There’s something daunting about the power Netflix currently has as a platform for what we still call TV shows; you can obsessively track every upcoming show as much as you like, but surprises will come out of nowhere more often than not; while plenty of average original programming has been produced since the House of Cards days, there are plenty of times when the right mix of creator, cast, and creative moment have led to firecracker comedies, dramas, and unscripted series which consume the world’s attention.
The 60 Netflix original series selected and ranked for this list represent many of those highs, but we also made a point of celebrating underseen shows that might not have won the battle against the algorithm for attention when they first premiered, but deserved deeper consideration. Not all of the shows picked here are for everybody, but that’s the beauty of television in the streaming era — not every TV show needs to be Stranger Things or The Crown.
(Don’t freak out, though. Those are also on this list.)
Check out our rankings of the best Netflix original series ever made below, and also enjoy The Best Netflix Movies of 2020 So Far, Ranked as well as The Best Hidden Gems and Underrated Movies on Netflix Right Now.