Netflix‘s mailing service had already taken over the movie rental market when it launched it’s streaming service in 2007, giving subscribers on PC thousands of movies and TV shows for one monthly fee. Since launching that part of the business in 2007, Netflix has revolutionized how we watch movies and television. The streaming service is now available on pretty much any device with a screen and an Internet connection. It’s also become a major player in film and TV production.
The streaming service gave many critically acclaimed TV shows from regular broadcast or cable networks a second life. Some of the best televisions shows ever made are now available for binge viewing on the service. Let’s take a look at the best TV shows you can stream on Netflix, including both original shows exclusive to the service, and older shows first shown by other outlets.
Of all of the older shows streaming on Netflix, this series may have benefited the most. Breaking Bad is about a high-school chemistry teacher who slowly descends into evil by cooking meth to pay for his cancer treatments. It could be the best TV show on Netflix, and maybe the best one ever made. Bryan Cranston’s portrayal of Walter White is one of the best acting performances ever, TV or otherwise. He is helped by a superb supporting cast, including Aaron Paul, who is equally as good as White’s meth producing partner Jesse Pinkman.
You can watch all five seasons of Breaking Bad now on Netflix, as well as the spin-off show Better Call Saul, a prequel following the life of White’s lawyer before the events of the show.
A ton of sitcoms are streaming on Netflix, but for our money, the show with the most laughs and the most fun is Friends. The classic NBC sitcom followed the adventures of Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe for 10 years in their semi-fantasy version of New York City (seriously, how could anyone in their pay grade afford that massive apartment?). There are so many quotable lines from Friends (“We were on a break!”, “How you doin’?” “Seven!”) and so many great episodes, it’s easily one of the best TV shows on Netflix. It remains so popular Netflix reportedly paid the show’s studio Warner Bros. a whopping $100 million to keep the show on the service until at least the end of 2019.
What can be said about this Netflix original show that hasn’t already been said? Stranger Things has become one of the most popular and buzzed about current TV dramas, period. Created by the Duffer brothers, the show offers great nostalgic entertainment for people who grew up in the early 1980s and watched movies like E.T. and Poltergeist. At the same time, the show is made with a modern sensitivity towards relationships and characters. The kids and adults who live and work in the fictional Hawkins, Indiana have to deal with supernatural threats in the show’s first two seasons, but there’s also plenty of room for teenage romance and more. The long-awaited awaited third season of Stranger Things is scheduled to launch on Netflix July 4.
Another great show from AMC helped by Netflix binging was Mad Men. Who knew a show set in a Manhattan advertising agency in the 1960s could be so cool. It also offered a chance to see how workplace culture changed from the beginning of the 1960s to the early 1970s. The rise of the women’s movement, the fallout of the Vietnam War, and more all affect the professional and personal lives of the characters as the show progresses. Jon Hamm’s portrayal of Don Draper is spot-on as he plays the supercool ad executive with a shadowy past. Another big stand out is Elizabeth Moss as Peggy Olson, who personifies the changing role of women in society during that decade.
The Office (U.S.)
Many fans of the original U.K. version of The Office were skeptical that the U.S. remake would be as good. Turns out, the U.S. incarnation of the ultimate workplace comedy might actually be (don’t tell anyone) better than the original. The U.S. version ran longer (all nine seasons are on Netflix), so characters like Steve Carell’s Michael Scott, Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute, and others had more time to develop and become more realistic. We also can’t forget one of the great TV romantic couples in John Krasinski’s Jim Halpert and Jenna Fischer’s Pam Beesly. Their performances, as well as the rest of the cast, make us wish we could visit the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania, just to say, “Hi.”