together on an island and must abstain from sex if they want a shot at a $100,000 prize.

It may sound like a simple sacrifice for a huge chunk of cash, but not for these people. Season 2 of Too Hot To Handle recently dropped on Netflix so get amongst it.

Watch it here.

Love is Blind

Best reality TV shows on Netflix. Love is Blind.

The synopsis for this series reads: “Singles try to find a match and fall in love — without ever seeing each other face-to-face, as emotional connection attempts to conquer physical attraction.”

This combination of factors results in some of the most drama-filled and romantic (?) reality TV watching you could ask for. We’ve got a number of seasons now in a handful of international cities – the only question remaining is when is it coming to Aus?

Watch it here.


Did you find your next binge-watch obsession on this list? If the answer is yes then you can find all these epic series over on Netflix right now.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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