Netflix debuted its first original content series, “Lilyhammer,” in 2012. The next year, “House of Cards” was released. Just three years later, Netflix was touting roughly 126 original series or films, later stating that the company wanted half of its available content to be original by 2019 and would invest $8 billion toward production in 2018 in order to make that goal a reality.
Netflix’s original offerings cover a wide genre spectrum, from stand-up comedy to crime documentary to romantic comedy and international works. There’s quite literally something for everyone. And while not every show is a hit with the critics, there is some quality content to be found among the hundreds of choices available to Netflix viewers. That’s where this list comes in.
Stacker pulled data on all Netflix original series and ranked them according to IMDb user rating as of Dec. 14, 2020, with #1 being the best. Docuseries and limited series were considered. Series that Netflix picked up for continuation were not considered (e.g. “Arrested Development,” “Black Mirror”). Going through the list, you’ll see that some series received more votes than others. For example, “The Witcher” received more than 285,000 votes, while “The Crown” pulled in just over 134,000 but was rated higher. The number of votes can be attributed to several factors, including the length of each series, its popularity, or general viewer chatter surrounding the show.
As for which Netflix original series tend to rank highest, this list shows a trend toward documentaries, stories based on true-life events, and those only loosely based on reality. Examples include “Wild Wild Country,” “The Last Dance,” “Narcos,” and “The Mechanism.”
The fact is, most people love to learn about other people. It’s why reality TV is such a hit and why marketing execs push business owners to “tell their story.” Will we see more true-life originals coming from Netflix? According to Thrillist, there are a number of docuseries coming from Netflix in 2021. We’ll be on the lookout—will you?
Click through for the 50 best Netflix series so far.
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