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33 Best Shows on Netflix for December 2019

glow best shows netflix
(Image credit: Erica Parise/Netflix)

With end-of-year vacations coming up, it's time to boot up Netflix and finally binge those great TV shows you've been putting off. Heck, you could probably stream an entire run from start to finish — possibly even in one sitting —  before the new year begins. And if you're ready for a new favorite, you're more in the mood to learn about the best shows on Netflix. 

If you're looking for what to watch off the beaten path, check out our roundup of the best Netflix hidden gems. And if you're looking for films, see our roundups of the best movies on Netflix and the best family movies on Netflix

In terms of the near future, the end of December is bringing Henry Cavill starring in a Netflix Original adaptation of The Witcher. Season 2 of You arrives on Dec. 26.

Rather watch something delectable and delicious? David Chang has another Netflix show: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Also, as you're probably aware, new episodes of The Great British Baking Show (one of our picks for the best food and cooking shows on Netflix) have been arriving on a regular schedule.

Russian Doll (2019) — Comedy/Drama — 1 Season

russian doll best shows netflix

Natasha Lyonne's struggling to figure out her looping experience. (Image credit: Netflix)

Coming in under the radar in Netflix's Feb. 2019 releases, this dark, druggy delight subverts a ton of traditions to positive results. A lot of that comes from audiences coming in hopefully-cold, and getting surprised by the show's premise and inner workings, so let's stay spoiler-free. The first thing you should know is that Russian Doll is the funny and emotional the series that Natasha Lyonne (its star, co-creator, writer, and director) has long since deserved, as she's spent most of her career as a co-star and not a lead. Next up, as Todd VanDerWeff pointed out, Russian Dolls goes beyond having a strong, brash female lead, and places men in supporting roles — that aren't quite fleshed out, but help drive the story — typically made for women.

Sex Education (2019) — Comedy/Teen Drama — 1 Season

sex education best shows netflix

This show is definitely NSFW (Image credit: Sam Taylor/Netflix)

If you ever thought that puberty would become a stale topic for a TV series, you thought wrong. Sex Education, a British Netflix Original series, shakes up the formula with one of TV's most reliable veterans: Gillian Anderson. Yes, that's right, the star of X-Files and Hannibal breathes life into the genre as Dr. Jean F. Milburn, a sex therapist and single mother of Otis (Asa Butterfield), an insanely awkward teen who's having trouble coming to grips with his own sexuality. This is more than just a family sitcom, though, as Otis' classmates — including his best friend Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and local bully Adam (Connor Swindells) — provide tons of tension and drama. And while Otis is beset by trouble from all corners, he's getting help from the most unlikely of sources, including Maeve, the local bad-girl.

Love, Death & Robots (2019) — Animation, Sci-Fi — 1 Season

love, death & robots best shows netflix

Black Mirror, but make it animated (Image credit: Netflix)

What if you took the dystopic futurism of Black Mirror, but made it slightly less depressing and animated it? You'd get David Fincher's new Love, Death & Robots, a new Netflix original anthology series that's comprised of 18 episodes that run about 15 minutes a piece. Sure, there's some brutality, it's not toothless, but it won't leave you looking for a therapist in the same way that Black Mirror did. Also, its animation style manages to pull off detailed CGI, without descending into the uncanny valley.

I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson (2019) — Comedy — 1 Season

i think you should leave with time robins best shows netflix

This one gets mighty awkward (Image credit: Lara Solanki/Netflix)

Critics are raving about this new sketch comedy series from SNL alum Tim Robinson (Detroiters), which manages to make you cringe in a brand-new way. His characters manage to stretch jokes out far longer than you'd expect, and the show's tone is so over-the-top that you'll find yourself laughing so hard you'll need a chance to pause and breathe. Thankfully, I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson episodes run 15 to 20 minutes a pop, giving you a chance to pause between laughs. Also, it's only 6 episodes long, so you'll be done before you know it.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018 - Present) — Animated — 3 Seasons

she-ra and the princesses of power best shows netflix

Retro feels powers, activate! (Image credit: Netflix)

For once, a modernized update isn't a lifeless, gritty reboot, as She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is the best new animated series on Netflix and a ton of fun. Sure, it might start in a dark place — as protagonists Adora and Catra did grow up as orphaned child soldiers — but it doesn't live in that despair. Before you know it, She-Ra and the Princesses embraces everything we love about Steven Universe, from its glowing palette to a strong, winking sense of humor. If show-runner Noelle Stevenson gets the chance to fill She-Ra with the inventiveness she made her name for with the fantasy comic Nimona, this series has a true chance to remake its titular hero for generations to come. 

