The 50 best TV shows on BINGE

If you’re revisiting one of your fave shows, diving into an award-winning all-time classic, or seeking to uncover an underrated gem, there’s a good chance you’ll wind up on BINGE’s homepage. Eliza Janssen highlights the top 50 most unmissable series now available on the streamer.

See also
* All new movies & series on Netflix
* All new streaming movies & series
* The 50 best movies on Netflix Australia

30 Rock

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No other show on this list can beat the joke-a-minute comedic clip of Tina Fey’s showbiz satire. It launched the careers of countless comics, and absolutely tore TV industry shallowness to shreds. Plus it gave Alec Baldwin a career renaissance as conservative boss Jack Donaghy. Call it mean-spirited or politically incorrect…but you can’t claim it’s not bloody hilarious.

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Band of Brothers

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Steven Spielberg brought his big screen chops to HBO for this tear-jerking wartime drama. Each episode is bookended with interviews from the men of the Easy Company, whose saga of brotherhood, sacrifice, and moral duty plays out in epic action scenes across each of the 10 episodes.

Barry

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A hitman reckons he can redeem his life of murderous sin through enrolling in a wanky LA acting class. As Bill Hader’s brilliantly directed black comedy series got bleaker and bleaker, assassin Barry’s dream of salvation proved more and more impossible. Somehow, the jokes and big emotional beats still kept us hoping for a happy ending, though.

Big Little Lies

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Kidman. Witherspoon. Dern. Streep. A heavy-hitting league of the greatest female thesps made this two season limited series a must-watch, with murder, domestic intrigue, and biting humour spicing up a luxurious Californian coastal town. Even if season two didn’t excite critics and fans quite as much, it still gave us a crying, screaming Meryl: in short, well worth a binge.

Boardwalk Empire

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Prohibition history got brought to life in HBO’s 1920s-set crime epic, starring an Emmy-nominated (but never a winner!) Steve Buscemi as gangster Nucky Thompson. The pilot was directed by Scorsese, and the show introduced us to future stars like Steven Graham, Shea Wigham, and Michaels Shannon and Stuhlbarg. It’s been somewhat forgotten amongst flashier, more widely watched prestige shows of this golden era, but don’t let Boardwalk Empire pass you by.

Carnivàle

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Cruelly cut short after two seasons of dark, fantastical Dust Bowl drama, this idiosyncratic series proved the imaginative potential of HBO’s early 2000s golden age. Its characters are men of faith with mysterious supernatural abilities, encountering forces of good and evil within their work at a travelling carnival. Lush, strange, and rich in lore.

Chernobyl

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One of the finest, most disturbing miniseries we’ve seen on the small screen yet. No perspective is spared in the historical drama’s lateral lens of nuclear disaster, covering the Chernobyl incident from the top-down—from corrupt officials to well-meaning scientists and slowly disintegrating prols. Artistic license is certainly taken, but the astounding true story still emerges in all its truth and profundity.

The Comeback

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Lisa Kudrow created, starred in, and improv-ed the hell out of this mockumentary/cringe-comedy series. She plays Valerie Cherish, a washed-up sitcom actress who’s willing to do quite literally anything to appear ready for a professional renaissance. It’s painfully uncomfortable at times, but we manage to root for Valerie despite her many…many faults.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

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Speaking of improv cringe, Larry David’s ingenious comedy has been making us wince with his chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease for a few decades by now. The long-running Hollywood satire has, in some fan’s opinions, even excelled beyond David’s work on Seinfeld, producing countless memes that cut right to heart of how it feels to be the sole pessimist in any given room.

Doom Patrol

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If you’re sick of Marvel’s uber-polished universe of films and shows, this bonkers DC series could be the perfect antidote. The “heroes”, to use the term loosely, include Negative Man, Elasti-Woman, Crazy Jane and Robotman—a, well, robotic man played by Oscar-winner Brendan Fraser. Impossibly kooky but also terrifically scripted, with countless surprises in store.

