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Home / Features / The 32 best things to watch on Netflix US right now

The 32 best things to watch on Netflix US right now

Looking for something to watch? We've rounded up the finest films and shows on Netflix USA

Best of Netflix USA: The Matrix

Streaming services have has turned our living rooms into an endless video store with a truly bewildering array of options to peruse.

Netflix alone has thousands of titles, taking in everything from rom-coms to action movies, TV shows and documentaries; and that can be a problem. It’s called the paradox of choice; faced with an endless array of options, people freeze up. Before you know it, you’ve spent an hour scrolling through the possible choices, and you’ve run out of time to watch a movie.

Fear not, reader: we’ve done all the hard work for you, picking out the cream of the streaming crop on the US edition of Netflix. Read on…


Killing Eve (S1-4)

Written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and based on Luke Jennings’ Villanelle novels, this BBC series revolves around the relationship between a psychopathic international assassin (Jodie Comer) and Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), an MI5 agent trying to track her down.

As the pair dodge and chase each other, they develop a mutual obsession that threatens their careers – and their lives. With this funny, shocking and unconventional show now complete, US-based viewers can watch all four seasons on Netflix.

Watch Killing Eve on Netflix USA


Avatar: The Last Airbender (S1-3)

Nickelodeon’s beloved animated series, in which denizens of an Asia-inspired fantasy realm can “bend” (i.e. magically control) one of the four elements – earth, air, fire and water – recently got a new live-action adaptation. As it often the case with these things, it doesn’t even come close to the original.

Over its three series, ATLA weaves together a gloriously involving, dramatic and often amusing tale of conflict, adventure and spirituality. It’s smartly written, tonally rich and packed with compelling characters, so you’ll likely enjoy it whether you’re nine or 49 years old. Some critics consider it one of the greatest animated shows ever created, and we’re inclined to agree.

Watch Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix USA


The Matrix

The Matrix isn’t just a wildly entertaining action flick. It’s a phenomenon. This movie is veritably stuffed with cultural touchstones and iconic moments, and it still looks amazing more than twenty years after it first emerged from the febrile, fantastical minds of the Wachowskis.

Keanu Reeves has never been better than he is here. His Thomas Anderson (aka Neo) is an office-bound drudge by day and hacker by night who finds himself drawn into a reality-shattering adventure full of flying bullets, mind-blowing martial arts sequences and some early CGI that doesn’t look like absolute garbage today. Whoa indeed.

Watch The Matrix on Netflix USA


Patrick Melrose (S1)

Based on the semi-autobiographical novels of Edward St Aubyn, this Sky- and Showtime-produced drama series stars Benedict Cumberbatch. He plays Patrick, a heroin addict trying in vain to outrun his childhood trauma – which came courtesy of a cruel aristocratic father and fragile, emotionally absent American mother.

With each of the five episodes based on a single novel in St Aubyn’s series, each feels like a self-contained story. When taken together, however, they represent as vivid, complex and compelling a portrayal of hopelessness and redemption as you’ll find on television.

Watch Patrick Melrose on Netflix USA


Society of the Snow

In 1972 a plane carrying 45 passengers, including a Uruguayan rugby team, crashed in the Andes. The survivors find themselves trapped on a glacier, hopelessly far away from civilization – and presumed dead by the authorities. What lengths will they go to to survive the cold and lack of food as they wait for the spring thaw?

This real-life catastrophe was previously dramatised by the 1993 Ethan Hawke movie Alive, but Society of the Snow is a Spanish-language retelling that sticks much more closely to the actual events. Made in collaboration with the survivors and victims’ families and uses a full Uruguayan and Argentinian cast, it comes with an air of authority and authenticity Hollywood’s version cannot match.

Director J.A. Bayona has fine form, having previously helmed horror film The Orphanage and The Impossible (the excellent Ewan McGregor/Naomi Watts disaster movie about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami). Here, he gives a harrowing but inspirational true story the weight it deserves.

Watch Society of the Snow on Netflix USA


Oldboy

To describe Oldboy as intense is like saying Piers Morgan is unpalatable – an enormous understatement, in other words. To watch it is to be visually assaulted for 120 mins, your emotions squeezed, stamped on and tossed about the room until you’re left thinking that a quiet lie down in the dark might be in order.

Loosely adapted from a Japanese manga, Park Chan-wook’s thriller follows a man who’s been locked in a room for 15 years with no idea why, before being released to seek vengeance on his captors. While never exactly fun viewing, this film is absolutely riveting. Story-wise it’s sharp and packed with action, the acting is outstanding and at the end you’ll be left battered and bruised but still wanting more. Brilliant.

