A new year means a new opportunity to start over. That 10-season drama that you're trudging through just to finish it? It's 2022! Drop it like a bad habit! The new show your friends are into but you just don't get? It's 2022! Hard pass! Make your resolution for the new year to find something to watch that you like, whether it's a new series, an overlooked gem from the last few years, or a classic that will remind you of a recent favorite.
Our staff has curated dozens upon dozens of recommendations to help you find the best shows and movies to watch. Looking for a breezy rom-com to sweep you off your feet? A fantasy show that will allow you to escape? A lavish historical drama to whisk you away to another time altogether? The comprehensive lists below feature a bit of everything to help keep you entertained.
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Last updated: Jan. 5
Last year, we got obsessed with new hits like Hacks and Reservation Dogs, fell deeper in love with returning favorites like The Good Fight and Succession, and said goodbye to old reliables like Dear White People and Dickinson as they went out strong. We had brief but intense relationships with limited series like Mare of Easttown and The Underground Railroad and watched what felt like several years' worth of Marvel shows, starting with WandaVision. This is a celebration of the shows that made us laugh, cry, and feel grateful to be alive and watching TV in 2021.
The best episodes of 2021 took us everywhere (as near as home, as far as the moon!). Some said huge things about the frustrating state of modern love, like Dave's take on online dating. Some were ruminations on death, like The Baby-Sitters Club's thoughtful look at how we remember someone who has passed. Some stung with painful barbs, like the shocking crash of Succession's epic birthday party. Some said nothing at all yet still spoke volumes, like Evil and Only Murders in the Building's silent hours.
The best thing about a good TV performance is the same as the best thing about any good TV: You get to spend so much time with it. Our favorite performers on the small screen are usually the ones who reveal new shades of their characters over time, whether they're spiraling toward their breaking point in a miniseries or searching for redemption in a long-running drama. These are the actors who took us on a journey in 2021.
If that 15-season show that you're watching is beginning to lose its luster and you've seen enough surprise weddings, deaths, and long-lost twins, then maybe it's time to find yourself a new show. We rounded up the best new shows from 2021 all in one spot.
Bless you, Diane Lockhart, Elektra Evangelista, Homelander, Deborah Vance, Coffin Flop, and others, for being there when we couldn't be with each other. The shows we've watched lately have been more important than ever, so with TV Guide's annual ranking of the 100 Best TV Shows on TV Right Now, we're not just celebrating eight hours of distraction here and twelve hours of entertainment there; we're honoring the series that have gotten us through and will continue to get us through.
Amazon Prime Video is no longer just that bonus you get when you pay for free shipping. The streamer has plenty of great movies and TV shows, from underrated gems like Patriot to Oscar-winning films like Sound of Metal. We also have separate lists for Amazon's best movies and best TV shows.
Netflix releases approximately 5,624 things to watch each week, but what are the shows and movies that you should watch right now? We cut through the clutter to pick out the 50 best ways to spend your time on Netflix, based on the new releases everyone is talking about now, the classics that recently joined the service, and our own personal favorites. We also have separate lists for Netflix's best movies and best TV shows.
There's something new on Hulu every day, from original series and movies to the latest episodes of your network TV favorites. And while having options is great, this is a safe space to admit that it can also be overwhelming. You don't have to lose an hour trying to decide what to watch; let TV Guide lend a hand with our list of the best shows and movies on Hulu right now. We also have separate lists for Hulu's best movies and best TV shows.
Disney+ is more than just singing princesses, corporate purchases, and Walt Disney's old black-and-white non-PC dreams. The streaming service for the most powerful force in pop culture goes beyond Marvel and Star Wars with some unique originals that you've probably never heard of, but are definitely worth checking out. We also have separate lists for Disney+'s best movies and best TV shows.
HBO and HBO Max are carrying their torrid 2021 into 2022 with several highlights in January, including the final season of the millennial malaise drama Search Party and the Gen Z haze of Euphoria Season 2. If you're looking for something new, you can also see John Cena in his underwear in the premiere of Peacemaker, a new series based on his superhero character from The Suicide Squad, or the long-in-development period drama The Gilded Age, which comes from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.
Still catching up on December's big releases? Join the conversation by checking out new hits like The Matrix Resurrections on HBO Max, The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+, the final season of The Expanse on Amazon, and The Witcher on Netflix.
Apple TV+ is no longer the new kid on the streaming block, as the best shows and movies on Apple TV+ can compete with anything Netflix, HBO, or any other streamer has. Our list of the best shows and movies on Apple's streaming service includes Emmy-winning hits like Ted Lasso, gems like Dickinson and Mythic Quest, and documentaries like The Velvet Underground.
Peacock has an excellent mix of new and classic shows, features a steadily growing library of original programming, and offers access to both live sporting events and a plethora of sports-related content. Some of its library is even available for free once you sign up. We've gathered up the best of the best to give you an idea of what's available — whether you've got the free subscription or a premium tier.
