The best drama series on Netflix (January 2022)

Squid Game and Outlander
Squid Game and Outlander. Pic credit: Netflix/Starz

When it comes to drama television series, there might not be a better destination than Netflix.

While the streaming giant has picked up several great dramas from networks like AMC and NBC, among others, it also started to make its own original series.

From the early days of The West Wing to the long-running series like Orange is the New Black, Netflix proved they could make some of the best drama originals on any network, streaming or not.

There are great teen drams, political dramas, sci-fi and horror dramas, and everything in between, proving Netflix has something for everyone.

Here is a look at the best drama series you can catch on Netflix as of this month.

Updated in January 2022 – Every month movies come and go from Netflix, but luckily this month nothing changed for Netflix as far as the original series. However, more new series arrive all the time and we will add new great ones as they come to this list.


Giri Haji
A scene from the British series Giri/Haji. Pic credit: BBC

Giri/Haji is Japanese for Duty/Shame and is a British crime drama series that aired on BBC and Netflix in 2019-20.

The series stars Takehiro Hira as Kenzo Mori, a Tokyo detective who travels to London to search for his brother, who he initially thought was dead.

There is also the threat of a gang war that will escalate if it is true that his brother killed the nephew of a Yakuza member. While in London, he befriends a Metropolitan Police DC named Sarah (Kelly Macdonald) and ends up facing the criminal underworld in London

Squid Game

Squid Game on Netflix
Squid Game on Netflix. Pic credit: Netflix

The latest hit Netflix drama arrived in September with Squid Game.

The Korean drama was the biggest ever opening for Netflix and was viewed by 111 million viewers since its debut. This beat out Bridgerton’s 82 million households.

The show is a contest where 456 players in deep financial debt put their lives at risk to play a series of children’s games for the chance to win a $45 billion prize.

The series follows one specific man who wants to raise money for his ill mother, but he soon learns there is more behind the game than he expected.


The cast of Shameless
The cast of Shameless. Pic credit: Showtime

Debuting in 2011 on Showtime, William H. Macy starred in Shameless as Frank Gallagher, the father of six kids.

However, while Frank is the father, he is not the person who is able to care properly for his children – a deadbeat alcoholic who relies on his older children to care for the younger ones while he plays the welfare system.

There are 11 seasons of Shameless. 10 of them are on Netflix and the 11th will arrive in October 2021.

Feel Good

Feel Good
Mae Martin and Charlotte Ritchie in Feel Good. Pic credit: Netflix

Feel Good is a British drama series that is a Netflix original in the United States and sits at 100 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Mae Martin stars as Mae, a Canadian comedian, while Charlotte Ritchie is George, a repressed English woman. The two meet and develop a romance in London.

As their relationship progresses throughout six episodes, George convinces Mae to attend a narcotics anonymous group, where she finds help. At the same time, George finds it hard to open up about their relationship to her friends.

Lisa Kudrow also appears as Mae’s mother in the Netflix series.

Friday Night Lights

The football team in Friday Night Lights
The football team in Friday Night Lights. Pic credit: NBC

Based on the novel by H.G. Bissinger, Friday Night Lights tells the story of high school football in the West Texas oil towns where it is one of the most important things to the community.

The towns in the book were Midland and Odessa, two cities only a few miles from each other, but as different as they can be. It is also about two of the best high school football teams of their time, both fighting for the state championship.

The 2006 TV series transferred the story to a fictional town, but the themes remained the same.

At the end of the day, it was about kids who have the weight of their town in their hands, and for some, it is too much of a load to carry.


Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Sam Heughan as Jamie, as seen in Season 5 of Outlander
The hit fantasy series Outlander. Pic credit: Starz

Outlander is one of the most beloved current fantasy dramas on television and is the highest-rated Starz original based on viewers.

The show, based on the novel series by Diana Gabaldon, is about a woman from 1945 who travels back in time to 1743. It is here that Claire joins a rebellion of Highlanders and falls in love with Jamie Fraser.

The series is still running, and there have been five seasons with 67 episodes, as the story goes through the two timelines, and there is a sixth season in the works.

Netflix only has the first three seasons of the show available to stream.

Virgin River

Virgin River Season 3 release date
Virgin River is coming back for Season 3. Pic credit: Netflix

Based on the books by Robyn Carr, Virgin River is a Netflix original series about a woman named Mel who takes a job as a midwife and nurse practitioner in the remote California town of Virgin River.

While she felt that it would be a great place to have a fresh start in life after a painful past, she learns there is a lot more to living in a small community than she expected.

Alexandra Breckenridge stars as Mel while Martin Henderson is Jack Sheridan, a former Marine with PTSD who runs the local restaurant.

Dawson’s Creek

Dawson's Creek
The cast of Dawson’s Creek. Pic credit: The WB

Iconic teen drama Dawson’s Creek has made its way to Netflix with all six seasons arriving on the streaming giant.

The show stars James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, and Joshua Jackson as four high school friends who discover life and love.

Kevin Williamson (Scream) created the show and it played for six seasons with a total of 128 episodes, all of which are now available to stream on Netflix.

One note. The classic opening theme song “I Don’t Want to Wait” by Paula Cole is not available when watching on Netflix.

13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why
The cast of 13 Reasons Why. Pic credit: Netflix

13 Reasons Why might be the most successful drama series that Netflix ever created – as well as it’s most controversial.

The first season dealt with the suicide of a teenage high school girl, and the entire season followed a group of students who received 13 tapes that explained why she took her own life.

