Netflix kickstarted the streaming phenomenon with its vast library of new and old TV shows. Here's our pick of the best stuff to watch...

Netflix has changed the way we watch television. It's true. The streaming service's arsenal of TV shows is so vast and addictive that binge-watching is now the norm.

Not only is it the home to shows that started off on other networks (Black Mirror from Channel 4, Arrested Development from Fox) and a plethora of old cult shows like Freak and Geeks and The Thick of It, Netflix's Original content consists of superb new shows like Stranger Things and House of Cards in 4K, and the mighty Marvel TV shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and the upcoming The Defenders) in glorious 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision.

With so much content on there, we've picked out some of our favourite TV shows (Full HD and 4K, old and new) on Netflix you should be watching too.

MORE: Amazon Prime Video vs Netflix: which is better?

Daredevil

Available to stream in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision.

Matt Murdock is Daredevil: lawyer by day, vigilante by night. He uses his heightened senses (he’s also blind) to solve cases and fight criminals in the crime-riddled Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City.

It’s the first of the Marvel-Netflix collaborations, and it’s a world away from the colourful, family-friendly superhero movies. Netflix’s platform allows Marvel to explore its darker heroes (or anti-heroes) and storylines, allowing a more faithful adaption of the source material. It captures the tone perfectly.

Daredevil is dark – visually and tonally – and brutally violent in a way that’s both thrilling and shocking (you actually see blood - hooray!).

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s impact is referred to offhandedly, but Daredevil is a much more personal, human and complicated story, with Matt trying to help people and get rid of criminal underworld boss Wilson Fisk, all the while dealing with personal demons. And ex-girlfriends. And ninjas.

The writing is mature, the characters are compelling (Karen Page, Foggy Nelson and The Punisher are particular highlights) and it looks gorgeous: in 4K HDR, the dark, gloomy palette and incredibly choreographed bloody fight scenes are nail-bitingly tense.

Standout scene: That hallway fight scene from the second episode of series one.

Words by Kashfia Kabir

Stranger Things

Available to stream in 4K.

A missing kid, a secret government lab, a grumpy town sheriff, a girl with supernatural powers, bikes, Dungeons & Dragons and walkie-talkies.

It ticks all the 80s Spielberg-era film tropes, but the Duffer brothers (Mike and Ross - writers, producers and directors of the show) veer away from saccharine pastiche and instead deliver a well-written, tightly woven plot that’s as exciting and involving as it is filled with pop culture, sci-fi, horror and music nods from the 80s.

But what really gets you truly invested in the show are the characters. From the core cast of extremely likeable kids to Winona Ryder’s worried mother, they’re established so quickly you know them, like them and are invested in their lives right from episode one.

Despite the short run, the show manages to tie up the main plot satisfyingly by the eighth episode – but leaves just enough loose threads dangling to draw us back into series two. We can’t wait.

Scene stealer: Dustin Henderson. Young actor Gaten Matarazzo is adorable, hilarious, gets all the best lines, and his real-life cleidocranial dysplasia (which causes him to lisp) being written into his character gives the show an authenticity that makes us love the kid all the more.

Words by Kashfia Kabir

Better Call Saul

Available to stream in 4K.

One of the many charms of Breaking Bad was the vivid nature of its characters, be they pivotal or periphery. And as such, it was crying out for a spin-off series.

The backstory of uber-shallow attorney Saul Goodman (who’s known by his given name of Jimmy McGill throughout series one and two, only adopting a corruption of “ ’s’all good, man” after his latest brush with disbarment towards the end of series three), sure enough, is compelling.

Broadly, there are three stories being told. That of a lawyer; an ex-policeman turned private investigator/hitman; and an ambitious member of a methamphetamine gang.

Through, the storytelling is fast, tight, dramatic and humorous. Picture quality – Better Call Saul is shot, scanned, mastered and edited in 4K – is lustrous and prodigiously detailed. As a demonstration of what 4K can be, you can’t do much better.

Scene stealer: It’s Michael McKean’s Chuck McGill – envious and resentful of his little brother’s seemingly Teflon ability to avoid the trouble he surely deserves – who emerges as the single most compelling character. Capable and successful, he’s nevertheless reduced to stomach-clenching anxiety almost at the mention of his brother’s name.

