Your Definitive Netflix Binge-Watch List
By Rachel Cohn and Lauren Cohn
I’m sure by now you have spent a considerable amount of time in quarantine watching television, which is totally fair. And you’ve probably heard this a lot, but during these uncertain times it is great to have an escape and to get lost in whatever world your tv show takes you. Whether you’re in the mood for some light and breezy comfort-binging or want something captivating to keep you actively engaged and pressing “next episode”, we are here for you with a fully detailed list of the best Netflix shows to binge in quarantine.
If you want to escape reality
- Locke and Key– After their father is murdered under mysterious circumstances, the three Locke siblings and their mother move into their ancestral home, Keyhouse, which they discover is full of magical keys that may be connected to their father’s death
- The little kid is Georgie from It, just saying. Might save you a google search, I don’t know
- Stranger Things– When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief and his friends must confront terrifying supernatural forces in order to get him back
- Don’t let the upbeat 80s music and bright fashion distract you from the fact that this is in fact a scary mystery about a monster. Just keep that in mind.
- Haunting of Hill House– Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it
- To this day I still have nightmares about the Bent-neck lady. And I mean that in the best way possible.
- The 100– Set ninety-seven years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, when a spaceship housing humanity’s lone survivors sends one hundred juvenile delinquents back to Earth, in hopes of re-populating the planet
- Maybe you should watch this to learn some survival skills before the virus inevitably destroys our planet, just kidding. Sort of
- Black Mirror– An anthology series exploring a twisted, high-tech multiverse where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide
- If you are looking for a show to completely shatter your perception of reality, then this is for you. Try the interactive movie “Bandersnatch”, too, if you’re really feeling adventurous.
- The Umbrella Academy– A family of former child heroes, now grown apart, must reunite to continue to protect the world
- Superpowers plus time travel plus monkey servants plus some weird cello thing. What’s not to like.
If you want to finally get around to watching that show everyone’s been talking about
- Mad Men– A drama about one of New York’s most prestigious ad agencies a the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm’s most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper
- Ozark– A financial advisor drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder money to appease a drug boss
- Breaking Bad– A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family’s future
- The Crown– Follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the twentieth century
- Twin Peaks– An peculiar FBI agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the even more peculiar town of Twin Peaks
- Orange is the New Black– Convicted of a decade old crime of transporting drug money to an ex-girlfriend, normally law-abiding Piper Chapman is sentenced to a year and a half behind bars to face the reality of how life-changing prison can really be
If you want a good, comforting laugh to remind you of better times
- Schitt’s Creek– When rich video-store magnate Johnny Rose and his family suddenly find themselves broke, they are forced to leave their pampered lives to regroup in Schitt’s Creek
- It’s pretty funny to watch a really, really rich family lose all their money and move into a motel. So much so that you forget to really feel bad for them
- Parks and Recreation– The absurd antics of an Indiana town’s public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place
- Okay, controversial, but this show may be better than the office. Not that it’s a competition, but this particular workplace comedy has Chris Pratt in it.
- The Good Place– Four people and their otherworldly frenemy struggle in the afterlife to define what it means to be good
- Someone tell me why a comedy has more twists and turns than any other drama or thriller out there because honestly, this show never goes in the direction you think it will.
- New Girl– After a bad break-up, Jess, an offbeat young woman, moves into an apartment loft with three single men. Although they find her behavior very unusual, the men support her– most of the time
- In this world, you either are a Nick Miller or know a Nick Miller. And I bet that you’re finally beginning to really see that now that we’re in quarantine
- The Office– A mockumentary on a group of typical office workers, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and tedium
- You’ve either seen The Office 30 different times or have not seen a single episode. There is no in between, so you might as well get started on 1 of 30 while we’re in quarantine.
- Arrested Development– Level-headed son Michael Bluth takes over family affairs after his father is imprisoned. But the rest of his spoiled, dysfunctional family are making his job unbearable
- And by that, we mean the first three seasons, Netflix’s version of the last two seasons is not valid
If you want a good old crime drama
- Dexter– By day, mild-mannered Dexter is a blood-splatter analyst for the Miami police. But at night, he is a serial killer who only targets other murderers
- Yeah let’s just toss aside the fact that Dexter pretty much kills a person in cold blood every single episode. He’s only killing the bad guys, can you blame him?
- Criminal Minds– The cases of the F.B.I. Behavioral Analysis Unit (B.A.U.), an elite group of profilers who analyze the nation’s most dangerous serial killers and individual heinous crimes in an effort to anticipate their next moves before they strike again
- If Criminal Minds doesn’t keep you up at night fearing that there is a serial killer spying on you through your window, then I don’t know what will. But also, like, Dr. Spencer Reid.
- How to Get Away With Murder– A group of ambitious law students and their brilliant criminal defense professor become involved in a twisted murder plot that promises to change the course of their lives
- Set in the late 1970s, two FBI agents are tasked with interviewing serial killers to solve open cases
- Lucifer– Lucifer Morningstar has decided he’s had enough of being the dutiful servant in Hell and decides to spend some time on Earth to better understand humanity. He settles in Los Angeles, where he becomes an LAPD consultant who tries to punish people for their crimes through law and justice
- Your run-of-the-mill procedural cop tv show, but they’ve got the devil on their team this time.