The series was controversial because many felt that it might raise suicide rates among youngsters, and Netflix had a discussion video it placed up for fans about teenage suicide.

Future seasons dealt with the possibility of a school shooting and the murder of a jock accused of rape. The fourth and final season hit in June 2020.


Jason Bateman and Laura Linney on Ozark. Pic credit: Netflix

Jason Bateman and Laura Linney star in one of the most-watched crime drama series on Netflix.

Bateman is Marty Byrde, a financial advisor that sets up an elaborate money-laundering scene for a Mexican drug cartel. As expected in these situations, Marty ends up getting in deeper and deeper, and there is no way out.

The series has a similar style to Breaking Bad — money laundering replacing meth production — but it shows Marty and his wife Wendy as they spiral to the depths of morality.

There are three seasons and 30 episodes, and a fourth season is almost sure to happen.


Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany on Mindhunter. Pic credit: Netflix

David Fincher executive produced the Netflix original drama series Mindhunter.

The series tells the story of the origin of the FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit that fans got to know well in procedural TV shows like Criminal Minds.

Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany star as the two FBI agents, and Anna Torv stars as the psychologist who helped put together the unit to catch serial killers using behavioral science.

The first season was set from 1977-80 and had an interview with a notorious serial killer named Edmund Kemper. The second season has them investigating the Atlanta murders of 1979-81.

The Crown

The Crown
Olivia Colman on The Crown. Pic credit: Netflix

The Crown was a historical drama series that focused on the life and political career of Queen Elizabeth II.

The drama series was an interesting production, as it took place throughout the life of Queen Elizabeth, and Netflix recast the series with older actors cast for her later years.

The first two seasons saw Claire Foy star as Queen Elizabeth with Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as Prince Edward. In later years, Olivia Colman took over as Queen Elizabeth and Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip.

Netflix already announced that the fifth season would see Imelda Staunton take over as the Queen. There are three seasons currently on Netflix with 30 total episodes.

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad. Pic credit: AMC

Netflix subscribers get two of the best AMC dramas in history, with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, a prequel to Breaking Bad.

However, for fans who want to catch and binge-watch a fully formed story, from beginning to end, Breaking Bad is a complete series, while Better Call Saul is still in production.

Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as a high school science teacher with lung cancer who decides to start making and selling meth to secure his family’s future before he dies.

Aaron Paul co-stars as a former student named Jesse Pinkman, and the two end up spiraling into a pit of danger in the criminal underworld as their lives fall apart.

Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul
Bob Odenkirk on Better Call Saul. Pic credit: AMC

Breaking Bad was one of the best crime dramas in the history of television, and there seemed to be no way that anything could match up to it if a spin-off were considered.

Amazingly, the spin-off, Better Call Saul, has done just that. This series was based on small-time lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and starts with his career six years before he shows up in Breaking Bad.

This series shows how he transformed from the small-time lawyer into the criminal-for-hire Saul Goodman that fans got to know in Breaking Bad.

The first four seasons of Better Call Saul are available to stream on Netflix, and a fifth season will join them shortly.


The German series Dark on Netflix. Pic credit: Netflix

Dark is a German sci-fi drama series that released its third and final season in June 2020.

The first season was confusing and quite brilliant, as the entire season took place over three different timelines in 2019 (present-day), 1986, and 1953.

The series featured time travel that allowed characters to go back and forth through time thanks to a wormhole in a cave. Things got even crazier at the end of the first season. A new time frame was introduced in 2053, as well as one more in the past in 1921.

There are 26 total episodes in this original Netflix series.

Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black
The cast of Orange is the New Black. Pic credit: Netflix

Arguably, the best critically acclaimed drama series in Netflix history, when it comes to original material, is Orange is the New Black.

The series, created by Jenji Kohan, starred Taylor Schilling as a woman sentenced to prison for transporting a suitcase full of drug money for her girlfriend.

The story then shows life in the prison and the various prisoners she meets, as well as corruption in the ranks of the guards.

Orange is the New Black picked up 12 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won three of them. There are seven seasons on Netflix for a total of 91 episodes.

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Marjorie E Fife
Marjorie E Fife
3 years ago

So the “best drama series on Netflix” are series that are actually old series that are already finished? C’mon. Hannibal, West Wing, House of Cards, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black??? Most of us won’t want to watch them all over again. Netflix better come up with some new ones!

Kristi King
Kristi King
3 years ago

DARK is the BEST show on Netflix. I just binged Breaking Bad. I initially watched it when it was released in 2008-2013. It was great rewatching it. Breaking Bad is excellent, but DARK is a whole different concept in television. DARK isn’t the kind of show that you watch. It is the kind of show you solve. This is what I believe sets it apart from Breaking Bad. It isn’t just mindless television. I find myself making charts and studying the characters and timelines. It is SO engaging on a different level. It kind of reminds me of the Game of Thrones books. I am ALWAYS doing research to understand the families and characters in The Songs of Ice and Fire as well. There is a magical aspect to it that keeps your brain actively trying to figure things out. I love it! DARK does the same thing for me. I know many people shy away from the show because it is German. I do not mind watching it with the English dubs. I understand that if you cannot listen to it in English, that it is probably pretty hard to follow in German, but it is worth it. I have watched seasons 1 and 2 twice and now I am watching them a third time before I start season 3. It is literally, THAT GOOD!