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HomeSpecial For YouThe Best Drama Shows on Netflix Right Now

The Best Drama Shows on Netflix Right Now

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Sometimes you just need an immersive drama, and thankfully, Netflix delivers. From what are now TV classics (like Breaking Bad) to Peak TV gems (Hap and Leonard, Mindhunter), Netflix is home to some of the most wonderfully crafted and engaging television of our time.



This list will continue to grow, but for now, check out our list of the best drama shows on Netflix below, and let us know some of your other favorites in the comments.

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Editor’s note: This article was updated in August 2022 to include The Sandman.

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RELATED: The Best Crime Series on Netflix

Seasons: 1

Episode Count: 10

Average Run Time: 45 minutes

Created by: Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer, and Allan Heinberg

Cast: Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance

There are very few works of literature as unique and epic as Neil Gaiman‘s graphic novel series The Sandman. The story revolves around Dream, the titular Sandman, and his siblings, the immortal more-than-gods known as the Endless. There have been attempts to adapt the series since the early 90s but this is the first time ever that this story is coming to life on screen. While the show makes some departures from the original material, it’s still largely true to the graphic novel and is one of those few examples of a book adaptation done right. Netflix’s The Sandman presents a well-crafted story with an intricate world that is sure to delight old fans of this universe just as much as those who are meeting Dream of the Endless for the very first time. – Remus Noronha

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Seasons: 3

Episode Count: 33

Average Run Time: 51 minutes

Created by: Brian McGreevy

Cast: Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron, Penelope Mitchell, Kandyse McClure

If you like a drama with strong gothic horror elements, then Hemlock Grove is the show for you. Starring Landon Liboiron as Peter Rumancek and Bill Skarsgård as Roman Godfrey, the series is based on the 2012 novel of the same name by series creator Brian McGreevy. The show has a well-crafted and very spooky world, full of werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural beings. The story begins when Peter and his mother arrive in Hemlock Grove. Peter ends up becoming friends with Roman and their lives become inextricably linked, just as strange things start happening around town. Apart from the two leads, we also have Famke Janssenplaying Roman’s mother and Godfrey family matriarch Olivia Godfrey, a complicated woman with a diabolical agenda who’s a lot of fun to watch.- Remus Noronha

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Borgen (2010-Present)

Seasons: 4

Episode Count: 38

Average Run Time: 57 minutes

Created by: Adam Price

Cast: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Pilou Asbæk, Søren Malling

If you’re in the mood for a good political drama, check out the Danish series Borgen. The show follows the story of Birgitte Nyborg Christensen (Sidse Babett Knudsen), a minor politician who climbs up the ladder to become the first female prime minister of Denmark. As with any political series, there are conspiracies and betrayals aplenty. Audiences get to follow Birgitte’s career through its ups and downs and see how her idealism frays in the face of practical politics. – Remus Noronha

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Seasons: 1

Episode Count: 8

Average Run Time: 30 minutes

Created by: Alice Oseman.

Cast: Kit Connor, Joe Locke, William Gao, Yasmin Finney, and Olivia Colman.

Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Heartstopper is the queer coming-of-age story that many people had been waiting for. Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) is a gay schoolboy who falls in love with someone he sits next to in his new form, Nick Nelson (Kit Connor). A beautiful love story and exploration of sexuality, Heartstopper understands perfectly how difficult being queer and so young can be, exploring friendships, sexuality, and gender in a way that very few shows do. With incredible chemistry between the two leads, Heartstopper makes you fall in love with Nick and Charlie, bringing together a story worth rooting for and making you want to find the same kind of love they have. – Arianne Binette

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Seasons: 2

Episode Count: 16

Average Run Time: 64 minutes

Created by: Chris Van Dusen

Cast: Phoebe Dynevor, Régé-Jean Page, Nicola Coughlan, Jonathan Bailey, Luke Thompson

From Shondaland, Bridgerton is for the Regency romance lovers. About the Brigderton family, each season follows one of the children as they go on to find true love. It’s the romance series that we have not gotten in a long time, filled with chemistry, drama, and juicy scenes. Bridgerton’s drama-filled series brings the best out of Shonda Rhimes’s television style with the backdrop of a gossip writer tormenting aristocratic society. If you love drama, romance, and steamy scenes, this show will give you all of that and so much more. – Arianne Binette

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You (2018-present)

