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Netflix adds original programming at such a steady clip that it can be hard to keep up with which of its dramas, comedies and reality shows are must-sees. And that’s not including all the TV series Netflix picks up from broadcast and cable networks. Below is our regularly updated guide to the 50 best shows on Netflix in the United States. Each recommendation comes with a secondary pick, too, for 100 suggestions in all. (Note: Netflix sometimes removes titles without notice.)

We also have lists of the best movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, along with the best TV and movies on Hulu and Disney+.

The longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek died in November 2020, at the end of a year that saw renewed interest in the quiz show, which originally debuted in 1964. The praise for Trebek and the fascination with some of the brilliant and eccentric recent “Jeopardy!” winners has been a reassuring reminder that there is value in being curious and studious. Writing in The New York Times Magazine about the game’s enduring appeal, Sam Anderson called it “a hushed, calm, serious space in which knowledge was celebrated and rewarded.” The handful episodes on Netflix change regularly, and often feature either old tournaments or fan-favorite champions. (For a less highbrow game show, watch “Supermarket Sweep,” where contestants race through the aisles of a fake grocery store, hunting for the top-dollar items.)

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One of the more satisfying fantasy adventure sagas of the 21st century is this TV cartoon, which originally aired on the kids’ channel Nickelodeon for three seasons. The 61 episodes of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” tell the story of four rival nations — each devoted to one of the elements — and of the reluctant young peacemaker who travels through various magical regions, training to master his powers while also trying to keep his world from descending into chaos and oppression. Our critic called the show “a loving pastiche of allusions and inspirations: anime, Kung Fu flicks, world mythologies, Native tribes, Studio Ghibli films.” (For another beautifully illustrated and emotionally resonant animated adventure, stream “Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.”)

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Like the podcast of the same name, the documentary series “Song Exploder” has musicians describing in detail what went into the recording of some of their best-known work. Each half-hour installment relies mainly on interviews with the writers and performers — including R.E.M., Alicia Keys, Dua Lipa and Nine Inch Nails — who listen to isolated tracks from their mixes with the host, Hrishikesh Hirway, and then get into the nuts and bolts of the creative process. The Times recommended the podcast to anyone “in the mood to get granular about the craft of songwriting.” This TV adaptation lives up to its source. (The decades-spanning “Break It All: The History of Rock in Latin America” is another excellent, in-depth musical docu-series.)

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In this darkly comic Emmy-winning crime drama, Jason Bateman plays a shady money-manager who moves his family to a Missouri resort community, where they all adjust to a new culture while still dealing with their patriarch’s criminal associations. Bateman is also a producer and a director on the series and has been canny enough to give his co-stars room to shine. Julia Garner is especially strong as a damaged young femme fatale, while Laura Linney gives one of the best performances of her career as a wife making impossible choices to keep her loved ones safe. Our critic said, “The show isn’t a tragedy — most of the time, it’s a satirical (though quite violent) culture-clash caper with pretensions.” (For a lighter take on small-town melodrama, watch “Virgin River.”)

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This lively musical biography covers the short life of the Tejano singing sensation Selena Quintanilla, following her rise from low-paying gigs to multiplatinum album sales. (Netflix has released nine of a planned 18 episodes.) What sets this series apart from so many other celebrity origin stories — as well as from the 1997 big-screen biopic “Selena” — is that each episode focuses quite a bit on Selena’s family, which provided her first backing band and was an enduring motivational force. Ricardo Chavira gives a fine performance as the driven patriarch Abraham Quintanilla, whose obsession with finding the right formula to make his daughter famous generates a lot of the plot in this fascinatingly detailed backstage drama. (For a fun series about a fictional band of young rockers, watch the supernatural comedy “Julie and the Phantoms.”)