Watch Oldboy on Netflix USA


Band of Brothers (S1)

There’s a strong argument to be made that our current so-called ‘Golden Age of Television’ began with this glorious 2001 World War II miniseries made by HBO (with help from the BBC, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks).

With immense production values (at the time of its making, it was the most expensive TV show ever), a cast of dozens and an impeccable script, Band of Brothers follows airborne Easy Company’s war, from jump training to their deployment on D-Day to the very end of the European conflict. With most of its ten episodes bookended by interviews from the real-life veterans on which the story is based, it’s compelling from start to finish, and will likely leave you in floods of tears by the end.

Watch Band of Brothers on Netflix USA


Blue Eye Samurai (S1)

Set in 17th-century Edo-era Japan, when the borders were shut, foreigners expelled and any hint of racial difference regarded with fear and revulsion, this animated series follows a young orphan seeking to hunt down and kill the handful of white men left in the country. Why? Because one of them may be the father – from whom she inherited the blue eyes that mark her out as a half-breed and make her a reviled outcast in her own homeland.

With stunning visuals, a compelling cast of characters (not to mention voice actors) and some of the goriest fight scenes on Netflix, Blue Eye Samurai is a scintillating show that seemingly came out of nowhere.

Watch Blue Eye Samurai on Netflix


It Follows

It might adhere to one of the main horror movie rules outlined in Scream – having sex more often than not ends in your grisly demise – but the stylishly shot low budget shocker It Follows is anything but formulaic. The film’s killer curse stalks its victims slowly but incessantly, disguised as a normal passer-by, a family member or a trusted friend, and that gives the movie a sense of helpless dread that doesn’t let up until the final credits roll.

Watch It Follows on Netflix USA


The Deepest Breath

This absorbing feature-length documentary explores the sport of freediving, in which swimmers descend to incredible depths without scuba equipment – merely the air in their lungs.

It’s an extreme sport by any definition – potentially deadly but also meditative, mindful and transcendent – and it attracts a certain type of personality. Two such people – champion freediver Alessia Zecchini and expert safety diver Stephen Keenan – form the narrative heart of the film, and their shared story is inspiring, emotional and ultimately heartbreaking. A riveting and moving window into a strange, deep and dangerous sporting subculture.

Watch The Deepest Breath on Netflix USA


Beef (S1)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFPIMHBzGDs

Netflix’s best show of 2023 (so far) stars Ali Wong and Steven Yeun as two LA residents who, over a wonderful scene in the opening episode, turn from total strangers into mortal enemies. Ostensibly, this hostility springs from a minor road rage incident, but as the series goes on and we get to know the characters, the true motives behind their rage and spite start to emerge – even as the pair’s lives start to unravel as a result of the ongoing feud.

If this all sounds a bit heavy, don’t be put off; Beef is also witty, stylish and ultimately ends in a very different place to where it begins. A welcome reminder that Netflix can still occasionally make a great original TV show. More of this, please – although that’s not to say we need a second season; this first one is perfect just as it is.

Watch Beef on Netflix USA


Derry Girls (S1-3)

All three seasons of this raucous sitcom (first shown on Britain’s Channel 4) are now available on Netflix, giving you the opportunity to be whisked away to early 1990s Northern Ireland and into the lives of four Catholic girls (and one English boy) as they navigate their teenage years against the background of the province’s sectarian Troubles. Not that Derry Girls takes itself in any way seriously – the sectarianism is merely another source of humour to be mined in this joyous, hilarious coming-of-age comedy.

Watch Derry Girls on Netflix USA


Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Incredibly, Guillermo del Toro hasn’t made a single animated movie in his illustrious career. Until now, that is. For his debut animated feature, the Mexican master of the macabre has tackled something a little less disturbing than his usual fare: a musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale about a wooden boy, rendered in gorgeous stop-motion.

Reportedly a lifelong passion project for del Toro, the film proves an intriguing counterpoint to Disney’s recent (and frankly unnecessary) live-action remake of its own Pinocchio adaptation. It’s much, much better too, with plenty for grown-ups to enjoy as well as kids. Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard are among the voice cast.

Watch Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio on Netflix USA


RRR

The most lavish and expensive Indian film ever made, this historical epic is an absolute blast. Fictionalising the lives of two (real) pre-independence revolutionary heroes, it’s far more interested in action, excitement, emotion and ‘vibes’ than it is historical accuracy – and make no mistake, there’s plenty of all of the above packed into its three-hour running time.