Seasons: 3

Episode Count: 30

Average Run Time: 50 minutes

Created by: Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble

Cast: Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Shay Mitchell, Victoria Pedretti, Jenna Ortega

Based on the same name book, You approaches its subject with a meticulous hand. The show follows Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), a bookstore manager – and serial killer – who falls in love very quickly and develops obsessions over those who catch his eye. What makes You so unique is how the show treats its main character, never trying to make him look like the good guy — leaning heavily into his psyche and understanding him, yes, but never trying to redeem him. While the first season was good, the second season is where the show found itself and its voice. Joe’s obsessions being told through his eyes and his narration provide insight into his psyche but also don’t show every facet of the story until revealed later. It’s a way of telling the story that keeps you engaged and on the edge of your seat until the very last second of the season. – Arianne Binette

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Midnight Diner (2009-2014)

Seasons: 5

Episode Count: 50

Average Run Time: 25 minutes

Directed by: Joji Matsuoka, Nobuhiro Yamashita, Shotarou Kobayashi

Cast: Kaoru Kobyashi, Mansaku Fuwa, Toshiki Ayata, Yutaka Matsushige, Ken Mitsuishi

A slice-of-life manga that inspired a serene and thoughtful series, Midnight Diner (aka Shinya shokudō) is a Japanese anthology series that follows a curious little diner that only opens late in the night. Run by the mysterious and scarred chef known only as Master, the diner is full of curious characters and regulars, with each episode featuring a specific Japanese dish. Incredibly introspective, Midnight Diner is addictive as a series despite its subdued nature. Like Master and his other customers, it is easy to quickly get wrapped up in the story of the week. With delicious-looking meals and a variety of people from different walks of life, Midnight Diner will make you laugh, it will make you think, and it might make you hungry, too. There are five seasons of the series currently, three under the title Midnight Diner, and two under Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories. — Therese Lacson

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Seasons: 1

Episode Count: 12

Average Run Time: 62 minutes

Created by: Chun Sung-il, Lee JQ, Kim Nam-su

Cast: Park Ji-hu, Yoon Chan-young, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, Yoo In-soo

Netflix has invested heavily in Korean dramas recently and it seems to have paid off. All of Us Are Dead, based on the webtoon Now at Our School by Joo Dong-geun, is a zombie horror series with a strong coming-of-age theme. Set at a high school overrun by zombies, the show has some smart storytelling, tons of gore, and intense interpersonal relationships. The story kicks off when a zombie virus is unleashed at a high school in South Korea. With no supplies and cut off from the outside world by the government, the students of the high school are forced to rely on whatever resources they can find to protect themselves from the infected. It’s a thrilling show that’s spent weeks on Netflix Top 10 lists worldwide since its release on January 28, 2022. – Remus Noronha

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Seasons: 1

Episode Count: 9

Average Run Time: 48 minutes

Created by: Hwang Dong-hyuk

Cast: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, HoYeon Jung, O Yeong-su

One of Netflix’s biggest hits of 2021, Squid Game is an intense South Korean survival drama. The show revolves around an underground tournament where everyday people compete in deadly games in order to win a huge cash prize. Squid Game has received widespread acclaim for its story, performances, and especially for the themes of inequality and greed that lie at the heart of the series.

Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) is a divorced chauffeur who lives with his elderly mother. He has a daughter whom he struggles to support financially, and the fact that he’s a gambling addict doesn’t help his situation either. So when he is invited to play children’s games in exchange for a large amount of money, Seong Gi-Hun jumps at the chance. But once he accepts the invite, he is taken to an unknown location where he must play alongside 455 other people who are also deeply in debt. It quickly becomes clear that if they lose a game, they will die, and the only way to survive is to outsmart both the other players and the game’s mysterious organizers.

