The best Netflix Canada TV shows as of 2020
Overwhelmed by the number of TV shows available on Netflix? Here are our top 22 to get you started.
If you still haven’t check out what Netflix has to offer in Canada, you’ve already waited too long. While early criticisms of Netflix’s content line-up were fair, the state of Netflix’s library of television shows in February 2020 is a very different story. Some of the best shows on television at the moment, such as Stranger Things and House of Cards, are Netflix Originals.
From political drama to 80s inspired sci-fi to the best superhero TV shows around, Netflix has been consistently knocking it out of the park since launching globally.
The top 20 shows on Netflix Canada
- Stranger Things
- House of Cards
- Master of None
- Black Mirror
- 13 Reasons Why
- Orange is the New Black
- Bojack Horseman
- The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- Marvel’s Daredevil
- Making a Murderer
- Jessica Jones
- WHAS: First Day of Camp
- The Get Down
- American Vandal
- She’s Gotta Have It
- The End of the F***ing World
- Altered Carbon
- The Good Place
1. Stranger Things (2016)
It’s rare to see a show so lovingly dedicated to the 80s. Often TV shows, movies and books lean on nostalgia without weaving them into the narrative in any meaningful way. That’s far from the case in Stranger Things. The Duffer Brothers’ sci-fi/thriller/horror isn’t just a love letter, it stands alone as one of the greatest television shows today, thanks to its talented and diverse cast and its gripping season finale. When a young nerd Will Byers vanishes from a quiet, rural town, his family, friends and community band together to bring him back from a mysterious and terrifying world. Each character has a hand to play in finding Will, but their individual journeys are just as important and entertaining to watch.
- Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven
- Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin
- Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler
- Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas
2. House of Cards (2013)
All the hype you’ve heard about House of Cards is true. The Primetime Emmy Award-winning Netflix-produced show about the devious machinations of US politics is television at its best. It’s conniving, it’s clever and it will change the way you watch the news. Oh, and Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is the anti-hero you’ve been waiting for since Walter White left our screens. With five seasons under its belt, House of Cards is no doubt one of the most bingeable shows on Netflix.
- Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood
- Robin Wright as Claire Underwood
- Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper
- Kate Mara as Zoe Barnes
3. Master of None (2015)
Master of None is the kind of show that might turn people off in its first few episodes. In place of a traditional, run-of-the-mill season, Aziz Ansari’s comedy/drama often runs off in tangents focused on minor characters (and sometimes characters that aren’t even part of the recurring cast). While this might seem a little off-track to begin with, some of these episodes are Master of None’s best. Ansari’s Dev runs the gamut of work and relationship troubles many have experienced firsthand with hilarious and sometimes devastating accuracy. But where Master of None truly shines is during the episodes that are less about the characters and more about an issue, place or celebration.
If you haven’t checked it out yet (or tried and put it down) we wholeheartedly recommend sticking it out. Ansari’s musings on love, work and life in the city are hilarious, poetic and brimming with heart.
- Aziz Ansari as Dev Shah
- Eric Wareheim as Arnold Baumheiser
- Lena Waithe as Denise
- Noël Wells as Rachel
4. Black Mirror (2011)
The fact that a third (and fourth!) season of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror series wasn’t picked up sooner is criminal. Thankfully, Netflix is in the business of righting the entertainment industry’s wrongs and worked with Brooker to create season three and four of Black Mirror. Brooker’s clever writing and biting satire are complemented by Netflix’s fat stacks of cash, which has helped bring on some huge talent, like Bryce Dallas Howard and Jerome Flynn in leading roles, as well as big-name directors like Joe Wright and Dan Trachtenberg.
Season three isn’t just a revival. It brought us some of the best episodes the show has ever seen (San Junipero is some of the best television out there, hands down), and season four gets even more mind-boggling.
- Hannah John-Kamen as Selma Telse
- Jon Hamm as Matt
- Hayley Atwell as Martha
- Daniel Kaluuya as Bing
5. 13 Reasons Why (2017)
13 Reasons Why follows the main character Hannah Baker, a young high school girl who releases cassette tapes telling her story of being bullied by fellow classmates. Although a sad and very realistic modern tale told from the point of view of the main character, who also happens to be dead, you’ll be hooked from the first episode. Every episode focuses on a different character, which gives you the chance to learn about the peers surrounding Hannah Baker and how they ultimately contributed to her demise. Season two hit Netflix this year, which means you’ve got two entire seasons to binge watch – if you haven’t already.