She-Ra Season 4 is coming on November 5! Check out its trailer here:

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018) — Horror/Supernatural — 2 Seasons

chilling adventures of sabrina best shows netflix

Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka is casting a spell on audiences in Sabrina (Image credit: Dean Buscher/Netflix)

What if you took everything people love about the hit show Riverdale — including its beautiful look, campy fun and dark storylines —  but added horror sensibilities and made it even funnier? That's what you get with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a new Netflix original that will have viewers forgetting about the sitcom led by Melissa Joan Hart that was rooted in the same characters. Also, this series benefits from an excellent lead in Kiernan Shipka, who's taken everything she learned as Sally Draper and is applying it to a show with much more room to be weird.

After a Sabrina holiday special debuted on Dec. 14, its a second season arrived on April 5. Vulture's Angelica Jade Bastién noted that the sophomore effort "ricochets from near-perfectly pitched dark fantasy to rote considerations of normal life, only striking the right balance when it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it still has enough magic and wonder to enthrall."

Salt Fat Acid Heat (2018) — Cooking — 1 Season

salt fat acid heat best shows netflix

Can you smell was Samin Nosrat is cooking? (Image credit: Netflix)

This four-part series adapts chef Samin Nosrat best-selling book into a joyous adventure breaking down the essential elements of great-tasting food. Not only does the beautifully-shot show encourage audiences to believe in their ability to cook (even if it's not there yet), but it educates audiences on the cultures that spawned these culinary marvels. By the end of the series, you'll not only be starving, but you'll be imbued with a bit of confidence to make the step from the audience to the chopping block. Salt Fat Acid Heat has some influence from Anthony Bourdain's work, but could be the start of the new best cooking show on Netflix.

You (2018 - Present) — Drama — 1 Season

you best shows netflix

You gets creepy mighty fast (Image credit: Lifetime)

It's time to meet You, your next guilty pleasure binge watch. A thrilling  drama, You is the talk of social media these days thanks to how much the show plays with our own addictions to Instagram and other apps. You stars Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl) as a bookstore manager named Joe, who falls in love with Beck (Elizabeth Lail), a grad student, and cyber-stalks the ever-loving heck out of her. Co-star Shay Mitchel is earning raves for her performance as Peach, Beck's rich-and-horrible bestie, who feels like a female riff on Gossip Girl's Chuck Bass.

Glow (2017 - Present) — Sitcom — 3 Seasons

glow best shows netflix

The gals of Glow know how to slam our emotions (Image credit: Erica Parise/Netflix)

Women's wrestling -- heck, all pro wrestling -- has historically been laughed at, and called a side-show. Netflix original Glow looks to flip the script on how this predetermined spectacle is viewed, by showing how a group of misfit actors and wanna-be celebrities (portrayed by Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Britney Young and others) went from nobodies to the stars of the hit 1980's program GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Podcaster and comedian Marc Maron also stars, as aspiring film director Sam Sylvia, who can't stand any of his performers.

Read our full Glow Season 3 review here. Glow was renewed for a fourth and final season.

Stranger Things (2016 – Present) — Adventure/Horror — 3 Seasons

stranger things best shows netflix

Eleven deals with a lot in three seasons (Image credit: Netflix)

While I won't spoil the events of Stranger Things 3, I can say that the more I got spoiled about it, the more I needed to binge watch the show to avoid more details leaking out. Why? In short, a lot happens this season, which breathes life back into the series after a mixed bag of a second season, more than earning its 90% on Rotten Tomatoes

We're eagerly awaiting an announcement of a fourth season. So break out the waffles and sit down for the addictive tales of Dustin, Mike, Lucas, Will, Max and Eleven, who keep finding themselves in the center of supernatural predicaments. Laugh at the dry wit of police chief Jim Hopper, find the joy in Winona Ryder's over-the-top performance and smirk at the show's excellent retro soundtracking choices.

Netflix confirmed Stranger Things 4, and The Duffer Brothers are already talking about how it would differ vastly from previous seasons.

