Netflix debuted over 1,000 hours of original content in 2017. As there’s roughly 8,760 hours in a year, and we use much of that time working and sleeping, you likely (and hopefully) chose to not stream anywhere close to the full library of original shows and films the platform offers.
“Netflix shows” has become a genre unto itself this year, with the platform’s series earning much attention and critical praise. It feels like articles about these shows are everywhere; even the music website, Pitchfork, has apparently written more than 50 articles about “Stranger Things” alone. You could make the argument that “Netflix shows” is this generation’s rock ‘n’ roll. (Don’t @ me.)
Perhaps this will be the high watermark for the company in retrospect. Netflix is on track to earn $11 billion in revenue this year, but its hard to predict whether that number will continue to rise due to the looming threat to net neutrality and the rise in competition from Apple, Amazon and Facebook in 2018.
Netflix spent around $6 billion on original content for 2017 and has already announced it will spend $8 billion in original content next year.
At the moment, the company is able to afford to greenlight all sorts of projects that never would have made it on network or cable television in previous eras: Think nuanced and well-written, but slow-paced, shows, or niche comedies that appeal to the thousands instead of millions. That might end as competitors ― who get most of their money outside of selling streaming subscriptions ― can throw even larger amounts of investment at spectacles (like Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” project) that could drown out these critically adored, but quiet, projects.
In the meantime though, the platform has produced truly good shows and should get recognition for that. Some of Netflix’s biggest stars ― including Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and Danny Masterson ― have been dogged and toppled by sexual harassment and assault allegations, and ongoing reporting may continue to find that the company played a questionable role in supporting these figures. But despite these ethical qualms, Netflix produced some truly excellent projects in 2017.
And so, below is a list of the 10 best shows from 2017.
This is part of Streamline, HuffPost’s weekly recommendation service for streaming shows and movies. Every Saturday, Streamline ranks the best shows to watch online, including a specific focus on Netflix.