- NCIS– The cases of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s Washington, D.C. Major Case Response Team, led by Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs
If you think Carole Baskin killed her husband (documentaries)
- Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness– A rivalry between big cat eccentrics takes a dark turn when Joe Exotic, a controversial animal park boss, is caught in a murder-for-hire plot
- If you haven’t already seen the train wreck that is the whole cast of Tiger King, then I advise that you at least take a look. Who knew that abusing tigers in captivity could be so scandalous?
- Salt Fat Acid Heat– Docuseries, based on the award-winning book, explores the essence of cooking and the vital ingredients at the heart of a great dish
- Making a Murderer– Filmed over a 10-year period, Steven Avery, a DNA exoneree, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, finds himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime
- Miss Americana– A look at iconic pop artist Taylor Swift during a transformational time in her life as she embraces her role as a singer/songwriter and harnesses the full power of her voice
- Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes– A look inside the mind of serial killer Ted Bundy, featuring interviews with him on death row
- Just in case you needed a reminder of how truly terrible and horrifying Ted Bundy is after watching Zac Efron play him in the movie
- Cheer– Follows the cheerleaders of Navarro College as they prepare for the biggest moment of their lives
If you want to focus on the absolutely ridiculous drama of other people’s lives instead of your own
- Outer Banks– A group of teenagers from the wrong side of the tracks stumble upon a treasure map that unearths a long buried secret
- If “wrong side of the tracks” was any indication, this show is basically if The OC and Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill and every other teen drama had a baby, but throw in some Goonies just for good measure.
- On my Block– A coming-of-age story about four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles. Dealing with the danger of getting their friend out of a gang and friends turning into romance, danger is constant
- All American– When a star high school football player from South Central is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High School, two separate worlds collide
- The Politician– Payton Hobart, a student from Santa Barbara, has known since age seven that he’s going to be President of the United States. But first he’ll have to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all: Saint Sebastian High School
- If the plot doesn’t interest you, at least stay for Ben Platt singing “River” and “Vienna”
- You– A dangerously charming, intensely obsessive young man goes to extreme measures to insert himself into the lives of those he is transfixed by
- Joe Goldberg is just like if Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl never told anyone that he was Gossip Girl and continued being an absolute creep and stalker. Same actor even, what do you know.
- The Society– When everyone else mysteriously vanishes from their wealthy town, the teen residents of West Ham must forge their own society to survive
- The Society details one of the more relatable aspects of adolescence: that awkward moment when everyone in the town except for your senior class vanishes from sight and you have to set up your own government to control the rebellion and mayhem of 18-year olds. Classic
If you want to focus on the absolutely ridiculous drama of other people, but make it reality
- The Great British Baking Show– Bakers attempt three challenges each week trying to impress the judges enough to go through to the next round and eventually are crowned Britain’s best amateur baker
- Love is Blind– Singles who want to be loved for who they are, rather than what they look like, have signed up for a less conventional approach to modern dating
- Kinda wild how appearance doesn’t matter when every single contestant is outrageously attractive.
- Queer Eye– A new Fab Five set out to Atlanta to help some of the city’s people refine their wardrobes, grooming, diet, cultural pursuits, and home decor
- Next in Fashion– 18 budding fashion designers compete for a $250,000 prize and the opportunity to launch a clothing line with Net-a-Porter
- The Circle– Players start off isolated in an apartment, and with their online interactions as their only means of any communication. The players use a social media platform called “The Circle”
- This show is absolutely ridiculous but also wildly entertaining because every contestant overuses hashtags and has to describe every emoji they want to use in painstaking detail during their conversations.
- Nailed It– Home bakers with a terrible track record take a crack at re-creating edible masterpieces for a $10,000 prize. It’s part reality contest, part hot mess
- If this isn’t an accurate representation of life in quarantine, then I don’t know what is
If you want some feel-good teen content
- Sex Education– A teenage boy with a sex therapist mother teams up with a high school classmate to set up an underground sex therapy clinic at school
- Okay so this one might be a little too graphic for our innocent little high school eyes, so just keep the name of the show in mind when you start it. Besides that, Sex Education is surprisingly endearing and an easy binge.
- Atypical– Sam, an 18-year-old on the autism spectrum, decides it’s time to find a girlfriend, a journey that sets Sam’s mom on her own life-changing path as her son seeks more independence
- I am Not Okay With This– Sydney is a teenage girl navigating the trials and tribulations of high school while dealing with the complexities of her family, her budding sexuality, and mysterious superpowers just beginning to awaken deep within her
- In classic Netflix fashion, this show takes place in the present but for some reason their technology and fashion don’t know that. You can also watch the entire series in 3 hours, which is a plus.
- Derry Girls– The personal exploits of a 16-year-old girl and her family and friends during the Troubles in the early 1990s in Ireland.
- A bunch of catholic girls living in Northern Ireland take on adolescence. It’s fun because they have accents and talk about things that only a person living in Northern Ireland would really understand.
- Gilmore Girls– A dramedy centering around the relationship between a thirtysomething single mother and her teen daughter living in Stars Hollow, Connecticut
- Once again, just like Arrested Development, do not watch the special that Netflix made, not worth ruining the show over
- Glee– A group of ambitious misfits try to escape the harsh realities of high school by joining a glee club
- Okay, so I know that this show is absolutely ridiculous and honestly pretty offensive in so many ways. But, that does not diminish the fact that Glee is actually quite entertaining, in an “unable to look away from a car wreck” sort of way