Best Netflix Shows and Original Series to Watch in October 2021

It’s the weekend, or a sick day, or just a regular Tuesday night, and you need to binge-watch something. You don’t just want it, you need it. Where to begin? Fear not — we’re here to help. Below you’ll find an ever-expanding recommended list of TV shows available on Netflix, curated by us TV-obsessives. The mix covers a myriad of genres, lengths, countries of origins, and much more, but the one thing they have in common is that they are all excellent. If you want the full monty, peruse our picks for the best series and TV shows on Netflix right now below.

Editor's note: This article was last updated on November 12 to add "Crash Landing on You."

RELATED: Here's What's New on Netflix in August 2021

Crash Landing on You

Created by: Park Ji-eun

Cast: Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Kim Jung-hyun, Seo Ji-hye

It's a tale as old as time — a successful South Korean businesswoman and heiress goes paragliding and winds up crashing in the North Korean section of the DMZ, where she ultimately crosses paths with a North Korean army captain. Rather than turn her in, however, he decides to help her hide out, and if you've seen any kind of romantic TV before, you know where this is going. A lot of Netflix viewers found this K-drama over the COVID lockdown period because, as it turns out, some of us really want to follow along with not only one of the best romantic K-dramas out there but one of the most epic love stories you'll ever see on TV, period. - Carly Lane

You

Created by: Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble (developed from the books by Caroline Kepnes)

Cast: Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Shay Mitchell, Ambyr Childers, Victoria Pedretti, James Scully, Saffron Burrows, Tati Gabrielle, Shalita Grant, Travis Van Winkle, Dylan Arnold, Scott Speedman

After Badgley's very memorable curtain call on Gossip Girl, the question of his next TV project was definitely circling around — but thanks to being cast as the sociopathic lead of You, he may have just found his true calling (not to mention cornered the market on a rather pleasing talent at voiceovers). As Joe Goldberg, Badgley has to walk the line between seduction and obsession, with the audience privy to every single one of his most intimate thoughts about his latest romantic fixation — no matter how disturbing. Initially enjoying a brief stint on Lifetime, You found new life on Netflix, where it has remained ever since and continues to remain one of the streamer's most popular titles; it was renewed for a fourth season before the third even aired this year. - Carly Lane

Dear White People

Created by: Justin Simien

Cast: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton, Antoinette Robertson, John Patrick Amedori, Ashley Blaine Featherson, Marque Richardson, Jemar Michael, Courtney Sauls

From its deeply felt, character-driven stories to its hilarious pop culture parodies, Dear White People might have originally inspired controversy thanks to the title, but it represents a smart and unique voice in the TV space that goes well beyond the conversations about race it inspires. But those conversations are welcome and valid and nuanced in how they approach the topic from individual points-of-view, which combined with the occasional deviation into alternate realities or other genre-bending escapades makes for sometimes heartfelt, sometimes hilarious viewing. - Liz Shannon Miller

One Day at a Time

Developed by: Gloria Calderón Kellett and Mike Royce

Cast: Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, Stephen Tobolowsky, Rita Moreno

One of the best examples yet of why sitcom reboots aren't automatically the worst, this 21st century reimagining of a Norman Lear favorite was a topical, heartfelt, progressive, and hilarious addition to the Netflix line-up that Netflix sadly canceled after three seasons. (A fourth was aired by PopTV.) Focused on a struggling Cuban-American family living in East Los Angeles, the series soared thanks to rock-solid lead Justine Machado, with of course Rita Moreno stealing hearts and minds and scenes with every moment she's on screen. Plus, future stars Isabella Gomez and Marcel Ruiz proved that young people in sitcoms can be just as whip-smart and compelling as their adult counterparts. We might never get more of One Day at a Time, but it's the kind of show that taught us to appreciate what we got. - Liz Shannon Miller

