These shows are incredibly bingeable.
Streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO Max have reshaped the entertainment industry. One of the biggest impacts the phenomenon has had is the advent of binge-watching. Audiences can (and do) watch entire seasons of television in single sittings, now that they don’t have to wait for new episodes to be released. However, some shows are more binge-worthy than others. Here is our list of the most addictive TV shows, selected for your binging pleasure.
10. Orange is the New Black
For seven seasons, Orange is the New Black was an Emmy-winning machine. During its run, it was one of the most addictive TV shows on Netflix, and will likely go down in history as one of the best originals the streamer has ever produced.
Based on a memoir by author Piper Kerman, the show changes the hero’s name to Piper Chapman. Played by Taylor Schilling, Piper Chapman is a law-abiding professional navigating life and love in New York City.
Life turns upside down when she is sentenced to prison for a decade-old crime; she once moved drug money for her ex-girlfriend, Alex Vause. In prison, Piper reunites with Alex and must go from surviving the mean streets of New York to surviving a year in a women’s prison.
The series is full of complex, hilarious, and heartbreaking characters. As it explores the histories and inner workings of prisoners and guards, Orange is the New Black is one series that, once you start, you’ll be sentenced to finishing.
If you are having Pedro Pascal withdrawals after the season finales of The Mandalorian and The Last of Us, look no further than Narcos. Another series based on true events, this intense drama follows the exploits of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in the late 1970s, as well as the competitors and DEA agents trying to take him down.
For three seasons, Narcos delivered the goods on Netflix. This gritty crime thriller is one of the most addictive TV shows, but instead of getting a fourth season, the show evolved into a spin-off series, the equally bingeable Narcos: Mexico.
This critically acclaimed drama makes the list as one of the most addictive TV shows because, like the criminal underworld, once you’re in, you’re in.
8. Black Mirror
As long as you are browsing Netflix, why not take a peek at the not-too-distant future? Black Mirror is a proverbial crystal ball, examining the dark side of where technology could take humanity.
Like a modern Twilight Zone, Black Mirror is an anthology that examines new concepts and characters in each episode. Its variety and depth of science fiction make Black Mirror almost as addictive as the technology it critiques.
Black Mirror may not have a serialized storyline, but you will still be hooked on finding out what is next. It is one of the most addictive TV shows because it constantly finds new ways to intrigue with its myriad concepts.
7. House of Cards
Instead of exploring the dark future, House of Cards shines a light on the dark present. This political thriller from creator Beau Willimon and executive producer David Fincher follows an elaborate scheme by Congressman Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, and his wife Claire, played by Robin Wright.
After political betrayal, the pair plot to put Underwood in the White House. What ensues is a never-ending stream of deceit and moral depravity as people do whatever it takes to claim political power.
House of Cards was the first Netflix original series, and it remains one the best the streamer has to offer. This landmark show was the first online-only series to win major Emmys awards, setting a precedent that changed TV forever.
6. The Handmaid’s Tale
Hulu also explores dystopia with its thriller The Handmaid’s Tale. Starring Elisabeth Moss, this series is rich with socio-political commentary and moving feminist themes.
Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book of the same name, this series is set in a future where fertility rates in women have plummeted. A totalitarian government of religious fanatics enslaves fertile women for forced childbearing. These women are called Handmaids.
The story follows June (Moss), a woman enslaved as a Handmaid who must dig for the strength to endure her situation and reunite with her family.
The sci-fi thriller is brimming with social commentary and brutal scenes that make viewers run the entire gamut of emotion, making it one of the most addictive TV shows out there.
5. Game of Thrones
For years, this was the show everyone was talking about. Full of political intrigue, moral ambiguity, brutal action, and conniving characters, this elaborate struggle for power is wrapped in rich fantasy lore that dazzles on every level.
The series delivers many of the same elements as Lord of the Rings, but is much more geared toward adults. So put the kids to bed and buckle up for violence, incest, and dragons as you embark on one of the most addictive TV shows in history.
4. The Office (US)
Need a comfort show? Look no further than The Office. Based on the British comedy series of the same name, this version of the workplace sitcom moves to the humble city of Scranton, Pennsylvania to deliver nine seasons of heartwarming cringe comedy.
Settle in with Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam, and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin family as their 9-5 task of selling paper is enriched by office antics, personal drama, and the clueless leadership of Steve Carell.
This half-hour sitcom is really just 22 minutes per episode without commercials. The bite-sized episodes are perfect for binging, and big laughs and compelling throughlines make it not just one of the most addictive sitcoms, but one of the most addictive TV shows ever made.
3. The Crown
If you’re a fan of the Royal Family, you’ll love The Crown. This queen of royal drama is a true gem on Netflix. Following the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, this series details the political events and rivalries that shaped the Royal Family during the second half of the 20th century.
Packed with powerful performances from Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, Matt Smith, and Elizabeth Debicki, the personal and political drama in The Crown elevates celebrity gossip to a rich new level.
This historical drama reigns on the list of most addictive TV shows as it is bursting with timely themes, exploring important issues by examining women in power.
2. Stranger Things
Since its first season in 2016, Stranger Things has been the show to beat on streaming. It is the crown jewel of Netflix, and four seasons in, it is delivering thrills and chills at its highest level yet.
Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s, Stranger Things is nostalgia galore. The series melds elements of 1980s Steven Spielberg and Stephen King to create a fun, spooky, mind-bending, heartwarming story that will make you feel like a kid again.
Stranger Things is one of the most addictive TV shows because of the intriguing mysteries at its core. Each episode uncovers new layers of its fascinating lore and rich characters, with each entry leaving you wanting more.
1. Breaking Bad
Many credit Breaking Bad as a highlight of television’s new Golden Era. This crime drama from creator Vince Gilligan features writing that brought a new level of maturity and complexity to TV dramas. It set a precedent that many shows have tried to reach, but few manage to attain.
The series features Bryan Cranston in a huge departure from his roles on Seinfeld and Malcolm in the Middle. He plays Walter White, a chemistry teacher who, after a terminal cancer diagnosis, becomes a meth cook.
His forays in the drug world team him up with Jesse, played by Aaron Paul, as they interact with low-level drug goons and kingpins alike. The duo’s disruptive move into the criminal underworld has violent and dramatic consequences that show one of the darkest, most complex character evolutions in TV history.
Breaking Bad is one of the most addictive TV shows because, not only will you need to know what happens next, you’ll hardly believe it when it does.