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The 10 Best Netflix Original Series Of All Time

OMG September 6, 2017 By Hugo

Since being founded in 1997, Netflix has revolutionized the way we watch television, and thanks to a surge in demand for their services, many of us now stream our favorite shows online, with Netflix's influence in the tv and film world mirroring the impact Spotify has had in the music industry.

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It's a remarkable success story, especially when you bear in mind that Netflix's rise coincided with the Golden Age of US Television.

But the streaming giant welcomed the challenge, and as well as showing esteemed network shows like Breaking Bad, the company has built up an innovative oeuvre of their own in recent years, so with that in mind, we've decided to feature what we think are Netflix's ten best original shows to date.

10. Narcos

Season 3 was released last week, and the internet was buzzing with excitement. As the title suggests, the show explores the impact narcos groups have had in South America, with season 1 and 2 chronicling the extraordinary rise of the world's most infamous gangster, Pablo Escobar.

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Depicted in countless shows and movies, portraying someone as complex as Escobar isn't easy, but the Brazilian actor Wagner Moura did an excellent job and arguably made the series what it was before his eventual demise at the end of season 2. But with the Cali Cartel taking over Escobar's Medellin cartel after the DEA's successful battle, season 3 leaves us with plenty more drama for American DEA agent Javier Pena to solve. 

9. Orange is the New Black

There have been endless prison shows over the years, but few-if any- have touched on the day-to-day struggles a middle-class white woman faces when entering a mid-security prison for the first time.

Netflix company, Jenji Kohan (Producer), Jordan Jacobs (Art Director), via Wikimedia Commons

Based on the best-selling book by Piper Kerman, who chronicled her experiences as a first-time prisoner convicted of drug offenses, the story offers a more human element to the characters and their lives; something rarely explored in prison dramas. 

8. House of Cards

Frank Underwood has become a name synonymous with control and influence, and it appears his power extends to the compulsive viewer too. Now in its 5th season, the show has already become somewhat of a classic, with the great Kevin Spacey playing the lead role of the arriviste Republican Senator, Frank Underwood. 

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With hopes of becoming president, Frank's quest to bypass interest groups and the bureaucracy that so often plagues American politics makes for a story so riveting you'll wonder how a show centered around politics could be so compelling.

7. Master of None

Aziz Ansari's Netflix show Master of None returned for a long-awaited second season in May, and unsurprisingly, reviewers were quick to praise the 10 episodes, with the Financial Times perhaps going a step further in their adulation, writing, 'Ansari reinvented the sitcom.'

Netflix SVG: Oliver.kamer via Wikimedia Commons

Semi-autobiographical, the show centers around a young Indian-American actor and his group of friends as they navigate through a society sharply different to that of their parents. Admittedly, Master of None's premise sounds like an ode to self-loathing millennials, but the ideas of loss, love and a sense of not belonging in a fast-changing world are themes rarely addressed in Hollywood. 

​​​​​​6. Bojack Horseman 

What could be better than watching a show about an animated horse lamenting his millionaire, bachelor existence? Well, it turns out not much because Bojack Horseman is a show that works on most levels.

Flickr/nixerkg

In fact, it bears a similar resemblance to the David Duchovny show, Californication, only instead of a quasi-Charles Bukowski novelist sleeping around Los Angeles, you have a has-been tv star trying to make sense of an existential crisis that just won't go away.

5. Stranger Things 

Stranger Things is perhaps best described as a show which has taken classic sci-fi themes explored by the likes of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, and Stephen King and merged them into this brilliant supernatural series following the plights of children in a fictional town in 1980's Indiana.

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Only one season in, there is little information on the upcoming series, because, in the words of one of the show's creators, "people are smart on the fucking internet." 

4. Black Mirror

If you want escapism and lightheartedness, Black Mirror certainly isn't for you. But if you like pulsating, nail-biting tv with episodes that are more reminiscent of feature-length movies than television episodes, then Charlie Brooker's nightmarish Black Mirror will certainly be your cup of tea.

Netflix via Wikimedia Commons

The science fiction series was initially an English production, but after Netflix acquired the rights, the budgets have expanded, allowing for bolder storylines. Season 3 was, in many ways, the best yet, with each episode tackling the perils that come from a society addicted to modern technology and what that could mean in the not-too-distant future.

As each episode has a new storyline, the show doesn't have a chronological order, making it a show you can dip in and out of as you please.

3. Ozark

The most recent series on this list, Jason Bateman plays a bent accountant who finds himself embroiled in a heated dispute with a mob boss after his work colleague is found to have stolen money from the feared client. 

Shutterstock/ Lev Radin

Without giving away any spoilers, Bateman's character is spared his life after convincing the gangster he can launder his money by investing in local businesses based in the Ozarks. A dark comedy as much as a high-octane drama, this series has arguably been the standout debut show of 2017.

2. Making A Murderer

The only documentary series on our list, Making A Murderer stood out because the drama and events that surrounded the case of Steven Avery were so intense you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching a courtroom drama rather than a real-life documentary series. 

Español: Netflix English: Netflix via Wikimedia Commons

Directed by  Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, the series was filmed over the course of 10 years, with both filmmakers of the belief that Avery's conviction was unjust. A spectacular insight into the American justice system and its continued failings, Making A Murderer is one of the best documentary series in years.

1. 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons why is based on the 2007 Jay Asher novel of the same name and received much publicity thanks to being co-produced by pop star Selena Gomez. The moving and at times raw series tells the story of Hannah Baker, a high school student who committed suicide after leaving a shoebox of cassette tapes with Clay, played by Dylan Minnette who happened to have a crush on her.

Thagner Mateus via Wikimedia Commons

Upon listening to them, Clay discovers that 12 peers played a role in her death while Hannah also gives 13 reasons as to why she took her life. Spotlight director Tom McCarthy directed the first two episodes, which should give you an idea of how brilliant this show is. 

 


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