The Baby-Sitters Club

Created by: Rachel Shukert

Cast: Sophie Grace, Momona Tamada, Shay Rudolph, Malia Baker, Alicia Silverstone, Mark Feuerstein, Xochitl Gomez, Vivian Watson, Kyndra Sanchez, Anais Lee

Based on the iconic books by Ann M. Martin, The Baby-Sitters Club offers up a fresh and smart look at the lives of young women that never felt pandering or false, anchored by the dynamite casting that brought together a brilliant ensemble who felt real, engaged, and unique. Those who grew up reading about the adventures of Kristy, Mary-Anne, Stacey, Dawn, and Claudia have no reason to feel disappointed by showrunner Rachel Shukert's take on their stories, while an entirely new generation gets to know these wonderful girls, with their stories going even deeper in Season 2. - Liz Shannon Miller

Maid

Created by: Molly Smith Metzler

Cast: Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose, Tracy Vilar, Billy Burke, Andie MacDowell

A deeply emotional drama that does feature surprising bursts of comedy, Maid features Margaret Qualley as a young woman struggling to reclaim her life after finally deciding to leave her abusive ex (Nick Robinson). Creator Molly Smith Metzler manages to make Alex's difficulties with the intense bureaucracy of the American welfare system relatable and engaging, and Qualley's performance is truly remarkable, especially when she bounces off her real-life mother Andie MacDowell. It's a short, cathartic, and ultimately uplifting narrative — a binge you'll feel good about afterwards. - Liz Shannon Miller

Seinfeld

Created by: Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld

Cast: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander

What's it about? The long answer is, well, soup puffy shirts answering machines sandwiches the sponge Festivus a festivus for the rest of us buttons boobs that are real and spectactular parking garages the glue on wedding invitation envelopes pez dispensers junior mints Schindler's List muffin tops NBC sitcom development Serenity Now...

The short version: Nothing. - Liz Shannon Miller

Broadchurch

Created by: Chris Chibnall

Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Arthur Darvill, Carolyn Pickles, Matthew Gravelle, Charlotte Beaumont

If you're a fan of gloomy British murder shows, there's never a bad time to either discover or rewatch Broadchurch, one of the 21st century's platonic ideals of the genre. Featuring a cast that was considered great at the time but now dazzles with star power (Olivia Colman deserves, not to mention Jodie Whittaker!), the first season tracks the investigation of a young man's mysterious death, which manages to implicate everyone living in this small coastal British town as big secrets get discovered, all building up to a shocking revelation. Subsequent seasons follow the aftermath of the investigation, which aren't quite as gripping, but that first season is a cracking and compelling binge — one that stays with you. - Liz Shannon Miller

Q-Force

Created by: Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner, Gabe Liedman

Cast: Sean Hayes, Gary Cole, David Harbour, Patti Harrison, Laurie Metcalf, Matt Rogers, Wanda Sykes, Gabe Liedman

What makes Q-Force an enjoyable viewing experience is just how much fun showrunner Gabe Liedman is clearly having with the premise, about a team of LGBTQ+ secret agents trying to save the world despite the prejudices of their parent agency. With a voice cast features legends like Laurie Metcalf, Wanda Sykes, and Gary Cole alongside rising comedy talents like Patti Harrison and Matt Rogers, a metric ton of pop culture references, and an attention to detail for the world of West Hollywood that made this 20-year resident of the city sit up and applaud, Q-Force has a very specific point-of-view, and if you can tap into it a lot of fun is in store. - Liz Shannon Miller

Lucifer

Showrunners: Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich

Cast: Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro, D. B. Woodside, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Scarlett Estevez, Rachael Harris, Kevin Rankin, Tricia Helfer, Aimee Garcia, Tom Welling, Inbar Lavi, Brianna Hildebrand

The most impressive thing about Lucifer, which began as a supernatural procedural on Fox before Netflix revived it for what ended up being three additional seasons, is how the show has managed to not just survive but thrive, developing a passionate fanbase who genuinely loves the titular crime-solving devil and his friends. The newly released Season 6 officially brings the story to a close, but not before providing said fanbase with plenty of answers and some wild creative swings, including a partially-animated episode and an episode which reveals just how Lucifer (Tom Ellis) sees those who surround him. If you've never watched before, get ready to enjoy the binge — and if you're already a fan, get ready to shed a few tears. - Liz Shannon Miller

