The Top 50 Netflix Shows Currently Available

It’s easy to see the influences—Wednesday is equal parts Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Riverdale, and Smallville (no surprise, given it’s created by the latter’s Alfred Gough and Miles Millar)—but it’s all elevated by Jenna Ortega’s brilliantly macabre and deliciously deadpan performance as Wednesday herself, not to mention the visual sensibilities of director Tim Burton. With a phenomenal supporting cast, including Catharine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán as Morticia and Gomez Addams; Fred Armisen as deranged Uncle Fester; Gwendoline Christie as Nevermore’s Principal Weems; and the cinematic Wednesday Addams, Christina Ricci, as a botany teacher, this latter-day Addams Family spinoff is a post-Halloween treat.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners
While the core Cyberpunk 2077 game from developer CD Projekt Red divided audiences when it launched in 2020, this adaptation instead strikes gold on its first try. Almost like an animated Breaking Bad, Edgerunners follows an enterprising teenager named David Martinez, whose promising life in the futuristic, corporate-controlled Night City collapses after his mother dies in a random act of violence. Unlike Breaking Bad though, David has the benefit of an advanced cybernetic implant that grants him bursts of superhuman strength and speed, and with the aid of Lucy, a netrunner living on the outskirts of society, he begins rising through the ranks of the criminal underworld. Dynamically animated by Studio Trigger—the Japanese studio behind anime masterworks Kill la Kill and BNA: Brand New Animal—Edgerunners is an exquisite exploration of corruption, desperation, trust, and betrayal, and it’s accessible whether you’re a hardcore fan of the game or your only experience with cyberpunk is watching Blade Runner that one time.

Let’s be honest: Animated series based on video games often run the gamut from cheap cash-ins to half-decent-if-forgettable tie-ins, inaccessible to anyone but hardcore devotees. In contrast, Arcane stands apart from the crowd by making its connections to Riot Games’ League of Legends almost optional. While its central figures, orphaned sisters Vi and Jinx, are playable characters in the game, viewers don’t need foreknowledge of their story to enjoy this steampunk saga of class war, civil uprising, and the people caught in between. With a gorgeous painterly art style, strong characters, and frequently shocking story beats, Arcane defies its origins to become one of the best animated series in years—and it has racked up plenty of awards, including a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, to prove it.

The Sandman
The Sandman is one of the most beloved comic series of the past 40 years. A dark fantasy about dreams, reality, stories, and the mercurial relationship between them, Neil Gaiman’s books have endured as essential reading for goth teens and literati alike. While attempts to bring the saga of Dream of the Endless—sometimes known as Morpheus, immortal embodiment and master of the nightlands, fierce and terrible in his wrath—to the screen have been underway practically since the comic debuted in 1988, this long-in-development Netflix adaptation is worth the wait. It’s a perfect translation of the first two graphic novels in the series and follows Dream (a sombre and imposing Tom Sturridge) as he restores his power and kingdom after being held in captivity for a century by occultists who snared him instead of his sister Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). Fittingly, the show has a dreamlike pacing to it, blurring the lines between episodic narratives and longer arcs, and it is as likely to leave viewers crying over a gargoyle’s fate as it is to shock them with the sadistic actions of an escaped nightmare-turned-serial killer named The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook). The Sandman’s journey to the screen might have been the stuff of restless nights, but the result is a dream you won’t want to wake up from.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Adaptation: a word that here means “perfectly translating a deliciously dark series of young adult novels to a visual medium without sacrificing any of the otherworldly strangeness of the source material”—right down to the carefully considered dialog and fourth-wall-breaking bookends delivered by Lemony Snicket himself (or, if you’re picky, Patrick Warburton). Netflix’s take on Snicket’s 13-book series is a spectacular accomplishment, telling the full saga of the desperate Baudelaire orphans—Violet, Klaus, and baby Sunny—as they repeatedly escape the machinations of the foul Count Olaf (a scene-stealing Neil Patrick Harris) in the wake of their parents’ suspicious deaths. Forget the truncated 2004 movie version—this three-season masterpiece is the definitive vision of Snicket’s macabre world.