Words by Simon Lucas

Glow

Available to stream in 4K HDR and Vision.

Yes, that’s ‘GLOW’ rather than ‘Glow’, because it’s an acronym for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling which, would you believe, was an entirely real professional wrestling series in the 1980s. Well, ‘real’ in the same way that WWE is ‘real’, which is to say scripted and ridiculous and not ‘real’ at all.

This 10-part Netflix comedy-drama casts Community’s Alison Brie as a struggling actor turned unlikely wrestler who, through a series of unfortunate and painfully embarrassing events, finds herself cast as GLOW’s chief baddie. Her former best friend becomes her arch nemesis both in and out of the ring.

This is an extremely funny and silly show, with more slapstick than The Three Stooges in a rake factory, but it’s also poignant and offers a really unusual, interesting take on the experiences of women in the US after the women’s movement of the ‘70s.

It also looks utterly fabulous, particularly in 4K HDR. And on a decent system, with the sights and sounds of the ‘80s wrestling scene proving a gaudy but grimy, nostalgic trip, it sounds great too.

Scene stealer: Preposterous producer Bash dresses up the wrestlers in an attempt to steer them towards more obvious characters while director Sam fights for his fantastical vision for GLOW in a scene (from episode three, The Wrath of Kuntar) that typifies the show’s combination of LOLs and social commentary.

Words by Tom Parsons

House of Cards

Available to stream in 4K.

This one’s fun. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are the dastardly husband and wife duo scrabbling their way to the very top of US politics – whatever the cost. Philandering, extortion, blackmail, murder – it’s all in a day’s work for Spacey’s US Representative Frank Underwood. And his wife is equally lacking in morality…

Fine acting from a great cast, a number of characters with a bit of depth to them to go along with the undoubted caricatures and, of course, the fascinating stage that is American politics, mean this series is a winner on many counts.

An adaptation of the BBC’s miniseries of the same name (also worth checking out on Netflix), this is 4K TV at its finest – a fast-paced riot of drama and colour. The five series will just fly by.

Scene stealer: Kevin Spacey’s obvious relish in his role as he breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience is a never-ending delight.

Words by Jonathan Evans

Rick and Morty

Available to stream in Full HD.

How do you even begin to explain a show like Rick and Morty?

In its simplest form, it’s an adult animated series following the adventures of mad scientist Rick and his teenage grandson Morty as they go on interdimensional adventures.

But it’s so, so much more than that. It’s the zaniest, most nihilistic, surreal and bizarre animated show ever. Rick (an alcoholic, egomaniacal genius) and his Machiavellian schemes always land the easily distressed Morty (and often, the world) in some form of hideous mortal danger.

The dimensions they pass through and the creatures they meet are beyond surreal – to the point where you don’t know whether to applaud the creators’ inventiveness or wonder if they need a bit of a lie-down. There are so many one-liners, sight gags and sly references it would take dozens of repeat viewings before you caught them all. It’s such an inventive, densely packed yet humorous show it becomes its own mad creation.

And amongst all this, they manage to tackle teen romance, divorce, betrayal, abandonment and existential crises as Morty’s domestic family life is torn apart because of Rick’s selfish actions. It’s great.

Standout scene: Oh man, all of them. Just watch them all. Right now.

Words by Kashfia Kabir

More after the break

Power

Available to stream in 4K.

Sex, drugs and 50 Cent – but don’t let that put you off. The rapper may have bankrolled production, and he plays his not-insignificant part capably, but Power is much more interesting than the generic ‘guns and gangstas’ drama it may appear at first glance.

Omari Hardwick is excellent as ‘good guy’ New York drug kingpin James ‘Ghost’ St. Patrick, whose attempts at going straight seem destined to be thwarted at every turn – not least by himself.

Naturi Naughton, as the power behind the throne, and Joseph Sikora, as Ghost’s brother in arms, both manage to portray the dichotomy of the double life with aplomb, as the crew juggles running an international crime syndicate with family life and, in the case of Ghost, an affair with an FBI agent. And all while the net is closing…

The story moves along at an impressive pace, helped by multiple plot twists, a steady turnover of supporting characters, and a solid hip-hop soundtrack.