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In this rollicking action-comedy, Maddie Phillips and Anjelica Bette Fellini play the teenage sisters Sterling and Blair Wesley, who stumble onto a part-time job as “interns” for the bounty hunter Bowser Simmons (Kadeem Hardison) after they accidentally capture one of his targets. While juggling their complicated romantic lives and their studies at a private Christian school by day, the Wesley girls end up getting an education in their friends’ and neighbors’ secret lives by night. Our critic called the show “quirky and naughty and funny, the show so many teen shows think they are but aren’t quite, satirical and earnest often in the same scene.” Netflix cancelled it after one season, but that one season is a hoot. (For more clever and colorful adventures, stream the animated “DC Superhero Girls.”)

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Netflix has become a haven for adult-oriented animated series, written and voiced by comedians who know that sometimes raunchy jokes are even funnier when delivered by cartoons. Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jenny Slate and Jessi Klein are among the comics involved in “Big Mouth,” which follows a group of junior high schoolers who are tormented day and night by the monsters who embody their uncontrollable adolescent impulses. Our critic calls it “more sweet and insightful than its hormone-drenched premise might lead you to believe.” Now four seasons into its run, the show remains as refreshingly honest as it is hilarious. (Also funny and frank: the comedian Bill Burr’s animated “F Is for Family.”)

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By the time this sweeping historical drama is done, the writer-producer Peter Morgan intends to have spent 60 episodes covering the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from coronation to now. Claire Foy plays the Queen for the first two seasons, which take place from the late 1940s through the mid-60s. Olivia Colman takes the lead in Seasons 3 and 4, which begin in 1964 and move the story through England’s psychedelic, punk and Margaret Thatcher-Lady Diana eras. The A-list cast and the lavish production are the primary selling points of “The Crown,” which our critic called, “an orgy of sumptuous scenes and rich performances.” (If you like British history but aren’t interested in royalty, try “Peaky Blinders,” about the changes in the criminal underworld after World War I.)

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Part of Netflix’s line of original anime, this stylish and action-packed series combines elements of classical Greek mythology with modern epics like “The Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones.” The story follows Heron, a young hero who learns that he is actually a demigod and that he is destined to play a vital part in a long-gestating war against world-conquering demons. Fast-paced and ultra-violent, “Blood of Zeus” is a concentrated dose of adult fantasy. Our critic wrote, “The eight episodes are fantastically engrossing, and the imagery is gorgeous, adding layers of beauty to righteous rage.” (For another innovative animated adventure, watch “The Liberator,” which tells the true story of a U.S. Army officer during World War II.)

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“Game of Thrones” gets more attention, but “Outlander” has been just as successful at adapting a sprawling book series — and at mixing political intrigue with high fantasy. Based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels about a time traveling 20th century English doctor (Caitriona Balfe) and her romance with an 18th century Scottish rebel (Sam Heughan), the show offers big battles, wilderness adventure and frank sexuality. It has a rare historical scope as well, covering the changing times in Europe and the Americas across centuries. Our critic wrote that it should appeal to viewers who “have a weakness for muskets, accents and the occasional roll in the heather.” (The German science-fiction series “Dark” features a similar mix of earnest drama and time-travel.)

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Based on a 1983 novel by Walter Tevis — an eclectic writer best-known for “The Hustler” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth” — the seven-part mini-series “The Queen’s Gambit” is about a chess prodigy who struggles with addiction and self-doubt while rising through the international ranks in the 1960s. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the young master, who has a tough childhood she finds hard to shake, even as she’s clobbering her competition. The creators, including Scott Frank, bring just enough ornate visual style to frame Taylor-Joy’s outstanding performance as a woman who gets lost whenever she looks beyond an 8×8 grid. Our critic wrote, “Frank wraps it all up in a package that’s smart, smooth and snappy throughout, like finely tailored goods.” (For more of Frank’s work, watch his western mini-series “Godless.”)

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The British sketch comedy troupe Monty Python combined the cheekiness of old English music hall comics with the surrealism and self-awareness of the psychedelic era. Their series, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” ran for four seasons from 1969-74 and was syndicated around the world, popularizing an absurdist approach to humor — and to life — that has inspired countless sketch comedians. Although the original show is 50 years old now, it “hasn’t aged a bit.” (The “Mr. Show” creators, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, were clearly inspired by Monty Python, as evidenced by their Netflix series “w/Bob & David.”)