Stay home and stay safe with these cineplex-quality films that are streaming on popular streaming services right now. Just because you don't have sticky floors and someone talking over dialogue behind you, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy Chris Hemsworth murdering dudes in your own living room.
If you're still catching up on everything from last year, take a look at our comprehensive list of the best new shows of 2020, where you'll find your next favorite binge. Better late than never, right?
If you're ready to learn more about the history of the Black Lives Matter movement and racial injustices in America, here's a list of some essential viewing.
Not everyone wants to shell out big bucks every month on streaming services, but there are still a lot of great shows you can stream legally, for free, on the internet -- as long as you don't mind putting up with some ads now and then.
While historical dramas might not be super accurate, but they make history exciting, with high-stakes drama and opulent costumes that are most certainly way out of your budget. If you're among those who can't get enough of period pieces, grab a cup of tea and settle in with these historical dramas on Netflix.
The majority of these films are part of Netflix's Black Lives Matter collection, which highlights feature films, TV shows, and documentaries about Black American experiences. These movies run the gamut from pain to joy, and offer a diverse collection of genres, tones, and topics.
Netflix is a treasure trove of spooky series, eerie episodes, and terrifying tales. It doesn't matter if you're looking for something paranormal, gothic, supernatural, slasher, Satanic, or just straight-up schlocky, the streaming service has you covered.
Whether you're having a good day and are looking to ride that wave, or if you're feeling down and need a pick-me-up, sometimes you're just in the mood for a TV show that will embrace you like a hug and swaddle you like a weighted blanket. These shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Disney+ are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your spirit.
If you want to relive some of your favorite moments from the MCU, or honor the legacy of Chadwick Boseman, you mostly just need a Disney+ subscription, as most of the 23 films are available on the streaming service. However, there are still a few films that aren't available, so find out where to watch those with this helpful story.
We've rounded up the best rom-coms and sweeping romances Netflix currently has to offer -- from Netflix Originals to decades-old acquired titles -- so if you're looking to get lost in a good rom-com or trying to find something that will make you believe in love again, these are the best romantic comedies on Netflix (sorry in advance to The Kissing Booth, which is not included).
For those who want to indulge in a little escapism, nothing beats the fantastical worlds of science fiction. From space battles in the far reaches of a galaxy we've never heard of to advancements in technology that are changing the way we live here on Earth, sci-fi is television's most encompassing genre, and in the hands of great storytellers, it can be the most impactful.
There are a lot more fantasy programs out there than just HBO's Game of Thrones and Netflix's The Witcher (though both are on this list), and they can take viewers to far-off destinations or open their eyes to new, fascinating worlds right here. These are excellent sources of escape, and we could really use an escape hatch right about now.
Whether it's a Dick Wolf drama in which the bad guy usually gets his due or a prestige cable series that raises complicated questions about the criminal justice system in lieu of a gift-wrapped ending, these captivating cop shows have a way of sucking one in for hours on end. So if you're looking for a good distraction that offers up some sense of law and order in a world filled with chaos and uncertainty, this list is for you.
The reality television we're highlighting -- the kind you feel guilty for watching but also can't wait to talk to everyone about -- has been around for decades, but is finding new life with Netflix getting into the act. That's why our list has the latest from Netflix, as well as the classics that inspired them and everything in between.
Between Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, it's never been easier to find quality international programming when you want it. From Dark and Trapped to Babylon Berlin and Terrace House, these popular non-English imports prove there's always something better to watch than another rerun of Fixer Upper.
To help you navigate a Netflix algorithm that's infinitely bigger once you start scrolling through the non-English language shows, this list features some of the most exciting storytelling happening all around the world, focusing on shows that you may not have heard of.
No one does a good murder mystery quite like the Brits; there's just something about the atmosphere of a crisp morning in the U.K. that really drives home the narrative over there. So, if you're in the mood to cue up some sleuthing from across the pond while staying in, here's a look at the best British murder-mystery series available to stream.
While the Brits might excel at murder mysteries, they aren't the only ones producing engrossing whodunnits. This list takes a broader view of mystery and crime dramas and includes some suggestions from the U.S. and other regions as well.
Some of the shows on this list are action-packed dramas, while others take a more whimsical approach to history, but all of them are absolutely binge-worthy masterpieces. Whether you want to travel back hundreds of years or just a couple of decades, you'll find the perfect time travel show recommendation on the list.
If you are looking for some fun, youthful, adventures to take your mind off what's going on outside, this is the list for you. From rom-coms to soapy thrillers, these are the best young adult movies to watch on Netflix.
These are not the boring nature documentaries of middle school; many are educational, yes, but through groundbreaking advances in technology, many more are also breathtaking works of art too.
