Netflix is known for not only incredible original content—but the amount of original content it comes out in year. This year was no different as not only did several popular series return for new seasons, but new shows debuted and the company picked up the rights to international shows. Here’s a spoiler-free top 10 Netflix shows worth checking out from this year.
Stranger Things (season 1) – This was the Netflix hit of the year. It started off a bit slow but really picks up once you find where El comes from, the lengths the lab will go to get her back, explanation of the Upside-Down, and the search for the boys’ friend. The early 1980s vibe and setting of the show is amazing and the genres the show straddles—you’ll start off thinking it’s a supernatural-horror show then it gets into sci-fi then everything gets covered in mystery. Stranger Things is really worth binging.
Marvel’s Daredevil (season 2) – Daredevil is a series based heavily off of Frank Miller’s version of Daredevil—which pretty much became the definitive direction for the character—and is heavily focused on action. It’s a show with a pace that will throw you off as episodes don’t get bogged down too much with a lot of backstory and storyline building. That isn’t to say there isn’t story here and it’s just all action, action, action but a lot Daredevil’s visual appeal comes the fight scenes which straps a rocket pack on the season.
Season two keeps the pace of season one and with the addition of Elektra and The Punisher things get hectic very fast and season three should be great with how the second season ended.
Marvel’s Luke Cage (season 1) – Whereas Marvel’s Daredevil’s visual appeal lies heavily in the fight scenes, Luke Cage’s comes from the setting, the music, and the story. All Netflix-Marvel show start off with a strong story to draw you in with season one, but the difference between the two shows is that the pacing was slower—especially in the second the act. It was a pacing that like Daredevil matched the character.
Daredevil is an agile, fast moving acrobatic martial artist; Luke is depicted as a pure brawler. He’s a big, heavy, strong, almost indestructible wrecking ball. The series adapts everything about Luke Cage and crushes you with major events in story. With the way the show ended things are certain to pick up.
Narcos (season 2) – Season one was a well-paced season where all kinds of things were happening in the rise of Pablo Escobar and this law enforcement taskforce hunting him and his partners down. Season two picked up the pace as Pablo was now on the run from law enforcement and rival “businessmen.” There was rarely a dull moment in season two.
Orange Is the New Black (season 4) – This was a show that was really anticipated given the events of season 3. The show overall has done a great job and crafting an extremely interesting cast of characters around the main character of Piper Chapman—who wasn’t particularly interesting early on, but became more interesting as season two went on.
The Get Down (season 1, part 1) – Season one—part one—of The Get Down was a fun, historically accurate six episodes of hip hop history. There is a great cast, great music, and the live tweeting and community viewing around this show was just about on par with the debut weekend of Luke Cage. Something different here is Netflix breaking the season up into two parts which is similar to have traditional TV has started doing with its seasons of 16 or 24 episodes in part because of Netflix’s 6 to 13 episode seasons being more digestible.
Voltron: Legendary Defender (season 1) – This reboot of the legendary anime series is really exciting to watch as it gives more storyline early on than the original did and is somewhat in line with later Voltron series which balances storyline and mecha vs. monster and mecha vs. alien mecha action. One thing that I really like over the original—which I love—is that the backstories and origins of the lion pilots are explored in great detail.
Black Mirror (season 3) – Black Mirror was a show that was very hard for me to get into since it’s such a slow moving anthology with longer than usual episodes. That said, once you actually get into Black Mirror you’re rewarded with great sci-fi stories. Season three is more or less the same as the first two quality-wise while still keeping that almost plodding British drama pace.
BoJack Horseman (season 3) – This was one of the animated series for an older audience—the other being F is for Family—that I was late getting in on not being the biggest fan of comedy series or sitcoms. It was after checking out the Christmas Special that I gave the series a chance and I wasn’t disappointed. Season three was a very solid season with the second being the strongest one. Unlike most sitcoms and comedy series BoJack is a series that you need to watch all episodes—unless you just watch the season one and two recap—since the seasons are serial and not episodic.
Longmire (season 5) – This crime drama that follows Sheriff Walt Longmire and his small police department as they solve mostly intertwined cases floats between hit and sleeper in that it could be a popular series, but often gets overlooked.
So much happens in this small county has so much conspiracy and corruption stemming from businesses looking to get land and open up shop there that you’d think a federal agency would be on top of things, but no. You have murder, a shaky relationship with tribal police, a vigilante, drugs invading a small county, more murder, unexpected suspects—it’s a show really worth checking out.