It’s a tense, violent, and wholly engrossing story spread over nine episodes. And in case the first season leaves you hungry for more, Season 2 of Squid Game is currently in the works. – Remus Noronha

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Seasons: 3

Episode Count: 41

Average Run Time: 59 minutes

Created by: Álex Pina

Cast: Úrsula Corberó, Álvaro Morte, Itziar Ituño, Pedro Alonso, Alba Flores

Money Heist (Spanish: La Casa de Papel) is easily one of the most influential shows on Netflix’s catalog. Over the course of its three seasons on the streaming service, the heist drama series has managed to become a global phenomenon. Set in Madrid, Money Heist revolves around a group of eight people brought together by a mysterious man known only as “the Professor” (Álvaro Morte). In the first season, the Professor and his crew set out to rob the Royal Mint of Spain, using a complex plan that’s decades in the making. Over the course of the story, we learn more about each of these people as the full extent of the plan slowly unfolds. Seasons 2 and 3 show the group taking on another heist, this time targeting the Royal Mint of Spain. It’s a show about rebellion and bravery against insurmountable odds. And, perhaps more importantly, it’s a story about a group of people and the relationships they build with each other, all while pulling off two of the most ingenious heists ever imagined. – Remus Noronha

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Seasons: 1

Episode Count: 7

Average Run Time: 56 minutes

Created by: Scott Frank

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Harry Melling, Bill Camp

If you want a drama series that has a short beginning, middle, and end, check out The Queen’s Gambit. This smash-hit Netflix original takes place in the 1950s and 60s and tells the story of a young orphan working through her trauma to find some semblance of joy anywhere she can, and the people she meets along the way. That journey leads her to chess, where she becomes a world-renowned champion despite struggles at home. Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) is incredible in the lead role, and Scott Frank (who writes and directs every episode) knocks this one out of the park. One part sports story, one part prestige drama series, and one part intense character study, The Queen’s Gambit has it all. – Adam Chitwood

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Ozark (2017-2022)

Seasons: 4

Episode Count: 44

Average Run Time: 65 minutes

Created by: Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams

Cast: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, Peter Mullan, and Janet McTeer

If you’re a fan of Breaking Bad and want another drama series in that vein, you’ll probably spark to the Netflix original Ozark. The show begins with Jason Bateman playing a financial manager whose entire life falls apart when he learns that his partner has been in business with Mexican drug cartels. The only way to pay them back is to start laundering money himself, so he uproots his family from Chicago to the Ozarks to start a new life as a criminal. Intrigue, danger, and murder ensue as Bateman tries to keep his head (and his family’s head) above water. This one is notably for burning through story at a quick pace. – Adam Chitwood

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Seasons: 5

Episode Count: 62

Average Run Time: 50 minutes

Created by: Vince Gilligan

Cast: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt

If for some reason you’ve never seen Breaking Bad, allow me to convice you: Over the course of five seasons, the show takes a lead character and evolves him from a mild-mannered chemistry teacher to a dangerous and feared drug dealer, and the entire evolution feels completely earned. Bryan Cranston deserved all those Emmys as he plays a man diagnosed with terminal cancer who decides he has nothing to lose and starts cooking crystal meth so he can leave some money behind for his family. It’s an absolutely thrilling journey, made all the more special that the ending is actually kind of great. You won’t regret bingeing this one. – Adam Chitwood

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Seasons: 2

Episode Count: 19

Average Run Time: 50 minutes

Created by: Joe Penhall

Cast: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv, Hannah Gross, and Cotter Smith

If you’re into crime shows and procedurals, but are also a fan of auteur cinema or the grisly yet meaty movies of David Fincher, you have to watch Mindhunter. This Netflix original is based on true events and chronicles the early days of the FBI’s criminal profiling unit in the late 1970s. Two FBI agents from the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit—Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany)—set out to interview imprisoned serial killers to see if they can understand why they did what they did, to help create a profile for the FBI to catch these kinds of killers. Fincher directs a large number of the episodes throughout the show’s two seasons, and the series does a great job of offering a bit of a cat-and-mouse thrill ride while also offering a lot to chew on in terms of human behavior. – Adam Chitwood

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Seasons: 1

Episode Count: 10

Average Run Time: 36 minutes

Created by: Patrick Somerville

Cast: Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux, Sally Field, Sonoya Mizuno

If you’re game to check out a sci-fi drama that’s unlike anything else on TV, check out Maniac. Directed entirely by No Time to Die filmmaker Cary Fukunaga, this limited series takes place in a slightly more advanced version of Earth in which two depressed individuals — played by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill — take part in a mind-bending pharmaceutical trial meant to cure them of their ills. The trial finds them mentally living out various fantasies and scenarios, which then gives Fukunaga the opportunity to present the shows in genres as varied as dark comedies and even fantasy stories. – Adam Chitwood

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Seasons: 4

Episode Count: 40

Average Run Time: 54 minutes

Created By: Peter Morgan

Cast: Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Jared Harris, John Lithgow

Netflix’s most expensive series yet, The Crown examines the early reign of England’s Queen Elizabeth II. The series is beautifully directed in sumptuous yet staid tones, as young Elizabeth (Claire Foy) — newly married to Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh (Matt Smith, playing against type) — first lives as a privileged princess before having to transition into the position of Queen. From there, as her grandmother cautions her, there will be two Elizabeths at odds with one another: one who is a young woman with her own hopes and dreams, and one who is a royal, whose life will be full of duty and sacrifice. “But the crown must always win.”

