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The best shows on Netflix in May 2023

Even during a quiet week on Netflix, there are still fresh shows dropping all the time. This week marks the debut of Queen Cleopatra, a new miniseries about the iconic queen of Egypt. Given some of the epic romances in Cleopatra’s life, it may also play well to fans of the recently released Bridgerton prequel series, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

With so many new Netflix shows arriving all of the time, it can feel like a full-time job just keeping track of everything. That’s because it is a full-time job, and it just so happens to be ours. Fortunately for you, that keeps us on top of everything as we update our weekly roundup of the best shows on Netflix.

Looking for something else? We’ve also rounded up the best movies on Netflix, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime, and the best movies on Disney+. For Netflix fans, check out the 10 most popular shows on Netflix right now.

Watching from abroad? Use a Netflix VPN to access your country’s catalog from anywhere in the world. Want to watch on the go? We can show you how to download movies on Netflix.

New this week

Queen Cleopatra

Adele James, as Cleopatra in Queen Cleopatra.

The new four-part series Queen Cleopatra has already generated controversy in Egypt for daring to cast Adele James, a British actress of African descent, as Cleopatra herself. Some Egyptians and historians have argued that James’ casting isn’t true to traditional portrayals of the famous historical figure, while others have countered that those previous interpretations were wrong. Ironically, James’ performance is one of the best things about the show, which is half-drama, half-talking heads documentary.

Within the dramatic recreations, Cleopatra is forced to make outside alliances to hold on to her throne. And if that means seducing Julius Ceasar (John Partridge), and later, his rival, Mark Antony (Craig Russell), so be it. While the legendary Cleopatra was a more than capable ruler, the challenges to her power never stopped in her lifetime.

Genre: Drama, Documentary
Stars: Adele James, Craig Russell, John Partridge
Seasons: 1


The cast of Mulligan.

It’s generally accepted that a mulligan is a do-over. A chance to get something right on the second or third attempt. That meaning also applies to Mulligan, a new adult animated series produced by Tina Fey, as humanity gets a chance to begin again following a devastating alien invasion that leaves just over 1,000 people alive.

Matty Mulligan (Nat Faxon) was the hero of the invasion, but he may be the wrong choice to be the new president. That’s something that President Mulligan quickly realizes as comedic challenges get in the way of rebuilding the world. And the alien threat isn’t over yet.

Genre: Comedy
Stars: Nat Faxon, Tina Fey, Dana Carvey
Seasons: 1


Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

India Amarteifio as young Queen Charlotte in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

Netflix’s smash-hit Bridgerton presented an alternate timeline in which people of color were among Britain’s high society in the early 19th century. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is the prequel series that reveals how this timeline diverged as young Charlotte (India Amarteifio) rises to power in 1761 as the wife of King George III (Corey Mylchreest).

Golda Rosheuvel also reprises her role as the older Queen Charlotte from Bridgerton in 1817 as she faces a royal crisis. Charlotte’s daughter, Princess Charlotte, has died in childbirth, leaving the royal family without an heir. And that’s something that the queen will do anything to change.

Genre: Romance, Drama
Stars: Wataru Ichinose, Shota Sometani, Shioli Kutsuna
Seasons: 1

Firefly Lane

Two women lay next to each other in a bed in a scene from Firefly Lane.
DIYAH PERA/NETFLIX © 2022 Netflix, Inc.

Although Firefly Lane received an extended season 2 order, this is the end of the road for Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke) and Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl). Their friendship is at the heart of the series, and the show explores their connection at different points in their lives, from their teenage years to middle age in the present.

The second half of season 2 finds Kate and Tully’s bond challenged like never before, as they are forced to spend an extended time apart from each other. There are also secrets that could come between them. Their friendship is a powerful thing, but even that power has limits as the series wraps up its run.

Genre: Drama
Stars: Katherine Heigl, Sarah Chalke
Seasons: 2

The Diplomat

Kate locking arms with Austin in a scene from The Diplomat on Netflix.
Alex Bailey / Netflix

Keri Russell has played everything from the all-American girl in Felicity to a deadly Russian spy in The Americans. So it seems fitting that Netflix has put Russell in the lead of its new political drama, The Diplomat, which plays like Homeland by way of The West Wing. That’s appropriate because series creator Debora Cahn worked on both of those shows.

Russell plays Kate Wyler, a seasoned crisis management expert who finds herself named as the new American ambassador to the U.K. as her marriage to Hal Wyler (Rufus Sewell) is falling apart. Before Kate can even catch her breath, she is thrust into a high-stakes position when Britain is attacked, and Hal’s decisions appear to undermine her duties.

