This last month of summer will fly by with these top Netflix shows.

By Lauren Phillips
August 04, 2020
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With summer beginning to wind down, there’s still plenty of time to fit in all those socially distanced summer activities you’ve had on your list—and time to watch all the best shows on Netflix you’ve been wanting to see. This pandemic summer has probably been full of more binge-watching and indoors time than years past, but even if you feel like you’ve seen everything on Netflix, there are at least a few more great shows to watch in August.

We’re nearing peak viewing time for Halloween movies on Netflix (and Christmas movies on Netflix if you like getting a head start on your holiday celebrations), but great shows on Netflix are good any time of year—and during any activity, whether you’re cleaning, cooking, reading, or just looking for some great drama (beyond our real-life pandemic drama) to sink into.

If you’re over watching show after show on Netflix, you can always turn to the best romantic movies on Netflix or Black history movies on Netflix. You can even make some Netflix suggestions if it really feels like you’ve seen it all, but chances are that there’s more than a few great shows on Netflix you can watch right now if you’re craving an hours- or days-long binge. Read on for our picks for what to watch on Netflix this August, whether you want series with comedy, horror, action, drama, or some mix of them all.

The best shows on Netflix – August 2020

1. Schitt’s Creek

A heartfelt (and now Emmy-nominated) riches-to-rags story, this comedy follows the Rose family as they’re forced out of their lives of the rich and famous and into a middle-of-nowhere (and unfortunately named) town filled with unusual characters. They try to rebuild their old lives and find themselves building new ones instead, with mixed results.

2. Shameless

For a different kind of family drama, turn to this long-running dark comedy, which follows the perennially down-on-their-luck Gallaghers. Independent of their alcoholic father and absent mother, the clan of equally dysfunctional siblings always seems to make it through whatever trouble they’re facing—sometimes it just takes a little law-breaking first. With season 10 now available on Netflix, there’s new Shameless to watch for everyone, even those who have seen every episode available to stream.

3. Grey’s Anatomy

A whopping 16 seasons makes this one of the best binge-watching shows on Netflix right now. Come for the medical drama, stay for the romantic tension and rotating cast of characters who grow and change a lot over the years of the show.

4. The Good Place

What happens after you die? In this show, there are two options: the Good Place or the Bad Place. The first season follows a group who has landed in the Good Place, but it’s not what it seems—and plenty of twists and turns keep the show engaging through the next couple seasons. Filled with humor, good intentions, an irresistible cast, and an unexpected series of philosophical lessons and questions, this thoughtful, sharp top show on Netflix is sweet (and even educational) from the first episode.

5. Outlander

Based on a beloved, thoroughly researched book series that blends romance and historical action with just a hint of supernatural intrigue, this beautifully crafted TV series is officially binge-worthy. The premise is deceptively simple: A 20th-century Englishwoman is magically transported to 1700s Scotland. Her fight to survive her new, dangerous surroundings puts her in the path of a striking young Scot, and the series follows their adventurous life together.

6. Lucifer

For a bit of suave, dark humor, turn to Lucifer, which follows the fallen angel as he starts fresh in L.A. The devil himself becomes a consultant for the police, and the balance of good-vs.-evil morality concerns and procedural drama (plus a little romantic tension for good measure) will keep you hooked through all four available seasons. With season five announced for an August 21 release, now’s the best possible time to catch up on Lucifer and co.’s misadventures.

7. Jeopardy

What is the longest-running game show on TV? Few people don’t already know and love this knowledge game show, but its relatively recent arrival to Netflix makes Jeopardy bingeable for the first time. Turn it into a family-friendly game by playing along with the contestants; everyone will learn a little and be entertained a lot.

8. Quantico

Priyanka Chopra stars in this chronology-twisting series, which follows a group of FBI trainees at the titular Quantico. Between their training exploits (and romantic rendezvous), there’s plenty of action and drama to keep you hooked—and when the series flash forwards to a few months in the future, when one of the star trainees is framed, you’ll be even more invested.

9. Peaky Blinders

A historical show set in 1920s England, this series follows a gang boss and his family as they fight (with outsiders and each other) across five seasons of dark, gritty drama. It’s on the violent side, so weak stomachs will want to skip it, but anyone who does watch will be rewarded with a new favorite show—or at least a highly entertaining binge-watch.

10. Grace and Frankie

Two men of a certain age fall in love—with each other. Their respective wives, looking forward to the long years of retirement, find themselves thrown together unexpectedly: Their unlikely friendship and buddy comedy–esque shenanigans keep this adored show upbeat and fun to watch through all six seasons.

11. Breaking Bad

This award-winning series is available in its entirety—all five seasons—for your viewing pleasure on Netflix. The basic plot follows a science teacher who becomes a drug producer and dealer: Predictably, things don’t go as planned.