Euphoria

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HBO’s deeply adult drama about unhinged young adults rocketed Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Sydney Sweeney and Jacob Elordi to stardom. It’s not exactly the kind of teen story you’d want your kids to watch, but its heroin chic high school drama and glamorous aesthetic destines Euphoria to infamy nonetheless.

Flight of the Conchords

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Just how did this Kiwi musical comedy joint wind up at HBO? Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie’s hilarious (and genuinely catchy) songs inspire a fictionalised sitcom about their New York struggles as a distinctly Down Under band. Rhys Darby is a riot as their hapless manager Murray (“New Zealand: rocks!”).

Friends

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So no-one told you life was gonna be this way: there’s a plethora of daring, transgressive, brand new shows to binge on BINGE, and yet you spend all your time rewatching the 90s biggest sitcom, over and over again. We won’t shame you for your millionth rewind of Friends. The show remains loveable, perfectly cast, and oh-so-quotable. PIVOT!!!

Game of Thrones

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Whether you’re diving into George R.R. Martin’s epic world for the first time, or merely dipping back into the early seasons in an attempt to wash that finale out of your mouth: GoT is still the GOAT when it comes to fantasy TV. The worldbuilding is breathtakingly ambitious, spanning multiple locations and dynastic dramas so that you never get too sick of any one plotline for too long.

Girls

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As clueless millennial Hannah Horvath, Lena Dunham might have bragged about being “the voice of her generation”…thing is, she’s kind of correct, considering just how incisive and hilarious every episode of Girls turned out to be. A new take on Sex and the City with glamour subbed out for self-excoriating grit, the show’s four female leads represent the worst and most honest parts of their cackling audience.

How To with John Wilson

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Documentary as comedy: New York as a Petri dish of the gross, the beautiful, and the inexplicable. Nebbish documentarian Wilson shows us his city through an acutely observational, bemused lens, with each episode pitched as a guide on everything from “How to Recycle Batteries” to “How to be Spontaneous”.

I May Destroy You

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Arabella (creator and star Michaela Coel) is wrenched from her life of ennui and Twitter fame when she’s sexually assaulted on a night out. Coel’s miniseries sounds heavy, and it certainly features scenes with devastating cultural implications. But it’s also frequently hilarious, ecstatic, life-affirming—and above all, star-affirming, making us desperate for more writing from the British talent.

Insecure

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Female friendship, awkward Black millennial life, and a fire soundtrack: Issa Rae’s warm, hilarious comedy series showcased the best of its star’s insightful observations, and earned co-star Yvonne Orji an Emmy to boot. Issa and Molly’s LA life of bad dates and unrealised dreams always felt like hearing your bestie’s wild social stories, right to an unclear yet hopeful finale.

Irma Vep

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A miniseries about making a miniseries about remaking 1996 film that is, in itself, a remake of a silent French serial. Whew. Olivier Assayas’ slippery, metatextual show is a treat for the brain and the senses, enveloping viewers in a complex web of in-show and behind-the-scenes intrigue. It’s certainly the most post-modern series on this list.

The Knick

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There’s plenty of gore, drugs, and social politics squirming below Knickerbocker Hospital, in this Soderbergh-produced period drama. Clive Owen and André Holland are the surgeons leading a medical staff at the turn of the century, with medical advances and personal prejudice and conflict forcing an uncomfortable wave of change. “Modern medicine had to start somewhere”, the show’s grisly promos promised us. Perhaps not one to watch while you’re eating.

The Last of Us

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There were surprisingly few zombies in HBO’s adaptation of the acclaimed video game franchise of the same name. Instead, we got an emotionally devastating father-daughter story, between survivors Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey), and gut-punch ruminations on the possibility of new life at the end of the world. Bring on season two ASAP, please!

