25 Best Netflix Original Shows

October 26, 2017 by Steven M. Peters

Source: Thinkstock
Since its beginnings as a mail-order DVD rental service in 1997, Netflix has evolved into one of the leading producers of television content and has dramatically changed the entertainment industry landscape. The streaming service’s low distribution costs and insight into viewer appetites has allowed it to take creative risks and produce some of the most popular televisions shows today.

Netflix released its first original series in 2013 with “House of Cards.” The company released the full first season in one bulk installment, allowing viewers to watch the entirety of the series in one or two sittings. Following the success of “House of Cards” as well as other early forays into original programming such as “Orange is the New Black” and several stand-up comedy specials, Netflix began to double down on its investment in its own content.

Over the past several years, Netflix has produced a number of successful drama, comedy, action, and animated series, as well as original reality shows, talk shows, and continuations of existing series. In 2017, Netflix received a total of 92 Emmy Award nominations, the most of any network other than HBO. To date, Netflix shows have won a total of 72 Emmy Awards and have been nominated 432 times.

To determine the best Netflix original shows, 24/7 Wall St. created an index ranking based on audience and critic ratings from Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes.

Click here to see the full list of the best Netflix original TV shows.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

25. Castlevania
> IMDb rating: 8.1/10
> Average critic rating: 7.0/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: Richard Armitage, James Callis, Graham McTavish

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

24. Sense8
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> Average critic rating: 6.5/10
> Duration: 2 Seasons
> Actors: Tuppence Middleton, Brian J. Smith, Doona Bae

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Source: Courtesy of Netflix

23. Marvel’s Luke Cage
> IMDb rating: 7.6/10
> Average critic rating: 8.2/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: Mike Colter, Alfre Woodard, Rosario Dawson

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

22. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
> IMDb rating: 7.8/10
> Average critic rating: 7.8/10
> Duration: 3 Seasons
> Actors: Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

21. GLOW
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10
> Average critic rating: 7.6/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

20. Ozark
> IMDb rating: 8.5/10
> Average critic rating: 6.8/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: Jason Bateman, Sofia Hublitz, Laura Linney

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

19. The Fall
> IMDb rating: 8.2/10
> Average critic rating: 7.4/10
> Duration: 3 Seasons
> Actors: Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, Valene Kane

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Source: Courtesy of Netflix

18. Longmire
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> Average critic rating: 7.2/10
> Duration: 5 Seasons
> Actors: Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

17. The Killing
> IMDb rating: 8.2/10
> Average critic rating: 7.5/10
> Duration: 4 Seasons
> Actors: Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

16. A Series of Unfortunate Events
> IMDb rating: 7.9/10
> Average critic rating: 8.2/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

15. The Get Down
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> Average critic rating: 7.2/10
> Duration: 2 Seasons
> Actors: Justice Smith, Shameik Moore, Herizen Guardiola

Source: Courtesy of 13 Reasons Why

14. 13 Reasons Why
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> Average critic rating: 7.3/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Kate Walsh

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Source: Courtesy of Netflix

13. The Last Kingdom
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> Average critic rating: 7.6/10
> Duration: 2 Seasons
> Actors: Alexander Dreymon, Emily Cox, David Dawson

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

12. Marvel’s Jessica Jones
> IMDb rating: 8.2/10
> Average critic rating: 8.2/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: Krysten Ritter, David Tennant, Rachael Taylor

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

11. Orange Is the New Black
> IMDb rating: 8.2/10
> Average critic rating: 8.3/10
> Duration: 5 Seasons
> Actors: Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Laura Prepon

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

10. Narcos
> IMDb rating: 8.9/10
> Average critic rating: 7.0/10
> Duration: 3 Seasons
> Actors: Wagner Moura, Pedro Pascal, Boyd Holbrook

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

9. BoJack Horseman
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> Average critic rating: 8.1/10
> Duration: 4 Seasons
> Actors: Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris

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Source: Courtesy of Netflix

8. Marvel’s Daredevil
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> Average critic rating: 7.7/10
> Duration: 2 Seasons
> Actors: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

7. MINDHUNTER
> IMDb rating: 8.9/10
> Average critic rating: 7.7/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

6. House of Cards
> IMDb rating: 9.0/10
> Average critic rating: 7.7/10
> Duration: 5 Seasons
> Actors: Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Kate Mara

Source: Courtesy of Master of None

5. Master of None
> IMDb rating: 8.3/10
> Average critic rating: 9.0/10
> Duration: 2 Seasons
> Actors: Aziz Ansari, Noël Wells, Eric Wareheim

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

4. Stranger Things
> IMDb rating: 8.9/10
> Average critic rating: 8.0/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard

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Source: Courtesy of Netflix

3. The Crown
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> Average critic rating: 8.7/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: Claire Foy, John Lithgow, Matt Smith

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

2. Making a Murderer
> IMDb rating: 8.7/10
> Average critic rating: 8.7/10
> Duration: 1 Season
> Actors: .

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

1. Arrested Development
> IMDb rating: 8.9/10
> Average critic rating: 8.7/10
> Duration: 4 Seasons
> Actors: Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett

Netflix’s success in original programming has led other streaming platforms to invest in original content. Amazon has produced several successful shows available exclusively on its streaming platform. These shows received 16 Emmy nominations in 2017. Hulu has followed suit, and its original shows received 18 nominations.

Earlier this month, Netflix announced it will spend $8 billion on original programming in 2018, an increase of about $2 billion from this year’s content budget and a major step towards its goal of making its library 50% original content by the end of next year.

As Netflix continues to invest in original content, the list of the best shows on the streaming network is likely to change. Many of the best original shows as of today are recent releases — 25 of the shows on this list premiered this year. Released just two weeks ago, the first season of “Mindhunter” — which many viewers have already in full — currently ranks as the seventh best original Netflix show.

Compared to traditional networks and film studios, Netflix has a number of advantages that allow it to take certain creative risks. While most film studios pay nearly as much in marketing and distribution of their movies as they do on production, Netflix, as a streaming service, can avoid most distribution costs. As a result, Netflix can take greater chances on indie fare that could otherwise be a costly flop to traditional studios. Additionally, Netflix has access to exclusive viewership data, which it does not make public and that gives it a unique insight into what is popular.

That insight may have contributed to Netflix’s decision to finance the renewal of several once-popular shows. After streaming the first three seasons of Fox’s “Arrested Development,” Netflix agreed to license new episodes of the show and distribute them exclusively on its platform. The four seasons of “Arrested Development” currently rank as the best original show on Netflix.

To determine the best Netflix original shows of all time, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on each show’s Rotten Tomatoes’ average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes’ average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database’s average user rating. To be considered, each film needed to have at least 500 Rotten Tomatoes user ratings, 10 approved tomatometer critic reviews, and 10,000 IMDb user ratings.

We averaged the user ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb and weighted the average by the number of votes for each. The combined user rating was then averaged with the Rotten Tomatoes critic rating. Ratings for continuations of shows that were previously broadcast on other networks such as “Arrested Development” are for the entire series, not just the seasons Netflix produced.