The 25 Best Series On Netflix Instant, Ranked

Entertainment Features
01.07.14 220 Comments
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Anything else that I left off, well, I promise you that whatever it was, it was definitely number 26. UPDATE: The 26-50th Best Series On Netflix Instant.

25. Parenthood (4 of 5 seasons)– It helps if you’re a parent to relate to some of the plotlines, but even if you’re not, Friday Night Light’s showrunner Jason Katims brings the same brand of naturalistic, heartfelt drama he displayed in Friday Night Lights to the tender and frequently emotional Parenthood. Great ensemble, although the show is often given to sentiment, which is good or bad, depending on who you are.

24. Raising Hope (3 of 4 seasons) — Greg Garcia’s sitcom began as a hilarious, and often spot-on comedic exploration of a lower, lower middle class family raising a child together, but over the course of the series, as it has improved, it’s focused more on the show’s two best assets, Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt, the latter of whom is the most unexpectedly hilarious guy on TV. Clever, heartfelt, and creative in incredibly surprising ways.

23. New Girl (2 of 3 seasons) — After a shaky start that focused too much on Zooey Deschanel and her quirks, the series found its stride in the middle of the first season, as it turned into an ensemble comedy and, by the second season, blossomed into one of the best sitcoms on television. It’s faltered some in its current third season, but that second season is one of the best ever years of comedy. Thanks to Schmidt and Nick, it’s also one of the most GIFable shows around.

22. Terriers (1 of 1 seasons) — Not that it doesn’t already get mentioned enough around here, it always bears repeating: Terriers is terrific, a funny, engrossing, and entertaining private eye drama starring Donal Logue that never should’ve been cancelled. In a just world, Terriers is now entering its fourth season. But even in this unjust world, season one should not be missed.

21. Better Off Ted (2 of 2 seasons) — Probably the sitcom closest in spirit to Arrested Development (it also stars Portia de Rossi), Ted is a brilliant, offbeat, and irreverent, skewering corporate culture and subverting the office comedies. There’s only one and a half seasons of the show, but given how subversive and different it was for network television, the miracle is that we have those two seasons at all.

20. Sons of Anarchy (5 of 6 seasons) — Seasons three to five were wildly inconsistent, but the first two seasons was some of the most intense and violent television you’ll ever watch (as was its most recent sixth season, which has not yet been added to Netflix). Described early on as The Sopranos with motorcycles, Sons is a good show to jump on now, ahead of next year’s final seasons, since it could become one of the most talked about series in 2014, with all the Hamlet-inspired deaths coming to fruition.

19. Bob’s Burgers (2 of 4) — Not quite as funny as H. Jon Benjamin’s other animated sitcom, Archer, Bob’s Burgers does have something Archer does not: A huge heart. Combine that with great musical numbers, and a madly addictive quality, and Bob’s Burgers is one of the most fun shows on Netflix with which to binge.

18. House of Cards (1 of 1 seasons) — Netflix’s first major foray into original programming was worth every cent of its $100 million production budget, featuring searing performances, a droll sense of humor, slick writing, engrossing plotlines, and Kevin Spacey chewing the face off the scenery.

17. Parks and Recreation (5 of 6 seasons) — Witty, heartfelt, and funny, you’re not likely to find a more likable sitcom than Parks and Recreation. The first six episodes aren’t very good, but once they figured out what to do with Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope, the sitcom began to thrive, thanks in huge part to its endearing supporting cast. Parks and Rec is blissful television.

16. The Office (US and UK, Complete Series of Both) — The original UK The Office mainstreamed Ricky Gervais’ awkward, uncomfortable humor, while The Office diluted it (some), layered in one of sitcom’s greatest romances (for four seasons, anyway), and surrounded Steve Carell with a remarkable, quirky supporting cast. The first four seasons still stand as the best workplace comedy in American sitcom history, even if the final four seasons were increasingly bad, though the series did redeem itself near the end.

15. Luther (2 of 3 seasons) — Maybe the bleakest, grittiest cop show you’ll ever see, Luther is so intense it may at times rattle your brain stem. But it is also pummelling great drama, and Idris Elba is a goddamn tour de force (Ruth Wilson is fantastic, too).
14. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (7 of 7 seasons) — Enjoyable, witty, and smart, Joss Whedon’s television series still stands as one of the best character-driven action-adventure series ever. Once it hit its stride in season two, it’s a fleet-footed, charming, and completely satisfying television show, and one whose characters will stick with you for the rest of your life (the spin-off, Angel, which is also on Netflix, is not bad, either).

13. Doctor Who (6 of 7, not including Classic Doctor Who) — Look: The production values are not always great, and at times, Doctor Who can be a little cheesy, but it is nevertheless one of those shows that is difficult not to become completely invested in once you begin. If you’re not a sci-fi geek, if you give it a shot, Doctor Who may be the show that makes you one.

Continue for #12-#1 of the 25 Best Series on Netflix Instant.

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