What to watch on Netflix: The 10 best TV shows

Breaking Bad

Vincent Ralph takes a look at the 10 best television shows currently available on Netflix UK.

Confused by all the choice on Netflix?  Or perhaps you have just finished a marathon binge of one great show and you are on the lookout for another?  Whatever the case, here are the best television series available on Netflix UK right now.

Breaking Bad

Quite simply, Breaking Bad is the greatest television show of all time. It seemed that title would be forever held by The Wire, but Vince Gilligan’s tale of a high school Chemistry teacher turned meth cook is a cut above David Simon’s magnum opus.

As Walter White, Bryan Cranston puts in an acting master-class across five outstanding seasons, but the show is about so much more than one man. Perfect scripts, spellbinding cinematography and a cast at the top of their game, there is nothing else quite like it.

Orange is the New Black

Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, Orange is the New Black is a comedy drama set in a women’s prison with a cast of brilliant characters whose pasts are slowly revealed through Lost-style flashbacks.

Tinged with darkness but with plenty of laughs to lighten the mood, this show tells the tale of Piper Chapman and a rag-tag collective you cannot help but love.

House of Cards

Adapted from a BBC mini-series of the same name, House of Cards stars Kevin Spacey as ruthless politician Frank Underwood and Robin Wright as his wife Claire.

Shown exclusively on Netflix, the show has been renewed for a third season and anyone who wants to see a master-class in acting should give it a shot, even if the subject matter does not immediately strike you as ‘must-watch television’.

The Shield

Shawn Ryan’s police drama The Shield ran for seven seasons and starred Michael Chiklis as corrupt cop Vic Mackey. Rather than The Wire’s overarching plots, The Shield focused more on self-contained episodes although the ramifications of Mackey’s actions ran alongside that.

An anti-hero like few others, Chiklis’s character bridged the gap between good and evil perfectly, making the viewer question their own morals in the process.

Sons of Anarchy

Created by The Shield’s executive producer Kurt Sutter, Sons of Anarchy is the story of a motorcycle gang who live in a town called Charming. Starring Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller the story grows from a high-jinks show about ne’er-do-wells into much more than that.

With twists galore and some of the finest musical montages ever filmed, Sons of Anarchy is well worth a watch. We are convinced that if you do you will be drawn into the world of SAMCRO in no time.

Homeland

With a high concept that could not fail to be a success, Homeland is now in its fourth season, with the first three available on Netflix UK. The show does not always live up to the hook and there are missteps along the way but there is plenty to admire.

Telling the story of marine Nicholas Brody – who may or may not be a terrorist plotting against his own country – the show is stolen by Claire Danes as CIA agent Carrie Mathison and her superior Saul Berenson, played to perfection by Mandy Patinkin.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon turned his unsuccessful film Buffy the Vampire Slayer into a TV show of the same name, and watched the plaudits rain down across seven seasons.

Sarah Michelle Geller is the eponymous heroine, who along with a stellar cast saves the world time and time again. Packed full of humour, pathos and metaphors about growing up and all the craziness that involves, there is unlikely to be a show quite like Buffy ever again.

Californication

Starting life this side of the pond on Channel 5, Californication would later disappear from British television screens with Netflix now the only way to catch this hidden gem.

So David Duchovny will always be Fox Mulder in your mind? Think again! The former X-Files star is a revelation as Hank Moody, struggling writer and serial womaniser and the star of a show that at its core is about family and the pursuit of dreams.

Underbelly

Likely to be unfamiliar to many British viewers, Underbelly is an Australian drama that recounts true life events in dramatic style.

Anyone who watched the outstanding first season back in 2008 will have been hooked from the start and the fact that many of these events actually happened makes the sinister turns even more captivating and shocking.

Firefly

When you consider how well Buffy the Vampire Slayer did it came as a huge shock when Whedon’s later show Firefly was cancelled after just 14 episodes.

Much has been written about what a travesty that was, with the show’s brief spell proving emphatically that Whedon had again found an original formula that had the potential to run and run.

It was not to be, but the episodes that were filmed deserve to be watched time and again, with Nathan Fillion leading his merry band in the finest space western we have ever seen.