The portrayal of India’s British colonial overlords couldn’t be called nuanced (they’re all sneering, murderous bullies or worse), but that makes seeing them getting their comeuppance at the hands of our heroes all the more enjoyable.

Watch RRR on Netflix USA


The Great British Baking Show (S8-14)

Before being snapped up by Channel 4 – much like a cooling apple pie being snatched from a windowsill by a passing opportunist – The Great British Baking Show (known as The Great British Bake-Off in its native land) was the jewel in the BBC’s reality TV crown, an international export that wowed audiences at home and abroad with its tasty mixture of quirky humour, tense competition, mouth-watering cakes and, of course, schadenfreude at the contestants’ many disastrous bakes. Even judge Paul Hollywood’s somewhat sinister presence wasn’t enough to ruin the resulting pudding.

All five Channel 4-made series of the nicest show on television are available on Netflix US, which might be the perfect audio-visual comfort food for anyone enduring a dreadful hangover/breakup/cold (delete as appropriate).

Watch The Great British Baking Show on Netflix USA


Phantom Thread

A decade on from There Will Be Blood, director Paul Thomas Anderson and leading man Daniel Day-Lewis reunite for this gothic romance story – as immaculate and precisely made as the gowns created by Day-Lewis’ character, the fastidious fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock.

Reportedly Day-Lewis’ final performance, his Woodcock is a fussy genius with an explosive temper. He’s no less obsessive than There Will Be Blood’s monstrously power-hungry Daniel Plainview but instead driven by a desire to create – and possess – pure beauty. He finds his latest muse in waitress Alma (brilliantly played by Vicky Krieps) but rather than bend to his will, she eventually pushes back and exerts power in her own way.

The direction and camera work, Jonny Greenwood’s wonderful score and the lead actors’ performance make this a worthy swan song for Day-Lewis – but don’t be surprised if Anderson manages to coax him out of retirement for another stellar turn one day.

Watch Phantom Thread on Netflix USA


I Think You Should Leave (S1-3)

Sketch shows are a bit like luncheon meat, tank tops and hostess trolleys: unwanted, outmoded relics from the 1970s. But I Think You Should Leave is proof positive that there’s life in the old format yet – it just needed a refreshing jolt of surrealism forced down its gullet. In fact, we’d go so far as to say this is the funniest thing on Netflix by a country mile.

Former Saturday Night Live star Tim Robinson co-writes and appears (along with a parade of familiar guest faces) in a collection of crude, inventive and ultimately hilarious skits that rarely end up where you expect them to. The humour usually comes from a character “committing to the bit” by taking a social miscue or personality trait to extremes; it sounds simple enough, but Robinson and co have done nothing less than reinvent the comedy skit.

Watch I Think You Should Leave on Netflix


Cobra Kai (S1-5)

A series that started life on YouTube as a giggle-worthy spin-off from The Karate Kid movies, Cobra Kai has now established itself as a fan-pleasing comedy-action-drama that arguably surpasses the films that inspired it. Back in the 80s, how many viewers could have imagined Karate Kid villain Johnny Lawrence being the nuanced, relatable protagonist of his own TV show over three decades later? And yet here we are, with several characters from the movies now firmly ensconced in this new life – and being given far more depth as a result.

Watch Cobra Kai on Netflix


Ozark (S1-4)

Featuring some of the most uncomfortably tense TV scenes since Breaking Bad (also on this list), Ozark follows Jason Bateman and Laura Linney’s squabbling Chicago couple, forced to run a money-laundering scheme for a merciless Mexican drug cartel. When Bateman’s put-upon financial advisor conjures up a risky plan to “wash” the dirty cash in rural Missouri, he and his family up sticks for a new life in one of the USA’s most deprived locations. All of a sudden, murderous narco-barons become just one of many problems for the family.

Filmed in muted, washed-out tones with bags of brooding and squalor on show, Ozark doesn’t always make for a pretty watch. But if you like your drama series perpetually balanced on a knife edge, it’ll be right up your street.

Watch Ozark on Netflix


Seinfeld (S1-9)

Forget Friends: for us, Seinfeld is the best New York-set (but clearly Hollywood-filmed) 1990s sitcom about a bunch of buddies just working their way through this crazy little thing we call life.

An absurd, hilarious and highly influential examination of the modern world’s trivialities, mores and conventions, never relying on slapstick or coddling its viewers with cheap sentimentality (most of its characters are objectively horrible, selfish misanthropes), Seinfeld is quite simply a must-watch for all fans of comedy. With each episode clocking in at a little over 20 minutes, it’s also perfect for binge-watching. So be warned: your Sundays will be slurped right up like a bowl of forbidden soup.