The Good Place (2016 - Present) — Comedy — 3 Seasons

the good place best shows netflix

Forget what you thought you knew about the afterlife (Image credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

What if you woke up in heaven, but knew you didn't deserve to be there, and had to hide your imperfections? That case of impostor syndrome is at the root of the critically-praised The Good Place, which stars Ted Danson and Kristen Bell, and is the creation of Michael Schur, the writer and producer best known for his work on The Office (US), Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In terms of currently active programming that's still on the service — which is currently leaning more toward its own originals than shows that aired on TV — The Good Place is one of the best shows on Netflix.

The Crown (2016 — Present) — Drama — 3 Seasons

the crown best shows netflix

The new empress of drama (Image credit: Netflix)

Claire Foy and Matt Smith (Doctor Who) have garnered praise from critics and audiences alike for their portrayals of Queen Elizabeth II and Philip the Duke of Edinsburgh. The Crown tells the story of Elizabeth. from her time as Princess Elizabeth and her 1947 wedding, up to the present day. Not only do the two display a fantastic on-screen but they're fleshing out these historical figures with humanity and gravitas, earning them some of the sympathy they never gained in the court of public opinion.

Marvel's Jessica Jones (2015 - Present) — Superhero — 3 Seasons

marvel's jessica jones best shows netflix

Indestructible but cancelled (Image credit: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix)

Even superheroes can fall for the wrong man. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) works as a private eye, but her full-time profession might as well be "alcoholic" after an abusive relationship with a manipulative supervillain known as the Purple Man (David Tennant). When a mysterious murder occurs in Hell's Kitchen, Jessica might be the only one who can get to the bottom of it. Its second season focused on unraveling the mystery of how Ms. Jones got to be so strong. Jessica Jones Season 3 forced Jessica and Trish to work together, and also served as the final chapter of the Netflix and Marvel relationship.

Marvel's Daredevil (2015 - 2018) — Superhero — 3 Seasons

marvel's daredevil best shows netflix

Even a blind-man could tell that Daredevil got great in Season 3 (Image credit: Netflix)

Daredevil represents the dark side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the Avengers take down supervillains and win glory, it's folks like Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) who fight for the little guy. Lawyer by day and masked crime-fighter Daredevil by night, Murdock takes on corrupt landlords, dirty cops, murderous vigilantes and, of course, a few mystical ninjas for good measure.

While its Daredevil season 3 gained critical praise for fixing the pacing problems that plague Marvel's Netflix shows, a Deadline report on Nov. 29 revealed that Netflix had cancelled the show. While many now think Daredevil and his fellow canceled superheroes (Luke Cage and Iron Fist) will show up on the upcoming streaming service Disney+, TV critic Alan Sepinwall tweeted that "The execs have already said they don't want these shows on the Disney service. And even if they did, the nature of the contracts would make it virtually impossible. They're done."

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015 - Present) — Musical — 4 Seasons

crazy ex-girlfriend best shows netflix

These tunes will get stuck in your head (Image credit: Greg Gagne/The CW)

Everyone has had a story about an unexpected opportunity for love in his or her life, but not everyone has the presence of mind to sing about it. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend stars Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Nora Bunch: a New York City lawyer who packs up and leaves for California, only to find her first love living nearby. Naturally, the whole cast makes the situation into a musical revue.

Better Call Saul (2015 - Present) — Drama — 3 Seasons

better call saul best shows netflix

Before Saul ever helped Jesse and Walter (Image credit: Ursula Coyote/Sony Pictures Television/AMC)

A spinoff of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul casts slick, shady lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) as the central character. Both a sequel and a prequel to the show that inspired it, Better Call Saul reveals Saul's sordid past as two-bit con man Jimmy McGill and the family drama that led him to pursue ambulance chasing rather than a more noble profession in elder law.

BoJack Horseman (2014 - Present) — Animated — 6 Seasons

bojack horseman best shows netflix

This animated series is mightily depressing (Image credit: Netflix)

BoJack Horseman is a hilarious and profound meditation on the nature of depression that just happens to be about an anthropomorphic horse. BoJack (Will Arnett) is a washed-up Hollywood TV star with plenty of money but no real goals or joy left in his life. As his oddball friends urge him on, he realizes that failure doesn't define him, but neither does triumph make him whole. 

