Netflix has curated some of the best television shows and movies in the world, but at the same time they also have worked hard on creating and producing their own unique library of shows.
Through the years, the online streaming giant has become one of the go-to networks when it comes to riveting and critically acclaimed series.
This was true right from the start, with shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, but Netflix’s output has gotten even more prestigious in recent years.
Now, Netflix has just as many original series as it does its licensed hits, and many of its originals have higher critical praise than the network shows it has licensed.
Here is a look at the 15 top-ranked Netflix shows on the streaming service, with their Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb rankings (at the time of writing) in brackets.
Make sure to check back monthly as we will update and add to this list as more shows hit the platform.
Updated in June 2021: Every month, new shows are added to Netflix and some of them might trump anything on the list so far.
Every month, we will check the latest ratings for shows and adjust the ratings accordingly. If a show drops in critical rating, we will readjust the ratings and will make sure to add any shows that break into the top of the list.
In June, two shows dropped completely off the list. Master of None dropped from 100 percent fresh to 94 percent. Call My Agent dropped from 100 percent to 97 percent. It was the most severe drops since we started tracking the shows. Two new entries replaced them, with Unbelievable and Five Came Back.
Five Came Back (98%, 8.3/10)
Five Came Back was a Netflix original documentary released in 2017. It has received renewed interest as Netflix added a new series titled Five Came Back: The Reference Films in 2021.
This is about five directors who worked on war-related films that helped advice modern filmmakers about the wars. These men were John Ford (The Battle of Midway), William Wyler (The Memphis Belle, Thunderbolt), John Huston (Tunisian Victory, Let There Be Light), Frank Capra (The Battle of Russia), and George Stevens (Nazi Concentration Camps).
The documentary talks to several modern-day filmmakers, including Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Greengrass, and Steven Spielberg.
Unbelievable (98%, 8.4/10)
Unbelievable is a true crime miniseries that hit Netflix in 2019.
Even two years after its release, this series continues to pick up fans as it makes its first appearance on this list.
Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, and Kaitlyn Dever co-star in this series about a series of rapes in Colorado and Washington State. The series is also based on the2015 news article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape”, written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, and their 2018 book A False Report.
The plot follows Marie, a teenager charged with lying about having been raped, and the detectives who followed a twisting path to arrive at the truth.
Alias Grace (99%, 7.8/10)
Released in 2017 and based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, Alias Grace is based on the case of a “celebrated murderess.”
Atwood, who also wrote the novel The Handmaid’s Tale, wrote this story about a woman convicted of murder, although her actual guilt or innocence is never revealed.
The limited series, like the book, has Grace Marks talking about her life history and revealing the moments in her life that led to her eventual conviction of murder.
Actress Sarah Polley wrote and created the Netflix series based on Atwood’s novel.
Big Mouth (99%, 8.0/10)
Big Mouth is the highest-rated animated Netflix original series, with a perfect 100 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Forget about the fact that this is a cartoon. This show is for adults and is a hilarious look back at what it was like to reach puberty.
Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg created the series based on their adolescence and created the ingenious hormone monsters to give the kids the worst imaginable advice possible.
There have been three seasons and 31 episodes, and Netflix has renewed it for three more seasons for a total of six.
One Day At A Time (99%, 8.2/10)
In 2017, Netflix remade the classic ’70s sitcom One Day at a Time, with one major twist.
The new series took the all-white family from the original series and replaced it with a Latino family, giving it a new direction and focus. What resulted was one of Netflix’s best critically acclaimed series.
In a very different change of pace, Netflix canceled the series after three seasons, and CBS picked it up for a fourth season. This was the opposite of what seemingly happens to most shows, where networks cancel them before Netflix jumps in to save them.
Only the first three seasons are available on Netflix.
Crazyhead (100%, 7.3/10)
Crazyhead was a 2016 Netflix original fantasy series that offered a new look at the Buffy the Vampire slayer styled story.
Cara Theobold is Amy, an unhappy bowling alley employee who finds out that she can see demons hiding in society. Susan Wokoma is Raquel, a socially awkward girl who can also see demons and starts to hunt them.
Crazyhead has only six episodes in one season, and while it has a perfect 100 percent ranking on Rotten Tomatoes, it never got a second season. The lack of more seasons was due to U.K. partner Channel 4 pulling out of future production.
The Baby-Sitters Club (100%, 7.3/10)
The Baby-Sitters Club is one of the newest Netflix original series, released in July 2020.
Based on the pre-teen book series by Ann M. Martin, the show is a loyal adaptation of the books, with a great cast of young girls taking on the roles that an entire generation of readers grew to love.
The plot of the first season follows the friendship and adventures of the young girls as they create their babysitting business in Stoneybrook, Connecticut.
Critics call the show “sweet, sincere, and full of hope,” and it is almost assured that a second season will come to the streaming service.