Money Heist

Created by: Álex Pina

Cast: Úrsula Corberó, Álvaro Morte, Itziar Ituño, Pedro Alonso, Paco Tous, Alba Flores, Miguel Herrán, Jaime Lorente, Esther Acebo, Enrique Arce, María Pedraza, Darko Perić, Kiti Mánver, Hovik Keuchkerian, Rodrigo de la Serna, Najwa Nimri, Luka Peroš, Belén Cuesta, Fernando Cayo

What began as a Spanish TV production has become one of the planet's biggest series thanks to Netflix — and also thanks to its incredibly compelling tale of a well-trained group of thieves who commit a truly audacious heist with the whole country watching. Originally titled La Casa de Papel, Money Heist is full of exciting intrigue and sexy twists, with a solid cast of local actors who seem destined for international stardom. Part 5, which will be released in two parts over the course of Fall 2021, features our beloved red-jumpsuit-ed heroes fighting a war for their lives. Hopefully, a happy ending is in store. - Liz Shannon Miller

The Chair

Created by: Amanda Peet

Cast: Sandra Oh, Jay Duplass, Nana Mensah, Everly Carganilla, David Morse, Holland Taylor, and Bob Balaban

We've seen countless TV shows about college students, but how about one focused on the faculty? That's the crux of The Chair, a Netflix original series created by Amanda Peet. The half-hour series stars Sandra Oh as a professor who's just been promoted to chair of the English department, and must juggle the new role with chaos left and right at the school as she tries to set a dwindling department up for success. Throw in a romantic subplot and the fact that the character is also a single mother, and The Chair is a meal of a half-hour dramedy that's sure to get you in that "fall season" spirit. — Adam Chitwood

Watch The Chair on Netflix

Manifest

Created by: Jeff Rake

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur, Matt Long, and Holly Taylor

You’ve not doubt heard the buzz, now see what all the fuss is about. Manifest first premiered on NBC in 2018, and while it earned some solid praise, ratings were steady enough that the network cancelled the series after three seasons. But right around that time the show hit Netflix, and has been lighting up the Top 10 ever since – to the point that Netflix is now in talks to pick the show up for a fourth season to continue the story. Oh yeah, the story. The show begins with passengers on a flight experiencing a bit of turbulence, only to touch down and discover that for everyone else on Earth, the flight has been missing for five years. The show delves into the mystery behind this strange occurrence, and the changes these passengers have gone through during their flight. Intrigue, sci-fi, and drama coalesce into a binge-worthy show. – Adam Chitwood

Watch Manifest on Netflix

30 Rock

Creator: Tina Fey

Cast: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Scott Adsit, and Jack McBrayer

30 Rock is one of the greatest television shows ever made, and also one of the funniest. All seven seasons of the NBC series are now streaming on Netflix, and what set this Emmy-winning show apart from the rest of the pack was the sheer number of jokes that Fey and co-showrunner Robert Carlock were able to pack into each episode. The series stars Fey as Liz Lemon, a comedy writer who's the showrunner on an SNL-like sketch series that's failing in the raitings. She's forced to add an outlandish famous comedian, played by Tracy Morgan, to the cast and spends most of the show's run becoming the unlikely protege to her conservative, corporate boss played by Alec Baldwin. This show is silly and delights in the absurd, which is preceisely what makes it so great. — Adam Chitwood

Watch 30 Rock on Netflix

Friday Night Lights

Developed by: Peter Berg

Cast: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Taylor Kitsch, Adrianne Palicki, Minka Kelly, Zach Gilford, Jesse Plemons, Gaius Charles, Scott Porter, Aimee Teegarden, Jurnee Smollett, and Michael B. Jordan

