We’re in an unprecedented era of television. There has never been this many good shows to choose from, even if that means subscribing to 10 different streaming services in order to watch them all (seriously, does anyone even have Starz?). In fact, the Netflix CEO once categorized “sleep” as one of the company’s competitors. How’s that for cocky?
He’s right, though. If you’ve somehow run out of things to watch and could do without your beauty sleep, I’ve got you covered. These 20 shows are the best currently on TV – from Netflix to Hulu to HBO – with new seasons either out this year or coming in the near future. Just be warned: You may become an insomniac, if you aren’t already.
Whether or not its premise is an ode to 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Barry works its charm right away with plenty of irony: a brutal hitman who aspires to become a theater actor. But once the show gets going, Bill Hader grows more into both roles, becoming more ruthless and merging his gritty realism into a believable performance. While Barry Block has slowly lost his humanity across three seasons, Barry Berkman has quickly gained steam as a must-watch character.
19. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Who would’ve thought the gang would’ve lasted through 15 seasons? It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has actually been renewed for three additional seasons, meaning they aren’t calling it quits on their lowlife personas anytime soon. The most entertaining dark comedy on television (sorry, Barry), It’s Always Sunny always finds a way to charm us – no matter how ugly Charlie, Mac, and Dennis’ schemes get. We can’t forget Frank and his beloved rum ham either.
I refuse to believe Mindhunter is over, or else it wouldn’t be in this list. An extension of David Fincher’s serial killer investigative drama, this Netflix series is one of the service’s best – and most underappreciated – offerings. Whether we’re following Ed Kemper or Wayne Williams (the “Atlanta Child Killer,” or was he?), this black hole of a show relentlessly explores its suspects and those chasing them. With Dennis Rader on the horizon, let’s hope there’s more to come.
17. Joe Pera Talks with You
How can you not love Joe Pera? Joe Pera Talks with You is practically guided meditation for the weary – in fact, his first bit is literally a meditation session. His unique brand of humor – a wholesome tone with a grandfatherly voice – has helped him become Adult Swim’s most endearing character. Whether he’s taking you to the grocery store, showing you his second fridge, or jamming to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” for the first time, Joe Pera is a great conversation partner.
16. What We Do in the Shadows
Is the What We Do in the Shadows TV show as good as the movie? That’s hard to say, because the movie is one of my personal favorites of both the horror and comedy genres. While Taika Waititi isn’t the creator of the show, it helps to get a fellow New Zealander – and one-half of Flight of the Conchords – at the helm. The result is a show with the same quirky, clever humor, and a slew of ridiculous characters. My personal favorite? Colin, the energy vampire, of course.
15. The Mandalorian
It’s been hard for me to keep up with all of the Star Wars and Marvel spin-off series, with everything else there is to watch on TV. But the O.G. of the Star Wars programs, The Mandalorian, has captured my attention as a beautifully paced and set space western. Plush toys of “The Child” aside, this series is much more than a gimmick to sell merch. Among the many things Jon Favreau has produced in his career, The Mandalorian may just be his best.
14. The Righteous Gemstones
No other show matches the ridiculous, over-the-top tone of The Righteous Gemstones, the ultimate megachurch comedy (if that’s a genre?). But this is not evangelical propaganda, nor is it as blatantly a seething criticism of American Christianity. Instead, it’s a subtle satire on just how spoiled rich people are, and how even more spoiled their kids are. Think Jim Bakker meets Donald Trump. You know things are bad when you’re rooting for Uncle Baby Billy.
I initially cast Ozark aside as a poor man’s Breaking Bad, and for good reason. A white suburban family gets in deep with a vicious drug cartel: Haven’t we seen this before somewhere? But the Netflix series proves to be much more sophisticated when you completely dive in (anyone up for some cliff jumping?). Whether it’s the bodies stacking up on Main Street or the fact that Jason Bateman is darn good at playing Jason Bateman, Ozark is all thrills.
It’s easy to look at Fargo as a show that’s growing a tad weaker with every season, but that’s hardly a flaw when your first season is one of the best in contemporary TV. Nothing will beat Billy Bob Thornton’s Lorne Malvo, but the Fargo universe – one that no one thought could’ve stretched this far – has certainly tried. There’s a familiar comfort to that Minnesota setting, even if Fargo has extended beyond the Land of 10,000 Lakes to my hometown of Kansas City.
11. Rick and Morty
Rick and Morty’s fanbase may be awful, but that doesn’t stop me from getting schwifty every time a new season drops. There’s something about the improvisational tone that’s ripe for Adult Swim and all of its late-night humor. Plus, it played off the multiverse madness (your move, Doctor Strange) before it was cool to do so. It’s existential, perhaps even nihilistic at times, but Dan Harmon never lets us down. Now, can we get another Interdimensional Cable, please?
