Netflix has a bulging library of TV shows and as, it becomes an exercise of sifting through the best of the bunch.
To cut time, you’ll find highlights of new content below, as well as CNET’s full list of best TV originals on Netflix.
- 1 What’s new this week (March 7-13)
- 2 Entertain your brain with the coolest news from space to superheroes, memes to robots.
- 3 The best original TV shows to watch on Netflix
- 4 Fantasy
- 5 Arcane (2021—)
- 6 Sweet Tooth (2021—)
- 7 The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)
- 8 Sci-fi
- 9 Archive 81 (2022—)
- 10 Dark (2017-2020)
- 11 Stranger Things (2016—)
- 12 Travelers (2016-2018)
- 13 Black Mirror (2011—)
- 14 Crime
- 15 Unbelievable (2019)
- 16 The Sinner (2017—)
- 17 Money Heist (2017—)
- 18 American Vandal (2017-2018)
- 19 Alias Grace (2017)
- 20 The End of The F***ing World (2017-2019)
- 21 Romance
- 22 Bridgerton (2020—)
- 23 Love (2016-2018)
- 24 Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More
What’s new this week (March 7-13)
Check out this week’s highlights.
- Good Girls (Season 4) — Crime comedy-drama starring Retta, Christina Hendricks and Mae Whitman.
- An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts (Season 2) — Italian rom-com about a single woman who looks to the stars for advice.
- The Last Kingdom (Season 5) — Historical fiction series based on The Saxon Stories.
- DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Season 7) — Superhero series.
Entertain your brain with the coolest news from space to superheroes, memes to robots.
The best original TV shows to watch on Netflix
At the time of writing, these TV shows all scored at least 70 on Metacritic.
One of the best TV shows of 2021 was an animated series. That’s right — if you’re animation-unfriendly, Arcane is the show to change your mind. The action-adventure introduces us to the steampunk world of Piltover and Zaun, two cities grinding on opposing values and fortunes. Then there’s Violet (Hailee Steinfeld) and Jinx (Ella Purnell), two sisters torn apart by tragedy and fighting to survive. Arcane is the kind of moving portrait that gets under your skin on a par with Pixar. The characters will draw you to tears. A must-watch.
Sweet Tooth (2021—)
This fantasy based on Jeff Lemire’s comic book is the definition of weird and wonderful. Sweet Tooth follows Gus (a stellar Christian Convery), a half-deer half-human child, who lives a sheltered life in the forest with his dad Pubba (Will Forte). Events relating to The Great Crumble, a viral pandemic, sweep Gus into an adventure branching down mysterious, action-filled and highly entertaining paths. Echoes with real-world struggles can be heard in the treetops of this immersive, riveting fantasy world. Genre fans settle in for this fantastic ride.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)
We weren’t ready for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Canceled after one season, the critically acclaimed fantasy series is, well, a gem. A prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson film, the series returns to the planet Thra, where three Gelflings inspire a rebellion against the absolutely diabolic Skeksis. The puppet design and performances — from a stunning cast including Taron Edgerton, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nathalie Emmanuel — sneak up on you. You’ll find yourself deeply invested in the poor, oppressed Gelflings’ lives, hurt just as much as the puppets whenever one of their own is harmed. A full-on fantasy epic, built with love, care and staggering detail.
Archive 81 (2022—)
Enjoy sci-fi series that play with two timelines? Have a special spot for cults and mysteries? Meet Archive 81. The multiple genre-straddling show stars Mamoudou Athie as Dan Turner, an archivist who takes a gig restoring a collection of damaged videotapes from the ’90s. He gets far more than he bargained for, drawn into an investigation of a mysterious cult and a young woman who may or may not be dead. A supernatural thriller with horror, mystery, noir and sci-fi seeped into its creepy atmosphere, Archive 81 has it all.
Germany’s answer to Stranger Things deliberately takes its time before stepping into completely compelling and original places. A sci-fi noir, Dark folds time travel, conspiracies and estranged families into a generation-spanning story kicked off by a child’s disappearance. If those kinds of meticulously-crafted layers are what you’re after in your storytelling, settle in. All three seasons of Dark’s meditative look at time travel and its effect on human nature are waiting to hit you at full force.
Stranger Things (2016—)
It wouldn’t be a best list without Stranger Things. If somehow you’ve missed the Duffer Brothers’ ode to ’80s horror and Steven Spielberg, things are about to get tubular. We follow El, a near-mute girl who was the subject of scientific experiments. She develops telekinetic powers, which she uses to fend off monsters who invade from a frightening alternative dimension. The world of Indiana, Hawkins, is lovingly detailed for anyone in need of an ’80s nostalgia hit and the misfit characters, played by a stellar young cast, are part of everything that makes this show a tour de force.
Full disclosure: Netflix sadly canceled Travelers after its third season, but this tightly plotted sci-fi out of Canada does manage to end with an ambitious bang. We start with Marcy, a disabled woman who’s beaten up after helping a friend escape thugs. She dies — then comes back to life. This strong character-driven sci-fi reveals its secrets in clever ways, following operatives from the future tasked with preventing the collapse of society but also navigating the tricky territory of living a double life.