BoJack Horseman Season 6 just came out.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (2013 - 2018) — Travel/Food — 5 Seasons

anthony bourdain: parts unknown best shows netflix

The best food travel show ever (Image credit: Mario Tama/CNN)

Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown brought viewers around the world on grand culinary tours. Exploring everywhere from the Congo (the season 1 finale) to the Mississippi Delta (season 3, episode 7) the series allowed Bourdain to educate audiences about the people and culture that create these delicacies. While the series was meant to be taken off Netflix in June, the streaming service announced it will keep streaming the show for the upcoming months, following fan outcry after Bourdain's shocking death. Currently, only 4 of the show's 11 seasons are on Netflix.

Orange is the New Black (2013 - Present) — Seriocomedy — 7 Seasons

orange is the new black best shows netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) realizes she can't escape the mistakes of her past when she winds up in a minimum-security women's prison on a drug smuggling charge. Granted, it's not all bad, as she befriends the quirky inmates and reflects on the bizarre backstory that brought her there. Both funny and insightful, Orange is the New Black is one of the most popular Netflix original series.

Its seventh and final season arrived on July 26 to mightily positive responses.

The Fosters (2013 - Present) - Drama - 5 Seasons

the fosters best shows netflix

A truly modern family drama (Image credit: Tony Rivetti/Freeform)

In this ABC Family/Freeform drama. Callie and her brother Jude are welcomed into the home of the Foster family after spending much of their lives in foster homes. The rest of the family includes their new parents — Stef and Lena — and a mix of diverse children, both biological and adopted, in this blended-family series geared toward teens. The Fosters earned critical acclaim and two GLAAD Media Awards for its portrayal of LGBT topics and themes.

House of Cards (U.S.) (2013 - Present) — Drama — 6 Seasons

house of cards best shows netflix

Frankly, this series didn't hurt without Kevin Spacey (Image credit: Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix)

A remake of the popular UK series of the same name, House of Cards is all about the inner workings of federal politics and just how dirty and deceitful they can get. Kevin Spacey stars as Frank Underwood: an amoral American congressman who will do absolutely anything to gain political power. As the show progresses, Frank becomes more influential and more unhinged. A new trailer for the show's final season suggests Robin Wright's Claire Underwood will be taking control of the executive branch, as she's sitting behind the desk in the oval office, before the words "Hail to the Chief" appear on screen. Kevin Spacey, who was fired following sexual assault allegations, is nowhere to be seen.

The House of Cards reviews for the 6th and final season say the series isn't hurting without Spacey in the show.

Black Mirror (2011 – Present) — Sci-Fi Thriller — 5 Seasons

black mirror best shows netflix

The best dystopic drama (Image credit: Netflix)

If you were concerned about technology being a detriment to privacy, sanity and human relationships, then the sci-fi thriller series Black Mirror will only serve to confirm your worst fears. While its first episode, the sexually explicit "The National Anthem" only needs the present day's social networks to upend the United Kingdom, later episodes — such as "Fifty Million Merits" and the Jon Hamm-starring "White Christmas" — predict how future advances in in-app purchases, reality TV and privacy filters will stunt our future. The series won two Primetime Emmy awards in 2017 for its San Junipero episode, and "USS Callister," the first episode of its fourth season, proves that the show hasn't run out of insane mind-bending ideas.

Its fifth season, which ran a mere three episodes, hit Netflix on June 5 and proved to be a mixed bag. Tom's Guide's Monica Chin critiqued these episodes for talking down to her generation.

MORE: Black Mirror: We Ranked Every Episode, From Worst to Best

Sherlock (2010 - Present) — Mystery — 4 Seasons

sherlock best shows netflix

It's not "Elementary" — but it's arguably better (Image credit: Robert Viglasky/Harstwood Films for Masterpiece)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective comes to life for the 21st century in Sherlock. When Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) returns from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, he takes a room with the brilliant but antisocial Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch). Together, the two must solve bizarre, complicated murder mysteries, protect state secrets and even undermine a criminal empire.

Parks and Recreation (2009 - 2015) — Sitcom — 7 Seasons

parks and recreation best shows netflix

Leslie Knope cares a lot. It's kinda her thing. (Image credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is the boss you wish you had. Perpetually chipper and driven, even in the face of her supremely apathetic co-workers, Leslie's fondest wish in life is to keep the parks in suburban Pawnee, Indiana, running in ship shape. Parks and Recreation takes aim at government bureaucracy, but also a fun, earnest side about how local government can be a positive force.

