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You can find most of the best shows on Netflix. Based on a ranking of the most popular digital original television shows (audience demand in the US from January 28 to February 3, 2020), six out of ten most-in-demand TV shows in the US are on this streaming platform. No other has such a rich library of popular series, attracting more than half of the audience. Netflix gets 54% of the total demand expressions (measured in millions), leaving Disney+ and other competitors far behind.
Here’s how the Top 10 looks like:
- The Mandalorian (Disney+) – 73.13 million*
- The Witcher (Netflix) – 66.75 million
- Stranger Things (Netflix) – 63.1 million
- Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access) – 56.65 million
- Star Wars: Clone Wars (Disney+) – 52.33 million
- Titans (DC Universe) – 51.32 million
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) – 49.31 million
- You (Netflix) – 39.44 million
- Narcos (Netflix) – 29.81 million
- Lucifer (Netflix) – 29.7 million
Netflix: 278.11 (54%)
*Audience demand in million average demand expressions (Parrot Analytics data)
Disney+ has two shows on the Top 10 list, while CBS All Access and DC Universe share one a piece, meaning that when it comes to watching the best TV shows, Netflix is still the go-to platform.
10 best TV shows on Netflix for 2020
Here’s the list of the best Netflix TV shows for 2020 that we highly recommend watching. Some have already finished, some are running while others are upcoming, but all are worth your time.
1. The Witcher
If you haven’t seen the show yet, you may have heard its original song “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher” which became a widely covered viral hit not long after airing. Based on a fantasy book series by Polish writer A. Sapkowski, The Witcher has become the most-watched first season ever for Netflix, reaching 76 million households.
Starring Henry Cavill as one of the three protagonists, the show merges their stories into a single timeline during the eight episodes. The second season is already set for a release in 2021 and may break even more Netflix records.
2. Stranger Things
Stranger Things is one of the best shows on Netflix. Set in a fictional small American town during the 80s, it feels and acts like it’s been produced at that time, enacting nostalgia for many Generation X and Y representatives. In fact, its creators, the Duffer Brothers were born in the same decade and draw heavily from their personal experiences.
Already renewed for a fourth and possibly final season, this sci-fi horror show has received 31 Emmy and four Golden Globe nominations, a list that will likely be extended soon.
3. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Based on a comic book series of the same name, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a supernatural horror TV series starring Kiernan Shipka whom you may know from her role as Sally in Mad Men. This time she’s Sabrina Spellman, a half-witch half-mortal teenager fighting the dark forces that hide beyond the daylight.
The first part of the second season has been released on Netflix not long ago, receiving critical acclaim just like the rest of the show. Even more, according to Rotting Tomatoes, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina just keeps getting better.
After fantasy and horror comes a psychological crime thriller, based on the books by Caroline Kepnes. The plot revolves around a bookstore manager who develops an unhealthy (to say the least) obsession towards one of his female clients. With more than 40 million Netflix users streaming the first season, You has been renewed for a second and now the third one, set for a release next year.
The show is renowned for its cinematography that sets You apart from other thrillers, using tracking shots and anamorphic lenses. Just like Dexter or American Psycho, it also has drawn controversy over allegedly romanticizing serial killers. However, the show’s creators see it more like a study on stalking and social media culture.
5 .Narcos: Mexico
It seems some shows about drugs can be as addictive as the drugs themselves. Otherwise, how can we explain the popularity of Narcos, a biographical crime drama following the rise and fall of the drug lord Pablo Escobar in Columbia.
After three seasons, the show switched to the 80s Mexico where Felix “El Padrino” Gallardo is building his own drug empire. However, the production team had a steep price to pay – one of the show’s location scouts had been shot in central Mexico and the murderer is still to be found.
After a critically-acclaimed Season 1, Netflix invites you to watch the newly released second part of Narcos: Mexico.
Ever wondered if the Devil would be good at running a nightclub? From the creator of Californication comes a Netflix TV show, based on the eponymous DC Comics character, that sets to answer this and other heavenly, hellish, or down-to-earth inquiries. Played wonderfully by Tom Ellis, a bored Lucifer Morningstar moves from Hell to LA and quickly finds himself involved in a murder case.
While FOX canceled the show after three seasons, it had much better success on Netflix, culminating in Season 5 last year. It’s the only show on this list that seems to have reached its finale (for now).
7. Space Force
Arguably the most-awaited comedy of 2020, Space Force is inspired by none other than Donald Trump who stated that the sixth branch of the military should be space force. That was more than enough for Steve Carell and Greg Daniels, the two masterminds behind the cult classic The Office, to come up with a new workplace-themed series. The story will follow those tasked to create this new force.