Love, Death + Robots
Developed by Deadpool director Tim Miller, Love, Death + Robots is perhaps Netflix’s most daring animated offering to date. In this anthology series, where the only common thread is each episode’s unique interpretation of that eponymous trio of themes, viewers are treated to wild concepts that include deadly gladiatorial twists on Pokémon-style beast battles, sentient yogurt, super-powered exoplanetary colonists, and adorable robots that have outlived humanity only to be confused by the world we’ve left behind. Wildly experimental, Love, Death + Robots isn’t afraid to play around with animation styles and genre, allowing a phenomenal roster of creators—including David Fincher, making his animation directing debut—freedom to tell whatever stories they want. The show is brimming with ideas and practically vibrating with visual energy, and you never know what you’re going to get—which is half the fun.

The Umbrella Academy
After preventing the apocalypse and getting trapped in the 1960s, the dysfunctional adoptive siblings of the Hargreeves family find themselves back in the present and face-to-face with … the Hargreeves family. Turns out, messing with the space-time continuum can have unforeseen effects, like your abusive-father-figure-slash-mentor adopting seven different superpowered infants instead of you. Being trapped in an alternate timeline isn’t the worst of it though—there’s the small matter of a Kugelblitz about to destroy reality to contend with. This third season is where The Umbrella Academy overtakes the original comics (created by My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way and artist Gabriel Bá), meaning viewers who are coming in fresh and those who’ve read every panel of the source material are equally in the dark about where this season will take them—and how weird things are about to get.

Stranger Things
Netflix’s nostalgic sci-fi/horror series is back for its fourth season, set six months after the Battle of Starcourt and with its core cast separated for the first time. The Byers family and Eleven are off in California, Hopper is still (somehow) in a Russian prison, and the remaining crew are home in Hawkins, Indiana, about to face down a terrifying new threat—high school. Oh, and another incursion from the horrific Upside Down. The Duffer Brothers continue to offer up plenty of 1980s nostalgia for viewers who grew up on a diet of Spielberg, Lucas, and Craven, while upping the stakes with a significant new threat. Expect drama, scares, and—of course—plenty of Dungeons & Dragons as the cult show roars toward its fifth and final season.

Russian Doll
In Russian Doll, Nadia has one very big problem: Time keeps breaking around her. Season one finds Nadia—played by Natasha Lyonne, who is also a cocreator on the show—dying at her own birthday party, only to wake up there over and over again, trapped in a Groundhog Day-style loop until she can unravel her personalized knot in the space-time continuum. Things only get stranger in season two, where Nadia finds herself traveling back in time to 1982 and inhabiting the body of her own mother—currently heavily pregnant with Nadia herself. Both seasons are funny and thought-provoking, reflecting on personal and generational trauma, all without overegging the potential for philosophical musing.

The tagline on the first volume of creator Alice Oseman’s original graphic novels offers the most elegant synopsis of Heartstopper: “Boy meets boy.” A heartfelt teen comedy-drama set in and around a British grammar school, the show follows shy, awkward Charlie—the only openly gay student at Truman High—and his burgeoning romance with Nick, the popular “rugby king” of the school. Yet while the show tackles difficult topics, such as coming out, peer pressure, and even assault, Heartstopper’s main currencies are joy, charm, and hope. With phenomenal performances from a cast of young LGBTQ+ actors—and guest appearances by Olivia Colman as Nick’s mom—Heartstopper is a romance for the ages.

Orange Is the New Black
One of Netflix’s first big successes remains one of its best shows. This seven-season prison drama initially follows Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) as she is sent to Litchfield Penitentiary for a drug-smuggling offense, but it soon blossoms into a show about the lives and circumstances of the people she’s incarcerated with—a diverse and fascinating group of individuals whose stories resonate deeply. Orange Is the New Black balances dark humor, raw emotion, and social commentary to create a rich and compelling narrative that showcases the complexities of the human experience.

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