Over the last few years, Netflix has spent billions of dollars to put itself at the forefront of the media streaming business. It has done so by building an extensive catalog of movies, series, and TV shows that would cater to the preference of any of the service’s subscribers around the world. The streaming service has further put more emphasis on producing in-house content, known as Netflix Original.
While the service struggled initially to produce contents that were good enough to attract people, Netflix original programs today are some of the best movies, series, and TV shows that are available for consumption. A testament to this is the fact that the company has bagged several nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Oscars, among others.
Since we know it can be a hassle to browse through the thousands of shows available on Netflix when looking for something to watch, we have put together 20 best Netflix Originals that would keep your eyes glued to the screen for hours.
20 Best Netflix Original Movies, Series, and TV Shows
1. Roma (2018)
Rating: IMDb – 7.8/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 96%
Roma earns the number one spot on the 20 best Netflix original programs list due to the fact that is picked up 10 Oscar Award nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture, making it the first film distributed primarily by a streaming service that has been nominated for Best Picture.
The film, which is a semi-autobiographical take on filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron’s upbringing, follows the life of a young live-in domestic worker named Cleo for a middle-class family in Mexico City. It tells the story of Cleo’s relationship with the family and her unplanned pregnancy in Mexico which was under sociopolitical upheaval at the time.
2. House of Cards (2013 – 2018)
Rating: IMDb – 8.8/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 78%
House of Cards is a Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe Award-nominated political thriller series that follows the life of fictional United States Congressman Frank Underwood from South Carolina’s 5th congressional district. The series unfolds as Underwood, a Democrat, and House Majority Whip is overlooked for appointment as Secretary of State, prompting him to put together an elaborate plan to attain power.
3. Okja (2017)
Rating: IMDb – 7.3/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 86%
Okja is another Netflix original to receive critical acclaim, as it competed for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The action-adventure film follows the relationship of a young girl named Mija and a “super pig” named Okja, who are both caught in the crossfire between animal activism, scientific ethics, and corporate greed.
4. Orange is the New Black (2013 – Present)
Rating: IMDb – 8.1/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 89%
Orange is the New Black is a multiple Emmy Award-nominated series that is based on the true life experiences of Piper Kerman, as written in her memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison (2010). The show unfolds as protagonist Piper Chapman, who is based on Kerman, is sentenced to 15 months in a minimum-security women’s prison for transporting a suitcase full of drug money for her former girlfriend who is an international drug smuggler.
5. Stranger Things (2016 – Present)
Rating: IMDb – 8.9/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 95%
Stranger Things is a science fiction horror series about the disappearance of a young boy in the fictional small town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s. The multiple Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe Award-nominated show follows the investigations into the boys’ disappearance as supernatural events begin to occur around the town while a girl with psychokinetic abilities appears to aid the search for the boy.
6. Hemlock Grove (2013 – 2015)
Rating: IMDb – 7.2/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 38%
Hemlock Grove is another Netflix original horror series to make the list. The show, which is based on a novel of the same name by American author Brian McGreevy, looks at the strange happenings in the fictional town of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania. In 2013, Hemlock Grove earned Netflix its first Primetime Emmy Award nominations at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.
7. The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)
Rating: IMDb – 6.9/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 93%
With an A-list cast that includes Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvel, and Emma Thompson, it is no surprise that The Meyerowitz Stories is one of the best movies on Netflix today. The movie, which follows the life of a group of dysfunctional adult siblings who are united by their resentment towards one another as they try to live in the shadow of their father, was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. It further won the Palm Dog award.
8. My Happy Family (2017)
Rating: IMDb – 7.5/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 100%
My Happy Family is a Georgian drama film that follows the life of a 50-year-old school teacher named Manana who decides to leave her family as she challenges the religious expectations of women in her community. The film screened in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and had its world premiere in the Forum section at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.
9. The Other Side of the Wind (2018)
Rating: IMDb – 6.9/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 82%
After more than forty years in development, The Other Side of the Wind was released in 2018 to critical acclaim. The film, which was started by Orson Welles in the 1970s but was finished by Peter Bogdanovich and producer Frank Marshall in 2018, follows the attempted comeback of fictional veteran Hollywood director Jake Hannaford who was trying to revive his waning career by making a flashy film.
10. BoJack Horseman (2014 – Present)
Rating: IMDb – 8.5/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 92%
Bojack Horseman is the first animated show to make the best Netflix original list. The series, which takes place mostly in an alternate world where humans and anthropomorphic animals live side by side, follows the attempted reinvention of the title character, BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett) to celebrity relevance.
11. Ozark (2017 – Present)
Rating: IMDb – 8.3/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 70%
Ozark is a crime drama series that revolves around the life of financial advisor Marty Byrde, played by Jason Bateman, who is entangled in a money laundering scheme for a Mexican drug cartel.
12. American Vandal (2017 – 2018)
Rating: IMDb – 8.2/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 98%
American Vandal is a Netflix original series that is a parody take of true crime documentaries, similar to how the Scary Movie film series is a parody of horror films. At the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, writers Kevin McManus and Matthew McManus received nominations for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special.
13. Mindhunter (2017 – Present)
Rating: IMDb – 8.5/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 97%
Mindhunter is a crime drama series that follows the lives of two FBI agents and a psychologist who originate the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit within the Training Division at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The series is based on the true crime book by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker titled Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit.
14. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Rating: IMDb – 7.3/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 91%
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is another Netflix Original with an A-list cast that includes Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson, and James Franco, among others. The western anthology film, which premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival and won the Golden Osella Award for Best Screenplay, features six different stories that take place on the American frontier.
15. Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Rating: IMDb – 7.8/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 92%
Based on the novel of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala, Beasts of No Nation is a Netflix original film about a young boy who becomes a child soldier as his unspecified West African country goes through a horrific war. The film, which stars Idris Elba among others, was screened in the main competition section of the 72nd Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Marcello Mastroianni Award. It was also shown in the Special Presentation section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.
16. High Flying Bird (2019)
Rating: IMDb – 6.2/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 92%
High Flying Bird is a sports drama film that follows the work of sports agent Ray Burke and rookie basketball player Erick Scott as they try to relinquish a basketball lockdown by pitching a business opportunity that shakes up the world of sports.
17. Divines (2016)
Rating: IMDb – 7.4/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 83%
Divines is a French-Qatari drama film that depicts the friendship of two girls who grow from being petty thieves to drug dealers. The film was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and was an official selection of the Toronto International Film Festival in the Discovery section.
18. Russian Doll (2019 – Present)
Rating: IMDb – 8/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 96%
Russian Doll is a Netflix original comedy-drama series that follows the events at a party in New York city where the celebrant and protagonist, a woman named Nadia, repeatedly dies and relives the same night in an ongoing time loop.
Read Also: 20 Best Amazon Prime Original Series, Movies, and TV Shows
19. Master of None (2015 – 2017)
Rating: IMDb – 8.3/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 100%
Master of None is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning comedy-drama television series by Aziz Ansari that discusses post-racial dating and relationships. It follows the life of a 30-year-old actor named Dev Shah (played by Ansari), who tries to establish romantic relationships but finds himself going through cultural and professional challenges.
20. Mudbound (2017)
Rating: IMDb – 7.4/10; Rotten Tomatoes – 97%
Based on the novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan, Mudbound is a multiple Oscar and Golden Globe Award-nominated period drama film that follows the lives of two World War II veterans – one white, one black – who both return home to rural Mississippi where they get to address racism and Post Traumatic Stress in their own ways.