40 Best Shows on Netflix in January to Kick Off the New Year
2022 is finally upon us, and as the new year comes, so does the bounty of TV shows to stream on Netflix. The month following the holidays and Christmas movies can feel a bit depressing (not to mention the resurgence of COVID cases keeping us indoors), but if January entertainment is any indication, we're happy to say this doesn't look like a bad year at all.
The streaming service is home to plenty of other things to watch—we've got lists of the best horror movies on Netflix if you're craving a good scare, best romantic movies on Netflix if you're in a lovesick mood, Black history movies on Netflix if you want to educate yourself, plus kids' movies on Netflix for the little ones—but movies can only take you so far (and fill so many hours). If you're really looking for an hours-long binge-watch opportunity, turn to one of these Netflix TV shows.
From tearjerker dramas to holiday hits, this guide to the best shows to watch on Netflix right now is sure to offer a little inspiration for your January viewing. So grab a warm drink, curl up under a blanket, and settle into 2022—here's plenty to keep you entertained all year long.
The best shows on Netflix in January 2022
1. All of Us Are Dead
If you've seen Train to Busan, Kingdom, or #Alive, you know South Korea does zombie entertainment right. Set to release on January 22, this new Netflix series features a high school that becomes ground zero for a zombie virus outbreak—and it doesn't look like it will disappoint.
2. The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window
When a heartbroken artist (Kristen Bell) witnesses a gruesome murder in her neighbor's house across the street, she goes to report it, as one should. However, she is only met with doubt and distrust—so much distrust, in fact, that she begins to doubt if she can trust herself. Get ready to binge all eight episodes on January 28.
Season four of this top Netflix Original Series (coming January 21) makes 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.
4. Stay Close
This British crime drama miniseries holds a lot of promising characters—Megan Pierce (a suburban mum hiding a murky past), Michael Broome (a detective still haunted by a cold case from 17 years ago), and Stewart Green (a local husband and father who disappeared without any trace). When another man goes missing on the anniversary of Stewart's disappearance, Broome takes the case, but it quickly becomes apparent that the two cases are very intertwined.
5. After Life
The third series of the bittersweet comedy about life after a loved one's death is arriving on Netflix January 14. These new episodes will pick up in the aftermath of Ricky Gervais' character, Tony, grieving another major loss as he tries to embrace the future and let go of his past.
6. Too Hot to Handle
You might be a bit skeptical of this one based on the trailer (so were we), but turns out that watching a bunch of hot people try to handle their libidos is more entertaining than we thought it would be. The steamy reality show revolves around 10 extremely attractive singles who have to live together, but with one caveat: a $100,000 celibacy challenge, with any violations docking the prize money. Watch the first two seasons before the third arrives January 19.
7. Emily in Paris
A Chicago marketing exec Emily Cooper lands her dream job in Paris, only to find that the culture clash is far worse than she expected, especially when it comes to a critical boss and highly judgmental coworkers. In season two, the overwhelmingly American but likable Emily continues (read: struggles) to find her feet in the French capital.
8. Lost in Space
On the way to what they believe will be a better world in a space colony, a family's ship is abruptly thrown off course and crashes into a dangerous alien environment. Now light-years from their original destination, they are forced to forge new alliances to survive and ultimately escape.
9. The Witcher
Set on a fictional, medieval-inspired landmass known as "the Continent," the saga of monster slayer Geralt of Rivia continues in season two. While season one followed different characters at different points of time, this new season promises to move into a "more linear method of storytelling" where everyone merges at the climactic battle for Sodden Hill against the invaders from Nilfgaard.
10. Cobra Kai
The spin-off series of The Karate Kid takes place decades after the original film trilogy. Diehard fans will be thrilled to know that the martial arts comedy-drama stars the same characters Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, who reprise their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. This time around, they reignite their rivalry when Johnny seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai dojo.
11. 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 of hearts.
12. Bulgasal: Immortal Souls
This Korean fantasy thriller series features a woman who repeats death and reincarnation for 600 years. The twist: She still remembers her past lives. Things get even more interesting when she meets a man, her counterpart who cannot die because he has been an immortal for 600 years.
13. Tiger King 2
The famous show that got us through the peak of quarantine is back with a second season, and it promises to deliver all the cat drama you've been craving. The docuseries follows a feud between private zoo owners who have questionable ethics and practices. According to Nettflix, the sudden fame and unwanted attention from the authorities will turn up the heat and "unearth some stunning revelations."
Warning: If you've experienced domestic abuse, this show may be triggering. Although physical abuse cases can be more straightforward, there's a blurry line for emotional abuse, which often doesn't hold up in court due to lack of evidence. This show aims to depict the agonizing reality of emotional abuse victims, and the lack of support that exists for vulnerable people who have left abusive environments.
15. Cowboy Bebop
Starring John Cho as Spike Spiegel, the live-action adaptation of the classic anime features a ragtag crew of bounty hunters who work together to chase down the galaxy's most dangerous criminals.
16. Locke & Key
Based on the bestselling graphic novel series, Locke & Key revolve around three siblings who discover that their family's ancestral estate has some hidden secrets. When their dad is murdered and they move into his family home, they soon find a number of mysterious keys throughout the house that can be used to unlock various doors in magical ways. But where there's good, there's evil—and a demonic entity with bad intentions is also looking to take ownership of the keys for itself.
