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.