For more on the Netflix show, be sure to read The Diplomat‘s ending explained.

Genre: Drama
Stars: Keri Russell, Rufus Sewell, Rory Kinnear
Seasons: 1

Better Call Saul

Jimmy sits at a desk in Better Call Saul.

The sixth and final season of Better Call Saul has arrived on Netflix, and this is appointment TV. If you haven’t watched this series, you’re in for a treat. It is a prequel to Breaking Bad, but you don’t even have to know about the original show because Better Call Saul largely works on its own terms. It stars Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, the man he was before he became the “criminal” lawyer Saul Goodman.

Jimmy’s moral downfall reaches its peak in season 6 as his schemes with Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) threaten their lives and even their souls. And then, the narrative changes again as the series becomes a Breaking Bad sequel and reveals what happened to Jimmy in the end.

Genre: Drama
Stars: Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Giancarlo Esposito
Seasons: 6


Ali Wong and Steven Yeun lean out of their car windows in Beef.
Andrew Cooper/Netflix

If you’ve ever had a moment of road rage, you know that what follows is not usually your best self. In Netflix’s black comedy, Beef, Danny Cho (Steven Yeun) and Amy Lau Nakai (Ali Wong) have a road rage encounter that transforms their lives, and not for the better.

Despite being strangers to each other before the incident, Danny and Amy’s lives become intricately tangled as their mutual rage for each other intensifies. This is not going to end well for either of them, but it’s almost impossible to look away from the carnage they leave in their wake.

Genre: Drama/Comedy
Stars: Steven Yeun, Ali Wong
Seasons: 1


Rhys and Joe stand side by side outside in a scene from You season 4.

On almost any other series, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) would be the villain. But on You, this obsessive stalker and murderer is a fan-favorite antihero. In some ways, Joe just can’t help himself. Whenever a beautiful young woman catches his eye, he insinuates himself into their lives and often murders anyone in the way of his happiness.

Parts 1 and 2 of the fourth season of You recently premiered, and it finds Joe in the odd position of trying to leave his life of mayhem behind and reinvent himself in London. But he’s just so good at killing people and hiding the bodies that trouble has a way of finding Joe even when he’s incognito.

Genre: Thriller
Stars: Penn Badgley, Ed Speleers,
Seasons: 4

The Crown

The Queen looks at Charles and Diana in The Crown.

Elizabeth II ascended to the U.K.’s throne in the aftermath of World War II, at a time when the monarchy had ceded much of its power to Parliament and the Prime Minister. Despite a lack of governmental power, the Queen was one of the most important heads of state in the world, with no shortage of civic duties. Netflix’s critically acclaimed, generations-spanning drama The Crown traces Elizabeth’s life from her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947 through the modern era, digging into the web of agendas and alliances the Queen had to navigate over the longest reign of any British monarch in history.

Heavy on political intrigue, The Crown is sure to satisfy viewers who appreciate Machiavellian television, as well as those who love TV shows like Downton Abbey. However, the show also has a deeply intimate side, in that it examines Elizabeth’s personal relationships and the toll exacted by her duties as Queen. The show’s most recent fifth season explores the period in the ’90s when Prince Charles and Princess Diana waged a media war that became one of Queen Elizabeth II’s most high-profile challenges.

Genre: Drama
Stars: Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki
Seasons: 5


Marty and Wendy Byrde standing, looking at something, their daughter in the background in Ozark season 4.

In Ozark, the Byrde family has a knack for getting into overwhelming trouble. Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) has a scheme to launder money for a Mexican drug cartel, but when that goes wrong, Marty packs up his wife, Wendy (Laura Linney), and their kids for an abrupt move to the Ozarks — where he proceeds to set up an even more dangerous money laundering operation.

In addition to starring in the series, Bateman has also made a name for himself directing episodes, earning a Primetime Emmy Award along the way. The entire fourth and final season is now available, so fans can finally learn how the saga concludes.

Genre: Drama
Stars: Laura Linney, Jason Bateman, Julia Garner
Seasons: 4


The Florida Man

Édgar Ramírez and Abbey Lee in Florida Man.

Netflix is diving back into the realm of dark comedy crime shows with Florida Man. The series follows Mike Valentine (Ramírez), a former cop who finds himself working for a mob boss, Moss Yankov (Emory Cohen). After Mike has spent years away from Florida, Moss forces him to return to find Moss’ missing girlfriend, Delly (Abbey Lee).