No show has produced a bigger tourist stop than the Big Sky setting of Yellowstone. You’ll have to wait months to reserve a room at the ranch, a testament to the program’s cultural weight. Taylor Sheridan brings his neo-western paintbrush to the 21st century – and it’s coated red with blood. You don’t have anything to worry about, as long as you’re avoiding the train station. Yellowstone wears its brand on its chest, and so does its cast of cowboys and killers.
9. Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb Your Enthusiasm returned to HBO after a six-year break in the 2010s, and as Larry David would say, it’s pretty, pretty, pretty good. Seinfeld was the show about nothing, and Larry’s follow-up is also a show about nothing – but this time, placing him in Westside Los Angeles. Larry always finds a way to make enemies, even when dabbling in the most minute of tasks. But then again, this is Larry David we’re talking about, and he’s a no-filter loudmouth trainwreck.
8. Cobra Kai
Cobra Kai is unadulterated fanfare for Karate Kid lovers, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. What started out as an addendum no one asked for has turned into the ultimate rivalry – this time from the perspective of Johnny Lawrence. The Netflix series is pulling out all the stops, bringing back character after character from the original movies and building alliances along the way. While the stars practice an unrealistic amount of karate, they sure as a blast to watch.
7. Squid Game
South Korea has entered the conversation. Squid Game became an instant sensation on Netflix last year as the country’s breakthrough international program, appealing to audiences across a variety of languages – just beware the English dub, as it gets pretty corny at times. In fact, it’s the streaming service’s top series ever. A battle royale fight-to-the-death with a children’s game twist, Squid Game is eerily addictive – so much so that we’re aching for Seong’s revenge.
6. The Crown
“Masterful” isn’t a word I throw around lightly, but The Crown embodies this descriptor in every way. The series recounts more than you could ever want to know about the British monarchy across the 1900s – from Queen Elizabeth to Princess Anne to Princess Diana (whom we’re eagerly awaiting in season five). Even if its historical accuracy is questioned at times, it’s easy to overlook thanks to the astounding performances, writing, and costumes. The Crown has it all.
5. Ted Lasso
I believe in believe, but I also believe in Ted Lasso. Ever since my fellow Kansan Jason Sudeikis traded in the gridiron for the pitch, he’s made fans of us all with his own brand of tender masculinity and relational coaching. But we’re not just rooting for Ted, we’re rooting for an entire cast of long-doubted underdogs – as terrifying as Roy Kent’s stare is. Ted Lasso became my medicine during the pandemic, and it’s quickly becoming the most feel-good show on TV.
4. The Handmaid’s Tale
Some may question why we even need The Handmaid’s Tale when we’re watching it play out in real life in America. But that’s the point: There’s a lot of truth in Margaret Atwood’s novel-turned-Hulu-series, based on her experiences growing up with eastern European communism. Her vision wouldn’t come to life weren’t it for Elisabeth Moss – the “Queen of Peak TV” – and her brilliance in the lead role. Blessed be the fruit, and blessed be our beloved June.
3. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Cue the witty dialogue when Midge Maisel is in the room – or any of the other sharp-tongued characters in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel really. Midge has captured our hearts since her first dirty joke, and her expansive world of late-night comedy shows, New York City delis, and Jewish bar mitzvahs is truly a special concoction. No other show matches its colorful sets and even more colorful performances (you can’t help but love Tony Shalhoub). Maisel is an obsession.
2. Stranger Things
Stranger Things is a phenomenon, and that’s because it’s phenomenal. The Duffer Brothers’ love letter to the ‘80s has turned into a generational obsession – from the Starcourt Mall to the 7-Eleven slurpees to the Kate Bush songs. The ensemble is fun in their own little cliques, yet it’s when they cross over to save the world from the Upside Down when things truly shine. The kids are growing up fast, but we’re savoring every last drop of Stranger Things while we still can.
1. Better Call Saul
Nothing can touch Breaking Bad, but Better Call Saul is getting close – and we still have half a season to go. Starting out as a slow-paced courtroom drama, the prequel has gone full-blown cartel thriller over its past few seasons, not wasting a single second in building suspense and worry (if Kim dies, I will riot). A show expected to play second fiddle to its predecessor, Saul is building its legacy as one of the best shows in modern television – if not an all-time great.
Honorable Mentions: Atlanta, Bob’s Burgers, Daredevil, Euphoria, For All Mankind, Hawkeye, Only Murders in the Building, Severance, Succession, This Is Us, True Detective, Westworld