The Best Netflix Shows Of 2021 (2023)

This year,Netflix released a number of excellent new TV shows; here are the best Netflix shows of 2021. Due to the markedly significant shift to streaming over the past few years, there has been a massive proliferation in the volume and variety of television show releases, especially Netflix Originals, thetop 25 of whichhave consistently topped the popularity charts. The sheer range of Netflix shows released this year alone is staggering, especially when one considers the various sub-genres involved.

What makes a series enjoyable is, of course, subject to interpretation, as some shows are great purely due to their binge factor, while others elicit a strong feeling of catharsis. Shows like Midnight Mass manage to do both, unfolding a complex, layered tale with great care and skill, granting considerable attention to character development. Others function outside of the limited series mold, performing considerably well in their own right, such as Netflix’s Lucifer, which banked on a genre-hybrid storyline that was both entertaining and had high emotional stakes.

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Apart from Netflix Originals that strike a chord with audiences right off the bat, as evidenced by the global popularity of Squid Game, there are some that elicit pretty divisive reactions. A seminal example of the same is Netflix’s adaptation of Cowboy Bebop, which was canceled after lukewarm-to-negative responses to the first season. Nevertheless, here are some of the best Netflix shows of the year that are strong standouts due to a matrix of various factors.

Maid

The Best Netflix Shows Of 2021 (1)

This limited series was inspired by Stephanie Land’s memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive, and focuses on a young mother, Alex, who escapes an abusive relationship and struggles to provide for her child. With a subject matter as sensitive as domestic abuse,Maid manages to treat it with great care and craft a compelling drama that elicits powerful emotions in the viewers. Margaret Qualley’s performance as Alex keeps the show grounded at all times, even when some of it is difficult to get through due to the severity of the subject matter. With a protagonist to root for and a story that is expertly crafted, Maid is a worthy contender as one of the best shows of the year.

The Chestnut Man

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Kasper Barfoed and Mikkel Serup’s The Chestnut Man is a Danish crime series that follows a murder investigation involving a mysterious chestnut figurine left at all of the crime scenes. This six-episode thriller definitely wins on the bingeability front, but what makes this series compelling is the consistently grim nature of The Chestnut Man's storyline that manages to evoke a naturally ominous aura throughout. The characters in question are invested with incredible richness and depth, and the well-paced nature of the plot keeps things interesting right up till the end. The Chestnut Man is also beautiful to behold, as it employs a fall color palette, with a touch of the macabre that imbues every shot with just the right aesthetics.

(Video) Top 10 Best Netflix Series 2021

Midnight Mass

Mike Flanagan’s Midnight Mass is a seven-episode foray into the nature of grief, faith, and the inherent meaning of existence.Focused on the isolated fishing community of Crockett Island, ominous eventsbefall the islandafter the arrival of a mysterious priest. While Midnight Mass is markedly different from Flanagan’s The Haunting offerings, the show’s brilliance lies in its delicate treatment of a wide medley of characters, who, in their own ways, expose the grim underbelly of religious fanaticism and the horrors that accompany the same. The principal cast belts out stellar performances, with Hamish Linklater receiving critical acclaim with his portrayal of Father Paul/Monsignor Pruitt, whose character stitches the divergent parts of the show together. Although Midnight Mass can be too much of a slow-burn for some audiences, especially when it comes to lengthy monologues, the end result is a beautiful odyssey that eventually pays off.

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The Chair

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This ambitious comedy of manners spans only six episodes, but manages to deliver a scathing commentary about the inner workings of academia “in what seems like New England.”The Chair is hilarious in the truest sense, helmed by a brilliant Sandra Oh, who plays Ji-Yoon Ki, the new English department chair at Pembroke University. Ji-Yoon aims to make academia a more inclusive space but is soonbalancing thegrievances of her older faculty, tenurefora young and brilliant professor, a PR crisis, and constant funding needs. The comedic social commentary in The Chair works so well due to the fact that it does not try too hard to be preachy but chooses the well-crafted explorative route instead. It was initially only meant to be a single-season limited series, but hopefully, Netflixand its creators see fit to give it a longer run.