Watch Seinfeld on Netflix


Squid Game (S1)

Subtitle-haters, you’re missing out if you choose to avoid this dark drama series on account of it being Korean (yes, you can watch it dubbed into English, but that just feels so utterly wrong). The gripping story of a sadistic life-or-death game show and the effects it has on its desperate contestants – each of whom willingly signed away their “bodily rights” for the prospect of a fat winner’s cheque – Squid Game has already become not only one of Netflix’s most popular foreign language series but its most popular debut series full stop.

Quite why it’s become such a phenomenon with viewers is something of a mystery to us – there’s nothing especially groundbreaking or shocking happening here – but far better for a genuinely thought-provoking series like this to become a record-breaker than yet another dire space drama or drawn-out, plodding teen thriller.

Watch Squid Game on Netflix


The Queen’s Gambit (S1)

Despite arriving out of nowhere, this was Netflix’s best original series of 2020. Anya Taylor-Joy shines as chess prodigy Beth Harmon, a child champion with a preternatural inclination for the game – as well as a tendency for self-destructive behaviour.

Set mostly in the 1960s, the magnificent period details (so many gorgeous hotel lobbies!) and soundtrack occasionally bring to mind Mad Men, but The Queen’s Gambit has a necessarily more focussed approach to telling its story. Heart-wrenching, funny, inspiring and evocative, this is a character-driven success that reminds us of Netflix’s superb early original shows, where everything the company touched felt special.

Watch The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix


Hunt for the Wilderpeople

This Taika Waititi-directed comedy-drama sees cantankerous farmer Hec (Sam Neill) and his precocious, wannabe-gangsta foster nephew Ricky (Julian Dennison) attempt to outrun and outwit the police in the wild New Zealand bush. We won’t be ruining much if we tell you that along the way the pair form an unlikely bond, but it’s the interplay between the two leads that forms the heart of this wonderful indie film. It’s an irresistible combination of sweetness and hilarity that should go down well with the whole family.

Watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople on Netflix


BoJack Horseman (S1-6)

A Netflix Original, this animated series features Arrested Development‘s Will Arnett as the titular Horseman, a, er, “horse man” who enjoyed success in a beloved 1990s sitcom but now wallows in boozy, druggy self-loathing as a washed-up former star. But don’t worry if we’ve made it sound too grim – the show’s serious:silly ratio is nicely balanced.

Set in a skewed version of Hollywood in which humans live alongside anthropomorphic animals, BoJack Horseman features a strong cast (Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul plays BoJack’s best friend Todd while Alison Brie plays love interest Diane) and razor sharp writing, and with six seasons and a couple of one-off specials available, it’s perfect fodder for a weekend binge-watch blowout.

Watch BoJack Horseman on Netflix USA


Chef’s Table (S1-6)

This series (now six seasons plus two spin-off seasons strong) shadows world-renowned chefs as they take viewers on a personal journey through their culinary evolution – providing an intimate, informative glimpse into what gets their creative juices flowing.

Lovingly shot in razor-sharp 4K quality (for those with the necessary Netflix subscription), Chef’s Table is so well-made that you can almost smell the aromas seeping out of your screen and tickling your nostrils. From glistening, perfectly-cooked cuts of meat to mouth-watering veggie dishes, this is food pornography of the highest order. Just try not to drool all over your TV.

Watch Chef’s Table on Netflix USA


Orange Is the New Black (S1-7)

One of the early Netflix original series that established the platform as a serious player in the TV business, this is a prison show that goes its own way: less brutal than Oz, less daft than Prison Break and more compelling than Prisoner Cell Block H, it’s a fish-out-of-water drama (based on a true story) in which a white, middle-class Brooklynite ends up in a low-security women’s jail for a crime committed almost a decade previous. Delving into the lives of its huge cast over a luxurious seven seasons, it’s a great women-driven show that managed to stay entertaining throughout.

Watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix USA


Icarus

You don’t have to be a sports fan to become enthralled by this Oscar-winning doping exposé. Icarus is effectively two documentaries in one, with the first third of the film a kind of Super Size Me for performance-enhancing drugs. The filmmaker, a semi-pro cyclist, embarks on a hardcore doping regimen to demonstrate the flaws in the drugs-testing process.