The Crown is a fascinating and easily engrossing portrait of a young monarch in a fairly modern age, and benefits from having one writer (creator Peter Morgan) to lend it narrative continuity. The story, which offers a glimpse of many familiar faces associated with government at the time, glides through history and crosses the globe, yet is most effective when it’s examining the nuances of Elizabeth’s life and the lives of those around her who must change the way they regard her (from a wife, sister, and daughter, to a monarch they must defer to at all times). The trappings of power, such as they are, are shown here as being claustrophobic and wearisome, even though the lavish lifestyle it seems to offer is also seductive. And that is why, once you enter into the regal world of The Crown, you will not want to leave. It always wins. — Allison Keene

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Seasons: 1

Episode Count: 10

Average Run Time: 56 minutes

Creator: Mike Flanagan

Cast: Carla Gugino, Michael Huisman, Kate Siegel, Mckenna Grace, Lulu Wilson

Okay, so yes, with a title like The Haunting of Hill House you’d be forgiven for assuming this is a straight horror series, and while it is indeed a horror show, it’s also a deeply emotional family drama. Inspired by Shirley Jackson‘s seminal ghost story, the limited series focuses on the sprawling Crain family as it bounces back and forth between their time in the titular house, which ended in tragedy, and the present-day in which the kids are all adults with some serious daddy issues. As directed by Oculus and Doctor Sleep filmmaker Mike Flanagan, the show feels carefully constructed so each episode builds upon the last, as they culminate in a thrilling and emotion-driven finale that deals heavily with mortality and grief. – Adam Chitwood

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Seasons: 3

Episode Count: 27

Average Run Time: 44 minutes

Created by: Moira Walley-Beckett

Cast: Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson, Lucas Jade Zumann, Dalila Bela

Even though Moira Walley-Beckett’s retelling of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables stories leans heavily into the darker side of Anne’s orphan upbringing and the bullying she experiences in school once she gets to Prince Edward Island, Anne with an Eis a happy one. And in case you forgot, yes! Dramas can be joyous!

The second season moves away somewhat from its beloved source material, but in doing so, it’s able to find its own voice and become even better. The series is also finding modern relevance with the inclusion of more “woke” storylines, but it never feels forced — it all fits in with Anne’s (McNulty) optimistic view of the world and the people in it. Anne is joyous, funny, and ultimately a delightful exploration of teenage life. And though it’s set over 100 years in the past, the series does an exceptional job creating a deeply relatable mood and aesthetic, one that makes both the perils and precious moments of growing up feel as raw and real as they do in real life. The new season is full of triumphant moments and joyous subplots, as well as scenes of sorrow and hardship. It all adds up to an uplifting season that concludes with Anne Shirley-Cuthbert, and all those around her, looking towards the scope of possibilities in an ever-widening world. — Allison Keene

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Seasons: 3

Episode Count: 18

Average Run Time: 43 minutes

Developed by: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici

Cast: James Purefoy, Michael K. Williams

Based on Joe R. Lansdale’s series of novels, Hap and Leonard is a wonderfully funny, action-packed, and unique story about two unlikely friends — one a white, hippie-cowboy, and the other a black, gay, Vietnam vet — who live in East Texas in the 1980s. They often get into scrapes and accidentally end up in the middle of a crime they never planned on investigating, but the series is as dark, deep, and soulful as it is manic, violent, and often hilarious. The show walks a difficult line in each of its brisk 6-episode seasons, balancing humor and heartbreak as its heroes, villains, and the gorgeous landscape all pop colorfully off of the screen. Ultimately, it does so with aplomb. Each season is a complete story, like the novels, that tackle very different tales, making it an easy and satisfying binge. The southern-fried banter and unique dynamics also help make Hap and Leonard a wonderfully unique gem of Peak TV. — Allison Keene

Watch on Netflix

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