Still behind on the biggest and best TV shows?
Thankfully it’s almost summer, which means you might have some free time or vacation days to squeeze in a lot of binge-watching of the currently running shows that you’ve missed.
For years, Netflix has been a prime source for this – so much so that some TV shows experience what is known as the “Netflix Effect.”
Once a series is available on Netflix, it’s easier for more people to catch up. This can spur a rise in popularity. Shows that saw their popularity soar once they became available on Netflix famously include AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and The CW’s “Riverdale” (which gained in popularity last summer when it became available on Netflix in between seasons one and two). This also happened when NBC’s “The Good Place” came to the streaming service last fall, a few weeks before season two premiered.
Here, we collected some of the best running shows that are available on Netflix now, so you can play catch-up before they return.
From “The Good Place” to “Riverdale,” here’s some of the best shows on TV that you can watch on Netflix right now.
“The Good Place” — NBC, one season available on Netflix
Netflix description: Due to an error, self-absorbed Eleanor Shellstrop arrives at the Good Place after her death. Determined to stay, she tries to become a better person.
Critic score: 95%
Audience score: 87%
The heavenly, whip-smart comedy starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson is unlike anything else on TV. The season one and two finales end with shocking twists that both set a completely new premise for the next season.
Expect season three of “The Good Place” in the fall. Season two should become available on Netflix shortly before that premieres.
“Riverdale” — The CW, two seasons available on Netflix
Netflix description: While navigating the troubled waters of sex, romance, school and family, teen Archie and his gang become entangled in a dark Riverdale mystery.
Critic score: 87%
Audience score: 77%
If you’re into glossy, cheesy teen drama that doesn’t require much brain power (where the teens are played by adults well into their 20s), The CW’s “Riverdale” is perfect for a summer binge-watch. The characters are based on the Archie comics (Archie, Betty, Veronica, and many more) but they’re in a modern setting, with lots of murder. Seriously. There is so much murder on this show, especially in its bloody second season.
Expect season three of “Riverdale” in the fall.
“Shameless” — Showtime, seven seasons available on Netflix
Netflix description: This dramedy based on a British series centres on siblings in a dysfunctional Chicago family who struggle while coping with their alcoholic father.
Critic score: 93%
Audience score: 88%
“Shameless” is an unconventional family drama and dark comedy that comes with incredible performances, and a lot of shocking twists and turns for its messy but loveable characters.
Season eight should be available on Netflix soon, and you can expect season nine to premiere in late 2018 or early 2019.
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” — The CW, three seasons available on Netflix
Netflix description: Still pining for Josh, the boy who dumped her ages ago, whip-smart lawyer Rebecca jettisons her New York life and moves to California to win him back.
Critic score: 97%
Audience score: 87%
While “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” certainly isn’t the first TV show to cover mental illness, it is the first to approach it in such a deeply personal, vulnerable way. And while this all sounds very sad, the show and its original songs (usually one to three per episode) keep the show’s quirky and hilarious roots present. It’s an excellent, non-judgmental (and very funny) examination of deeply flawed adults as they become more self-aware of their best and worst qualities.
Expect season four of “Crazy-Ex Girlfriend” (its final season) in the fall.
“Being Mary Jane” — BET, four seasons available on Netflix
Netflix description: Ambitious single TV journalist Mary Jane attempts to balance her career with her overbearing family and an increasingly messy love life.
Critic score: 78%
Audience score: 75%
Gabrielle Union does some of her best work both dramatically and comedically on this charming series from BET. The show accurately and beautifully represents a modern and independent career woman in a way that defies the cliche. It’s already been canceled, but the story will end with a movie set to air later this year.
“Jane the Virgin” — The CW, four seasons available on Netflix
Netflix description: After vowing to remain chaste until marriage, Jane Villanueva learns she’s pregnant due to a medical slip-up and has to rethink her future.
