Friday, December 8


Netflix has come a long way since its days of mailing DVDs back and forth with millions of customers. Now, instead of getting home and checking the mailbox, people plop down on their couch, look at their remotes that have an actual Netflix button on them, and flip through thousands of different films and series. In the early days of the streaming service, the company was spread thin looking for the hottest movies and shows to acquire to get more people interested in the platform, but in 2012, things changed.

Netflix released its first own original series, Lilyhammer, a crime comedy-drama about a former gangster trying to start a new life in Norway. Then, in 2015, Netflix released its first original film, Beasts of No Nation. It has been all uphill since. More than half of the titles on the streaming service are Netflix originals. From shows like Orange Is the New Black and Stranger Things to films such as Bird Box and Red Notice, Netflix certainly has some of the most imaginative writers. With movie theaters taking a backseat in our society, some actors have praised Netflix for the work they’re doing when it comes to putting out new material.

That being said, when it comes to original series, the streamer has built a sordid reputation for canceling shows after just one or two seasons, leaving many fans with unfinished endings. Check out the 10 best Netflix shows that are fully complete.

10 House of Cards (2013-2018)

Two actors in Netflix's House of Cards

Based on Michael Dobbs’ 1989 novel of the same name, the six seasons of House of Cards depicts the corrupt inner workings of the U.S. government. The storyline primarily follows Frank Underwood, a congressman who feels cheated by the system after he is passed up as the next Secretary of State. Instead of impulsively lashing out, Frank decides to plot his revenge and use any means necessary to move up the ladder.

There are several secrets to be learned along the way about Frank and those around him, and the series truly makes people wonder about what happens behind closed doors in our own government.

9 Orange Is the New Black (2013-2019)

The Cast of Orange Is the New Black

While Orange Is the New Black may not have been Netflix’s first original series, it was definitely one of the most popular in the early days of the streaming service. Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, the series gained a huge following.

Fans thought the show was a perfect blend of hilarity and drama. Between the relationships among the prisoners (and some prison guards), the very real conversations about how prisoners are treated, and the Hollywood flare, this series is a great casual watch from beginning to end.

Related: Orange Is the New Black: Where the Cast is Today

8 Ozark (2017-2022)

Jonah - Ozark

People who live average and mundane lives often think about what it would be like to live life on the edge. In Ozark, for one particular financial advisor and husband, Marty Byrde, he finds that living a double life has its highlights, but it also has a lot of downsides. Marty moves his family to central Missouri to run a money laundering scheme for a Mexican cartel, but as one can think, a lot of things go wrong. The family’s safety is compromised, and people risk and lose their lives.

What makes this four-season series so great is the natural growth among characters. Marty may be the main character, but those around find their own confidence and jump into risky situations.

7 When They See Us (2019)

Jharrel Jerome in When They See Us should be Miles Morales

Netflix has gained traction with its collection of miniseries, and When They See Us is at the top of the charts. Based on the real-life experiences of The Central Park Five, these four episodes depict the wrongful convictions of five innocent Black and Latino boys. In 1989, after a woman was found beaten and raped, the police were out for blood.

Unfortunately, they were more focused on getting confessions — which were false and illegally obtained — out of a few boys they found in the park rather than figuring out the whole truth. The series shows what happened to each young man while behind bars and the struggles they went through after they were finally released.

6 Narcos (2015-2017)

Narcos Season 1

The rise and fall of the drug kingpin Pablo Escobar is dramatically portrayed in the three seasons of Narcos. The first season follows Escobar in the early days of his cocaine trade when he was still figuring out connections and how to expand his business. The second season focuses on Escobar’s lavish lifestyle and then how it quickly comes crumbling down around him after he is betrayed by his own men.

The third and final season shows the aftermath of how the DEA tries to track and shutdown the entire drug trade after Escobar has been killed. A companion series, Narcos: Mexico, was released in lieu of a fourth season.

5 Maid (2021)

Margaret Qualley in Maid

Within 10 episodes, you will find yourself going through every single emotion during Maid. Margaret Qualley stars as Alex Russell, a single mom who is just trying to do right by her daughter. She struggles with finding help due to her father being estranged, her mother having bipolar disorder, and her child’s father being an abusive and manipulative alcoholic.

Qualley’s mother, Andie MacDowell, plays her on-screen mom, Paula, who simply cannot fathom why Alex ends up in such horrible situations. There are times when Alex’s luck looks like it will turn, but things seem to change in the blink of an eye for this young and determined mom.

Related: Here’s What Netflix’s Maid Does Better Than Any Other Limited Series

4 Dead to Me (2019-2022)

dead to me season 3 funeral

Dark humor is not for everyone, especially when the plot centers around a woman losing her husband and befriending his killer all in a short timeframe. Does Dead to Me now have your attention? Jen Harding is a no-nonsense real estate agent whose husband died in a hit-and-run accident.

After going to a support group, she befriends a bubbly woman named Judy, and she quickly learns the truth about her husband’s death. From dozens of secrets kept and outed to the wavering friendship that is based on a couple of deaths, this series is equally funny and dark.

3 Firefly Lane (2021-2023)

Firefly Lane season 2

If you are wanting a bit of nostalgia along with some very sassy and strong characters, look no further than the two women who grew up on Firefly Lane, in the aptly titled Firefly Lane. Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke star in this drama series that focuses on their ever-evolving friendship over the decades.

Tully (Heigl) was the new girl in school, and after some initial hesitation, she and her neighbor, Kate (Chalke) became inseparable. They went into the news industry together as headstrong and determined women. Then, Kate took on a mom role, and Tully became a nationally recognized talk-show host. The series is extraordinary because it tackles harsh topics in the most realistic and respectful ways.

2 Mindhunter (2017-2019)

Holt McCallany in Mindhunter

Between cable and streaming services, there seems to be an endless amount of crime shows. People are simply fascinated by mysteries, and trying to solve a murder is thrilling when there are low stakes through the screen. Among the dozens of shows, Mindhunter stands out from the rest because it focuses on getting into the minds of serial killers and understanding how and why they think the way they do.

The story follows special agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench along with a psychology professor, Wendy Carr, as they navigate the minds of some of the most esteemed killers. The series only lasted two seasons, but this show is more about quality than quantity.

1 BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)

BoJack and Mr. Peanut Butter stand in a kitchen in BoJack Horseman.

Adult cartoons owe a lot of thanks to series like The Simpsons and Family Guy because they set the stage for proving that animation is not solely for children’s entertainments. The premise of BoJack Horseman is that the titular character is a washed-up sitcom star from the ’90s who is trying to find meaning in his life. He believes he will make a huge comeback after he completes an autobiography, but depression, alcoholism, and a few other factors get in the way of his work.

While the series pokes fun at this timeline of events happening to real people, it also realistically sheds light on what celebrities have had to face in their real lives.


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