What Moss doesn’t know is that Mike was having an affair with Delly before she vanished. And once Mike is back in Florida, the darker secrets of his own family start coming out. To complicate things even further, Mike’s ex-wife, Iris (Lex Scott Davis), is still a cop, and she follows Mike to discover what he has been up to.

Genre: Comedy
Stars: Edgar Ramirez, Abby Lee, Clark Gregg
Seasons: 1


Two men sit on a couch in Unstable.

Rob Lowe and his son, John Owen Lowe, co-created Unstable (with Victor Fresco), and co-star in the series as a father and son duo, Ellis and Jackson Dragon. Ellis is, shall we say, an Elon Musk-adjacent biotech genius who is spiraling after the death of his wife. But even in the face of emotional devastation, Ellis always has to be the center of attention.

Regardless, Jackson feels the need to help his father through this ordeal even though their personalities are polar opposites. And now Jackson, who is painfully shy and socially inept, finds himself working for his father and thrust into a workplace comedy.

Genre: Comedy
Stars: Rob Lowe, John Owen Lowe, Sian Clifford
Seasons: 1

Emily in Paris

Emily wearing an apron and taking a selfie with restaurant patrons in Emily in Paris.
Stephanie Branchu / Netflix

In this shamelessly fun romantic-comedy series, Lily Collins portrays ambitious marketing exec Emily Cooper, who finds herself in Paris after landing her dream job. Along with acclimating to Parisian life, Emily must juggle the demands of her career, friendships, and burgeoning romance in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

To find out how the last season ended, check out

Genre: Comedy
Stars: Lily Collins, Lucas Bravo, Ashley Park
Seasons: 3


Moosa Mostafa and Jenna Ortega stare at the camera in a scene from Wednesday.

Tim Burton turns his attention to Wednesday Addams in this spinoff from the Addams Family franchise, Wednesday, that focuses on the elder Addams sibling. Jenna Ortega portrays the title character, who finds herself sent off to prep school after an incident involving a high school water polo team and two bags of piranhas. While attending the school, she soon becomes wrapped up in a series of local murders, all while trying to come to terms with her own destiny and her parents’ legacy.

Genre: Comedy
Stars: Jenna Ortega, Christina Ricci, Catherine Zeta Jones
Seasons: 1

Sex Education

Emma Mackey, Asa Butterfield, and Connor Swindells in a scene from season 1 of Sex Education.

This British blend of comedy and drama follows the teenage students at a fictional secondary school (that’s high school for American audiences) as they deal with issues in their personal lives often tied to their awakening sexuality. Asa Butterfield plays the shy, insecure Otis Milburn, who looks at sex a bit differently than his classmates, thanks to his frank, oversharing mother, a sex therapist portrayed by The X-Files star Gillian Anderson.

A critical hit that takes a unique approach to this uncomfortable, emotional time in every teenager’s life, Sex Education deconstructs the typical sex comedy trope with a thoughtful exploration of how our feelings and backgrounds shape our relationships to the people around us.

Genre: Comedy
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Emma Mackey
Seasons: 3


Troy and gang on Community

NBC never quite knew what to make of Community, but the series found a devoted audience that embraced its hilarious blend of pop culture comedy. Future Marvel directors Joe and Anthony Russo helmed several memorable episodes that earned them a chance to hit the big screen, but the show belonged to its mismatched study group portrayed by Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Spin Me Around‘s Alison Brie, Donald Glover, and Chevy Chase.

Despite several personality clashes, the group becomes a makeshift family, with Ken Jeong and Jim Rash also stealing a lot of scenes as Ben Chang and Dean Pelton. We’re still waiting for a Community movie, but all six seasons are on Netflix.

Genre: Comedy
Stars: Joel McHale, Donald Glover, Alison Brie
Seasons: 6

Cobra Kai

William Zabka, Ralph Macchio, and Yuji Okumoto stand in track suits in a scene from Cobr Kai season 5.

The hit sequel series to the original Karate Kid films, Cobra Kai brings back William Zabka and Ralph Macchio to reprise their respective roles as Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, teenage rivals whose feud has extended into adulthood. Set three decades after the events of the first film, the series has down-on-his-luck Johnny attempt to start a new Cobra Kai dojo, only to have his ambitions reignite his rivalry with Daniel.

Over the course of several seasons, the series has followed the pair as they take on new students, deal with enemies and allies from their past, and eventually face a common threat — all while the teenagers under their care attempt to navigate their own high-school trials and tribulations. Season 5 of Cobra Kai premiered in September 2022.

