Netflix has something for everyone, but there’s plenty of rubbish padding its catalogue of classic TV shows everyone has heard about. So, to help you out we are here with the Top 10 Netflix series you must give a try.
Planet Earth II
No matter how many times you watch it, the Attenborough-narrated BBC show doesn’t get any less beautiful. Split into six episodes, the story travels through islands, jungles, grasslands, mountains, deserts and cities. Fish jump from the water to eat birds, wild horses scrap for dominance and penguins face an almost impossible journey.
Travellers is something of a hidden gem, albeit one that’s increasingly not hidden as people realise the genius of this tight, entertaining Canadian sci-fi series. Run by Brad Wright, one of the co-creators of Stargate SG-1, the show follows a team of time travellers sent back to “the 21st” to prevent the post-apocalyptic future from which they came. The twist is how they travel. The Travellers have their consciousness transferred into the bodies of people shortly before their death, adopting their identities and living their lives between missions. It’s an often thrilling, sometimes complicated watch that treads the line between serious sci-fi and accessible entertainment perfectly.
Manhunt: Unabomber is a crime drama based on the FBI’s hunt for serial bomber Ted Kaczynski (played by Paul Bettany), who mailed a string of homemade bombs to targets including academics, airlines and executives between 1978 and 1995. The series focuses on FBI profiler James Fitzgerald (Sam Worthington), who attempts to find linguistic clues in the bomber’s political writings in order to identify him. It’s a fast-paced, high-stakes investigation, and the show gets under the skin of both protagonists, who we are led to believe have a lot more in common than they would perhaps like to admit.
Marvel’s Daredevil has returned for a third season. Matt Murdoch (played by Charlie Cox) is a blind lawyer who also acts as a vigilante superhero in his spare time. Yet as his beloved Hell’s Kitchen (a fictionalised version of the New York neighbourhood) is overrun by crime Murdoch’s time is increasingly consumed by his superhero antics. Using his heightened senses Murdoch navigates the streets of Hell’s Kitchen and facing down increasingly more sophisticated villains. Daredevil is one of the best series to come out of Netflix and Marvel’s production partnership.
If you’ve run out of episodes of Black Mirror, it’s well worth diving into the Charlie Brooker back-catalogue. Dead Set, a five-part mini-series which was originally broadcast in 2008, isn’t quite as slick and polished as its higher budget successor, but there are clear signs of what was to come from Brooker in its darkly twisted premise.
The show, which was uploaded to Netflix for the first time this month, follows the contestants and producers on a fictional series of Big Brother, who become stranded on set as a zombie outbreak ravages the world outside. There are appearances from Riz Ahmed – later of Rogue One and Four Lions – and Warren Brown (Idris Elba’s detective partner on Luther), as well as a zombified Davina McCall. There’s even a blink and you’ll miss it zombie cameo from Brooker himself – taking on a rare acting role in addition to writing and producing.
This eight episode series is one of the more unusual and original Netflix shows in recent memory. It opens with Prairie Johnson, played by co-creator Brit Marling, reappearing having been missing for seven years. She won’t explain where she was or the biggest mystery of all: how she came to regain her sight. What follows is an absorbing supernatural mystery that stretches credulity at times, but keeps you hooked all the same. A second season is due in 2019.
The Last Kingdom
Based on a series of novels by Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom is set in late 9th-century England, long before the country was unified. The competing kingdoms have been invaded and occupied by Vikings, leaving Wessex under the rule of King Alfred as the last standing against the plundering hoards. It’s an entertaining historical drama centred on Uthred of Bebbanburg, an Anglo-Saxon who is kidnapped as a boy, raised as a Viking and finds himself playing both sides to try and regain the land and title stolen from him. It never quite reaches the heights of Vikings, which is available on Amazon Prime, but it’s a more than adequate substitute while you wait for its final season. There are three seasons on Netflix with a fourth on the way.
Series don’t have to run for multiple seasons to be a success and Manic is a prime example of this. Dubbed a limited series, the show is only ten episodes and won’t be making a return with a second part in a year’s time. The lives of Annie Landsberg and Owen Milgrim become entwined when they both sign up for a pharmaceutical trial. However, they get much more than they bargained for as the trial is being run by a depressed supercomputer that’s intent on inflicting its feelings on others.
A serial killer targeting children is on the loose in 1890s New York. The local police department is playing down any connections between the deaths of the young boys, who all work in the sex industry. Based on Caleb Carr’s novel, the series sees criminal psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler team up with a New York Timesillustrator called John Moore and Sara Howard, NYPD’s first female employee who has aspirations of becoming a detective. The trio work under the radar with new police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt in an attempt to track down the deranged serial killer using psychological analysis – a largely unheard of technique at the time.
“Now the story of a family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together” – sounds pretty ordinary for a tagline, but that is probably the only thing that is normal about Arrested Development. The series follows the Bluth family, a horde of nutty, selfish sociopaths who attempt to look after themselves after Papa Bluth goes to prison and cash starts being short. The only relatively functional member of the family, Michael – whose son is rightfully named George Michael – desperately tries to live up to his favourite adage that family is what counts the most. His struggles between a manipulative, emotionless mother and his professionally qualified magician brother make for an easy watch and puns that get even better as the series continues.