Immigration Nation (100%, 7.4/10)
Immigration Nation is a new Netflix documentary that brings the plight of illegal aliens to the forefront.
What makes this documentary so interesting is that law enforcement officials are allowed to be themselves, which is not a good thing. These officers insult the immigrants and also call those who never broke the law as “collateral damage.”
The documentary also looks at the danger in the countries these immigrants come from, them trying to escape and get to a safe place to live.
There are even people who fought for the U.S. in the military who are kicked out of the country. This is a polarizing documentary that is one of the hot spots in today’s society.
The Confession Killer (100%, 7.4/10)
The Confession Killer is a Netflix original series that revolves around the case of Henry Lee Lucas.
The confessions by Lucas that the series is based on turned out to be mostly false, as he confessed to over 200 murders that were all lies. This real-life event caused authorities to reevaluate police techniques in coercing confessions since the real killers remained free.
Released in 2019, The Confession Killer is a five-part documentary series that showed how the police happily closed 213 unsolved cases based on the confessions, letting murderers get away free and clear from their crimes.
Feel Good (100%, 7.5/10)
Feel Good is another 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.
Dash & Lily (100%, 7.6/100)
Dash & Lily hit Netflix in November 2020 and quickly became a massive hit.
Based on the young adult series of books by David Leviathan and Rachel Cohn, the series was eight episodes long and featured a cynical guy who hates Christmas and an optimistic girl who wants to find love.
The critics called it a “delightful rom-com adventure with plenty of holiday cheer.”
Fans on IMBd loved it too, with one calling it “cliched and cheesy, but in a good way” and another calling it a “new Christmas classic.”
Blood of Zeus (100%, 7.7/10)
Blood of Zeus is the latest adult animated series for Netflix. The original title was Gods & Heroes, but the title was changed and Netflix released it in October 2020.
Critics fell in love with it, giving it a high 99-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The show takes place in the world of Greek myths with the demigod son of Zeus, Heron, trying to save both Earth and Olympus. This is an original story not based on the classic myths, as Heron does not exist in the Greek legends.
There are eight episodes and critics point out the “slick imagery” and “great voice acting” as well as a “nuanced take on anger and how it relates to power.”
Ugly Delicious (100%, 7.8/10)
Ugly Delicious has been around for two seasons on Netflix and has a perfect 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The series is a non-fiction Netflix original series that follows host David Chang as he travels and cooks.
The series is popular, as it has Chang traveling to different societies and cultures and exploring how one specific dish or food concept on each episode is prepared based on the locals.
The show also explores the history and cultural significance of popular foods. More than just a cooking show, this is a show that demonstrates great love for talking about food and culture.
Giri/Haji (100%, 7.9/10)
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.
Dirty Money (100%, 8.1/10)
Alex Gibney directed and produced the Netflix original documentary series Dirty Money in 2018 and exposed corruption in corporate America with interviews with the key players.
The first season dealt with some controversial moments, including Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ price gouging, HSBC’s money laundering controversy, and the finale about Donald Trump.
This led to a second season in 2020 that included episodes on Jared Kushner, Wells Fargo, and former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Ranked at 100 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes, critics praised the Netflix series’ ability to look at unethical behavior in corporations that assume no one is looking at them.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (100%, 8.5/10)
Mystery Science Theater 3000 has been around for a long time, starting in 1988 and running for 12 seasons and 217 episodes.
The entire purpose was for the host to roast bad movies by playing them and offering a running commentary that was at turns insulting and hilarious.
A Kickstarter campaign to bring it back raised $5.7 million from 48,270 backers. There have now been two seasons on Netflix of the return of the series.
Joel Hodgson is joined by celebs like Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt in 20 new episodes.
Middleditch & Schwartz (100%, 8.7/10)
There are only three episodes of Middleditch & Schwartz, but since it just appeared on Netflix in 2020, there is always a chance for more.
At the moment, Middleditch & Schwartz is ranked at 100 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and features three one-hour episodes so far.
Thomas Middleditch is a comedian known best for his role in HBO’s Silicon Valley. Ben Schwartz is best known for his role on Parks and Recreation and House of Lives.
The two men based each episode on random audience suggestions, and the two comedians improvise the entire act.
Lenox Hill (100%, 8.7/10)
Lenox Hill is a Netflix original TV series that hit the streaming service in 2020.
This is a nine-episode documentary series about the real-life Lennox Hill Hospital in New York City. The series follows the lives of four medical professionals in gynecology, obstetrics, emergency medicine, and neurosurgery.
The series doesn’t flinch as it shows the highs and lows of the medical personnel’s personal lives and careers as well as the patients, from birth to brain surgery.
Not everything in Lenox Hill has a happy ending, but these are real people making real decisions, so not everything happens as the viewers might expect.