The Witcher Season 2

The Best Netflix Shows Of 2021 (5)
(Video) Top 10 Netflix Series of 2021

The Witcher is based on the beloved fantasy drama book series by Andrzej Sapkowski, whose work prompted the popular standalone and spinoff video games in The Witchersaga. Season 1 of The Witcher, although well-received, was deemed overly complicated from a narrative point of view by critics and audiences, highlighting the complexity that is often involved in translating adaptations to the screen. The Witcherseason 2, however, is a drastic improvement in many aspects, remaining thoroughly entertaining while widening the legend of Geralt of Rivia and Princess Ciri, whose fates remain inexplicably connected. Season 2 not only grants well-crafted action sequences but is also better-paced than its predecessor. The simplification of the timeline allowsSapkowski’s wondrous world to be expanded in the best of ways.

Squid Game Season 1

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This South Korean survival drama achieved widespread critical and international acclaim, holding the title of Netflix’s most-watched series ever so far. Audiences resonated with the core premise of Squid Gameas it melds serious social issues with a thrilling game-based formula, the stakesremaining sky-high and the characters fleshed out in commendable ways. While the commentary on class disparity and capitalism has been explored quite well, what makes the showso appealing are the distinctive twists and emotion inherent within the narrative,all held together bySquid Game's protagonist, Gi-hun. Additionally, the compelling performances by the ensemble cast also help cement the popularity of the show, which is inarguably well-deserved.

Brand New Cherry Flavor

The Best Netflix Shows Of 2021 (7)

Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion’s limited series, Brand New Cherry Flavoris a bit of an acquired taste, but worth one's patience. As it delves into a twisted tale about power, temptation, witchcraft, and revenge, it exploresthe convoluted power structures and brutal exploitation inherent within Hollywood. The story isa bold foray into the extreme world of aspiring director Lisa Nova, brought to life via an incredibly haunting performance by Rosa Salazar.On the way, Brand New Cherry Flavor deliversa deranged trip into the crevices of matters deemed forbidden, such as the way in which Boro demands payment from Lisa by making her throw up kittens and the absolutely bonkers way in which the final sequence plays out.

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Shadow and Bone Season 1

The Best Netflix Shows Of 2021 (8)
(Video) Top 7 Best NETFLIX Series to Watch Now! 2021 So Far

Based on the Grishaverse books and world created by Leigh Bardugo, theShadow and BoneNetflix adaptation does a masterful job of blending together the original trilogy with the largely unconnected follow-up duology set in the same world.It results in an engaging telling of the tale of protagonist Alina Starkov, who struggles with her destiny as the Sun Summonerwhile also weaving in an original narrative thread about The Crows that serves as a prequel to their books. Season 1 succeeds in introducing new audiences to Shadow and Bones’ intricate worldbuildingwhile delighting fans of the novels by expanding the original source material in interesting ways. While uninitiated viewers might find it difficult to keep up with the Grisha terminology that is integral to the plot, the show does a wonderful job of unveilingit all naturally. The showetchesits central characters in a relatable, nuanced light while also creating a compelling villain in Ben Barnes' manipulative, complex General Kirigan, a.k.a The Darkling. The geopoliticalmachinations and lush costumingare commendable, and despite the presence of some YA clichés, Shadow and Boneelevates themall.

Arcane Season 1

The Best Netflix Shows Of 2021 (9)

Created by Christian Linke and Alex Yee, Arcane: League of Legends is set in the League of Legendsvideo game universe and has received universal acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Not only has the series succeeded in capturing the world-building of the games, but it also manages to be equally appealing to both casual viewers and longtime League of Legendsplayers. Arcane season 1also delivers an emotionally compelling story, helmed by interesting characters worth rooting for and spectacular aesthetics that combine 2D and 3D animation. The voice cast also does a stellar job, grounding the Arcane franchise’s fascinating lore and making the fantastical world feel considerably real and lived-in.

Kota Factory

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Raghav Subbu’s Hindi web series, Kota Factory follows 16-year-old Vaibhav, who moves to Kota with the intention of getting into IIT. The series has been praised for its refreshing monochrome setting, and the realism with which it portrays the actual narrative surrounding Kota and IIT preparation. The incorporation of deadpan humor and existential themes elevates the series above the telltale offerings in the genre, while the cinematography and art directiongreatly enhancethe central premise. Not only is Kota Factory engaging on many levels, but it is also a good example of how variant narrative threads can be meshed together seamlessly to create a strong, compelling core narrative.

