It’s not your imagination: every week Netflix gives us a handful of reasons to stay inside and avoid all social interaction. From spectacular and unexpected original movies to TV series that blow the doors off the hype train, everyone’s favorite streaming company has given us a lot to binge over the past few months. Comedies, dramas, true crime documentaries – you name it and Netflix has provided it. But better than simply providing us with content, the content this year has been an embarrassment of riches.
Though the year isn’t even half over yet, the sheer amount of life-changing originals that Netflix has given us already is staggering. So how is one expected to sift through all of these originals and live a healthy life full of streaming AND going outside? Well, we recommend just giving up on going outside and focusing on the streaming. Because on that end, we at Screen Rant are here to help you decide which of Netflix’s newest originals are worth obsessing over.
With so much greatness available to stream and so little time to stream it, here’s the 15 Best New Netflix Originals, Ranked.
15. Luke Cage
When Marvel and Netflix brought us Daredevil back in 2015, the superhero TV landscape was a lot different. Often cheesy and lacking big brand-name characters, superhero shows always left fans wanting more. But then Daredevil brought Jessica Jones, which in turn brought Luke Cage, and it’s safe to say no one’s looking back on the state of superhero TV anymore.
Gritty yet fun, badass yet funny, Luke Cage was everything fans wanted from the character ever since we were promised a movie decades ago. The series combined Netflix’s skill for creating bingeworthy TV while also showing off Marvel’s flare for action, and that made us consume its 13 episodes way too quickly. But with the heroes’ Netflix show tying into the upcoming Defenders, fans of Luke Cage can expect even more from the hero for hire very soon.
14. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
If you’ve seen Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency then you know it’s weird. If you haven’t seen Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency then you should know based on the title alone that it’s weird. Whichever way you look at Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency it’s gonna end up being weird, and that’s exactly what makes this the perfect Netflix show for your next binge.
Created by Max Landis based on the novel by Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently is the type of comedically unhinged, sci-fi tinged detective series that you’re not getting enough of in your daily life. And that’s because shows like this don’t come around very often. Focusing on a “holistic” detective – i.e. a man that solves strange cases via unconventional means and a dash of mind-reading – the series stars Samuel Barnett as the titular character and Elijah Wood as his sidekick. One part Sherlock, 100 parts insanity, Dirk Gently brings clever writing, quirky direction, and great acting together into a truly special Netflix Original Series.
13. The Discovery
The Discovery was Netflix’s biggest movie release to date back when it debuted in March, and with stars Jason Segel and Rooney Mara on board it was all set to generate the same buzz as the hottest Netflix Original Series. But then… nothing. A sci-fi thriller about what happens when an afterlife is unequivocally proven to exist, The Discovery ironically was discovered by no one and never discussed once it hit Netflix.
To say that more people should have watched The Discovery is an understatement. Considering that Netflix is spending subscribers’ money to land blockbuster titles, it makes sense that subscribers should want to check out the films their money is going towards. But buzz failed to generate for the movie and it just kind of died on arrival, with no afterlife to be seen. And though the movie wasn’t as spectacular, revolutionary, or entertaining as it could have been based on the premise, it’s still a solid movie that’s perfect for enjoying on a Saturday night in front of the TV.
12. Casting JonBenet
If there are two things Netflix does well, they are gripping true crime documentaries and quirky takes on classic genres. So when it was announced that Netflix would be bringing us Casting JonBenet, a quirky take on the classic true crime documentary genre, we all got excited. And then, since Netflix loves to make us happy, our excitement was paid off when we streamed the final product.
Casting JonBenet is a fascinating look at a missing persons case that many of us know all too well. But the fascinating thing about this docudrama is the new spin that director Kitty Green takes on the material. Rather than having interviews with people involved and showing re-enactments, Casting JonBenet is actually a documentary about the making of a JonBenet Ramsey film. With clips from prospective actors (from JonBenet’s hometown) auditions as well as their interviews regarding the case, the film is truly fascinating from start to finish. What results from the innovative experiment is one of Netflix’s finest documentaries in a library full of them.
11. Gilmore Girls
When Gilmore Girls came back in the form of four films each representing one season, Gilmore Girl fans were so excited that they couldn’t even speak at a normal pace. Or maybe that’s just the side-effect when people watch too much Gilmore Girls, as the series’ infamously quick, snappy dialogue has transfixed fans over the years as much as the tender relationship between the show’s two main characters. Nonetheless, the show made a triumphant return to Netflix and everything that fans loved had finally returned, but something else happened along the way.