- Katherine Langford as Hannah Baker
- Dylan Minnette as Clay Jensen
- Alisha Boe as Jessica
- Christian Navarro as Tony
6. Orange is the New Black (2013)
OITNB, as it’s affectionately called, is loosely based on the real-life prison experiences of Piper Kerman. Basically, the show can be summarized as follows: WASP goes to prison, thinks it will be fine because she’s white and middle class, turns out she was very much mistaken. The exceptional ensemble cast is what really drives this show, and it’s attracted praise for telling the stories of African-American and Hispanic women, while at the same time criticism for needing a white woman leading the show to do it.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll vaguely wonder about committing a minor crime so you too can go to prison and write about it. Orange is the New Black is up to its sixth season and if insane popularity is anything to go off, it’s not stopping anytime soon.
- Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman
- Uzo Aduba as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
- Laura Prepon as Alex Vause
- Danielle Brooks Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson
7. Bojack Horseman (2014)
Imagine every live-action character Will Arnett has ever played blended together in one anthropomorphic horse and you have Bojack Horseman. This story of a washed up equine actor seemed at first to be Netflix’s Family Guy or American Dad. However, it’s so much more than that. Bojack is eternally chauvinistic and narcissistic, but unlike most sitcoms or cartoons, Bojack’s character actually goes through a lot of growth and characterization over its five seasons, thanks to a strong cast of supporting characters like Alison Brie’s Diane, Lisa Kudrow’s Wanda and Paul F. Tompkins’s Mr. Peanutbutter.
It’s not exactly what you would expect from a bizarre comedy about talking animals, but that’s what you get with Bojack.
- Will Arnett as BoJack Horseman
- Aaron Paul as Todd Chavez
- Alison Brie as Diane Nguyen
- Amy Sedaris as Princess Carolyn
8. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015)
Tina Fey’s new show follows the tale of titular character Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), who spent 15 years in an underground bunker thanks to a doomsday cult and is now living in New York City. Her mission? To pursue a normal life. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt might have its hits and misses in the name of making controversial jokes for the sake of it, but its two leads, Ellie Kemper and Tituss Burgess make the watch worth it.
- Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt
- Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon
- Carol Kane as Lillian
- Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhes
9. Marvel’s Daredevil (2015)
While Marvel’s Jessica Jones and Luke Cage come in at a close second, Marvel’s Daredevil is still the strongest of all Netflix’s superhero shows. That’s thanks firstly to an incredibly strong origin story in its first season and an explosive second season that introduces two of the most interesting characters in the small-screen universe, Punisher and Elektra.
Sure, Jessica Jones is the stronger character here and deserves a good mention on this list, but Daredevil’s perfectly choreographed fight scenes and high-stakes stories make it the most engaging out of The Defenders’ respective shows.
- Charlie Cox as Daredevil
- Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page
- Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson
- Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple
10. Sense8 (2015)
Vale Sense8. One of Netflix’s first victims (we’re not really counting Marco Polo here), Sense8‘s compelling story of eight mentally connected individuals from across the globe was cancelled after its second season, despite growing a large cult following.
It seems as popular as it was, Netflix just couldn’t keep up with globetrotting sensates and cancelled the series in 2017. Regardless, the Wachowskis have promised the Sense8 story will wrap up with a once-off movie-length episode, so you’ve got time to catch up with season one and two before it officially wraps up.
- Jamie Clayton as Nomi Marks
- Max Riemelt as Wolfgang
- Miguel Ángel Silvestre as Lito Rodriguez
- Brian J. Smith as Will Gorski
11. Making a Murderer (2015)
This groundbreaking Netflix documentary series was filmed over the course of 10 years. It examines the complicated life of Steven Avery, who spent 18 years in prison despite being wrongfully convicted of sexual assault. He was fully exonerated in 2003 by DNA evidence. However, a few years after his release, he was accused of murder and found guilty, being sent back to prison.
The series was a huge success among true-crime enthusiasts, encouraging numerous debates about the US criminal justice system. It also left viewers yearning to find out more about Steven Avery. Is he a psychopath or the victim of corrupt authority figures? Netflix announced a second season, but there’s no word yet on when it will premiere or what events it will cover. Until then, if you’re a fan of complex legal issues, this one is a must. Who knew documentaries can be so gripping?