If you’ve never seen Friday Night Lights, you’re about to discover your new favorite show. This hourlong drama series takes place in Dillon, Texas where a fairly new head coach (Kyle Chandler) has been brought in to spearhead one of the most successful high school football teams in the country. This is a town where Friday night football is the be-all, end-all, and the story follows the trials and tribulations of the coach and his family, as well as the lives of his players and other high school students. The series largely eschews teen soap drama for more relatable, grounded, and emotional stories – and it’s all the better for it. Season 2 has one storyline that’s pretty shaky, but beyond that this five-season run is near-perfect and stands as one of the best TV shows of the 21st century. – Adam Chitwood

Watch Friday Night Lights on Netflix

Dead to Me

Created by: Liz Feldman

Cast: Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, James Marsden, Max Jenkins, and Sam McCarthy

Dead to Me is a hard show to explain. It’s a comedy but also a drama; a relationship-focused series but also super dark at times. But really the main selling point is this: it’s Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini being charming and sharp and devious and funny. Without delving into spoilers, the story begins when two strangers played by Applegate and Cardellini meet and bond during therapy over their shared grief. They become close confidants, but slowly secrets are revealed that change the dynamic of their relationship. The first two seasons are currently streaming, with a third and final season on the way. – Adam Chitwood

Watch Dead to Me Here

The Chef Show

If you like cooking shows but hate the facade of cooking shows, it doesn't get more genuine than The Chef Show. The brainchild of Jon Favreau, the series came about because of Favreau's apprenticeship under chef Roy Choi while doing research for his indie movie Chef. Each episode of The Chef Show finds Favreau and Choi cooking with a chef or friend, but what sets this series apart is Favreau's curiosity — he wants to know why each person is doing what they're doing, and then wants to try it himself to become a better cook. Highlights include episodes with Dave Filoni, Sam Raimi, David Chang, and Wolfgang Puck. - Adam Chitwood

Watch The Chef Show Here

Pretend It's a City

If the idea of watching Martin Scorsese and Fran Liebowitz crack each other up for half an hour sounds appealing, you'll love Pretend It's a City. While technically a docuseries, this is really more just a series of conversations with Liebowitz, a renowned author and public speaker who has lived her whole life in New York City. The two discuss their love of NYC, their hatred of tourists, and various other gripes and complaints about, well, life. It's hilarious and insightful all at once, and you'll come away eager for Liebowitz to have her own talk show. - Adam Chitwood

American Horror Story

Created by: Ryan Murphy

Cast: Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, Taissa Farmiga, Evan Peters, Dylan McDermott, and many more

If you’re in the mood for something binge-able without a huge time commitment, American Horror Story is a solid pick. Each season of the FX series is a brand new story with new characters and a new setting, and while the show is wildly inconsistent in quality, that diversity pays off in offering something for everyone. If you like haunted house stories, start with Season 1 Murder House. Into vampires? Go with Season 5 Hotel. Psychological thrillers more your speed? Season 2’s Asylum is one of the best. Choose wisely, and happy viewing! – Adam Chitwood

Happy Endings

Created by: David Caspe

Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Eliza Coupe, Damon Wayans Jr., Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, and Casey Wilson

If you’re looking for a light, fun comedy to binge that’s about friendship with a bit of a meanspirited slant, check out Happy Endings. This ABC series ran for three seasons and follows the misadventures of a group of friends living in Chicago. While this sounds like a show you’ve seen before, the ensemble cast each differentiate themselves extremely well, and the show has a bit of a New Girl meets Friends feel to it as the relationships inside the group are complicated and compelling. – Adam Chitwood

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The Collider Staff is a diverse collection of talented writers who bring a wealth of experience, thoughtfulness, and knowledge to their analysis of entertainment. Whether you want a searing hot take on the MCU or you still can’t get over that ‘Game of Thrones’ finale, Collider’s writers always approach the world of entertainment with a keen eye and a ready mind.

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