Mandatory Best of 2019: Ranking the 10 Greatest Netflix Originals of the Year
2019 was a stellar year for original content, and no streaming service did it better than Netflix. The entertainment titan not only debuted new series and movies, but it also brought back some of our most beloved binge-watches. If the quality of such programming was ever in question, this year’s slew of fan favorites, critical darlings, and award nominations proved that Netflix is a major player in the production game. We waded through the ocean of options and selected, then ranked, the 10 best Netflix originals released this year. Hunker down and treat yourself to a private viewing party.
Cover Photo: Netflix
10. 'Sex Education' (Season One)
This brash British comedy series perfectly captures the awkwardness of adolescence in its protagonist, Otis (Asa Butterfield), who starts a covert high school sex therapy clinic inspired by wisdom gleaned from his sex therapist mother (Gillian Anderson).
9. 'Dolemite Is My Name'
Eddie Murphy revitalizes his career as Rudy Ray Moore, a real-life Blaxploitation celebrity known as Dolemite, in this comedic biopic.
8. 'Always Be My Maybe'
Of course comedian Ali Wong tickles the funny bone in this rom-com that she co-wrote, but Keanu Reeves steals the screen with a hilarious cameo parodying himself. It's the best laugh we had all year. Who knew he had it in him?
7. 'High Flying Bird'
Written by Academy Award-winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) and directed by Steven Soderbergh, this critically-acclaimed drama follows an enterprising sports agent (André Holland) who teams up with a basketball player (Melvin Gregg) during an NBA lockout.
6. 'Mindhunter' (Season Two)
This gripping season of the popular true crime series takes FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) to Atlanta to help catch a serial killer responsible for the deaths of dozens of children and teens.
5. 'When They See Us'
This dramatic miniseries unpacks the injustices inflicted upon the young men who became known as the Central Park Five. Though they were unfairly prosecuted and jailed for the attack and rape of a New York jogger, they were eventually exonerated, but not before major damage was done to both their psyches and families. This is unsettling but essential viewing.
4. 'Russian Doll'
Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) can't stop dying and coming back to life at her birthday party in this dark comedy that explores how life gives us more opportunities than we deserve to get it right.
3. 'Marriage Story'
Hopefully you’ve never been, or will never be, divorced. But if you’re curious what the hellscape otherwise known as uncoupling looks like, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story will drop you right down in the middle of the carnage. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star as an artsy couple whose bicoastal conflicting interests end their marriage and pit them against one another in a brutal (and, unfortunately, realistic) custody battle. There are no winners here, except audiences, who see some of the best performances either of those actors have ever given onscreen. These two are going to be collecting a lot of statues come awards season.
2. 'Stranger Things' (Season Three)
The Mind Flayer lives! Russian schemes abound! Scoops Ahoy dishes up a new friendship! Bad boy Billy gets possessed! Hopper sacrifices himself! Joyce leaves Hawkins! There's so much action in the third installment of this addictive sci-fi '80s series, you'll have to binge it twice just to catch it all.
1. 'The Irishman'
Martin Scorsese's latest crime epic drummed up a ton of buzz, and it all proved worthy as the legendary director wowed viewers with this star-studded story centered around the hit man and crime family responsible for the disappearance of Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa.