26 Netflix TV Shows You Didn’t Know Were Streaming


Editor’s Note: This post is updated monthly. Bookmark this page and come back every month to see what unknown classics are being added to Netflix.

Updated for August 2017

Netflix does a good job of knowing exactly what you want to watch. Thanks to their ever-changing algorithm, there’s no need to scroll too far in any category. If you just went through a break-up and then fired up your Netflix account, there would be dozens of episodes of Gilmore Girls waiting for you on the front page under the category “TV Shows For People Whose Hearts Have Been Pooped On.”

But Netflix’s excellent algorithm also short-changes the hundreds of shows buried deep in the unspoken Netflix purgatory. There’s simply too much content on the steaming giant for it to all be easily displayed and readily available.

With that in mind, here are 25 shows you didn’t know were on Netflix. Some are favorites from your past you’ve forgotten and some are shows you simply had no idea existed. Regrettably, none of them are Jack and Bobby.

The Wonder Years

Talk about a show ahead of its time. Freaks and Geeks rightfully gets a lot of acclaim for touchingly depicting the experience of growing up through a now bygone time period. But…that’s also exactly what The Wonder Years is. 

The Wonder Years is perfectly watchable, wholesome and capable of occasional feats of complete emotional devastation.

Magic School Bus

Recapture the excitement of seeing the VCR unit being rolled in to your 5th grade classroom. Also watch it just to confirm that Arnold removing his helmet in outer space wasn’t just a half-remembered fever dream.


Smallville sent off a chain reaction of TV properties that sought to show the early years of popular fictional icons. In some ways, current CW shows like The Flash represent the natural conclusion to the phenomenon.

But of all the post-Smallville properties, the BBC’s Merlin is undoubtedly among the best. For some fans, Colin Morgan’s depiction of the legendary Merlin is the definitive one.


Sure, there are no fewer than five Pokemon TV franchises on Netflix, and I’m sure you could watch those…if you want to deprive yourself of the Digi-goodness. Pokemon is a more successful and entertaining franchise than Digimon in every way save for the original TV series.

BlackWarGreymon’s struggles to reconcile his own existence taught me everything I need to know about existential angst as a ten year old.


Syfy may have lost some of its credibility when it insisted on spelling its network name like a LOLcat, but Ascension is the real deal. This is the kind of syfy sci-fi drama for people who want an ever-shifting mystery full of twists to chase down each episode.

The Returned

Ignore the bad taste left in your mouth by the American remake, the French original Les Revenants is the real deal. Horror is subjective and I don’t think The Returned would claim to being outright terrifying but with its dull colors, muted soundtrack and sweeping shots of lonely, fog-filled French countryside, it’s about as creepy as poignant as television can be. 


Hey, it’s Donal Logue again! Terriers is almost a joke in the critical community* for how enthusiastically critics like to recommend it. Having said that…I enthusiastically recommend Terriers! It’s clear why Terriers failed to find an audience. The name makes no sense and there’s no easy way to categorize or explain its surfy SoCal Sherlock Holmes tone. But it’s really fun, I promise. And it’s only one, 13-episode season. There’s no excuse not to watch Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James solve crimes in a fictional-ish Southern California coastal town.

*Inasmuch as there is a critical community. I don’t know if Emily Nussbaum and Todd VanDerWerff hang out at trade shows in Des Moines.


Don’t you wish you could just re-start Breaking Bad from the beginning and watch it again for the first time? Well now you kind of can. Metastasis ithe Spanish language Breaking Bad remake from Colombia starring science teacher-turned-drug-lord Walter Blanco. It’s pretty remarkable just how closely Metastasis follows the original, right down to the exact same number of episodes.

The Chicago Code

For some reason, network television is obsessed with human beings working relatively normal jobs in Chicago. Right now Dick Wolf is trying to do for Chicago what Law and Order did for New York. You owe it to yourself to check out Fox’s “People doing stuff in Chicago” effort from back in 2011: The Chicago Code. It’s from The Shield’s Shawn Ryan and stars Jason Clarke as a Polish-American homicide detective in Chicago. I’m still not sure why Jason Clarke isn’t a giant movie star, and you’ll ask the same question after watching The Chicago Code.

Danger 5

After the British invasion of good science fiction and the Canadian polite invasion of excellent comedies, one of the only untapped markets for good English-speaking television remains Australia. The action comedy, Danger 5 with all its Men’s adventure pulp magazine leanings is a good place to start.

Just check out some of the episode names from the first season: “Lizard Soldiers Of The Third Reich,” “Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace” and “Fresh Meat For Hitler’s Sex Kitchen.” 

The Clone Wars

Pretty soon Star Wars will return to movie theaters to melt faces and reaffirm childhoods everywhere. But the discerning entertainment consumer knows that the Star Wars universe has been producing high-quality content since 2008. 

The Clone Wars features all the A-team and B-team characters from the prequels but is far more darkly funny and just plain dark than the prequels could have hoped to be. Outside of Knights of the Old Republic, there may not be a Star Wars property that captures the nature of Jedi and Sith better.

The Inbetweeners

The Inbetweeners would have at one point been too high profile for this list. For several years it was a mainstay of Netflix’s “Popular on Netflix” lists. Now that time has passed, however, The Inbetweeners has retired peacefully to Netflix purgatory. If you haven’t yet seen it though you’ve got to wade into purgatory to check it out. 

The Inbetweeners is one of the best high school* comedies ever. It captures everything that’s important about being a teenage boy: the awkwardness, the confusion, the pain, the gutbustingly hilarious and the occasional…VERY occasional triumph.