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A more modernized take on the 1898 Henry James novella “The Turn of the Screw” — a frequently adapted tale of creeping paranoia — “The Haunting of Bly Manor” is set at a sprawling old estate where an au pair named Dani (Victoria Pedretti) keeps seeing strange apparitions in the shadows. The gothic drama was created by the acclaimed horror filmmaker Mike Flanagan (“Hush,” “Doctor Sleep”), and like his previous Netflix adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” this latest literary spook-show is as much about having characters confront their past traumas and their broken family relationships as it is about literal ghosts. It’s as moving as it is unnerving. (Stream “The Haunting of Hill House” too; the two series stand alone, but they do share some subtle connections.)

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The writer-producer team of Robert and Michelle King (“The Good Wife”) have made one of TV’s most charmingly bizarre mystery series with “Evil,” an offbeat examination into the culture-changing effects of fervent faith, religious and otherwise. The show has Katja Herbers as a skeptical psychologist who’s aiding a Catholic priest-in-training (Mike Colter) on a mission to investigate supernatural phenomena — while also working to stymie a mysterious man (Michael Emerson) who seeks to sow chaos. “Evil” is often quite funny and occasionally frightening. It is also a thoughtful attempt to understand the madness of modern life. A Times article about the creators called it “a response to the world as the Kings see it.” (For another offbeat supernatural procedural, watch “Lucifer.”)

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In this internationally beloved reality competition, a handful of home bakers gather in a tent in the English countryside, where they make baked goods in front of demanding judges and supportive comedians. The roster of hosts and commentators has changed during the show’s decade on the air, but the appeal has remained steady. There’s just something special about “The Great British Baking Show,” a life-affirming series in which contestants of various ages and socio-ethnic backgrounds hug one another, cry together, share tips and enjoy one another’s company. Writing for The Times, Tom Whyman called it “the key to understanding today’s Britain.” (Daunted by all of the pretty-looking pastries? Check out the much sloppier sweets on “Nailed It!,” which is happy-making in its own way.)

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The Canadian sitcom “Schitt’s Creek,” created by the father-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, took a while to find an audience. But by the end of its six-seasons, TV buffs and critics had fallen for this tale of a wealthy, spoiled family forced to move to a small town after they go broke. In 2020, the series set a record by sweeping all of the major Emmy awards in the comedy category, cementing the legacy of its snarky-but-humane exploration of ordinary life. In a Times article about the final season, Lara Zarum noted its “daffy charm” and the “winning combination of its characters’ caustic wit and the show’s fundamental warmth.” (For a different take on working-class woes, watch the recent remake of the TV classic “One Day at a Time,” which follows an eclectic and very funny Cuban-American family.)

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It’s difficult to describe this fantastical metaphysical sitcom without spoiling its surprises. It’s ostensibly about a selfish young woman named Eleanor (Kristen Bell), who with a handful of other iffy humans lands in a cockeyed version of the afterlife, managed by the cheerful kook Michael (Ted Danson) and his humanoid supercomputer, Janet (D’Arcy Carden). But with his philosophical digressions and fantastical comic inventions, the creator, Michael Schur, keeps viewers guessing all the way to the clever and emotional series finale. And even without the crazy plot twists, the show provides food for thought. Our critic wrote, “Mr. Schur seems to have found a deeper idea behind the show’s premise: Is acting good the same as being good?” (For another thoughtful sitcom about people struggling with virtue, watch “After Life,” created by and starring Ricky Gervais.)