12. Dear White People

Set at a progressive, supposedly post-racial Ivy League–esque college, this show—part comedy, part drama—follows a group of students of color as they navigate the everyday slights and microaggressions on a campus filled with white students who claim not to be racist. From a blackface party to campus security aggression, the series examines many different situations and how they affect Black people—a great watch for anyone seeking to better understand their own unconscious biases and any harmful stereotypes they hold.

13. The Office

Rumor has it that this beloved comedy series will be leaving Netflix in 2021: With that in mind, if you haven’t watched it yet, now’s the time to get started on the nine-season binge-watch. One of the most loved shows on Netflix right now, you’ll be glad to be in on the jokes about coworkers and office culture at last.

14. Ozark

Season three of this top Netflix Original Series is finally out (as of earlier this year), making this show officially bingeable. It follows a financial adviser turned money-launderer who is forced to pack up his family and move to the Ozarks, where he has to clean a huge sum of money for a dangerous cartel leader. Dark, gritty, and full of surprisingly likable characters, it’s a great distraction.

15. The Politician

Witty, wry, and incredibly cast, this tale of a boy in pursuit of his senior class presidency (and then the U.S. presidency, of course) will have you hooked by the end of the first episode. Whether it’s the amazing scenery and costumes, the quick dialogue, or the actors—Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Zoey Deutch all play starring roles—everyone can find something to enjoy. With season two newly available as of June, too, there’s even more to watch.

16. Supergirl

Following Superman’s well-meaning cousin, this show (with five seasons currently available on Netflix) is the story of how the beloved Supergirl becomes her own hero. Pop-ins from Superman, the Flash, and other DC heroes help tie the show into the CW’s comic book-to-TV universe; even if you don’t follow the other shows, this one is an upbeat pick the whole family (especially older kids) will enjoy.

17. Queer Eye

A reboot of the ’90s series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, this emotional, insightful reality series follows five (newly Emmy-nominated) queer men as they help people of all genders improve their lives. The five stars have become personalities in their own right and watching them on-screen together is one of the best parts of the show, but seeing how they help and encourage the people they work with is sure to warm even the coolest heart.

18. Outer Banks

It may only be one season long (for now), but this fresh Netflix Original Series is supremely bingeable. It was in the top-10 ranking of the most popular movies and shows on Netflix (according to Netflix) for weeks after its mid-April 2020 release for good reason: The show follows a band of teenaged misfits treasure hunting, fishing, surfing, and occasionally dodging bullets in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. If the action-packed drama and dynamic, charming characters don’t get you, the beautiful coastal scenery and summery vibes will.

19. Black Mirror

Turn to this atypical Netflix Original Series for some serious psychological horror. It only has 22 episodes (plus the Bandersnatch interactive film), but each is essentially a standalone movie, with most episodes ranging from 45 minutes to more than an hour in length. Reality is frightening similar to the scenarios presented in this dark, twisted show right now, which makes this the perfect binge-watch if you want to lean into the psychological terror.

20. Sherlock

With a dedicated fanbase and plenty of acclaim, this modern adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved Sherlock Holmes stories has plenty of mystery, clues, and dry humor. The British series, set in modern London, has British wit and dark intrigue in equal measure, with 13 long episodes—an hour and a half each, on average—to keep you entertained for days.

21. Community

Finally (finally!) available on Netflix, this beloved 2010s comedy about a group of students at a community college is one of the best shows to binge-watch. With six hilarious seasons (with the first few being the best, of course), smart gags, witty humor, and more, it’ll keep you entertained for days. It may even inspire a few indoor, at-home activities: blanket fort, anyone?

22. Riverdale

Getting hooked on this dark take on the Archie comics is easy: The first season has enough surprises from its familiar high-school characters to pull you in, and the next few seasons will keep you watching as the show gets darker and darker. Even if the plot gets a little confusing, the good-looking cast and melodrama will keep any casual binge-watcher satisfied. Now that the newest season, season 4, is now available on Netflix, too, you can use August to get all caught up on this must-watch series.

23. Stranger Things

One of the top shows on Netflix since its launch, Stranger Things is now on its third season, with the fourth to come eventually (date TBA). It follows a crew of adorable, slightly nerdy pre-teens as they face unexpected supernatural activity in their unassuming hometown: With nostalgia, mystery, horror, and strong friendships, it’s got something for everyone. The latest season takes place in the summer, too, so you can get all the sun-bathing, bike-riding, summer vibes you crave, even if some of your favorite summer activities are off-limits this year.

24. The Crown

With the release of season three, The Crown—one of the top Netflix Original Series—is officially binge-worthy for those who think the best shows on Netflix are the long-running ones. Follow three decades (so far) in the life of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, with plenty of royal intrigue and familial conflict to keep you hooked and eagerly awaiting season four.

25. Scandal

This seven-season show on Netflix follows Kerry Washington as a high-powered political consultant juggling individual clients, presidential campaigns, international crises, and more with the help of her team of multi-talented individuals. Add in some forbidden romance and espionage, and you’ve got an irresistible binge-watch that will last you the whole month of August.