Black Mirror (2011—)
While Charlie Brooker’s bleak tech anthology series can be hit and miss, at its best, Black Mirror packs its mini-movies with an exploration of futuristic technological ideas through painfully human stories. One of those is San Junipero, following two women in the ’80s (cue banging soundtrack) as they fall for each other in ways they couldn’t do in their “real” lives outside the beach city. The tech aspect is revealed with genius timing and, in general, the show explores the consequences of our plugged-in lives in disturbing and occasionally uplifting ways.
This miniseries, based on a true story of rape, deftly navigates its disturbing and tricky subject matter with the help of a remarkable performance from Kaitlyn Dever. She plays Marie, a teenager who’s charged with lying about being raped, but of course it’s more complicated than that. Toni Collette and Merritt Wever team up as whip-smart detectives who see what others fail to, adding another layer to Unbelievable’s delicate, powerfully moving triumph.
Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us comes under the tough but essential viewing banner. It depicts the real-life events of the 1989 Central Park jogger case, involving five male suspects of color who were falsely accused of rape and assault. Not only sensitively drawing the humanity of the boys into focus, When They See Us demands outrage at the injustice of systemic racism.
The Sinner (2017—)
Four fascinating seasons of The Sinner await to be cracked open, each one focused on a murder committed by an unlikely offender in even stranger circumstances. Season 1 follows Jessica Biel’s Cora, who stabs a man to death on a beach in a sudden frenzy, but has no idea why. It’s up to Bill Pullman’s Detective Ambrose to unravel the shockingly disturbing events embedded in her psyche that lead to her being triggered.
Money Heist (2017—)
This series is loved by many (and Netflix loves you for it), but in case you haven’t heard what all the fuss is about, Money Heist is, yep, about a heist. The mastermind doing Ocean’s Eleven-level prep work with equally satisfying reveals is The Professor. He’s got banks in his sights and we see how his intricate plans come together with slick flashbacks, time-jumps and even an unreliable narrator. This is captivating TV with a distinct Spanish identity — don’t let the subtitles put you off.
American Vandal (2017-2018)
The first two seasons of this mockumentary series burst onto Netflix with a potent combination of potty humor and social commentary. A parody of true crime documentaries such as Netflix’s own Making a Murderer, American Vandal follows the aftermath of a high school prank gone wrong. After 27 faculty cars are left fatally vandalized with grievous phallic images, it’s up to a couple of sophomores to crack the crime, before the wrong person is expelled for good. Yep, this is a satire. But it weaves a surprisingly engrossing mystery that creates an accurate bigger picture of contemporary high school life. A hefty achievement.
Alias Grace (2017)
This miniseries is from a couple of years ago, but in case you missed it, it’s definitely worth checking out. In the vein of The Sinner, Alias Grace steps back into its young female protagonist’s past to figure out why she commits murder, of which she has no memory. An adaptation of a Margaret Atwood novel, the show stars a hypnotic Sarah Gadon as Irish immigrant Grace, navigating a turbulent life as a servant for a family in colonial Toronto. Partly based on a true story, this isn’t a straightforward mystery with straightforward answers and that’s what makes it all the more captivating.
The End of The F***ing World (2017-2019)
If you like your dark British humor, look no further than The End of The F***ing World. Psychopath James (Alex Lawther) comes up with a plan to kill Alyssa (Jessica Barden) while on the run from their lousy parents. But as they soar across the open road and commit a couple of violent crimes, their callous hearts soften and they develop feelings for one another. Surprising, fast-paced and surreal, both seasons of this deadpan teenager of a show, with its headphones pumping the best sad ’50s, ’60s and ’70s doo-wop, will blow you away.
Bridgerton is practically a show designed to be addictive. Known as Jane Austen but with sex, the period piece has a tad more going for it: With lavish production design and colorful costumes, this is Regency London like you’ve rarely seen it. In the early 19th century dating scene, the Bridgerton siblings’ adventures in love are captured by a scandalous newsletter, written by Regency London’s version of Gossip Girl, voiced by none other than Julie Andrews. Settle in for this gorge-worthy viewing.
Love is a Judd Apatow creation that draws the best out of the talented Gillian Jacobs (Britta in Community) and Paul Rust. They play Mickey and Gus respectively, an opposites-attract couple, who go to messy, frustrating and endearingly down-to-earth places that make this an honest look at a relationship being built over time. Iris Apatow is a standout as the unhappy child actress Gus tutors who gets away with just about anything.
Lovesick is easy, enjoyable viewing with a premise ripe for embarrassment humor we can all relate to. Helpless-in-love Dylan discovers he has chlamydia and must track down past flings and inform them that they might have it too. A flashback narrative keeps things interesting, especially when the focus turns to Dylan and best friend Evie’s feelings for each other. It never goes into soapy territory, with an eccentric but loveable supporting cast playing English flatmates in a Glasgow setting.
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More