While the pandemic has devastated wide swaths of the economy, it has been a boon to the streaming service Netflix. With millions spending more time at home working or learning remotely, and with virtually no entertainment options outside the home, Netflix has had a captive audience – though its stock dropped by more than 25% between mid-November 2021 and late January of this year.
Netflix started out selling and renting DVDs by mail in 1997 before evolving into a successful streaming service and expanding into television and film production. In 2013, programs on Netflix were nominated for 14 Emmy Awards and it became the first streaming service to win a Primetime Emmy, for directing, for an episode of the politically themed series “House of Cards.” Since 2013, Netflix programs have been nominated for 619 emmys and won 112. (These are the 100 best TV dramas of all time.)
To determine the 50 best Netflix original series, 24/7 Tempo reviewed audience user ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, as of December 2021. Only English-language series with at least 15,000 user reviews were considered. In the case of a tie, the series with more IMDb user ratings was ranked higher. (Supplemental data on premiere date, season count, episode count, and cast information also came from IMDb.)
The list is rich in variety. You’ll find gripping drug-cartel-themed thrillers such as “Ozark” and “Narcos,” which have run for multiple seasons. Humorous animated programs like “BoJack Horseman” and “Big Mouth” feature the talents of Will Arnett and Nick Kroll, respectively. Offbeat fare is represented by such series as “GLOW,” an acronym for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, about female wrestlers in Los Angeles.
If your taste runs toward black comedy, there is “Dead to Me,” pairing Christina Applegate and Linda Linda Cardellini, and “After Life,” starring British comedian Ricky Gervais. And the crown jewel among the Netflix series is “The Crown,” tracing Queen Elizabeth’s tenure as the British sovereign: It has won 21 Emmys out of 63 nominations. (Here are the best Netflix shows to watch right now.)
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