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The Danish political drama “Borgen” became a favorite of TV fans around the world back in the days when foreign-language shows were often available only on hard-to-find DVDs or marginal cable channels. Now Netflix is making the series more widely available, with a new English dub. That should help a larger audience discover this riveting fictional story about Denmark’s first woman prime minister (played by Sidse Babett Knudsen) and how she struggles to maintain her ideals and optimism. Our critic wrote, “It is remarkable how much suspense and psychological drama the show squeezes out of cabinet shuffles and health-care-reform bills in a small Scandinavian nation.” (For an equally addicting political thriller about a different era and country, stream “Babylon Berlin.”)

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The political machinations and personality clashes inside a predominately Black megachurch generate the drama in “Greenleaf,” a soapy-but-realistic story about how one powerful Memphis family balances its Christian faith and worldly desires. The strong cast is led by Keith David as Bishop James Greenleaf, an inspiring pastor whose propensity for sin challenges his warring children, who debate whether the good he does justifies his mistakes. Our critic wrote that it “has the kind of 3-D depiction of faith you can get only from a family whose life is religion.” The series recently completed its fifth and final season; all of them are now available on Netflix. (For another richly detailed show about an American institution, watch “The Game,” about professional football players and their families.)

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The first two seasons of the martial arts melodrama “Cobra Kai” originated on YouTube; but now both are making the move to Netflix before season three debuts next year. A revival of the “Karate Kid” franchise, this fan-friendly series — which packs “a surprising emotional punch,” according to Bruce Fretts — brings back the original’s hero and villain, still played by Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. The show has enormous nostalgic appeal but is more complicated than the usual “underdogs versus bullies” arc. Instead, “Cobra Kai” gets into the family histories and the socioeconomic circumstances that made these characters who they are. (For more retro ’80s vibes, watch the docu-series “High Score,” about the evolution of video games.)

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As a producer and director, Ava DuVernay has tackled the Civil Rights Movement, in her Oscar-nominated film “Selma,” and racial bias in the American criminal justice system, in her Emmy-winning documentary “13TH.” In her four-part mini-series “When They See Us,” she dramatizes the story of the Central Park Five, who were convicted of raping and almost killing a jogger in New York City in 1989, then exonerated in 2002. Salamishah Tillet wrote that the Five “emerge as the heroes of their own story — and if we pay heed to the series’s urgent message about criminal justice reform, ours too.” (For another politically pointed true-crime drama stream “Unbelievable,” which examines gender bias in policing)

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The musical-theater loving comic actress Rachel Bloom was a creator of and stars in this colorful dramedy, playing Rebecca Bunch, a depressed lawyer who gives up a promising career to move to the hometown of a man she briefly dated as a teenager. With its catchy songs (many of which were written or co-written by the Fountains of Wayne singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger, who died in April) and its frank conversations about mental health, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” has an expressive, openhearted style, rooted in the creators’ compassion for flawed people. Our critic wrote, “The series is committed to the idea that every character can carry a story line, any person can be more than they appear.” (For a more dramatic take on the TV musical, stream “The Eddy,” about a Parisian jazz club.)

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The Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls weren’t just the most dominant NBA team of the 1990s; they were also a constant source of off-the-court drama, famed for their glamorous lifestyles and bitter interpersonal conflicts. The addicting 10-part docu-series “The Last Dance” arrived at just the right time in the summer of 2020, giving sports fans and TV fans something to look forward to each week with its detailed look back at the Bulls and Jordan’s decade of glory and excess. Our critic Wesley Morris said: “You could call these 10 hours a walk down memory lane. But that’d be like calling Mardi Gras a parade.” (Another of 2020’s most talked-about docu-series is the soapy, strange-but-true crime story “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”)

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This documentary series follows college football hopefuls who are teetering on the edge of oblivion, trying to bounce back from the academic, discipline and injury problems that derailed their dreams. The first two seasons were shot at East Mississippi Community College, the third and fourth at Independence Community College, in Kansas, and the fifth at Laney College in Oakland, Calif. Each balances stories about the players with a look at their tutors and coaches, showing how they all must adjust their hopes and expectations. Our critic Margaret Lyons wrote, “Alongside the show’s ability to engender simmering loathing for broken systems is its love for its subjects.” (For another engaging series about struggling athletes, from the same creative team, try “Cheer.”)

