The best shows to check out on Netflix

Chris Forrester, Staff Writer

As fall weather sets in and sweater weather rolls in, the need becomes greater and greater for a new show to binge on Netflix (even if you’ll have to save the binging for outside of school). So grab a cozy blanket and some snacks and curl up in front of your TV to enjoy our picks for the best shows currently streaming on Netflix:


  1. Sherlock

Okay, so you may have been a tad bit skeptical when your Benedict Cumberbatch-obsessed friend told you to watch the BBC series “Sherlock,” but believe it or not, it’s actually kind of astoundingly great. Sure, it takes a dip in quality after the second season– the third is a bit messy and the christmas special is downright atrocious– but the first two seasons are about as good as it gets as far as serialized TV crime dramas go. It’s a modernized version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic “Sherlock Holmes” novels, and while that premise alone is endlessly fascinating, each of the nine episodes (you’ll binge through them in no time) offers a uniquely captivating, endlessly thrilling mystery. The twists are top notch and the narratives, some loosely adapted from Doyle’s stories, some entirely original, are loads of fun. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman ooze chemistry as Sherlock and Mr. Watson, each imbuing his character with oodles of charisma and depth, and the other cast regulars deliver astounding performances as well. Watch it once, fall in love, and watch it again– “Sherlock” is a rare gem.


  1. Firefly


Despite directing the smash hit that was 2012’s “The Avengers” and creating the widely beloved “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Joss Whedon’s early 2000s cult hit “Firefly” is arguably his magnum opus. An interplanetary sci-fi romp with loads of character, the series follows Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), captain of the cargo-smuggling vessel Serenity, and his lovable crew of misfits as they enact their interplanetary mischief. Setting a band of outlaws as the protagonists for the series at once differentiates the show from just about every other onscreen work of science fiction, and by imbuing the series with that unique western flavor– “Firefly” is often quite aptly described as “a western in space”– gives it loads of personality. The characters are tons of fun and the stories never fail to entertain; it’s a darn shame that Fox cancelled the series after its first season, but the single season and follow-up film are among the most unique and memorable entries to the science fiction genre in a number of years. If it’s something dazzling and imaginative you’re looking for, “Firefly” ought to do the trick.


  1. Grace and Frankie


Most sitcoms tend to err on the side of tacky and generic, with indistinguishable premises and tired, overused jokes, but Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie” differentiates itself from all of them with two fantastically likeable performances by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin and loads of heart. The series picks up as the husbands of the titular duo reveal to them that their long-time business partnership has turned into a serious relationship, and as Grace and Frankie’s lives begin to fall apart they find themselves overcoming their former hostility towards one another in favor of a deep and blossoming friendship. Amongst an abundance of laughs and plenty of charm, the series deals with oh-so-timely themes of love and acceptance, and avoids the usual trappings of TV dramedies by serving up an immensely heartwarming and consistently engaging story. The jokes occasionally fall flat, and the show’s episodic nature can infrequently grow tiresome, but more often than not “Grace and Frankie” is a fun and charming watch.


  1. Daredevil


The comic book/superhero genre has grown a bit tiresome over the years, what with the ceaseless stream of generally uniform action blockbusters released by each major studio in the business each year. But where the films churned out by Marvel and DC have grown formulaic in nature, “Daredevil,” Marvel’s small-screen adaptation of the titular sightless hero, offers an immensely refreshing and overall very solid narrative in the form of an action-packed miniseries. Additionally, where the films tend to focus on levity and action spectacle, “Daredevil” prioritizes characters and story above action– although when it delivers action, it does so spectacularly. Charlie Cox works wonders in the lead role of Matt Murdock, lawyer by day and masked vigilante by night, turning in an impressively nuanced performance for a superhero piece, and opposite him Vincent D’Onofrio delivers an adequately eccentric, at times spine-chilling performance as villain Wilson Fisk. Although at times the series’ pacing is a bit off (a few episodes are devoid almost entirely of the action and adrenaline that power the series), it’s overall an excellent miniseries throughout both of its two seasons, and it offers comic book fans an edgier and more mature adaptation of a beloved character and some pulse-pounding action sequences to boot. “Daredevil” is a surefire success.


  1. Stranger Things


If you haven’t at least heard of the Netflix original series “Stranger Things,” it’s likely because you’ve spent the past couple of months with your head under a rock. If you haven’t checked it out yet, then a) you’re doing yourself a tremendous disservice and b) you should drop everything and do it. “Stranger Things,” set in 1983 in a small Southern Indiana town, follows close friends Mike, Dustin, and Lucas as they investigate the mysterious disappearance of their friend Will and its potential connections to the appearance of a mysterious young girl with supernatural abilities, a top-secret government lab, and a monstrous creature. The Duffer brothers’ series is an 80s throwback in its purest form, and if that’s not already appealing enough, the top-notch performances (from child actors, no less), the consistently gripping script, and the series creators’ clear love for all things classic science fiction supply more than enough entertainment for viewers of all sorts. At only eight episodes in length, it makes for an extraordinarily easy binge, and with the constant mystery of its narrative you’ll find it hard to take your eyes off of. Top that off with a genuinely lovable cast of characters, portrayed superbly by a truly excellent cast, and prime 80s sci-fi callbacks to the works of Spielberg and Stephen King, “Stranger Things” is an absolute delight. It may just be the very best thing Netflix has to offer.