- Steven Avery as himself
- Dolores Avery as himself
- Ken Kratz as himself
- Brendan Dassey as himself
12. Narcos (2015)
Raw and gritty, this acclaimed series chronicles the real-life stories of the drug kingpins of the late 1980s. At the same time, it focuses on the efforts of law enforcement to meet them head on in brutal, bloody conflict. The first two seasons follow the infamous Pablo Escobar, who made billions from the production and sale of cocaine. Season 3, meanwhile, picks up after the fall of the kingpin and sees the DEA take on the Cali Cartel.
Narcos doesn’t give you too many characters to root for, but it’s definitely addictive and illuminating, even if you’re already familiar with much of Escobar’s life. The series is stylish and action-packed, with top-notch performances and intense storytelling. Not recommended for the faint of heart.
- Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar
- Pedro Pascal as Javier Pena
- Boyd Holbrook as Steve Murphy
- Alberto Ammann as Helmer Herrera
13. Jessica Jones (2015)
In a television landscape overfilled with superhero shows, Jessica Jones stands out from the crowd due to its focus on the more human aspects of being a super-human. The show follows the titular heroine as she struggles to make it as a private investigator and deals with severe repercussions after being controlled by a villain. It’s more aftermath than origin story, which is a nice change for the Marvel universe.
Jessica Jones is dark and captivating, boasting brilliant performances from both Krysten Ritter and David Tennant. You won’t be blown back by the special effects – instead, you’ll be pulled in thanks to rich character drama and clever storytelling. At its core, the show is a tale of a woman confronting the abuser who almost ruined her life, which makes for compelling television.
- Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones
- Mike Colter as Luke Cage
- Rachael Taylor as Patsy Walker
- David Tennant as Purple Man
14. WHAS: First Day of Camp (2015)
This glorious series is actually a prequel to the 2001 satirical film with the same name, following the counsellors and campers at a summer camp in Maine in 1981. With a tremendous ensemble cast and slightly ridiculous premise, the show is absurd and funny. Thankfully, the spot-on jokes appeal to both fans of the original film and newbies looking for an enjoyable weekend binge.
What’s great about the series is that it doesn’t rely solely on nostalgia to draw in viewers. It stands on its own and embraces the silliness that made the original become a cult classic. At the same time, it infuses new life into the premise, by offering answers to questions the film raised and seamlessly juggling all members of the huge cast. All in all, it’s a must-watch for any serious comedy fan.
- Bradley Cooper as Ben
- Amy Poehler as Susie
- Paul Rudd as Andy
- Elizabeth Banks as Lindsay
15. Easy (2016)
An anthology series, Easy explores several Chicago characters as they fumble through the modern maze of sex, technology and culture. It’s a refreshing take on love in the modern age, featuring a diverse cast and strong performances from everyone involved.
Utterly charming overall, the show paints a comprehensive picture of city life, as it focuses on characters of various ages, ethnicities, backgrounds and professions. Moreover, they all have different problems, so it’s likely you’ll find yourself in someone over the course of the series. If you don’t, at least you’ll gain some much-needed insight into the human psyche.
- Dave Franco as Jeff
- Aya Cash as Sherri
- Orlando Bloom as Tom
- Marc Maron as Jacob Malco
16. The Get Down (2016)
One of the most ambitious projects to land at Netflix in recent years, The Get Down is a musical drama set in the South Bronx region of New York in the late ‘70s. The show follows a bunch of kids who find themselves at the nexus of the hip-hop, punk and disco scenes. It was very expensive to make, which is probably why Netflix decided not to go forward with Season 2. However, the first season of the series is available to stream in all its glory.
The story is universal, and the series as a whole very cinematic. The Get Down is energetic and vibrant. It also benefits from a strong cast and powerful depiction of the political and social environment of the 70s. The tone can be uneven at time, but it makes for a very enjoyable ride. If you’re into musical numbers, you shouldn’t miss this one.
- Justice Smith as Ezekiel
- Shameik Moore as Shaolin Fantastic
- Herizen F. Guardiola as Mylene Cruz
- Skylan Brooks as Ra-Ra
17. American Vandal (2017)
American Vandal is an odd little show, but one’s that’s totally worthy of your attention. A satirical true crime mystery, the series centres on a high school rocked by an act of vandalism. But when the main suspect pleads innocence, an aspiring sophomore documentarian decides to help him out. It’s ridiculous, thought-provoking and ultimately brilliant.