These comedies are all great, and they require minimal time investment. All can be watched to completion in roughly one work day, which, depending on your situation, means you can sneakily put them on in the background while you're working from home, or will give you something to do while you wait for your $1,200 check to process.
The world is a scary, uncertain place right now, and maybe the best way to get through it is through laughing. These excellent stand-up comedy specials on Netflix will help you out in this trying time. Laughter is the second-best medicine, after Sudafed.
Acorn TV specializes in British programming, including a huge selection of those moody international murder mysteries that you can't get enough of, and it's relatively cheap to subscribe. These are the best shows to watch, including The Hour and Agatha Raisin. Acorn TV is currently offering an extended 30-day free trial, so sign up now using promo code FREE30.
Netflix has also become a solid provider of grown-up-friendly cartoons, so, if you're looking to stream another show drawn to satisfy a more mature audience, here are some options to add to that Netflix queue right now.
These imported animated series from Japan are more made up of more than just beat-em-ups and giant robots, though there are plenty of those, too, and some of them are really darn great. There is actually plenty of variety, if you know what to look for.
In the same way you watch a family drama to make yourself cry, you watch a thriller to feel controlled anxiety. This is a list of some of our favorite thrillers and where to stream them. It's an admittedly incomplete and arbitrary list, but that's only because we had such a hard time choosing what to put on it.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past two weeks (which, to be fair, is a perfectly decent way to ride out a pandemic), you've probably binged Netflix's newest hit, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. If you're ready to dive into more outside-the-box true-crime documentaries that would be the talk of the water cooler (if you weren't stuck at home), these seven recommendations will blow your mind.
If you feel like escaping to a world where the good guys always save the day, there's no problem a utility belt of gadgets can't fix, and crossovers are practically mandatory at this point, this is the perfect list for you.
One of the sure-fire ways to soothe a stressed-out soul is with music, so there may never be a better time to watch (or re-watch) some of the greatest musical series ever. These are some of the most enjoyable musical series to hit the small screen on broadcast, cable and streaming, and they're sure to make you break out in jazz hands and forget about your troubles, even if only for a little while.
Much like its genre neighbor science-fiction, supernatural shows allow viewers to escape into a world full of the unknown. Sometimes, they're scary and full of things that go bump in the night; at others, they're funny and inject a nice dose of levity into stressful situations; and often, they're full of hunky teenagers who are also werewolves. The storytelling options here are truly limitless.
If you only have access to Netflix, have no fear! There are a number of great supernatural shows streaming on the service, and our list includes some international gems and newer programs that you might not have gotten around to watching yet. You'll also find a variety of supernatural elements, aka there's more to the supernatural genre than just vampires and werewolves, which means there's a nice selection to choose from as well.
Netflix is the streaming home for true crime shows, and we've done the work for you, finding the best of the true crime docuseries currently available, from the buzzy new releases to the reliable standards and everything in between.
Between Netflix's expansive Originals slate and acquired titles, the service is unrivaled when it comes to coming-of-age TV shows. It has every type of teen show you could desire, from irreverent comedies and heartfelt dramedies, to sci-fi thrillers and supernatural love stories, to juicy soaps and tender family fare.
Sometimes all you wanna do is unwind with the familiar comforts of a show you already love and know like the back of your hand. From big hitters like the nothingness of Seinfeld to the haziness of That '70s Show, these are the best sitcoms of the 1990s and 2000s you can stream right now.
If you're looking for the best post-apocalyptic, end-of-the-world TV shows and movies to watch, look no further. These programs offer a look at life after civilization and offer glimpses of what the world will look like after we've destroyed it.
There really is never a bad time to watch any one of the best horror flicks available to stream -- and there are a ton of options just on Netflix alone! Whether you're looking for classic B-movie fare, something grim and gory, an over-the-top slasher flick, or some of the genre's most seminal films, there's a streaming option for you.
From BBC Studios and ITV, BritBox has everything from your favorite British sitcoms and classic sci-fi programs to irresistible crime dramas. And in the case of ongoing series, you can often see the new episodes not long after they air in the U.K.
There's nothing like the unscripted drama of real people fighting to see their dreams realized, which is why reality competition shows are so addictive. From amateur bakers to interior designers, we've got you covered with a carefully curated list of the best reality competition shows streaming right now on Netflix.
Showtime is no longer the destination for serious dads with shows like Ray Donovan and Dexter, or harried moms with shows like United States of Tara and The Big C. (No offense, serious dads and harried moms.) The network has undergone serious changes in recent years, and Showtime is better than it's ever been, choosing complicated, emotionally complex dramedies to represent its most recent facelift.
While no means a comprehensive list of the best films from the 1990s, this list features a lot of really great ones. In the interest of being open, some of the major movies on this list will require that you buy or rent them from Amazon Prime. But that's the price you pay for wanting to watch Titanic again.