The Leftovers

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“Let the mystery be”, the opening credits of this bamboozling psychological series often implored us. But dang was that a big ask, with that tantalising plot of a society struggling to recover after 10% of the population inexplicably disappears. Justin Theroux is great as a cop reeling with the doom cults, societal numbness, and family trauma of life after the great absence. Addictive and bizarre.

Love Me

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Here’s BINGE’s first-ever crack at original Australian programming, and it’s a fine example of the form at that. A multi-generational portrait of modern romance, the show follows a father (Hugo Weaving) and his kids reeling from the loss of their disabled mother. Slowly and painfully, they come to find each other, themselves, and the hope of new love, too.

Mare of Easttown

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We’ve enjoyed plenty of small town noir TV series over the years, but Kate Winslet’s nuanced lead performance as Mare Sheehan here singles out Mare of Easttown as something special. Her investigation of a community-shattering murder is brilliantly supported by a larger ensemble including Jean Smart, Julianne Nicholson, and Guy Pearce.

Mr Inbetween

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A serialisation of Scott Ryan and Nash Edgerton’s 2005 mockumentary The Magician, this grim Aussie crime series deserved every bit of critical acclaim it got for its scripts, weighty performances and distinctly Aussie tone. You can thank Ryan for that, as he creates, writes, and stars in the three season show as a low-key Sydney hitman.

Mr Robot

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Sam Esmail’s intricate, stressful cyberthriller hacked its way into our brains back in 2015 and hasn’t quite left. It stars Oscar-winner Rami Malek as a socially-anxious computer nerd let in on a vast global conspiracy, with game-changing cliffhangers and plot twists leaving us viewers on uncertain ground with every new episode and season. You’ll have to pay close attention to this one: don’t do any ironing in the background or anything.

Mrs Davis

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Released just last year and unfortunately underseen, this adventure-comedy is difficult to describe in just a few sentences. Let’s start here: Betty Gilpin is amazingly expressive as a vengeful nun, tasked with figuring out the truth behind a mysterious AI force that has basically become a new religion. Along the way there’s dead magicians, holy Nike commercials, donuts, and giant whales. Just hit play already.

The Office

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Certainly one of the most beloved sitcoms of the 2000s, if the countless Tinder bios begging for “the Pam to their Jim” are anything to go by. What is there to even say about this iconic, meme-spewing workplace comedy? Steve Carrell’s nightmare boss Michael is sorely missed in the show’s later seasons, but fans won’t care: hell, if you’re reading this list you’ve probably already watched the whole shebang multiple times. Moving on, then.

The Other Two

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A scathing portrait of pop culture desperados, trying and failing to win the fame game over the course of three cringe-inducing seasons. Heléne Yorke and Drew Tarver play a pair of struggling, celebrity wannabe siblings whose tween brother, ironically enough, makes it big as a Justin Bieber-esque pop star. Molly Shannon is a constant stand-out as their doting stage mom Pat, herself hitting the heights of tabloid fame in season two.

Our Flag Means Death

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There’s plenty of shows out there with queer-baiting, clearly-meant-to-be male leads, but only Taika Waititi’s goofy pirate comedy is brave enough to make its rugged ship captains a straight-up gay couple. Rhys Darby stars as actual historical pirate Stede Bonnet, whose true story of high seas mishaps would be hilarious enough without the two season series’ clever writing and game supporting cast. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of laughs.

The Rehearsal

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We’re desperate to figure out just what’s going on in documentarian/comedian Nathan Fielder’s brain—and HBO’s mind-blowingly ambitious, self-referential series could be the closest glimpse we get. It begins with Fielder hoping to help strangers “rehearse” big, risky moments in their lives, and then spirals into its creator’s own anxieties, insecurities and dreams. Shout out to especially strange guest Robbin who “crashed his Scion tC at 100 mph” and lived to share the story here. Many times.