You Season 3

The Best Netflix Shows Of 2021 (11)
(Video) Best Netflix TV Shows of 2021 | Countdown | Rotten Tomatoes

Youseason 3 continues the fraught, complicated dynamic between Joe and Love, who is pregnant with his child in a new suburban home. Solely repeating the cycle of Joe’s obsession with new female characters with the situation getting progressively worse for the victims involved (not to mention the unjustified murders) could have veered You season 3 into stale territory. However, the latest season of You manages to up the ante and the stakes in terms of thrill, while succeeding in showcasing the vapidness inherent within certain characters and the telltale relationship between the idea of love and the need for control. What makes You season 3 special is Love’s arc, cemented by an electrifying performance by Victoria Pedretti, wherein the narrative is able to usurp Joe’s usual position of power, even if it is for a little while.

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Hellbound

The Best Netflix Shows Of 2021 (12)

Yeon Sang-ho’s Hellboundis based on the webtoon of the same name and concerns a host of supernatural beings appearing out of nowhere to condemn people to Hell. A solid horror entry this year, Hellbound unleashes absolute madnesswith its premise, which manages to suspend audience disbelief despite the extreme absurdity of the concepts involved. Much like Squid Game, Hellbounddelivers a smart, scathing commentary, exploring the themes of sin and mortality, as well as the completely interpretative idea of justice. The performances, plot twists, and monsters mesh well with each other to concoct a highly entertaining, taut, and phantasmagoric dark fantasy drama worth consideration.

Sweet Tooth

The Best Netflix Shows Of 2021 (13)

Among the best Netflix shows of 2021 is Sweet Tooth, based on Jeff Lemire’s eponymous comic book, which makes considerable changes to the original’s core narrative, but manages to introduce ideas and character arcs interesting enough to keep audiences invested in its storyline. Sweet Tooth understandably softens some of the darker elements in the Sweet Tooth comics, maintaining a steady pace with the help of a wide range of intriguing characters, especially the endearing portrayal of Gus. The Netflixadaptation is partly whimsical and partly rooted in the horrors of a dystopian, fantasy world, striking a masterful balance between the two, with equal parts of cruelty and kindness - a mirror to the real world.

(Video) Top 10 Best Netflix Series to Watch Right Now! 2022

NEXT:The Best Netflix Movies Of 2021

FAQs

What is the most watched series on Netflix 2021? ›

Netflix's most watched TV series, ranked
  • Squid Game (season 1), a Korean survival thriller -- 1.65 billion hours.
  • Stranger Things (season 4), a retro sci-fi series -- 1.35 billion hours.
  • Wednesday, a coming-of-age supernatural dark comedy -- 1.24 billion hours.
Jan 10, 2023

What are the top 10 series of 2021? ›

Top 10 TV Shows of 2021
  1. 1. ' Squid Game'
  2. 2. ' WandaVision' ...
  3. 3. ' Sex Education' (Season Three) ...
  4. 4. ' Bo Burnham: Inside' ...
  5. 5. ' The Underground Railroad' (Season One) ...
  6. 6. ' The White Lotus' (Season One) ...
  7. 7. ' Succession' (Season Three) ...
  8. 8. ' Arcane' (Season One) ...
Dec 23, 2021

What is Netflix's No 1 most watched series? ›

Stranger Things 4

What's the top 10 on Netflix right now? ›

Some territories are included in the countries list for convenience.
  • The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker. #1 this week. ...
  • The Pale Blue Eye. #2 this week. ...
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. #3 this week. ...
  • Dog Gone. #4 this week. ...
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon. #5 this week. ...
  • Life. #6 this week. ...
  • Trolls. #7 this week. ...
  • Daddy Day Care.

What are 5 most watched Netflix? ›

Killer Sally | Official Trailer | Netflix
  • Stranger Things Season 4. Netflix. ...
  • Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Netflix. ...
  • Wednesday. VLAD CIOPLEANetflix. ...
  • Bridgerton Season 2. LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX. ...
  • Bridgerton Season 1. LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX. ...
  • Stranger Things Season 3. Netflix. ...
  • Lucifer Season 5. JOHN P. ...
  • The Witcher Season 1.
Dec 27, 2022

What is the most watched Netflix series in 2022? ›

What was the most popular Netflix show in 2022? The most popular worldwide titles were 'Squid Game', a Korean survival drama, and 'Money heist', a Spanish heist drama.

