50 Best TV Shows on Netflix UK Right Now

Updated June 5, 2024 • Staff

What Netflix UK can add to your regular TV rotation is an eclectic slate of slick, entertaining series that includes selections from all around the world and from revered cinematic auteurs. It's a good complement to British television's typically more grounded and smaller-scale (though no less compelling) storytelling. And thanks to Netflix's massive global reach, getting invested in their shows also means gaining access to the passionate fanbases rallying behind almost every Netflix series. Whether it's for a mega-hit known in every language or a smaller, niche show that was cancelled too early, you're bound to find a community here.

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Based on the DC Vertigo comic, Bodies is an intriguing crime thriller with a unique twist – one body, in four separate time periods, being solved simultaneously all at once. While the show is triggered by the same body, the mini-series feels like four separate shows at the same time, marrying the classic Victorian detective mystery, war-torn film noir, and modern day police procedural through post-apocalyptic science fiction. And the four separate detectives take the helm of their respective side of the case, as well as how they deal with the discrimination against them. With four excellent strands to the same mystery, Bodies is an exceptional adaptation that demonstrates how even though details change, some things still remain the same.

Our staff rating: 8.3/10
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Actor: Amaka Okafor, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Kyle Soller, Shira Haas, Stephen Graham, Synnøve Karlsen, Tom Mothersdale
Rating: TV-MA

Kaala Paani

There’s a lot happening in Netflix’s first Hindi survival thriller series Kaala Paani. The main plot follows the discovery of a new disease with inky rashes that confounds scientists and policymakers, which would remind viewers of the botched response towards COVID-19, but there are multiple subplots including a love story with a traumatized former nurse, a family drama between separated parents and children, and the ecological commentary on the indigenous population that survived the disease once before. But Kaala Paani is able to balance these plots, tweaking the series’ disease to visually carry the show’s science in order to dedicate more weight to each subplot. It allows showrunner Sameer Saxena to play with more philosophical themes, and allows his compelling cast to play with more complex and dynamic roles.

Our staff rating: 8.3/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Amey Wagh, Arushi Sharma, Ashutosh Gowariker, Mona Singh, Sukant Goel
Director: Amit Golani, Sameer Saxena
Rating: TV-MA

The Good Bad Mother

Life never goes the way we expect, especially for those who don’t have plenty of options. Because of this, parents strive to create a path for their kids to the best possible future they can manage, even if it causes some resentment. The Good Bad Mother portrays this, with some melodramatic flair, but the way the series tells its story is complex, layered, but totally compelling – as Jin Young-soon tries to reconnect with her son while also seeking justice for her husband, and Choi Kang-ho looks for family in any way he can. And it’s balanced with lighthearted humor and slice-of-life sequences that celebrate the lives of the ordinary people.

Our staff rating: 8.3/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Ahn Eun-jin, Choi Moo-sung, Lee Do-hyun, Ra Mi-ran, Yoo In-soo
Rating: TV-MA


Produced by Ezra Klein's Vox Media, an explanatory news site with liberal leanings, this may well be Netflix's first successful attempt at a traditional weekly television show. And a news show at that. But as the title suggests, Explained doesn't aim at updating you on current events, but takes short but in-depth looks at topics that tend to get overlooked in news cycles such as the racial wealth gap, monogamy, and the rise of cryptocurrencies. The idea is not unique. The only thing YouTube might have more of than make-up advice videos are explanatory monologues by self-declared Illuminati. However, those familiar with Vox Media's previous outings on YouTube know to expect high production value, serious research, and digestible visual journalism at its best. Don't watch it with your special uncle, though because he will start yelling at the television.

Our staff rating: 8.4/10
Genre: Documentary


While this perspective on competitive sports is obviously unconventional, it makes perfect sense. Winners are boring. If you win, you win. The losers, however, have defeat to deal with. As the proverb goes, you learn little from victory, but a great deal from defeat. Director and creator of the show's amazing animation, Mickey Duzyj, was inspired by a personal experience during a tennis tournament as a teenager. Each episode of this 2019 Netflix show tells a different story from a different sport. For starters, episode one looks at Michael Bentt, a world champion boxer who was forced into the sport by his abusive father. So, things do get dark, as could be expected, the storytelling is complex, but the message of Losers is as simple as it is wholesome. Like the characters and life stories it portrays, this show will pick you up when you are down!