Scene stealer: Enrique Murciano plays the unhinged, impossible-to-read, ready-to-shoot-you-at-any-second drug kingpin Felipe Lobos. As with so many great villains, he’s equal parts hilarious and terrifying.

Words by Joe Cox

Jessica Jones

Available to stream in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision.

The sister show to Daredevil, Jessica Jones is even less superhero-ish and goes even darker at times. It’s not quite as bloody, but the themes of sex, rape and PTSD are more disturbing, and the noir cinematography makes it look like it’s always raining.

Jessica Jones is a former superhero turned private investigator, whose sarcasm, drinking and misanthropic, tough-girl attitude hide a past trauma that comes back to haunt her.

Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg crafts a show that doesn’t shy away from dealing with difficult topics, and balances bar fights and mind-control powers with female relationships, friendships and violence.

Jessica may not be entirely likeable, but her wry humour and the occasional glimpse of her deep affection for best friend Trish makes her a female anti-hero worth rooting for. Also, actress Krysten Ritter’s eye-rolls at anything that annoys her are a thing of beauty.

Scene stealer: David Tennant as the sleazy, creepy, purple-suited villain Kilgrave who stalks Jessica is a walking, living nightmare.

Words by Kashfia Kabir

Marco Polo

Available to stream in 4K HDR and Vision.

As far as streaming 4K HDR content goes, Marco Polo came in pretty much at the source. The show, one of the trailblazers for the new technologies, made its Netflix debut in December 2014. It may fall short of the best as far as plot and script go (although it’s a perfectly fun ride, for all its sins), but visually it is entirely stunning.

Our titular hero finds himself at the Mongol court of Kublai Khan. At first a prisoner, Marco soon proves his worth to the Khan and gains his trust – although, inevitably, he manages to wind up a number of the great ruler’s closest confidants along the way. A reasonably entertaining, satisfyingly gory romp – that is absolutely lovely to look at – ensues.

Standout scene: There are too many to count, really, as far as the show’s ability to demonstrate 4K and HDR – the scenes in the throne room, though, properly highlight the technologies’ abilities with contrast and colour depth.

Words by Jonathan Evans

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Available to stream in Full HD.

A ‘holistic detective’ is someone that believes everything in the universe is interconnected and uses apparently random information to solve mysteries. Dirk Gently is – surprise! – our holistic detective. He's a bubblingly optimistic, occasionally grating, semi-psychic who ropes in Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood) as his reluctant sidekick.

Without giving away too much of the plot – holistically, any information given could be considered a spoiler, right? – there are enough government conspiracies, pseudo-vampires, assassins, debilitating illnesses and good old-fashioned lies to be getting on with, and all the characters are surprisingly endearing.

It’s a different kind of show from the BBC Four adaptation of Douglas Adams’s book – it’s the same distinction as between the British and American versions of The Office. It’s a bit bigger, more bombastic, and with much more razzle-dazzle.

Scene stealer: Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently (or, more accurately, the stylish yellow coat that he sports. Hopefully the coat will get its own spin-off).

Words by Adam Smith

The Crown

Available to stream in 4K.

Checklist of an award-winning series: A star cast? Check. Love? Check. Secrecy? Check. A royal seal from HRH Queen Elizabeth herself? Check.

Based on the Laurence Olivier Award-winning play The Audience, The Crown replays the life of our current monarch from her 1950’s coronation and life during the early 20th century. Delving behind closed doors, the production shows the trials and tribulations The Queen has endured, how she challenged critics and traditional values that had set her up to fail, and kept the monarchy relevant in a fast developing post-war Britain.

Scene stealer: The exquisite costumes. The set design. It's the most expensive Netflix-produced show to date (around £100 million!) and Peter Morgan's brilliantly executed cinematography and lavish production is a sight to behold.

Words by Kayleigh Pavelin

Cowboy Bebop

Available to stream in Full HD.

Cowboy Bebop follows the misadventures of four intergalactic bounty hunters as they look to bag fugitives as they buy something, anything, to eat.

That’s one of the great things about Cowboy Bebop. It’s not about saving the galaxy, it’s just four people hustling for a living.