As it turned out, Netflix’s Gilmore Girls was still enjoyable as hell to people who had never seen the original series and simply wanted some comforting TV in the age of…well, you know how crappy the last few months have been. Bringing audiences back to a simpler time in a charming little town, Gilmore Girls was the Netflix Original that no one knew they needed and yet were incredibly thankful to have.
10. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return
Speaking of long-dead TV series making their return in the form of a Netflix series, how about Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return? The geeky cult hit has finally made it back from its long trip in TV purgatory, and it seems that all of the series’ infamous humor, charm, sarcasm, and nerdiness has made the trip back with it.
If you don’t know what Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is, but you keep hearing about it, an explanation won’t really do you much good. Technically the series lampoons various old sci-fi movie classic via heckling shadow-figures in a movie theater – but that’s not really a great way to sell a TV series. In reality, all anyone needs to know about MST3K is that the show is a geek’s paradise, and everything about it is lovingly crafted, filled with fun cameos, and perfect for binging on those late nights when Prestige TV is burning your eyes and you just need something to laugh about.
9. Anne with an E
Who ever thought that in this day and age – a cynical 2017 where every celebrity is basically dead and the 24-hour news cycle is a horror show – a series about a red-haired Canadian orphan girl in the 1890s would be a breakout Netflix Original hit. Well, that’s the reality we now live in, and you better get used to the hype, because Anne with an E is a damn good show, and it’s absolutely not what you think.
Everyone has some type of expectations about what an Anne of Green Gables show should be, but Anne with an E shatters those expectations by going surprisingly dark and cinematic with the story. Though still filled with the optimism and hope, the Netflix series is something you can’t wait to binge, simply because every episode takes your expectations and throws them out the quaint shuttered window and into the gently swaying wheat-field below.
8. The Keepers
It’s been a while since Netflix wowed everyone with Making A Murderer, and now they’re finally feeding our true crime obsession again with The Keepers. Filled with twisty plot-threads and sneaky reveals, this true crime docu-series is exactly what Netflix was made for. Turn on one episode and get drawn into the world of Sister Cathy, then find yourself seven hours later with your mouth wide open and starting Episode 1 from the beginning again.
Simply put, The Keepers is everything a true crime series should be. Engrossing and heartbreaking, filled with mystery and dread, The Keepers does a great job of serving up points of the murder case without rehashing or dragging things out in the same way that Making A Murderer often did. With a case as engrossing as this and answers still difficult to find, The Keepers may be the newest Netflix Original on this list, but it’s definitely going to be one that people are talking about for the longest time.
7. The Crown
The Crown is a big deal. It’s insanely expensive to make, it covers a topic that the whole world knows well but not nearly well enough, it features big name-brand actors, and it’s damn good television. For every Netflix subscriber on every side of the pond, The Crown is the must-watch show that even the hardest to please TV fans will find themselves drooling over.
When The Crown premiered hype was understandably high, but no one was really sure what to make of a show about the Queen of England. Would it be stuffy and boring? Well-produced but conservative and tame? No, no, no, and no. The Crown is everything a Prestige TV show should be, and there’s no doubt that as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black both fade away, The Crown will be Netflix’s biggest draw. The only question remains, after one season, is it too early to make a joke about this being Netflix’s crowning achievement? We don’t think so.
6. The OA
When The OA had its surprise debut in December, no one really knew what to expect. After all, Netflix likes to release it’s originals after months of hype, so when viewers stumbled on the new mystery-thriller in their Netflix library, they were understandable thrilled and mystified. And that turned out to be the exact proper feeling for Netflix to generate, because The OA wound up being a show unlike any other, and after seeing its entire first season we still have no idea what happened. Not that we’re complaining.
The OA is the type of show that could only find a home on Netflix, and that makes us proud Netflix subscribers. Filled with bold storytelling and risky narrative choices, the series plays in the sci-fi, faith, thriller, mystery, and even comedy genre from time to time, and it makes for a fascinating watch. Made to be binged from beginning to end, The OA is one of Netflix’s best new originals simply because it’s exactly that: original.
5. I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore
You may know I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore as being that movie with the long title that Netflix keeps recommending you. And while the title may be long, there’s a reason that Netflix thinks you’ll like this indie thriller. And the reason is because it’s a damn good movie.
Like the best indies, I Don’t Feel… (you can fill in the rest) is unexpected in all the right places, while remaining thoughtful and action-packed despite its small budget. Managing to do just about everything a great movie can, while also having a bonkers ending, the film is perfect for those nights in front of Netflix with a large group of people that don’t agree on anything. Considering the quality of I Don’t Feel… and the sheer amount of tones that it successfully utilizes throughout it’s running time, there’s guaranteed to be something for everything in this movie with the long title that Netflix keeps recommending you.