Reservation Dogs

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You haven’t seen a coming-of-age comedy like this. Namely because there’s way too few shows depicting Native American life at all…but also because the Rez Dogs‘ story is breathtakingly true, funny, and heartfelt. From our teen leads’ early days of petty crime, striving towards a better, sunnier life in California, to its gut-punch final season. This is one of the finest series in recent memory, and it’s not to be missed.

The Righteous Gemstones

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A more straight-up comedic version of Succession, this riotous series from star and creator Danny McBride takes us to church every season with its story of the morally-bankrupt Gemstone dynasty. Despite being the offspring of megachurch preacher Eli (a stellar John Goodman), McBride and his bro and sis ain’t exactly Christlike, getting caught up in embarrassing criminal and slapstick foibles. Every season introduces new and ever weirder members of the fam, with the latest season delving into Evangelical doomsday cults.

Sex and the City

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Cosmos, Manolo Blahniks, and a good ol’ fashioned bitch-sesh at brunch with the gals: what could be better than a Sex and the City binge when your own, non-fictional life isn’t making sense? This seminal New York-set rom-com series has attracted plenty of retroactive criticism, and the sequel series might be dire at times. But it shouldn’t be overlooked, alongside The Sopranos, as one of HBO’s defining TV tentpoles.

Show Me A Hero

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Oscar Isaac leads this limited series’ star cast, as 1987 Yonkers mayor Nick Wasicsko: seemingly a man of virtue and integrity, in an era of widespread corruption, crime and racist politics. Over six episodes, the lives of Wasicsko, his constituents, and his colleagues are rigorously retold to form a telling mosaic of democracy. It’s scripted by The Wire creator David Simon, too, so you know it’s gonna be intense.

Somebody Somewhere

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This low-key, humanistic dramedy might have flown under your radar, but to miss out on Bridget Everett’s homecoming slice-of-life story would be a mistake. The two season series’ dialogue crackles with melancholic wit and some big laughs that’ll catch you off guard, following an unmoored and grieving woman (Everett) as she tries to settle back into her Kansas hometown.

The Sopranos

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Wake up this morning, get yourself a gun, and dive into what’s still commonly considered the greatest TV series ever made (Disclaimer: Flicks is not responsible for whatever happens if you actually acquire a gun based on our advice). James Gandolfini delivers one of the medium’s all-timer performances as a New Jersey gangster, juggling his mundane suburban domestic life with the mortal consequences of his dirty business. Still as groundbreaking and perfectly executed as the day it aired.

Starstruck

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This hilarious and heartwarming series from Kiwi comic Rose Matafeo takes a classic rom-com cliche—normal girl falls for dashingly famous guy—and flips it, imbuing each plot turn with the discomfort of how that situation would realistically play out. Whether you want Matafeo’s unco heroine to end up with her movie star crush (Nikesh Patel) or not, Starstruck offers big laughs, painful home truths, and a touch of romantic fantasy that’ll sweep you off your feet.

Succession

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Money can’t buy the spoiled Roy family happiness, in HBO’s water-cooler-dominating drama. The show provided Emmy-winning roles for bickering siblings Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Australia’s Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin), all ebbing and flowing in their gilded cages of insecurity and power under the disapproving eye of media magnate dad Logan (a remarkably grouchy Brian Cox). With all four seasons now available to watch, you’re missing out if you haven’t met the Roys yet. Banger theme tune, too.

Superstore

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This charming workplace sitcom following the staff of a Walmart-esque shop floor features a cast you’ll fall in love with (including America Ferrera, Ben Feldman and Colton Dunn), a neverending stream of wacky customers, and some surprisingly cogent critique of minimum wage life under capitalism. That sounds kinda heavy, but don’t worry: the series is a comfy breeze to binge.

Taskmaster

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A competition show for people who don’t take themselves too seriously, Taskmaster is a high concept comedy riot that pits well-known UK comics against one another in mundane mini-games. Greg Davies is the titular judge, but it’s his “assistant” Alex Horne who’s actually orchestrating each test of wit, wisdom, and lateral thinking. Impossible to watch and not think about how you’d perform.