Creator Shinichiro Watanabe brings depth to these characters, shading in their back-stories and developing their relationships to the point whereby when the last episode comes – and 26 episodes are never, ever, enough – you’ll be sad there’s no more. It’s a series that borrows from sources too numerous to list but, like Yoko Kanno’s truly outstanding soundtrack, it synthesises these styles into one mesmerising whole.

There hasn’t been anything like Bebop and there likely never will be.

Scene stealer: There are some stunning moments, but the opening and final credits set the tone for this unique show.

Words by Kobina Monney

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Available to stream in 4K.

Based on the 13-book series by Lemony Snicket, this weird gothic comedy follows three orphans Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire as they flit from guardian to guardian in the hopes of escaping the nefarious Count Olaf, who is looking to steal the Baudelaire’s enormous fortune left to them by their late parents.

It’s a jolly romp from stylised location to location, with the occasional threat of child murder to keep you interested.

There’s a thread of nostalgia running through it too, reminding you how it felt when impossible adults were unable to see the world as you did, even if it was blindingly obvious – much like how the Baudelaire’s are constantly unable to convince anyone of the danger they’re in.

Come for the weird mesh of time periods that is its aesthetic, stay for the cynical narration and the mystery of the secret society behind the orphan’s strife.

Scene stealer: Neil Patrick Harris as the villainous Count Olaf, and his multitudinous musical numbers about his own ego.

Words by Adam Smith

Bojack Horseman

Available to stream in Full HD.

Bojack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett) is an actor (and a horse) famous for a past TV role on a popular show (Horsin' Around). He's rich and professionally unfulfilled, with a laundry list of character defects.

Bojack is a more mature comedy than you might expect, functioning as satire on Hollywood with a sense of humour that plumbs some unfathomably sad depths. But don’t let that put you off. It’s also a deft comedy (with some star names lending their voices), frequently hilarious and gives something more to chew on than your typical zany animated humour.

Standout scene: The trippy opening credits.

Words by Kobina Monney

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Available to stream in Full HD.

The longest-running show you’ve never heard of (unless you have), It’s Always Sunny... has racked up 134 episodes of hilarity in its twelve-year lifespan.

It’s a feat made all the more impressive by the two-dimensionality of the characters and setting: four narcissistic young adults (and Danny Devito) run a failing dive bar in Philadelphia. And that’s about it. There’s no real depth or development and they rarely get that far from the bar.

But the situations are just so stupid and the characters so amusingly unpleasant it just never gets dull. It’s even funny enough to outweigh the pain of having to watch the first couple of seasons in fuzzy 4:3. Just don’t go in expecting anything even vaguely high-brow.

Scene stealer: You’ve not lived until you’ve seen Danny Devito being birthed by a sofa and walking naked through an office Christmas party in series six.

Words by Tom Parsons

Master of None

Available to stream in 4K.

Aziz Ansari’s Master of None is comedy in the vein of Woody Allen’s best efforts. It’s a series with an insightful perspective, one that’s about the moments in life taken for granted or not appreciated.

It speaks to a generation that’s still finding its way through life. Taking on a number of issues, it’s to Ansari and his writers’ credit that it never feels too preachy, offering realistic (and amusing) observations about life, whether it’s about relationships, prejudice or sexism. It’s a comedy with a sharp sense of storytelling.

Perhaps the worse thing is the wait for the next series to drop.

Standout scene: Des’s haute couture taste for food.

Words by Kobina Monney

Black Mirror

Available to stream in 4K.

Every episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror can be summarised as: “What if [insert technology here], but more and bad?”

That’s not a criticism of the show, though; each episode is a healthy mix of entertaining and emotionally distressing, showing us what would happen if our technologically infused lifestyle took one wrong turn.

The variety between episodes, even if they’re on the same general theme, means that every single one has a different tone. And there are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing up until the final minute (and sometimes, into the mid-credits sting).

For those waiting for a programme that will make them paranoid about the developments the next few decades might bring, look no further.

Standout scene: Every single darn scene in ‘San Junipero’, for its 1970-80s aesthetic, the range of characters, and heartfelt bombshells. It’s the least technological and the most emotional episode of Black Mirror yet.

Words by Adam Smith