The 10 Best Netflix Originals Of 2018 So Far
By Mat Elfring on
Every year, Netflix releases a ton of original content, and it's too much to keep track of. From Stranger Things to Mindhunter to everything Marvel puts out, finding a Netflix original series to binge during your free time can be a pain. While you're spending way too much time searching through Netflix menus, you may be wondering to yourself, "What's new that's worth my time?"
Luckily, we've been watching a ton of what Netflix puts out and have a narrowed down the service's best 10 shows of 2018. Yes, it's early in the year, and that's why we'll continue to update the list as other amazing shows get released. Obviously, some of the shows on the list are ones you're familiar with, but there are plenty of series that went under the radar as well. If you're planning a weekend streaming binge, check out the shows on this list.
If you're interested in finding out more about Netflix originals, check out our list of every original produced in 2018, with mini reviews of everything we've seen included.
10. The End of the F***ing World
Release Date: January 5
Genre: Dark Comedy
Originally airing on British television, The End of the F***ing World was a co-production with Netflix and came to the streaming service in early 2018. The eight-part series follows a 17-year-old named James who believes that he's a psychopath. He kills animals for fun but wants to try his hand at killing a human and decides to murder Alyssa, who wants to run away from home. Get ready for a demented adventure.
The series is dark, twisted, and violent. It's not for the faint of heart, and their journey is incredibly enthralling. While there are moments that are ultimately disturbing, as this show isn't afraid to "go there," watching the journey of Alyssa and James is something you can't turn away from. Here are a few things you need to know about the show before diving in.
9. Altered Carbon
Release Date: February 2
If dystopian science fiction with a dash of cyberpunk is up your alley, then Altered Carbon will be for you. The series, which takes place 350 years in the future, follows a former political operative who wakes up after being "asleep" for 250 years, and he is tasked with solving the murder of a wealthy man. The story and tech involved with it get a whole lot more complex, but we'll just leave it at that as we don't want to give away too much.
GameSpot's Mike Rougeau said in his Altered Carbon review, "Altered Carbon never shies from examining exactly how an invention like the cortical stack would change our reality, and this future society appears far different from our own. Yet in many ways, it's really exactly the same--which is more or less the prime directive of great science fiction."
Release Date: January 5
Rotten examines problems within the food industry from the rise in peanut allergies and its effect on farmers to the disappearance of bees and the rise in fake honey being imported from overseas. Each episode of the series covers a different aspect of the food industry and the far-reaching effects of a given event.
While Rotten feels like another one of those conspiracy theory documentaries that plague the streaming service, it's actually a well-researched series that objectively gives an insight into the side of the food industry consumers never think about. The peanut episode in particular does a fine job at showing the complex problem farmers have to deal with the rise of food allergies, which includes scientists trying to figure out what's happening with the human body.
7. Flint Town
Release Date: March 2
Over the course of two years, a documentary crew followed Flint, Michigan's police, and an understaffed and underfunded department trying to do its best. A few years prior, Flint had 300 officers, but now, they're down to 98 and only a few patrol cars. Because the crime rate is so high, calls to the police oftentimes don't get answered for days.
Flint Town starts off as incredibly depressing as you follow these officers trying to do their best with their limited resources. From there, the audience gets to see the changes Flint tries to make in their police force. There's an inkling of hope as the series moves forward, but there's always bumps in the road. It's one of the best-produced Netflix docuseries.
6. A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 2)
Release Date: March 30
Genre: Dark Comedy
Netflix pumps out a ton of original programming geared at children, but most of it is unwatchable for the whole family. Luckily, there are a few shows that both parents and their kids can enjoy--or that you can enjoy without first bearing children. The second season of A Series of Unfortunate Events is wonderfully fun and quirky, even if--at times--it can be exceptionally dark in tone.
The Baudelaire children continue to be shuffled around in the new season and of course, Count Olaf is still after them. The orphans begin a new life at Prufrock Preparatory School where a new gym teacher is quickly revealed as Olaf. Yes, at times, this show is repetitive, but its quick, witty humor along with Neil Patrick Harris' performance of Olaf will make you completely forget about that.
5. Lost in Space
Release Date: April 13
Continuing down the family-friendly-affair path is the reboot of Lost in Space. The Robinson family was on their way to colonize another planet with other humans, but when the ship comes under attack, the Robinsons hop into an escape craft and become... lost in space.
Mike Rougeau said in his Lost in Space review, "What makes Lost in Space a true binge is not the moment-to-moment drama. It's the characters and the talented actors who portray them... That Netflix will grant Lost in Space a second season is pretty much guaranteed. For now, enjoy one of the best sci-fi shows in recent memory--with your whole family, if you want."
4. Terrace House: Opening New Doors
Release Date: March 13
One of the two reality shows on this list is the fourth installment--third on Netflix--of Terrace House, titled "Opening New Doors." The show revolves around a group of six people--three men and three women--living together in a house for an extended period of time. While this is happening, a group of comedians, actors, and other famous Japanese people discuss the goings on in the house.
The United States has plenty of shows with people living in a house and hooking up--usually under the guidance of alcohol. But what sets Terrace House apart from the pack is that it ultimately feels extremely voyeuristic, which is incredibly awkward at first. However, the talking heads discussing the events of the house are what drive the entertainment factor of the show. Sure, watching Yuudai be the laziest chef in the world and terrible at talking to women is hilarious, but what Terrace House has going for it is that it's subdued and feels incredibly real compared to American reality television.
3. Ugly Delicious
Release Date: February 23
There are plenty of shows where a host travels around the world and eats food, but Ugly Delicious found a formula to not only stand out but deliver a strong message as well. The series follows chef David Chang as he dives into the history of food and its connection to culture and society as a whole.
The first season--which consists of eight episodes--is fantastic, and what makes this a standout series is that each one takes such an in-depth look at individual food items, from Chinese food and American perspectives on the cuisine as a whole, to fried chicken, which delves into its racial history in the US and how the rest of the world prepares it. Ugly Delicious is much more than a show about people eating food.
2. Queer Eye
Release Date: February 7
Netflix deals in all forms of entertainment, from movies, to stand-up comedy, to reality television. While reality television has oversaturated the market the past decade, Netflix does have a couple wonderful standouts, and one is the revamped Queer Eye. The show features five gay men, each experts in a different aspect of life--food, culture, fashion, design, and grooming. These men team up to better the lives of someone else.
Strangely enough, this is the best reality show on television. It's full of heart and personal triumph as the "Fab Five" reshapes people's lives, for the better, not just by giving them a physical makeover but by also working on making them better people overall.
1. Wild Wild Country
Release Date: March 16
The six-part Netflix series documents the Rajneesh movement and their move to the United States during the early '80s. During this time, the group bought a large plot of land in rural Oregon, built a city, and tried to infiltrate the Oregonian government, which included assassination attempts and poisoning residents.
It's an unsettling and bizarre tale, which is masterfully told by Chapman Way and Maclain Way. What sets it far apart from others in its genre is that it lets both sides of this story tell it. We hear from those involved in the Rajneesh movement as well as those who lived in the nearby town of Antelope--which had a population of 60--who had fears of the more than 7,000 people moving into their town. The story itself is so crazy that you'll find yourself fact-checking everything, and your jaw will drop when you realize it's all true.