Time

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With casts including Sean Bean, Stephen Graham, Jodie Whittaker and Bella Ramsey, both seasons of this absorbing BBC drama attract A-list talent to flesh out their tales of incarceration and redemption. Creator Jimmy McGovern depicts his down-on-their-luck con characters with uncommon humanity, capturing their flaws and redemptive strengths in equal, unflinching measure.

True Detective

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Time is a flat circle: we were obsessed with the first, haunting season of this crime anthology series, and now Jodie Foster’s been cast in the enthralling, Alaska-set new chapter. If you missed seasons two and/or three, BINGE has the entirety of the True Detective saga ready to watch, each adopting a new perspective on the responsibilities and perils of law enforcement in a world ruled by chaos.

Veep

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Julia Lous-Dreyfus can make virtually any scenario hilarious, and she had plenty of democratic disaster and social awkwardness to bounce off in Armando Ianucci’s political satire. Over seven consistently terrific seasons, her VP Selina Meyer dealt out scathing insults and back-stabbing decisions, always in gut-busting damage control mode.

The Walking Dead

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Exorbitantly expensive and ultimately pretty repetitive, this juggernaut of a zombie drama just refuses to die, spinning off into countless new shows and limping into the double digits until its finale. Still, the engrossing pilot and first season will have you begging for more blood and brains, each undead action scene heightened by interpersonal drama between the show’s hopeless band of survivors.

Watchmen

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HBO’s audacious return to the world of Alan Moore’s genre-flipping superhero comic was deemed a “remix”, rather than a straight-up sequel. It’s stranger, funnier, and more focused on identity politics than its epic source material, and features a badass Regina King as one of a new breed of masked vigilantes. Each episode ended with a head-scratching cliffhanger that made avoiding that “Next Episode” button near-impossible.

The West Wing

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No other series has taken us into the depths of the White House quite like Aaron Sorkin’s iconic 2000s workplace drama, with big roles for Alison Janney and prez Martin Sheen. It’s still the prime example of “walk-and-talk” dialogue, with presidential staffers spitting clever one-liners as they tramp the hallways of the US’s democratic centre.

Wentworth

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An ingenious contemporary reimagining of the retro Aussie series Prisoner, Wentworth blossomed into its own, tense thing, featuring an all-star cast of predominantly female national treasures. Danielle Cormack showed incredible transformation as new prisoner Bea, who gradually rose through the incarcerated ranks to dominate a hierarchy of thugs, friends, and the fearsome “Freak” Joan Ferguson (Pamela Rabe).

What We Do In The Shadows

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The rare movie-to-TV adaptation that doesn’t suck (pun very much intended). The casting of this fantasy-comedy-sitcom is spot-on, with British talents Natasia Demetriou, Matt Berry, and Kayvan Novak starring as horny, unhinged vamps alongside ghastly energy vampire Mark Proksch and their faithful familiar Harvey Guillén. The joy of this show is that anything truly can happen, with elaborate production design and special effects enriching each one-liner and hilarious moment.

The White Lotus

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Feel like a vacation? The White Lotus‘ two seasons, set in Maui and Sicily respectively, might not offer the relaxing vibe you’re after, but you’ll certainly laugh, cringe and gasp at what the show’s ensembles of stars get up to anyhow. Mike White writes and directs each episode, honing in on American tourism and its corrosive impact on complex native cultures.

The Wire

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Former police reporter David Simon brought street level grit to HBO in the form of The Wire‘s five tremendous series, transforming corrupt cop action into an epic mosaic of state-level miscarriages of justice. The show’s then-unknown performers, from Idris Elba to the late Michael K. Williams, became instant acting legends for their domineering roles as Baltimore’s main players, in the police force and the city’s murky underground.