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Although this dark and bloody crime series takes its name from its villain, Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) — the brilliant psychiatrist and incorrigible cannibal introduced in the novels of Thomas Harris — the show is just as much about Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), the F.B.I. profiler whose investigations lead him into Lecter’s orbit. Over the course of three increasingly intense and operatic seasons, these two men circle each other in grim plots that incorporate elements of gothic horror and abstract art. Our critic was unimpressed with the early episodes of Season 1 but still praised its “superior production values” and “stylishness,” which become only more grandiose later on. (For another smart and artful take on the serial killer genre, stream “Mindhunter.”)

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Too often, when a new creative team revives an old favorite from pop culture’s past, it tries to update the material by making it more edgy. That’s not the case with the latest TV adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s “The Baby-Sitters Club” book series, which retains the easygoing charm and engaging plotting of the novels. The show’s creator, Rachel Shukert, doesn’t shy away from the unique modern pressures on teenage girls and the younger kids they look after; but the episodic stories here are bright and breezy, first and foremost. Our critic called the show “sweet but not cloying, smart but not cynical, full-hearted and funny enough to please both grown readers of the original books and the young target audience of the new series.” (For another sensitive and fresh adaptation of classic young adult fiction, watch “Anne With an E,” based on “Anne of Green Gables.”)

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With his 1986 feature, “She’s Gotta Have It,” the writer-director Spike Lee established his reputation as an ambitious and imaginative artist, equally adept at raunchy comedy, romantic melodrama, social commentary and lyrical interludes. The TV adaptation of the movie is just as generously eclectic. Lee and his writers use the original’s story of a sexually liberated woman and her many suitors as a foundation for a freewheeling exploration of how Black bohemian life in today’s Brooklyn differs from life there in the ’80s. Our critic said, “More expansive than interior, more defiant than dreamy, it’s a vibrant if uneven work in heated conversation with itself.” (For another exciting and creative take on contemporary Black culture, watch “Dear White People.”)

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Of all the older “Star Trek” series, “Deep Space Nine” today feels the most ahead of its time. Set near a wormhole connecting distant quadrants of the galaxy, the show deals frankly with the tricky politics of a remote outpost where different species warily interact. It’s a complex kind of space western: like “Gunsmoke” with phasers. And while mostly episodic, “Deep Space” does feature longer story arcs and subplots, more akin to 21st century television. Our critic called the whole “Star Trek” franchise “part of our national mythology, a continuing megastory whose characters come to represent our abstract ideals.” (Some of the concepts and characters on “Deep Space Nine” were introduced on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which is also on Netflix.)

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Set amid the New York City “drag ball” scene of the late ’80s and early ’90s, the exuberant drama “Pose” is groundbreaking for the way it employs a large cast of transgender women playing transgender women. The series deals with serious issues — including the devastation of AIDS and the way the city’s economic boom of the ’80s bypassed the marginalized — but it is surprisingly optimistic, emphasizing the community fostered by these underground fashion and dance competitions (hosted by the acid-tongued Pray Tell, played by Billy Porter). Our critic wrote that “Pose” “stands, bold and plumed, and demands attention.” (For a perspective on the mainstreaming of L.G.B.T.Q. culture since the 1990s, watch the makeover show “Queer Eye.”)

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The tragic 1993 standoff between the United States government and the Branch Davidian religious sect sparked a bitter debate many Americans are still having about the rights of the state to curtail individual freedom. The absorbing six-part mini-series “Waco” gives the issues a fair hearing, presenting different perspectives largely through the viewpoint of an F.B.I. crisis negotiator played by Michael Shannon. As he tries to keep his impatient bosses from using brute force, the hero calmly reasons with the passionate evangelist David Koresh (Taylor Kitsch) in long and refreshingly nuanced conversations. Our critic praised Kitsch’s performance, saying he “radiates sincerity and has an overflowing charisma.” (For another excellent and enlightening dramatization of recent American history, watch “Manhunt: Unabomber.”)