What are most interesting series of 2021? ›

The 10 Best TV Shows of 2021
  • You (Netflix) ...
  • I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (Netflix) ...
  • We Are Lady Parts! ...
  • Succession (HBO) ...
  • Yellowjackets (Showtime) ...
  • Reservation Dogs (FX on Hulu) ...
  • Exterminate All the Brutes (HBO) ...
  • Work in Progress (Showtime)
Dec 3, 2021

What is the most trending series in 2021? ›

These shows loomed the largest.
  • 'Maid' (Netflix) ...
  • 'Succession' (HBO) ...
  • 'It's a Sin' (HBO Max) ...
  • 'Station Eleven' (HBO Max) ...
  • 'The Underground Railroad' (Amazon Prime Video) ...
  • 'Only Murders in the Building' (Hulu) Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu. ...
  • 'Reservation Dogs' (FX on Hulu) Shane Brown/FX. ...
  • 'For All Mankind' (Apple TV+) Apple TV+
Dec 8, 2021

What series should I watch in 2021? ›

The 29 Best TV Shows of 2021
  • Paramount+ Evil (Paramount+) ...
  • Apple TV+ For All Mankind (Apple TV+) ...
  • Apple TV+ Foundation (Apple TV+) ...
  • Peacock. Girls5eva (Peacock) ...
  • Jake Giles Netter/HBO Max. Hacks (HBO Max) ...
  • Jung Jaegu/Netflix. Hellbound (Netflix) ...
  • Thomas Wilson/HBO. How To with John Wilson (HBO) ...
  • Kevin Estrada/Netflix.
Dec 3, 2021

Which Netflix series has the best ratings? ›

The Top 10 Most Popular TV Shows on Netflix Right Now
  • Love Island.
  • Kaleidoscope.
  • The Circle.
  • Wednesday.
  • The Walking Dead.
  • New Amsterdam.
  • Vikings: Valhalla.
  • Ginny & Georgia.
Jan 13, 2023

What is number 1 on Netflix now? ›

Netflix Top 10 in the United States
RankYDTitle
1(1)The Lincoln Lawyer
2(4)Wrong Side of the Tracks
3(5)Jackass 4.5
4(2)Ozark
6 more rows

What is the most watched TV series 2022? ›

MOST-WATCHED PRIMETIME TELECASTS OF 2022 (TOTAL VIEWERS)
RankPROGRAM (NETWORK)
1.Super Bowl LVI: Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati (NBC)
2.NFC Championship: LA Rams vs. San Francisco (Fox)
3.AFC Playoff: Kansas City vs. Buffalo (CBS)
4.NFC Playoff: San Francisco vs. Green Bay (Fox)
87 more rows
Dec 30, 2022

What should I not miss on Netflix 2022? ›

10 great shows from 2022 to stream on Netflix
  • Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities. Netflix. 25.6M subscribers. ...
  • Love, Death & Robots. Netflix. ...
  • Russian Doll. Netflix. ...
  • All of Us Are Dead. Netflix. ...
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Netflix. ...
  • The House. Netflix. ...
  • Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio. Netflix. ...
  • Wendell & Wild. Netflix.
Dec 24, 2022

What series should I binge next? ›

  • Wednesday (2022-present) Image via Netflix. ...
  • Ginny & Georgia (2021-present) Image via Netflix. ...
  • Derry Girls (2018-2022) Image via Channel 4/Netflix. ...
  • Squid Game (2021-present) Image via Netflix. ...
  • Keep Breathing (2022-present) ...
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019-present) ...
  • Heartstopper (2022-present) ...
  • Bridgerton (2020-present)

What are the most trending series right now? ›

New TV shows to watch at a glance
  • Servant. tv-ma 2019.
  • Hunters. tv-ma 2020.
  • Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. tv-ma 2018.
  • Kaleidoscope. tv-ma 2023.
  • The Way of the Househusband. tv-ma 2021.
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch. tv-pg 2021.
Jan 13, 2023

What series should I not miss? ›

Tv Shows You Should Never Miss
  • 24 (2001–2010) TV-14 | 44 min | Action, Crime, Drama. ...
  • Prison Break (2005–2017) TV-14 | 44 min | Action, Crime, Drama. ...
  • Friends (1994–2004) ...
  • Dexter (2006–2013) ...
  • Game of Thrones (2011–2019) ...
  • Breaking Bad (2008–2013) ...
  • Person of Interest (2011–2016) ...
  • The Last Ship (2014–2018)