Critic score: 100%
Audience score: 88%
Like the ABC dramedy “Ugly Betty,” “Jane the Virgin” both embraces and satirizes the telenovela and in this particular case, romance. This show will make you roar with uncontrollable laughter, but thirty seconds later you’ll sob – and then you’ll immediately go back to laughing. It’s gotten even more ambitious with the storylines it’s covered throughout the seasons, including grief, cancer, and having your baby kidnapped by a notorious drug lord and murderer.
Expect season five of “Jane the Virgin” (its final season) in the fall.
“Better Call Saul” — AMC, three seasons available on Netflix
Netflix description: This Emmy-nominated prequel to “Breaking Bad” follows small-time attorney Jimmy McGill as he transforms into morally challenged lawyer Saul Goodman.
Critic score: 97%
Audience score: 93%
Quite different from the show that it’s based on (“Breaking Bad”), “Better Call Saul” is a quirky character study and not at all a comedy like many expected it to be, considering Saul Goodman provided comedic relief on “Breaking Bad.” The show dives so deep into this character that you empathise with him, and goes just far enough into the world of “Breaking Bad” to make sense, but not so far that it feels desperate.
Season four premieres on Monday, August 6.
“Schitt’s Creek” — CBC, three seasons available on Netflix
Netflix description: Suddenly broke, the formerly filthy-rich Rose family is reduced to living in a ramshackle motel in a town they once bought as a joke: Schitt’s Creek.
Critic score: 61%
Audience score: 93%
The cast of this show is what makes it so good. Comedic geniuses Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy lead this strange but sometimes sweet (and brilliantly written) comedy about greedy rich people who have to adjust to a completely new lifestyle.
Season four should be available on Netflix in October. It was renewed for a fifth season, but there’s not a release date yet, though it will likely be early 2019.
“The Great British Baking Show” — BBC, four seasons available on Netflix
Netflix description: A talented batch of amateur bakers face off in a 10-week competition, whipping up their best dishes in the hopes of being named the U.K.’s best.
Critic score: N/A
Audience score: N/A
Somehow, this reality competition show is as soothing as it is riveting. It’s a good show to watch while you’re doing other things around your house or apartment, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself unable to look away. British baking is intense, and you’ll find out that your definition of things like bread and cake have been completely incorrect for your entire life.
A few more seasons are in the works, but without release dates. Season five should be available on Netflix later this year.
“Black Lightning” — The CW, one season available on Netflix
Netflix description: School principal and retired superhero Jefferson Pierce leaps back into action as the legendary Black Lightning after a gang threatens his family.
Critic score: 97%
Audience score: 54%
“Black Lightning” brings a new kind of character to the TV superhero world. Black Lighting is a bit older, and the issues and villains he’s facing feel more real and have a more lasting and powerful impact than shows like “Supergirl” or “Arrow.”
Expect season two of “Black Lightning” to premiere in the fall.
“Documentary Now!” — IFC, two seasons available on Netflix
Netflix description: Elevating the art of parody, this sharply comic series spoofs high-profile documentaries such as “Grey Gardens” and “The Thin Blue Line.”
Critic score: 94%
Audience score: 90%
As documentaries get more and more popular in the age of streaming, “Documentary Now!” gets funnier and funnier. Brilliantly written and acted by Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, this show satirizes iconic documentaries from “Grey Gardens” to “Vice.”
Season three doesn’t have a release date yet, but it will premiere in 2019.
“How to Get Away with Murder” — ABC, four seasons available on Netflix
Netflix description: Brilliant criminal defence attorney and law professor Annalise Keating, plus five of her students, become involved in a twisted murder case.
Critic score: 92%
Audience score: 85%
This show isn’t super original: there are countless TV shows about lawyers. But Viola Davis makes this show worth it. She’s one of the best actresses alive, and really gives her all for this fun, sometimes silly show from Shonda Rhimes. It throws shocking twists and cliffhangers every week, while maintaining an interesting narrative that will have you binge-watching the entire series in less time than you thought possible.
Expect season five of “How to Get Away with Murder” to premiere this fall.
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