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The animator Pendleton Ward follows up his cult favorite kids’ series “Adventure Time” with something very different: a cartoon that combines surrealism and docu-realism, pitched to broad-minded grown-ups. The comedian Duncan Trussell provides the voice of the hero, Clancy Gilroy, a podcaster who travels across dimensions and through the universe, interviewing strange creatures in dangerous places. The illustrations are trippy, influenced by pulp science-fiction; but the dialogue is mostly casual and earnestly philosophical. The result is a show that on the surface looks like a mature animated fantasy but is actually a sweet and strange inquiry into what it means to be alive. Our critic called it “expansive and full-hearted and cathartic.” (For more TV-MA animation, try the eye-popping anthology series “Love, Death & Robots”.)

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Easily the most upbeat sitcom ever made about a woman who escaped from an oppressively patriarchal religious cult, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” stars Ellie Kemper as Kimmy, who somehow keeps her youthful enthusiasm when she arrives in New York City after 15 years imprisoned in a bunker. A stellar supporting cast — including Tituss Burgess as Kimmy’s perpetually jobless roommate, Carol Kane as her activist landlord and Jane Krakowski as her overprivileged boss — brings range to this show’s unusually sunny, zingy vision of 2010s New York. Our critic wrote, “The series leavens wacky absurdity with acid wit and is very funny.” Don’t miss the series’s epilogue either: an experimental interactive movie called “Kimmy vs. the Reverend.” (The “Kimmy” creators, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, also produced the equally hilarious but under-seen sitcom “Great News.”)

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When this fast-paced campus comedy debuted, it seemed on-track to be a smarter-than-average mainstream sitcom, featuring a talented young ensemble — including the future stars Donald Glover and Alison Brie — alongside the TV veterans Chevy Chase and Joel McHale. (At the time, our critic called it “Bracingly funny.”) Before long, the show’s creator, Dan Harmon, started playing around with the structure and style of “Community” episodes, making the show at once aggressively postmodern and unusually personal. By the end of its six-season run, this series developed into something more like a provocative and hilarious video essay, meant to ponder whether television formulas still matter. (For another self-referential sitcom, watch “Arrested Development.”)

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For “Never Have I Ever,” the creator of “The Mindy Project,” Mindy Kaling, draws on her own teenage experiences as a first-generation Indian-American who very much wanted to be part of the popular crowd. This clever and heartfelt sitcom is set in the modern day, but it should still be relatable to anyone who can remember the family pressures, personal traumas and unrealistic expectations that keep some kids from ever feeling “cool.” Our critic said this show “moves like a teen comedy and has a sort of ‘Mean Girls’ gloss on high school in terms of its anthropology of teendom and its school aesthetic.” (For a different tale of teen life — about misfits who reinvent themselves as high school sex therapists — stream “Sex Education.”)

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This intense thriller was cocreated by its lead actor, Lior Raz, who plays an IDF agent drawn out of retirement by the prospect of taking down a terrorist he thought he’d already killed. That one mission leads to unexpected complications and further side operations, some of them involving the hero’s going undercover with his adversaries. The matter-of-fact scenarios in “Fauda” are an attempt to reflect the tricky politics and daily sacrifices of crime-fighting in Israel. Our critic wrote that its story “spirals out in increasingly messy strands of betrayal and violence.” (For another crime drama about cultures in conflict, try “Giri/Haji.”)

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The Emmy-winning television writer and producer Rod Serling said he created this creepy science-fiction anthology series in part because he was tired of having TV executives nix the social commentary in his scripts. With “The Twilight Zone,” Serling and a handful of top fantasy writers riffed on paranoia, prejudice, greed and alienation in twisty stories about inexplicable supernatural phenomena. Some of the best episodes have stuck with viewers for decades, coloring the way they see the world. In a Times appreciation, the writer Brian Tallerico called the show, “an indelible part of the cultural lexicon.” (For a 21st century spin on “The Twilight Zone,” watch “Black Mirror.”)