What is the number one series in 2021? ›

America's most-watched series of the 2020-2021 season are …
...
TOP 100 SHOWS OF 2021-22, TOTAL VIEWERS.
RankTitle (Network)VIEWERS (000)
1.NFL Sunday Night Football (NBC)18,139
2.NFL Thursday Night Football (Fox/NFL Network)15,397
3.Yellowstone (Paramount Network)11,312
4.NFL Monday Night Football (ESPN)11,233
11 more rows
May 31, 2022

What should I watch right now 2022? ›

The Best TV Shows of 2022
  • Abbott Elementary Season 2. ABC. ...
  • The White Lotus Season 2. An error occurred. ...
  • Severance. Apple TV. ...
  • Pachinko. Apple TV. ...
  • The Bear. FX Networks. ...
  • Heartstopper. Netflix. ...
  • Andor. ...
  • P-Valley Season 2.
Dec 21, 2022

What is the most watched series of all time? ›

Most Watched TV Finales of All Time, Ranked
  • 8 All in the Family (40.2 Million)
  • 7 The Cosby Show (44.4 million)
  • 6 Magnum P.I. (50.7 million)
  • 5 Friends (52.5 million)
  • 4 Seinfeld (76.3 million)
  • 3 The Fugitive (78 million)
  • 2 Cheers (80.4 million)
  • 1 M*A*S*H (105 million)
Nov 26, 2022

What are people watching in 2022? ›

The 10 Best TV Shows of 2022
  • Interview With the Vampire. IGN Movie Trailers. 133K subscribers. ...
  • The Bear. Movie Coverage. 1.29M subscribers. ...
  • What We Do in the Shadows. TV Promos. 2.52M subscribers. ...
  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Paramount Plus. ...
  • The Rehearsal. HBO. ...
  • We Own This City. HBO. ...
  • The White Lotus. HBO. ...
  • Andor. Star Wars.
Dec 15, 2022

What to watch in December 2022? ›

Home Entertainment Guide: December 2022
  • 10 NEW ON NETFLIX. "21 Jump Street" "Air Force One" "Bullet Train" "Cake" "Emily the Criminal" "Frances Ha" "Prisoners" ...
  • 10 NEW ON HBO MAX. "Amsterdam" "The Banshees of Inisherin" "Black Adam" "Burn After Reading" "Demolition Man" "Green Room" "Hook" ...
  • 9 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD.
Dec 28, 2022

What I'm watching on Netflix? ›

How to see viewing history and device activity
  • From a web browser, go to your Account page.
  • Open the Profile & Parental Controls settings for the profile you want to see.
  • Open Viewing activity.
  • If you see a limited list, use the Show More button.

What are the top 3 movies playing on Netflix right now? ›

Find out what U.S. subscribers are watching right now.
...
  1. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)
  2. The Pale Blue Eye (2022) ...
  3. White Noise (2022) ...
  4. Trolls (2016) ...
  5. Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical (2022) ...
  6. No Escape (2015) ...
Jan 13, 2023

What is the most liked movie on Netflix? ›

The Top 10 most popular Films (English), based on hours viewed in their first 28 days on Netflix.
...
Most Popular Films (English)
#Films (English)Hours viewed in first 28 days
1Red Notice364,020,000
2Don't Look Up359,790,000
3Bird Box282,020,000
4Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery273,200,000
6 more rows

Are there any good series on Amazon Prime? ›

Other top titles include Fleabag, The Wilds, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, Homecoming, Good Omens, The Expanse, and more. For this guide, we set out to list Amazon Prime's best TV shows to binge-watch, now from all of those titles the service (and sister streaming service IMDbTV) has released since 2013.

What is the number 1 thing on Netflix? ›

Netflix Top 10 in the United States
RankYDTitle
1(1)The Lincoln Lawyer
2(4)Wrong Side of the Tracks
3(5)Jackass 4.5
4(2)Ozark
6 more rows

Which is the most trending series on Netflix? ›

Titles in the Global Top 10 from January 9 - January 15, 2023 were also popular in countries around the world:
  • The Pale Blue Eye. Top 10 in Films in 92 countries on Netflix. ...
  • The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker. ...
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. ...
  • Dog Gone. ...
  • Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical.

What is the best binge watching on Netflix? ›

The most popular shows ranking on our guide to the best-reviewed on Netflix include Stranger Things (which aired its fourth season in 2022), phenom Squid Game (which will air its second season in 2023 or 2024), video game curse-breaking adaptations (Arcane: League of Legends, The Witcher, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners), crime ...

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