4. Santa Clarita Diet
Santa Clarita Diet is not what you’d expect. Even from a network like Netflix, a network that deals in the unexpected, Santa Clarita Diet is unexpected. And like the best shows on this list, that’s exactly what makes it so fantastic. A zombie comedy in the most basic fashion, Santa Clarita Diet is what happens when you parody sitcoms, throw in the most absurdist scenarios you can think of, mix two A-list actors in there, and jumble it all up to make a serialized TV series that’s as addictive as it is painfully funny.
Considering the nature of the series, no amount of explanation here can explain just what it is that makes Santa Clarita Diet so funny. It could be the actors’ delivery of lines, which always borders on the non-committal, as if they refuse to sell the inherent ridiculousness of the show. Or it could be the sheer bloodiness of the thing, something that you don’t expect at first and then come to demand in every episode after. Or maybe it’s just that a good writer and some good actors came together on Netflix – a place that let’s weirdness be weird – and it thrived. And for all those reasons and more, make sure you watch Santa Claria Diet right away.
3. A Series of Unfortunate Events
Let’s be honest here – we were all a little worried about A Series of Unfortunate Events before it aired, weren’t we? Whether we loved the books when we were younger or just knew about the Baudelaire orphans in passing, we wanted A Series of Unfortunate Events to be great, if not just to rectify the mistakes of the Jim Carey movie. But ASOUE is a young adult series and we assumed the show would be too, and thus we’d be locked out of enjoying something where Neil Patrick Harris wears insane disguises and tons of other amazing guest stars get to act crazy adjacent to beautiful set-design and filmed with incredible cinematography. Boy, how wrong we were.
When A Series of Unfortunate Events aired we were blown away by how Daniel Handler, Barry Sonnenfeld, and Netflix managed to create something for everyone. For the now-adult fans of the book series, the show was dark and funny and it captured the mood and tone of everything we loved as kids perfectly. For the still-kid fans of the books, the show was challenging and engaging and it didn’t patronize anyone. For everyone else, A Series of Unfortunate Events was just plain old good television, and now we’re sorry for doubting Netflix and we promise to never do it again.
2. 13 Reasons Why
Here’s 13 Reasons Why everyone is talking about this show. 1. It controversially deals with teen suicide. 2. It’s a young adult show that not-so-young adults can enjoy. 3. It’s constant twist and turns make it the perfect show to binge. 4. It was just renewed for a second season. 5. It doesn’t pander to its audience and it authentically deals with a dark mystery. 6-13. It’s a damn good show.
Okay, fine, so we cheated a bit with the reasons, but ask anyone the reasons why they love 13 Reasons Why and they’ll all give you a different answer. No matter what conclusions you end up reaching about the popularity of this series, there’s a reason that it’s taken up all pop-culture discussion as of late: it’s the one show everyone’s watching. And that’s a very good thing, because it’s been a while since a show of 13 Reason Why’s quality became a massive hit, and we couldn’t be more excited to see where the series takes us next.
1. Black Mirror
Black Mirror is called that because of the cold, shiny screens that populate our world and often bring into it horrible consequences. But, thanks to Netflix, these same screens also give us new episodes of Black Mirror, so hey, we’ll take some techno-dystopian nightmares if it means getting new episodes of the best drama series on TV every year. Sure, Black Mirror is supposed to teach us about the perils of technology, but all we’ve really learned from it is how Netflix can take an incredible show and make it even better.
Originally a Channel 4 show with three episodes a season, when Netflix got the rights to Black Mirror they upped the seasons to six episodes, hired a few writers not named Charlie Brooker to work on some episodes, got some damn fine actors to appear in episodes, and created something spectacular. Each episode in Netflix’s version of Black Mirror ranges from gutting and depressing to bittersweet and heartbreaking, and it does so in a way that’s more innovative, more risky, and more bold than anything else you’ve ever seen.
For a show about the downfalls of amazing technology, we really should have seen it coming that binging Black Mirror so quickly would leave an unfillable hole in our lives. But then again, we never learn our lessons, and that’s why we watched everything on this list too quick, missed it immediately, and now we’re left waiting for more. Thanks for nothing Netflix… Can’t wait to repeat the cycle with the new originals you have waiting for us later this year!
Which of these Netflix Originals do you think deserve top of the list? Are there any rankings you think we got disastrously wrong? Let us know in the comments!
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