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Based on the Deborah Feldman memoir about life in a strict Hasidic Jewish community, this nerve-racking mini-series has Shira Haas playing Esty, a teenage bride who flees her husband in Brooklyn to move to Berlin, where she studies music. The plot in “Unorthodox” is split between the furor back home over Esty’s departure and her tentative steps abroad toward living freely and thinking for herself. As the two narrative strands come together, the story becomes increasingly tense. Our critic called the show, “a thrilling and probing story of one woman’s personal defection.” (For another well-written show about a person trying to renter mainstream society, stream “Rectify,” about an ex-convict who comes home after having spent most of his youth behind bars.)

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Set in the rapidly gentrifying Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, this lively dramedy follows the dreams and disagreements of three very different cousins, all of whom have their own ideas about how to keep their grandfather’s taco restaurant afloat. Savvy and often funny, “Gentefied” offers a snapshot of a Mexican-American culture in transition, in which deeply rooted traditions are threatened by economic and social change. Our critic wrote: “The show’s likability carries it through its rougher patches. This series puts a lot on its plate, and somehow, it all comes together.” (For another addicting show about Angelenos’ aspirations, watch the teen melodrama “On My Block.”)

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The “Breaking Bad” prequel series, “Better Call Saul,” covers the early days of the can-do lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) as he evolves into the ethically challenged criminal attorney “Saul Goodman.” Throughout the show, Jimmy crosses paths with another “Breaking Bad” regular, the ex-cop Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), during Mike’s first forays into the Albuquerque drug-trafficking business. In this frequently surprising and incredibly entertaining crime saga, these two very different men discover the rewards and the perils of skirting the law. Our critic wrote, “Cutting against the desperation and violence that frame it, ‘Saul,’ in its dark, straight-faced way, is one of the funniest dramas on television.” (Also a must-see? “Breaking Bad,” of course.)

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Special low-light cameras give this six-part nature documentary a look and feel unlike that of any other show of its kind. “Night on Earth” features footage from around the world, shot under the cover of darkness, during times of day when some animals mate and hunt. The series’s muted music and its soft Samira Wiley narration — paired with the ghostly images of creatures moving stealthily through the night — give it a uniquely otherworldly affect. The unusual style makes the wilderness seem all the more magical and precious. (For another perspective on the natural world, watch the docu-series “Our Planet,” which emphasizes the effects of human progress and climate change on the animal kingdom.)

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One of Netflix’s longest-running series, “Grace and Frankie” features two show-business veterans, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, playing a couple of very different California women who move in together after their husbands (played by Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen) reveal they’ve been gay lovers for decades. The show is both mainstream and risqué — like an adult version of the sitcoms the co-creator Marta Kauffman worked on in the 1990s when she helped bring “Friends” to the screen. Our critic praised the lead performances, saying that Fonda and Tomlin “pull this comedy about 70-somethings back from the brink of ridicule.” (For another lively sitcom about underdog women, watch “GLOW.”)

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The Northern Irish playwright Lisa McGee pulls some bawdy coming-of-age comedy out of her own experience of growing up in Londonderry in the early ’90s, during a time of intense sectarian violence between Catholics and Protestants. A cast of very funny young women bring zany energy to McGee’s rapid-fire dialogue and fast-paced stories, which are more about typical teenage high jinks than about bombings and riots. Our critic said the show “revels in the humor of specificity, the kind of exacting precision that somehow winds up feeling universal.” (For another lively take on unconventional women, stream the medical melodrama “Call the Midwife,” set in ’50s and ’60s London.)

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The first season of the retro science-fiction series “Stranger Things” arrived with little hype and quickly became a word-of-mouth sensation: Viewers were enchanted by its pastiche of John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and John Hughes — all scored to ’80s pop. This story of geeky Indiana teenagers fighting off an invasion of extra-dimensional creatures from “the Upside-Down” has the look and feel of a big summer blockbuster from 30 years ago — “a tasty trip back to that decade and the art of eeriness,” our critic noted, but “without excess.” (If you prefer ’90s teen nostalgia, try “Everything Sucks.”)