You’ll go into the series expecting to laugh and end up moved by the short, 8-episode first season. The premise may be absurd, but you’ll soon find yourself immersed in the narrative. Moreover, the fact that American Vandal offers a realistic and nuanced portrayal of high school life doesn’t hurt either. It’s both funny and heartbreaking, and that’s a true feat. Season two hit Netflix not too long ago, meaning you’ve got more episodes to binge watch – if you haven’t already.
- Tyler Alvarez as Peter Maldonado
- Griffin Gluck as Sam Ecklund
- Jimmy Tatro as Dylan Maxwell
18. She’s Gotta Have It (2017)
This quirky dramedy created by Spike Lee is based on the 1986 film with the same name. She’s Gotta Have It follows Nola, a passionate and outspoken woman in her late twenties who divides her time between three lovers. The show’s fierce female lead is like a breath of fresh air, with Wise delivering a memorable performance. Nola might be juggling a lot, but she’s confident and complex, gifting viewers everywhere with a well-crafted portrayal of a woman who follows her own rules.
Not only that, but She’s Gotta Have It is also sexy and fun. Plus, the series addresses some important issues women face on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen the original movie or not. Its TV adaptation raises the bar and works well in the new era.
- DeWanda Wise as Nola Darling
- Anthony Ramos as Mars Blackmon
- Lyriq Bent as Jamie Overstreet
- Cleo Anthony as Greer Childs
19. The End of the F***ing World (2017)
Based on a graphic novel with the same name, The End of the F***ing World follows two teenagers, James and Alyssa. James is pretty sure he’s a psychopath, while Alyssa is simply looking to escape her home life. She proposes they run away together and he accepts, hoping this will give him a chance to kill her. Not your typical coming-of-age story.
The End of the F***ing World is bleak and addictive, ultimately delivering a very human and sweet story. You might not like the two leads at first, but you’d be surprised with how fast you’ll start caring about them. A highly recommended show for dark humour enthusiasts.
- Alex Lawther as James
- Jessica Barden as Alyssa
- Gemma Whelan as DC Eunice Noon
- Wunmi Mosaku as DC Teri Darego
20. Altered Carbon (2018)
Set in the future, this sci-fi series received mixed reviews upon its release, despite being well-received by the public. Which proves once again that critical acclaim and mass appeal don’t always go hand in hand. That being said, Altered Carbon is a whole lot of fun as long as you don’t ask too many questions. Simply bask in all that cyberpunk goodness and enjoy the powerful visuals.
In a society where death is no longer permanent, Takeshi Kovacs is offered a chance to live again, as long as he’s willing to solve an intricate murder. The plot is complex and there are a lot of big ideas floating around, so there’s little chance you’ll be bored during your binge. All in all, Altered Carbon may not be a masterpiece, but it’s a delight for any hardcore sci-fi fan.
- Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs
- James Purefoy as Laurens Bancroft
- Martha Higareda as Kristin Ortega
- Chris Conner as Poe
21. Riverdale (2017)
Based on the Archie Comics, Riverdale is a captivating teen drama that tells the story of four high school students. Although dark at times, Riverdale focuses on developing the stories of the four characters – Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead – and their families and close friends. It deals with love, relationships, high school drama, family conflict and death, with a focus on plenty of mysterious going-ons in the town of Riverdale. With season two released earlier this year and season three currently underway, we’re excited to see what happens.
- KJ Apa as Archie Andrews
- Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones
- Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper
- Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge
22. The Good Place (2016)
Once in a blue moon, a show so whimsical comes along that you have to drop everything and tune in immediately. The Good Place is just that kind of show. Hilarious, original and fun. The premise? Eleanor wakes up and finds out that she has died and ended up in an afterlife called the Good Place. Problem is she wasn’t what you’d call a good person, so she was probably sent there by mistake. As a result, she has to hide her naturally bad habits from those around her in order to avoid being kicked out.
The Good Place is a charming comedy about the afterlife. It’s hilarious and lively, it’s weird and subversive, it’s well-written and brilliantly casted. You’ll be hooked from episode one.
- Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop
- Ted Danson as Michael
- William Jackson Harper as Chidi Anagonye
- Jameela Jamil as Tahani Al-Jamil
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