But when his advisor, Russian scientist Gregory Rodchenkov, suddenly finds himself embroiled in an international storm over Russia’s state-sponsored doping program, Icarus pivots into an enthralling fly-on-the-wall thriller about being a whistleblower in Putin’s Russia. Cue mysterious deaths, chilling interviews and a lots of hand-wringing as Rodchenkov goes into hiding from the new KGB.

Watch Icarus on Netflix


The Killer

Director David Fincher clearly wants to have it both ways in this fantastic-looking Netflix originals, which trots a wavy line between John Wick and I, Daniel Blake – and just about stays on its feet. Making a movie that works both as a taut revenge-thriller and a commentary on the impersonality of modern capitalism can’t have been easy, but here it works – most of the time.

Having sweet-talked Michael Fassbender out of semi-retirement as a racing driver (Google it), Fincher casts him as a fussy hitman who, following an on-the-job mishap, is pushed out of his comfort zone and forced to diverge from the rigid rules that have hitherto governed his career. Now in uncharted territory, he must take on one more job in order to outrun the consequences of his mistake.

Watch The Killer on Netflix


Better Call Saul (S1-6)

Everyone’s favourite sleazy-yet-likeable lawyer Saul Goodman (well, Jimmy McGill) returns to Netflix, in a series that throws us back seven years before the explosive events of Breaking Bad. Bob Odenkirk slips into Saul’s cheap suit with remarkable ease, and his superb performance allows his character’s desperation, tenacity and humour to seep through the screen and grab our attention with both hands.

It’s always fun to root for the underdog, and from the very first episode you’re right there alongside Goodman, wanting him to fight to the top – all while being aware of the dark things to come. Yet another belting Netflix Original.

Watch Better Call Saul on Netflix USA


Stranger Things (S1-4)

Only 80s kids will understand this. Actually that’s not true at all, but Stranger Things is a love letter to the movies, TV shows, video games and books that people who grew up in that decade will cherish: it’s packed with references to E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goonies, Stephen King, Dungeons & Dragons and Poltergeist, and the mood and feel is sure to dredge up nostalgia by the bucketload.

Remove the retro vibes though, and the show still stands up as a stellar sci-fi drama-thriller. And it doesn’t mess about too much – unlike a lot of Netflix Original Series, its episodes are reasonably tight (a mere 40 minutes each).

Watch Stranger Things on Netflix


Breaking Bad (S1-5)

The best TV show ever? That’s arguable, but Breaking Bad certainly belongs in the top ten: it’s an utterly, utterly compelling six-season masterpiece that’ll shock you again and again with its twists, its turns and its fantastically drawn characters.

Walter White, played to perfection by Bryan Cranston, is without a doubt one of television’s greatest characters, by turns vulnerable and menacing, pathetic and triumphant. As a cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who turns to methamphetamine production in order to pay his medical bills and safeguard his family’s future, you’ll be cheering him every step of the way… until suddenly you’re not anymore.

Watch Breaking Bad on Netflix USA


Black Mirror (S1-6)

Not only has Netflix given Charlie Brooker and his team the freedom to tell more stories and let each one run without ad breaks for as long as it needs to, it’s also handed them a budget big enough to expand the scale, scope and special effects.

A collection of self-contained cautionary tales about our relationship with technology, Black Mirror is unnerving stuff, enhanced by the fact that the stories are generally set in a very near future that’s all too recognisable. But fear not, the trademark blacker-than-black humour has also been retained, so you’ll chuckle almost as much as you’ll squirm. Must-see TV for anyone obsessed with tech.

Watch Black Mirror on Netflix


The Crown (S1-6)

Ranking as one of Netflix’s most impressive original series to date, The Crown manages to turn a decade of so of fairly recent history into enthralling, lush drama. That’s partly down to the phenomenal production values that have been instilled in this retelling of Elizabeth II’s early years starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith (and later Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Imelda Staunton and Jonathan Pryce). Well over $100 million was invested in the first season alone, and that all adds up to a swanky amount of period detail.

Even those of staunch republican leanings will find themselves sucked in to the six full seasons, which chart a series of major national events as well as delve into the personal lives of the Windsors during Elizabeth’s reign.

Watch The Crown on Netflix


Profile image of Sam Kieldsen Sam Kieldsen Contributor

About

Tech journalism's answer to The Littlest Hobo, I've written for a host of titles and lived in three different countries in my 15 years-plus as a freelancer. But I've always come back home to Stuff eventually, where I specialise in writing about cameras, streaming services and being tragically addicted to Destiny.

Areas of expertise

Cameras, drones, video games, film and TV

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