Steve Carrell will also be taking the main role of General Mark R. Naird while John Malkovich will portray Dr. Adrian Mallory. The exact date of the show’s premiere on Netflix in 2020 is yet to be set.
Most of you who have seen One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest well remember not only the outstanding acting by Nicholson but also the downright evil nurse Mildred Ratched. Well, now she’s getting her own series that will follow Ratched’s journey from an aspiring caregiver to a cruel bitch. Sarah Paulson, winner of the Golden Globe and Emmy awards, will be playing the main role.
One of the best TV shows Netflix will offer in 2020, Ratched is already in post-production, set to premiere this autumn. Producer Ryan Murphy has said he plans the show to run for four seasons and blend into the events from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Just like the previous entry in our list of best TV shows on Netflix, Cursed takes a well-known story and tells what happened before from the perspective of another character. This time it’s the famous Arthurian legend as seen from the perspective of Nimue, a teenager on the path of becoming the Lady of the Lake. The series is based on the eponymous illustrated novel by Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler, following Nimue and young Arthur who are searching for the great wizard Merlin.
The protagonist is played by Katherine Langford, who, at 23, has already been nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Cursed is set to premiere on Netflix later in 2020.
10. Locke & Key
A much-anticipated supernatural horror TV series, Locke & Key has just seen its Season 1 premiere in February and is already one of the best TV shows Netflix has offered in 2020. The story follows three siblings who move in with their mother to an old family house after their father’s murder. The estate turns out to be filled with magic keys and somebody (or something) who wants them.
Based on a comic book series of the same name, Locke & Key is expected to renew for the second season. In fact, the script for it has already been in progress even before the show aired for the first time.
Why You Can’t Find a Movie on Netflix Anymore?
There are a few reasons why you may no longer be able to find your favorite movie or TV show on Netflix. In short, it has to do with acquiring and renewing licenses across the globe.
Movies and TV shows that Netflix creates in-house or gets exclusive streaming rights are called Netflix Originals. These include Stranger Things, BoJack Horseman, and Orange Is the New Black, among others. However, even Netflix Originals are not available worldwide if they were licensed in your country by someone else before Netflix went global.
The second batch includes content to which Netflix has non-exclusive rights, meaning other streaming platforms and cable providers can also show it. These licenses are bought for a certain period of time and do expire one day if the title is no longer popular or cost too much to renew. In some cases the licenses are no longer available, i.e. because some other company bought exclusive rights.
Finally, tastes differ in each region and you may be the only person in your country who wants to watch that show. But even if there’s a huge demand for some of the best shows on Netflix, multiple streaming rights owners can make it difficult to get the license. There may even be that no one is selling the rights to stream the show in your region.
How to Watch the Best TV Shows on Netflix Worldwide?
Luckily, there’s a way to watch the best shows on Netflix from anywhere in the world. You only need to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). In fact, almost a third of VPN users utilize them for unblocking Netflix.
A reliable VPN allows you to connect to its servers in different countries and access local Netflix libraries. This way you can watch movies and TV shows available only in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, or Japan. Good VPN services are fast enough to provide you with HD or even 4K (UHD) quality stream, depending on your connection speed.
While there are plenty of free VPNs available for download, none of them are good for Netflix. Even if they would manage to unblock one or two Netflix libraries, most likely they’ll be blocked in a couple of months if not weeks. And the speeds provided by free VPNs are, for the lack of a better word, lackluster.
Premium VPN services that are known for unblocking Netflix easily have free trials or money-back guarantees that might be enough to binge-watch one season without paying, but we all know that Netflix is not about one particular show. That’s why we recommend getting a VPN subscription and enjoy not only hassle-free streaming and torrenting, but also enhanced security and privacy.
We’ve created a list of reputable VPN providers for you to choose from. We’ve been continuously testing their Netflix unblocking capabilities in multiple countries to ensure that only proven names end up on top. So without further ado, here’s the best VPN for Netflix in 2021.
Watching the best shows on Netflix can be easy if you manage to avoid geo-blocking. Even some Netflix Originals are not available worldwide due to licensing issues. That’s why using a VPN is the most convenient way for streaming the best Netflix TV shows.
However, not all VPN providers are good at unblocking various streaming platforms. And even if they get you to the US library, that doesn’t mean that your UK-exclusive show will be there. That’s why you should pick only from the best VPNs for Netflix and test them during the trial period before committing.
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Ethan is a security researcher and digital privacy advocate. He spends his time unraveling various anonymity and security tools, plus contributing to open-source projects. Otherwise, he keeps a low profile by hiking or cycling around the countryside.