Our staff rating: 8.4/10
Genre: Documentary
Actor: Mauro Prosperi, Michael Bentt, Surya Bonaly
Director: Lissette Feliciano
Rating: N/A

Lost Ollie

The Netflix four-part miniseries Lost Ollie is a bit like if Toy Story was adapted into a live-action dramedy. You’ll recognize the premise immediately: lost toy comes to life and loyally sets out on a journey to find its kid. But stuffed in between those points are poignant moments and reflections about life, family, and being.

The film isn’t also afraid to touch on darker themes, so if you’ve always wished for a slightly more mature but still kid-friendly version of this narrative—and if you’re a fan of the likes of Paddington the Velveteen Rabbit—then you’ll enjoy Lost Ollie.

Our staff rating: 8.4/10
Genre: Animation, Drama, Family
Actor: Gina Rodriguez, Jake Johnson, Jonathan Groff, Kesler Talbot, Mary J. Blige, Tim Blake Nelson
Rating: TV-PG

The Diplomat

It’s amazing how shows fueled only by fast talk can feel as gripping as any thriller out there. The Diplomat is cerebral and heavy on geopolitical jargon, but somehow, it manages to feel genuinely exciting, each new episode impossible to not play next. Thanks is due in large part to Keri Russell who, fresh out of her incredible stint in The Americans, returns here as messy and intense and endearing as ever. 

On the one hand, The Diplomat is about the delicacy of diplomacy, about how every decision made at this level has ripples of consequences throughout the globe. But it’s also, amusingly, a marriage story. Russell plays a woman who has long been defined by her more renowned if a bit egotistical husband, played perfectly by Rufus Sewell. They have a complex relationship that is as much of a career partnership as it is a romantic one, and part of the show’s charm is blending this story arc with the main one. 

Fans of West Wing, Veep, and Homeland will find much to like in this series, not least of all are the informative takes and worthwhile performances. 

Our staff rating: 8.4/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Ali Ahn, Ato Essandoh, David Gyasi, Keri Russell, Rory Kinnear, Rufus Sewell
Rating: TV-MA

This World Can’t Tear Me Down

This World Can’t Tear Me Down is a timely release on friendship, punk, and anti-fascism. From the Italian cartoonist Zerocalcare, his second Netflix show shifts his musings over mental health to his experiences with regard to the country's rising neo-Nazism. As xenophobia tears his friend group, it's easy to feel the fear and self-doubt Zero's cartoon counterpart feels. It's easy as well to empathize with Sarah and Cesare, characters failed by the system around them. In many ways, they themselves feel like they haven't met their potential. But the show suggests that perhaps status and achievement aren’t what being successful is all about– it's about holding onto principles. Through punk soundtracks and shifts between stop motion and 90s cartoon style, This World Can't Tear Me Down captures the millennial generation's bewilderment, as well as their hope.

Our staff rating: 8.4/10
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama
Actor: Valerio Mastandrea, Zerocalcare
Rating: 16

Carol & the End of the World

The end of the world isn’t the most optimistic thing to think about, but the scenario leads you to thinking about unrealized dreams, pleasures, and aspirations: the way you want your life to be, if things have gone the way they planned. Dan Guterman, from Community and Rick and Morty, reimagines this idea in Carol and the End of the World. Carol is that mundane, downright boring character that we wouldn’t take notice of in real life, only because she actively chooses the ordinary life, but this show is extraordinary, shifting perspectives and even genres between episodes, taking unexpected turns, and celebrating the day-to-day monotony of life.

Our staff rating: 8.4/10
Genre: Animation, Comedy
Actor: Beth Grant, Kimberly Hebert Gregory, Lawrence Pressman, Martha Kelly, Mel Rodriguez
Rating: TV-MA

Youth of May

Youth of May is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a straightforward spring-set coming-of-age drama where young adults chase after their dreams, if they have any, and try to figure out what they want otherwise. Like plenty of other K-dramas, this usually involves a romance. But in between the ordinary romance, life strikes. Students fight for democracy, and at the time, the government cracked down on them brutally, but because the show spent time getting to know Myung-hee and Hui-tae, the consequences of these events make it all the more poignant. Youth of May reminds us of the humanity behind the brave students that fought for South Korea’s democracy, and the lives that have been tragically cut short for it.

Our staff rating: 8.4/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Geum Sae-rok, Go Min-si, Lee Do-hyun, Lee Sang-yi, Oh Man-seok

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