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Best Netflix Shows 2021 So Far: Our Top Picks

As Netflix has grown in popularity, it’s gotten more difficult to filter through the seemingly endless list of shows available on the platform. There’s a lot to choose from, from reality series about dubious animal tycoons to a slew of video game adaptations. Sure, the big stuff rises to the top — Squid Game, Bridgerton, and so on — but there’s also a lot that gets overlooked. Here’s the list of the best Netflix shows 2021 so far.

Squid Game

Even if you haven’t seen Squid Game yet, you’re probably familiar with it. In 2021, Squid Game, one of the top Netflix shows 2021, was everywhere, from social media to Halloween costumes – and rightfully so. The plot revolves around a distressing competition in which hundreds of players, all of whom are struggling financially, participate in a variety of children’s activities for a chance to win a large cash reward. The surprise is that all of the games are lethal, and surviving until the end means being the only one alive. What follows is a gruesome indictment of class and capitalism, as well as a fantastic show that will have you on the edge throughout.


Arcane is a series centered on the popular game League of Legends, but you don’t need to be familiar with it to enjoy it. In reality, this slick animated series is an excellent introduction to League and its steampunk-meets-fantasy world. The plot follows a group of people in a bustling metropolis that is rapidly changing due to a new tech that can harness the power of magic. Things go quickly, which makes it ideal for binge-watching, and the animation is excellent. Since Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, this could be the highest – grossing animated project yet.

The Witcher

The Witcher’s first season cemented its reputation as one of the best dark fantasy epics on the market, blending political intrigue, terrifying monsters, and plenty of sex and humour. It was tight and gory, but a lot of fun as well. Now we have a second season, which is a little more serious but still manages to be a fantastic watch because to the wonderful ensemble, led by Henry Cavill’s gruff-as-always Geralt.

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Hellbound is one of the best Netflix shows 2021. The show is about a strange occurrence in which angel-like entities appear in front of humans and tell them they’re going to hell. Worse, they’re given a definite time to live so they know just how much longer they have. When that time comes, frightening monsters invade, killing many people in the process. These gory episodes are at the centre of the show, but they’re largely used as an opportunity to go deeper into topics like religion’s influence and internet-fueled mobs.

Nailed It

There are few greater ways to turn off your brain than watching comedian Nicole Byers and chef Jacque Torres present a competition for the world’s worst bakers. Beyond the undeniable chemistry of its presenters, what makes Nailed It, one of the best Netflix shows 2021, work so effectively is that everyone is in on the joke, so you never feel bad laughing when somebody serves a mushy lump of icing that’s intended to be a cake.

Sweet Tooth

There are many post-apocalyptic shows on television, and the vast majority of them are dark and sad. Sweet Tooth tries to stay away from it as much as possible. Part of this is due to the Americana vibe, which makes the end of the world seem almost inviting. But the most of it boils down to Sweet Tooth, the main character. A disease wipes off a large portion of the population, coinciding with the strange appearance of animal-human hybrids, in the show’s depiction of the apocalypse. Sweet Tooth, a young kid with antlers whose wide-eyed curiosity and contagious happiness make it impossible not to root for him, is the protagonist of the novel.

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Brand New Cherry Flavor

Brand New Cherry Flavor, one of the top Netflix shows 2021, would be the polar opposite of comfort viewing. The horror series depicts a young director who seeks revenge on a backstabbing producer by turning to a witch. From there, things only get scarier, but in a way that’s impossible to look away from. When it comes to body horror, Brand New Cherry Flavor succeeds; there are a few unpleasant sequences that will stay with you long after you’ve finished viewing.

Sex Education

Sex Education is one of the few high school dramas that consistently improves. The show is allegedly about a therapist (Gillian Anderson) and her son as they (separately) help just about everyone in their lives with sex-related issues. However, the show has grown from that simple premise to become one of the most honest and diversified explorations of sexuality on television.


What’s the issue with streaming services that provide vintage sitcoms? Older shows are also a huge part of the company, even if original series are often what characterise a streamer. That’s why, earlier this year, Netflix made such a huge fuss about introducing every episode of Seinfeld to the site. And, for a show that is very much a product of the 1990s, it holds up rather well in 2021 – as long as you don’t mind aspect ratios.

Midnight Mass

On Netflix, director Mike Flanagan has had a phenomenal run of horror anthologies. The Haunting of Hill House was the first, followed by the Haunting of Bly Manor, and now we have Midnight Mass – one of the best Netflix shows 2021. Fans of his previous work will recognise a problematic family, strange otherworldly undertones, and oh-so-long monologues in the new series, but it also takes a shift toward more straight-up horror.

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