*Or primary school or college or whatever high school is called in the U.K.

Blue Mountain State

Let’s say hypothetically you support a pro football team that is currently 2-8* as of this writing, has not won an important game in nearly two decades and is known more as an extended modern art performance on institutional dysfunction than an actual football team.

Let’s just say all that hypothetically.

Then you might be inclined to watch a funny 4-season comedy about the drug-fueled misadventures of a hapless college football team… just to remind yourself that football is supposed to be a fun lark and Art Modell cannot hurt you anymore.

*2017 update: Browns went 1-15. Goodness.

I’ll Have What Phil’s Having

Television is lousy with great travel and food shows. Anthony Bourdain, himself, has rendered almost every other  entrant into the genre obsolete…almost. I’ll Have What Phil’s Having is charming because it features someone relatively new to the whole travel and food game. And the fact that that someone is also the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond doesn’t hurt.


Did you know Andy Samberg starred in a BBC sitcom about a weed-smoking American hippie who marries into a conservative British family of great wealth and privilege? Me neither! And I know every word of “Lazy Sunday!” Cuckoo will soon be getting its own American adaptation starring Michael Chiklis and Cheryl Hines. Get in on the ground floor now and stick around for an inspired bit of casting in season two.

Breaking the Magician’s Code: Magic’s Biggest Secret’s Finally Revealed

In the time before a fully-realized mainstream Internet and Google search engines, Breaking the Magician’s Code was the most mind-shattering piece of media imaginable to a young kid. I remember getting so hyped every time I flipped through channels and saw “The Masked Magician” with his goofy mask, never-ending roster of beautiful women and willingness to to reveal the answer to magicians’ tricks that were not yet easily Google-able. Now that Breaking the Magician’s Code is on Netflix, watch it to see just how many of the tricks you already know the resolution to.

Degrassi: Next Class

Much like there should always be a Stark in Winterfell, there should always be a Degrassi on Netflix. This latest iteration is the fifth in the Canadian high school drama franchise and follows a group of youngsters as they navigate through the perils of youth. Granted, there has never been a school as devastating busy and dramatic as Degrassi High but there are lessons to be had all the same.

Chill with Bobb Ross/Bob Ross: Beauty is Everywhere

In the transition from traditional TV to streaming TV culture, it originally seemed that the low-maintenance, non-scripted “weird” public shows of our childhood wouldn’t make the cut. Thankfully that’s not the case as Bob Ross and his happy trees are now available as background noise to keep our heart-rates down and our brains full of easily-manageable art.


British writer/actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge is having a moment now thanks to her brilliant Amazon series Fleabag. It’s Netflix, however, where one can find her television debut: Crashing. Crashing, which debuted only six months before Fleabag, is another wonderfully hilarious and emotionally fraught six-episode journey this time about six twenty-somethings as they squat in an abandoned hospital under the guise of being its “property guardians.”

Malcolm in the Middle

Malcolm in the Middle is the forgotten stepchild of early 2000s classic comedy, which is fitting as its essentially a show about a smart kid who at times feels forgotten and isolated, himself. Sweet, genuine and undeniably funny, Malcolm in the Middle remains a pleasant viewing experience, even if it did run a little long. Plus there’s this guy in it that we swear we know from somewhere else…just can’t quite place it without him wearing glasses and a black hat.

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone is an all-time television classic for good reason. Join Rod Serling each episode for a new tale of mystery, horror and woe. Whatever you do, however, do NOT drop your glasses.

Bill Nye, the Science Guy

There was no greater joy in life as a child than when your teacher wheeled in a TV with a VCR on it during science class. That meant shit was about to get real: it’s Bill Nye, the Science Guy time. Netflix now allows us to revisit those thrills in adulthood and relearn a thing or two in the process.

Girl Meets World

Girl Meets World came and went pretty quickly. It started in 2014 at the height of milennial-nostalgia programming, right around the same time that rumors surfaced of a Netflix-led Full House reboot. Fuller House has been viewership gold for Netflix but Girl Meets World never quite caught on with Disney Channel viewers and was canceled this year. Now it’s arrived on Netflix where the nostalgia hungry can relive Boy Meets World memories at their own pace.

The 4400

USA Network’s The 4400 had one of the cooler sci-fi premises on television. In the pilot episode, a ball of light mysteriously appears over the mountains of Washington and promptly deposits 4400 previously missing people back to Earth. The 4400 have been missing from various time periods dating back to 1936 and none of them have aged. The 4400 was technically cut short four seasons in but there are still 44 excellent episodes on Netflix for your viewing pleasure. Also you get to check out recent Oscar winner Mahershala Ali in an early role.

Switched at Birth

Sometimes the “You Didn’t Know Were Streaming” classification comes down to pure critical hubris. I din’t know Switched at Birth was streaming because I didn’t know it existed. And that’s a shame because this is a fun ABC Family/Freeform show that just wrapped up its fifth and final season. Switched at Birth is a Peabody winning family drama about two teenagers who were switched at birth into their respective families and grow up in massively different environments. Give it a shot and then of course listen to the This American Life episode that treads similar territory. 


Hostages comes from Israel and it’s just a tiny bit intense. Four masked men storm the home of the Danon family and demand that matriarch surgeon Yael botch her upcoming routine surgery on the Israeli Prime Minsiter, killing him. If she doesn’t follow through they’ll kill her whole family. Is that sounds familiar it’s because there was an American remake of the same name on CBS in 2013. Definitely go with the original. 

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