Genre: Comedy/Drama
Stars: Ralph Macchio, William Zabka
Seasons: 5

Mystery and Crime

The Night Agent

Peter in a white sweater holding a gun in a scene from The Night Agent.
Dan Power / Netflix

It took The Night Agent less than a day to race to the top of Netflix’s TV series rankings, and it seems likely to make its leads, Gabriel Basso and Luciane Buchanan, into much bigger stars. As adapted for television by The Shield creator Shawn Ryan, this intense action thriller follows FBI Agent Peter Sutherland (Basso) after he stumbles upon clues that reveal a Russian mole is working inside the U.S. government.

Realizing that the fate of the country may be at stake, Peter will stop at nothing to unravel the conspiracy and unmask the mole. He also has an unlikely ally in Rose Larkin (Buchanan), a young CEO who has already been marked for death by their mutual enemies.

For more on this Netflix show, check out The Night Agent‘s ending explained.

Genre: Mystery
Stars: Gabriel Basso, Hong Chau, Luciane Buchanan
Seasons: 1


A crowd looks at a mysterious figure in 1899.

This series from the creator of Dark follows immigrant passengers on a ship traveling to a new continent, who find themselves caught up in a mystery when they encounter a second ship adrift in the open sea. The series’ dark, atmospheric tone, combined with the show’s multilingual approach, makes it a thriller unlike any other. Unfortunately, it was recently announced that 1899 was cancelled after one season. Fans can still read our 1899‘s ending explained article to decipher all of the show’s mysteries.

Genre: Mystery/Sci-Fi
Stars: Emily Beecham, Andreas Pietschmann, Lucas Lynggaard
Seasons: 1

Dead to Me

Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate at a doorway with baked goods in a scene from Dead to Me.
Saeed Adyani / Netflix

This Emmy-nominated original series starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini recently returned for its third and final season. A dark comedy that leans into its central mystery, Applegate portrays a widowed real estate agent who befriends an eternally optimistic woman (Cardellini) with some chilling secrets of her own.

Genre: Mystery
Stars: Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, James Marsden
Seasons: 3


Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities

Logo for Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities

Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro curated this collection of short films from some of horror’s most visionary, creative directors and writers. The eight stories in the series’ first season hail from a wide range of filmmakers, including Vincenzo Natali (Cube), Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), and Del Toro himself.

Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Stars: Ben Barnes, Andrew Lincoln, Rupert Grint
Seasons: 1

The Midnight Club

The Midnight Club kids all sit around a table together in a dimly lit library.
Eike Schroter/Netflix

Mike Flanagan, the creator of The Haunting of Hill HouseThe Haunting of Bly Manor, and Midnight Mass, turns his attention to young-adult scares with The Midnight Club, inspired by Christopher Pike’s 1994 novel of the same name. The 10-episode series follows a group of young, terminally ill residents of a hospice who gather each night to tell each other spooky stories. The members of the “Midnight Club” make a pact that whoever dies first will try to send a message from the afterlife. With Flanagan at the helm of this show, be prepared for big scares.

Genre: Horror/Mystery
Stars: Iman Benson, Heather Langenkamp, Igby Rigney
Seasons: 1


Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki in Supernatural.

The longest-running American live-action fantasy series in TV history, Supernatural follows brothers Sam and Dan Winchester — played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively — as they hunt all manner of ghosts, demons, and monsters across America. Mixing standalone “monster of the week” adventures with season-long story arcs that built an impressively deep mythology around the show, Supernatural kept fans coming back for its infectious chemistry and colorful cast that grew as the series progressed.

A scripted television series has to be doing something right to run for 15 seasons without being canceled, and Supernatural finally ended its 327-episode run in November 2020 with the sort of satisfying, well-received series finale that few shows receive.

Genre: Horror/Mystery
Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles
Seasons: 1

Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Sweet Tooth

Christian Convery in Sweet Tooth.

Even before COVID, there were a lot of stories about a pandemic devastating the world. Sweet Tooth, based on the comic book series of the same name by Jeff Lemire, is among them. Sweet Tooth is also the nickname of Gus (Christian Convery), a 10-year-old child who is a human/deer hybrid and one of a growing number of hybrids in this strange new world. Nonso Anozie co-stars as Tommy Jepperd, a man who reluctantly becomes Gus’ protector.

Sweet Tooth season 2 is now out, and finds Gus as a captive of the fanatical Last Men, who want to sacrifice him and the other hybrid kids in the name of curing the pandemic. Tommy is desperately trying to find and rescue Gus, but it may fall to Gus to save himself.

Genre: Fantasy
Stars: Nonso Anozie, Christian Convery, Adeel Akhtar
Seasons: 2

The Sandman

Tom Sturridge sits on a bench with Kirby Howell-Baptiste in a scene from The Sandman.