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The former “Saturday Night Live” and “Detroiters” writer and performer Tim Robinson created (with Zach Kanin) this fast-paced and funny sketch series, which is steeped in the comedy of obnoxiousness. Nearly every segment is about how people react when someone in their immediate vicinity behaves rudely or strangely — an astute depiction of how social mores sometimes fail us. More than anything, though, this show is just hilarious: “Netflix’s first great sketch comedy,” Jason Zinoman wrote for The Times. (For more twisted humor from a comedian with a strong personality, watch “Lady Dynamite.”)

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Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who created “Glee” and “American Horror Story,” bring dramatic verve to real-life celebrity murder stories in this anthology crime series, working with a team of talented collaborators. Season 1, “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” and Season 2, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” both feature unconventional narrative structures and star-studded casts; and offer fresh insight into well-known crimes. About “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” our critic wrote, “Its triumph is to take a case that divided the nation into teams and treat everyone, vulture or victim, with curiosity and empathy.” (For a more down-to-earth take on American crime, watch the equally superb “American Crime.”)

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The most obvious point of comparison for this oddball science-fiction dramedy is the movie “Groundhog Day,” since “Russian Doll” is also about a character who must relive the same day, over and over. Here, the trapped person is a sad-sack software engineer named Nadia (played by Natasha Lyonne, who also created the show with Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler); on the night of her 36th birthday, Nadia keeps dying and rebooting — like a video game character. Our critic wrote, “This is a show with a big heart, but a nicotine-stained heart that’s been dropped in the gutter and kicked around a few times.” (For more mind-bending TV, Netflix is also streaming the first two seasons of “Twin Peaks.”)

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It’s hard to explain “BoJack Horseman” to the uninitiated. It’s a showbiz satire about a self-absorbed former TV star trying to mount a comeback. It’s an existential melodrama about the fear of fading relevancy. Oh, and it’s a cartoon in which that former star is an alcoholic horse. Our critic wrote, “The absurdist comedy and hallucinatory visuals match the series’s take on Hollywood as a reality-distortion field. But the series never takes an attitude of easy superiority to its showbiz characters.” (One of the “BoJack” production designers, the cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt, also created the wonderful Netflix animated series “Tuca & Bertie.”)

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This thoughtful drama depicts the early years of the digital age, starting in the mid-80s, when personal computers and the internet became an integral part of our everyday lives. “Halt and Catch Fire” empathizes more than glamorizes, following the punishing step-by-step of four visionary engineers and programmers — sometimes partners, sometimes rivals — as they try (and often fail) to get their projects funded and shipped: “Failure,” our critic wrote, “from this show’s perspective, is not the end; it’s how people level up.” (For a different take on techies, stream the British sitcom “The IT Crowd.”)

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Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir about serving time in a minimum security women’s prison, “Orange Is the New Black” showcases an eclectic cast, representing a wide spectrum of social classes and sexual orientations in alternately comic and poignant stories about crime, passion and privilege. The show was created by Jenji Kohan, who, as our critic wrote, “plays with our expectations by taking milieus usually associated with violence and heavy drama — drug dealing, prison life — and making them the subjects of lightly satirical dramedy.” (Kohan previously did the same with her series “Weeds.”)

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This spoof of the Latin American soap operas known as telenovelas also wholeheartedly embraces their shtick. “Jane the Virgin” starts out as the story of an aspiring writer, accidentally impregnated through an artificial insemination mix-up. The show then gets wilder, with at least one crazy plot twist per episode — all described with breathless excitement by an omnipresent, self-aware narrator. Our critic called it “delicious and dizzyingly arch.” (For another colorful, conceptually daring look at working class folks with artistic aspirations, stream “The Get Down.”)

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