Starting with its massively popular DVD mailing platform, Netflix was one of the first to adjust to the movie and show streaming era. Millions now subscribe to their streaming program, so it was only natural that the net movie giant would make their foray into Netflix-produced shows and movies. What has been surprising to many is the high quality of the shows produced by Netflix, with many of them now rivaling the major networks in terms of viewership and place in popular culture.
Netflix now packs so much original programming that it is easy to envision a time when the service will be nothing but Netflix originals. With 70 Netflix-branded shows and counting now available, it can seem highly daunting to pick out a show to binge on. To help you out with this, please read further as we list seven of best Netflix shows of 2016.
Orange Is the New Black
From Jenji Kohan of Weeds fame, this prison epic puts an entirely new spin on the timeworn gritty jailhouse drama. Set in a woman’s prison, there are no hulking gang members pumping weights in the yard and no cellblock tier gang wars anywhere in site. Plus, the show centers on a college-educated character from gentrified Brooklyn who made a mistake in her past and now must face the consequences. Although the black humor is thick throughout the series, there is also a high sense of poignancy that bleeds through, deftly blurring the line between drama and comedy. The two most important keys to this show’s success are the supremely smart writing that keeps up highly addictive plot lines and the deep ensemble cast chalk full of colorful fan favorites. When it comes to binge-watching, there is no more binge-worthy show than Orange Is The New Black.
With intense visuals, skilled choreography, and the backbone of a strong script, Daredevil places itself in a category all its own within the famed franchise. This show is far darker and more violent than Marvel’s usual fare, and the characters are deep and complex enough to qualify as a drama. Unlike the untold numbers of comic character films and series’ that came before it, this show uses no cardboard villains or heroes, injecting each character with doses of good, evil, and everything in between. Daredevil is everything you could ever want from a comic series and appeals to both longtime Marvel fans and those who generally steer clear of such fare.
Taut and intense, this family drama unfolds gradually over the intense first season, peeling back the dark layers beneath the shiny surface of the Rayburn family. Set in Florida’s Keys, this highly addictive series shows a side of this region not usually touched in movies and TV, looking past the sunny beaches and crab shacks to focus on a sinister local underbelly. With a gradually unfolding plot and characters that go through significant changes over the course of the show, Bloodline is a true nail-biter that offers enough twists and turns to hold viewer’s attentions over multiple episodes.
House of Cards
Now in its fourth season, House of Cards is a Netflix original veteran. There are many reasons this show has remained popular, not the least of which are the excellent writing that keeps the surprises coming, the deep supporting cast that proves to be the grounding factor in the series, and the multiple subplots and twists that make this one of the most-binged shows in the current TV universe. This show goes beyond political thriller, mixing aspects of drama and dark comedy into a potent force that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
This paranormal thriller is an acutely executed throwback to the films of the 1980s, namely the horror of the John Carpenter and the extraterrestrial best of Steven Spielberg. The show will immediately appeal to anyone who grew up in the era and is written well enough to pull in millennial who never experienced the 80s. Plus, the return of Wynona Rider as grieved mother is highly welcome. Packing terrific acting and vintage cinematography, Stranger Things comes highly recommended.
Period piece dramas just don’t get any more stylish and sweeping than this. Tracking the rise of Queen Elizabeth II, this show ticks all the necessary boxes, including elaborate and accurate costumes, historical accuracy, and excellent acting from a deep cast. You don’t have to be interested in the specific history of the post-World War II era to fall in love with this show, which is always the mark of an effective period drama.
A brutal and unrelenting peak into the 80s drug trade, Narcos follows the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar and the law enforcement teams angling to take him down. This show exposes all the ugly faults and contradictions of the war on drugs but avoids being preachy by integrating subtle acting, plot surprises, and side stories that keep the show on track and highly addictive for viewers.
Have we missed any that you think should be in the list? Tell us in the comments below.