Breaking Bad (2008 - 2013) — Drama — 5 Seasons

breaking bad best shows netflix

The most consistently strong action-drama of its age. (Image credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC)

One of the most intense and ambitious shows of the last decade, Breaking Bad is a story about disease and drugs, family and friendship, profit and power, and much, much more. High school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) needs money for his cancer treatment, and realizes he can put his scientific know-how to good use: making methamphetamine and starting an illicit empire.

Mad Men (2007 - 2015) - Drama - 7 Seasons

mad men best shows netflix

Booze-soaked meditations life in the 1960s. (Image credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC)

While day-drinking lothario Don Draper may think that the Sterling Cooper ad agency revolves around him, Mad Men is more than just its lead. The show also tells the tales of Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway (a creative and an office manager, respectively) who are fighting to climb the ladder of an industry run by men. And while we only saw Don's daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka) sporadically in the first three seasons, her dramatic arc as a child seeing the worst of her parents, turns her into a regular for the rest of the series.

Skins (2007 - 2013) — Drama — 7 Seasons

skins best shows netflix

These kids get straight A's in drama. (Image credit: E4)

If you're looking for another great teen drama, check out Skins, a hit series from across the pond. The show's early seasons -- which features Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) and Hannah Murray (Game of Thrones) -- shocked many, by showing risque view of youth culture that many fear. The show depicts adolescence as a world where parents are absentees, teachers are having affairs with students and drugs are easily accessible. Rather than rely on sensationalism, though, the show dealt with these topics with respect and fleshed out its characters and their complex personalities.

The IT Crowd (2006 - 2013) — Sitcom — 5 Seasons

the it crowd best shows netflix

You don't want to ask for their help. Trust me. (Image credit: Channel 4 UK)

"Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?" If you've ever tried to explain a simple piece of technology to someone who just doesn't get it, you know how Roy Trenneman (Chris O’Dowd) and Maurice Moss (Richard Ayoade) feel. On The IT Crowd the two best friends work in the IT department of a big company under their clueless boss, Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson), with hilarious results.

Supernatural (2005 - Present) - Fantasy - 14 Seasons

supernatural best shows netflix

An almost-neverending story. (Image credit: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW)

Now the longest-running American fantasy series of all time, Supernatural is the story of Sam and Dean Winchester. This pair of brothers fights the paranormal, and battles both heaven and hell for a living. There's an argument to be made that their '67 Chevy Impala is the true star of the show, but it's actors are Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, who play Dean and Sam Winchester, respectively.

The West Wing (1999 - 2006) — Drama — 7 Seasons

the west wing best shows netflix

An idealized version of an American presidency. (Image credit: Getty)

Being the president of the United States is arguably the toughest job in the world, unless you’ve got some good friends. In The West Wing, President Josiah Bartlett (Martin Sheen) and his affable senior staff confront problems both great and small, which concern both the American public and their own lives. The show's a bit more dramatic than real politics, but it's also more uplifting.

Twin Peaks (1990 - 1991) — Drama — 2 Seasons

twin peaks best shows netflix

Agent Cooper needs his coffee, now. (Image credit: Mark Seliger/Capital Cities/ABC)

Who killed Laura Palmer? This mystery lies at the heart of Twin Peaks, a small-town drama from visionary filmmaker David Lynch. Kyle MacLachlan plays FBI investigator Dale Cooper as he explores the quiet town of Twin Peaks, looking for clues to a brutal murder of a prominent figure in the community. The show is clever and eerie, but features the hallmark Lynch humor and surrealism.

Star Trek (1966 - 1969) — Science-Fiction — 3 Seasons

star trek best shows netflix

Stream me up, Scotty. (Image credit: Copyright Paramount/Everett Collection)

Join Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the starship Enterprise as they boldly go where no man has gone before. Star Trek is a groundbreaking science-fiction adventure that had profound things to say about such concepts as exploration, war, racism and cultural differences. Some of the special effects are dated, but the stories and characters feel as fresh as ever.

The Twilight Zone (Original Series) (1959 – 1964) — Drama, Suspense — 4 Seasons

the twilight zone original series best shows netflix

A seriously influential series. (Image credit: CBS)

If you love Black Mirror, then you should take a look at the series inspired it. Yes, Netflix is streaming The Twilight Zone, the original TV series with seriously thrilling stories, introduced by the stern Rod Serling. Must-see episodes include the shocking and tragic "Eye of The Beholder," as well as "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and "Time Enough at Last," which have been referenced in popular culture for decades.