Neil Gaiman’s celebrated comic book series comes to life in this adaptation that casts Tom Sturridge as Morpheus, the lord of the world of dreams. When a cruel dabbler in the occult accidentally imprisons Morpheus, it begins a tale that unfolds across multiple generations and through myriad realms and ultimately puts the future of humanity at risk.

In development for more than two decades, The Sandman is a project long thought impossible to adapt faithfully, but the series somehow manages to weave together the enthralling stories and powerful themes of Gaiman’s acclaimed fantasy saga.

Genre: Fantasy
Stars: Tom Sturridge, Boyd Holbrook, Jenna Coleman
Seasons: 1

Stranger Things

The cast of Stranger Things season 4 is standing in front of a field looking surprised.

One of the most popular original series on Netflix, Stranger Things has become a cultural touchstone in the short time since its 2016 debut. The series’ opening sequence lays out its sci-fi aspirations clearly: A scientist flees down an empty hallway, pursued by some unseen force that eventually nabs him as he waits for elevator doors to close; it then cuts to a group of kids playing D&D in a suburban basement.

The series is rooted in ‘80s genre nostalgia, from the mysterious creature terrorizing the fictional Indiana town to the secret government agency chasing the group of kids who encounter it. There are pieces of Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and John Hughes strewn throughout Stranger Things, and the result is a show that will feel immediately familiar to people who grew up with that source material.

For more info on the final season, check out Stranger Things season 5: Plot, date, and casting rumors.

Genre: Sci-Fi
Stars: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown
Seasons: 4

True crime and Docuseries

Emergency: NYC

A doctor hugs a woman in Emergency: NYC.

Most reality shows seemingly have some scripted elements or obviously forced conflict. That’s why it’s refreshing to see a series like Emergency: NYC on Netflix. These occasionally harrowing episodes follow doctors in New York’s hospitals and medical facilities as their abilities are put to the test. The show also touches on the personal lives of some of the doctors, as they try to find some balance between work and home. But the footage is never more gripping than when it’s in the thick of medical situations.

Genre: Documentary
Stars: n/a
Seasons: 1

Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?

The official poster for Pepsi, Where's My Jet? for Netflix.

A four-part documentary series, Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? explores the very real story of John Leonard, the man who discovered a loophole in a ’90s ad campaign for Pepsi that promised a Harrier jet to anyone who collected enough points from soda bottles. When Pepsi balks at John’s request, it sets off a David versus Goliath challenge that changed the face of advertising forever. The series features interviews with many of the biggest names of the time, including former Pepsi spokesmodel Cindy Crawford and other colorful characters on both sides of the legal battle.

Genre: Documentary
Stars: n/a
Seasons: 1


Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

David and Lucy look at the Earth from the moon in a scene from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners.

This edgy, high-octane anime series is inspired by the Cyberpunk 2077 video game, but you don’t need to know anything about its source material to appreciate the brutal, bonkers adventure it offers. The series follows a young street kid in the neon- and chrome-filled Night City who falls in with a crew of mercenaries and soon finds himself struggling to hold on to his humanity in a world obsessed with cybernetic augmentation.

Genre: Animation
Stars: n/a
Seasons: 1

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar the Last Airbender Animated Series

When it comes to animated series, few rival Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. The beloved series continues to garner a following more than 15 years after its initial release, likely due to the way it deftly balances child-friendly themes with more sophisticated narratives, ones that revolve around war and the oft-ambiguous line between good and evil.

The show is centered on the titular Aang, a master of the elements, and four nations, each of which is named after a different element (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water). The main story follows Aang and his companions in their effort to quell unrest and an ongoing feud with the Fire Nation, but the show’s detailed world-building and character development extend well beyond the scope of any one individual. To this day, it’s still considered a masterclass in storytelling.

Genre: Animation
Stars: n/a
Seasons: 3


A character collage poster of the cast of Netflix's Arcane.

You don’t need to know anything about the League of Legends game franchise to enjoy this critically-acclaimed adult animated series set in a steampunk world where magic and technology shape the simmering relationship between a utopian metropolis and the oppressed city in its shadow.

Full of gorgeous animation and compelling characters, Arcane follows a pair of sisters whose tragic childhood puts them on opposite sides of the war to come, set against a stirring, powerful score. Once you dive into the first season, it’s difficult not to see it through to the end in one shot — which is probably why Netflix green-lit a second season premiering sometime in 2023.

For more info on the next season, please read everything we know so far about Arcane season 2.

Genre: Animated/Sci-fi
Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Ella Purnell, Harold Lloyd
Seasons: 1

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Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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