Back in 2012, Netflix produced Lilyhammer, its first original series. And in just four short years, Netflix has become a powerhouse of original programming with enough new shows to actually challenge some of the cable networks.
There’s a reason why some networks are becoming reluctant to share its programs with Netflix. The streaming service has taken on a life of its own, and fans have adopted its binge model of curated television as opposed to watching episodes on a week-to-week basis. But if the day ever comes that Netflix has to rely entirely on its own shows and movies, it could have a substantial library of titles to fall back upon.
Take for example Marvel’s Daredevil, which is back for a second season of 13 episodes today. Netflix made a very substantial deal with Marvel TV for four original series, with Luke Cage and Iron Fist yet to premiere and a crossover miniseries called The Defenders. Outside of The CW, no other television network is making that much room for superhero content. Both Daredevil and Jessica Jones have been several cuts above network fare.
Netflix also has a lot to offer from several different genres of drama, comedy series, documentaries, and even animated originals. And there’s a lot more original programming on the way.
Our Picks for the 10 Best Netflix Original Series
ComingSoon.net has put together a list of the ten best Netflix original series… and we had to leave out a few really good shows to keep it at ten. Let us know what you consider the best Netflix original series in the comment section below!
Best Netflix Original Series: Bloodline
Bloodline is… shall we say… criminally underrated and overshadowed by Netflix’s other original dramas. But it’s a very well-produced drama series about a family with some very dark secrets and an impressive cast that includes Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini, Sam Shepard, and Sissy Spacek. Bloodline was conceived by the creators of Damages, another under-appreciated drama series currently at home on Netflix. But unlike Damages, Bloodline has another season coming in the near future.
Best Netflix Original Series: Marvel’s Daredevil
When Marvel TV and Netflix made their deal, no one quite expected Marvel’s Daredevil to be such a hit with fans and critics that it would be almost instantly renewed for a second season. The original plan was for four different Marvel series of 13 episodes each before The Defenders team-up miniseries. Now, Daredevil is going to have at least 26 episodes.
But with the Punisher and Elektra debuting in Season 2, we’d say that the chances of Daredevil getting a third season are pretty high. And we wouldn’t bet against The Punisher and Elektra getting their own shows as well!
Best Netflix Original Series: Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Marvel’s Jessica Jones had a harder mountain to climb than Daredevil because the title character of this series wasn’t widely known outside of Marvel’s comic book readers. Jessica Jones was a considered to be a fairly recent addition to Marvel, even though she’s been around for 15 years! But the creative team of the Jessica Jones Netflix series managed to successfully introduce the character and her world in a psychological thriller that also had superhero elements. And never underestimate the value of a great villain like David Tennant’s Kilgrave!
Netflix has renewed Marvel’s Jessica Jones for a second season, but no one is quite sure when Marvel’s Jessica Jones season 2 release date will be announced.
Best Netflix Original Series: House of Cards
House of Cards was the gamechanger for Netflix. It outbid several major networks to pick up Kevin Spacey, David Fincher, and Beau Willimon’s remake of the British version of the series. House of Cards also put Netflix on the map at the Emmy Awards, and it’s currently the longest-running original series on Netflix at 52 episodes.
Spacey’s amoral President Frank Underwood is still one of the most compelling characters on any series. And compared to most of this year’s Presidential candidates, Underwood seems like an improvement! House of Cards has also been renewed for a fifth season.
Best Netflix Original Series: Marco Polo
Marco Polo was an unusually bold swing for Netflix, as it committed $90 million to its 10 episode first season. While Marco Polo has not been as critically beloved as some of Netflix’s other originals, this historical fiction series about the life of Marco Polo and his time in the court of Kublai Khan must have done well enough by Netflix standards to earn its upcoming second season. The acting may occasionally be spotty, but the first season was beautifully filmed.
Best Netflix Original Series: Master of None
Not even a year after his time on Parks and Recreation came to an end, Aziz Ansari had his Louis CK moment with Master of None, a series he co-created and stars in for Netflix. Ansari portrays a commercial actor in New York who attempts to navigate his way to success and through the ups and downs of a relationship with no easy solutions.
Despite ending in a way that could have wrapped up the series, Master of None will be back for a second season next year.
Best Netflix Original Series: Narcos
Shortly after his very memorable stint on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Pedro Pascal was quickly signed to star in Narcos as one of the DEA agents charged with bringing down drug lord Pablo Escobar during the ‘80s.
Narcos‘ first season moved at a very fast and intense pace and chronicled most of Escobar’s story. However, the series has not yet reached his ultimate downfall. The Narcos creative team may have taken some liberties with the historical record, but it’s uncannily watchable. A second season is coming later this year.
Best Netflix Original Series: Orange Is the New Black
Netflix may not release its numbers, but there’s solid evidence that Orange Is the New Black is its most popular show. Netflix has already renewed “Orange” through its seventh season, which could make it the longest-running Netflix original series. Weeds creator Jenji Kohan brought this series to life with a predominantly female cast including Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Danielle Brooks, and Natasha Lyonne while exploring life inside a women’s prison. This is one of the few shows that can get away with being both a comedy and a drama, and it’s taken on a life of its own.
Best Netflix Original Series: Sense8
Sense8 feels like a series that could only have happened on Netflix. This collaboration between the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski is one of the few sci-fi shows to actively delve into gender identity, sexuality, and other frequently taboo topics. The premise of Sense8 is that eight strangers from all over the world find themselves mentally linked to each other. And to add a level of authenticity to the series, Sense8 was actually filmed in several cities in different countries!
Production of Sense8 season 2 is already underway, with filming expected to occur in sixteen cities across the globe.
Best Netflix Original Series: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
If Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had premiered on NBC as originally planned, it would have died a fast and horrible death. But on Netflix, Ellie Kemper is suddenly a star-in-the-making as Kimmy and the series already has devoted fanbase. It’s easy to see why. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is weird, strange, and really hilarious.
The basic premise is that Kimmy was trapped in a cult for years, and she refused to let that get in the way of her starting a new life… even if she had no idea how to do that. Kemper gets a lot of mileage out of Kimmy’s reactions to the modern world and it’s still funny. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 2 is coming soon, and a third season has already been ordered.
Don’t forget to tell us which of the best Netflix original series makes your top 10 list in the comment section below!