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 5—is now available on Netflix, too, you can get all caught up on this must-watch series as season 6 gets rolling.
18 Squid Game
If you're a fan of Hunger Games, Battle Royale, or Belko Experiment-style stories, this Korean series that's been making Netflix history (it's their number one show of all time) is a must-watch. Hundreds of cash-strapped players accept a strange invitation to compete in seemingly innocent games with a tempting prize at the end. Just a small catch: Elimination or forfeiture means death.
This psychological thriller series dives into the mind of Joe Goldberg, a hopelessly romantic psychopath—two things that definitely aren't compatible. All three seasons about his twisted pursuits for love is on Netflix, along with his inner monologues that almost make his rationalization of murder make sense. After all, all is fair in love and war, right?
20. Midnight Mass
Horror fans get psyched—this new series directed by Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, Doctor Sleep) is perfect for your post-Halloween binge-watching. When the arrival of a charismatic priest brings mysterious miracles to an isolated island community, things seem too good to be true. And if you know anything about horror shows and/or Mike Flanagan, if something is too good to be true, it definitely is. Long story short, the newly religious residents soon learn that these miracles come at a price.
21. In the Dark
The show's protagonist is a pessimistic blind woman who mainly drifts through life in a drunken haze. The first three seasons revolve around the murder mystery of one of her closest friends, which in turn leads her to an involvement with one of the biggest drug rings in the biz.
22. Sex Education
This hilarious comedy-drama will have you both cringing and rolling around on the floor in laughter. The protagonist is an awkward, insecure boy named Otis who is sexually inexperienced and has trouble masturbating, among other things. The fact that his mom is a sex therapist complicates the matter, and things start really escalating when a rebellious girl named Maeve proposes they start a school sex-therapy clinic together.
As a mystery lover who prides herself on guessing the ending of murder mysteries, I'll say this: If you say you saw the ending of Clickbait coming, you're a liar. The new limited Netflix series begins with the kidnapping of family man Nick Brewer. But what starts off as an apparent kidnapping case becomes more complicated when videos are released with him holding a series of signs. One says he abuses women and another claims he killed a woman. As his family tries to find the people who kidnapped Nick, they're also forced to contemplate what Nick could have done to prompt this strange hostage situation.
24. The Circle
As if social media isn't stressful enough, let's put $100,000 on the line. In The Circle, contestants are isolated in their own apartments, and can only communicate to the other contestants via a social media app. Everyone is periodically asked to rate their fellow contestants, with top vote-getters becoming "Influencers" and the low-rankers being eliminated (and the most popular contestant winning the cash prize). But here's the catch: People can choose to be whoever they want to be in the competition, meaning that sweet "girl-next-door" you've been flirting with might be a middle-aged man. Hey, with all the catfishing and fake identities adopted on the web, it's really not that far of a stretch from reality.
25. 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 harmful stereotypes they hold.
Looks like the trending hashtag #SaveManifest worked, because Netflix recently renewed the hit NBC mystery series for a fourth and final season. The story, which follows a group of passengers on a flight missing for five years that suddenly reappears, has made a huge splash on social media and sailed high in the Top 10 on Netflix for several weeks. A lot can happen in five years, which means most of their spouses have moved on, kids have grown up, and parents have passed away, making their return to society more unimaginably difficult. To make matters worse, the passengers begin to experience voices and visions representing events yet to occur, sending them down a bumpy moral road that they can only navigate together.
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 every episode.
28. Top Secrets UFO Projects: Declassified
If you're not a believer in aliens, you just may be after watching this documentary dedicated to uncovering extraterrestrial life. Though claims of alien encounters have long been dismissed, Netflix's movie will explore the idea that aliens exist among us and that this knowledge has been covered up by the government for years. Conspiracy theorists, get ready to go down a rabbit hole (black hole?) of a lifetime.
29. Never Have I Ever
The second season of Netflix's quirky coming-of-age drama is finally here. If you're not familiar with the first season, the story takes the viewpoint of Devi, a first-generation, Indian-American teen growing up in Southern California. As Devi tries to navigate high school, a juicy love triangle that rivals the renowned Edward vs. Jacob battle, and friendships with her two BFFs, she also has to grapple with the loss of her father and pitfalls of high school hierarchy.
30. Sex Life
Sex Life has been generating plenty of buzz—and let's just say it's not for the stellar scriptwriting. A new Netflix show that's as steamy as the temperature outside, it follows a suburban stay-at-home mother who starts to yearn for the wild, sex-filled party days of her youth. When she starts daydreaming about her time with bad boy record exec Brad, she starts writing, erm, stories about her experiences on her laptop. When her husband finds her fantasy writing, instead of getting angry, he decides to use it as an instruction manual to spice up their sex life. As you've probably guessed, it's rated R, so maybe don't watch it with your mom.
31. The Walking Dead
Like its titular zombies, this dark series may never die. Season 10 is newly released on Netflix, as well as its nine seasons that are all currently ready to be binged. Serving up horror, tears, laughs, and more with each episode, the show follows a group of survivors fighting their way through the treacherous, zombie-infested remains of what was once the United States.
32. Outer Banks
Season 2 of Outer Banks is finally here: 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 warm-weather vibes will.
33. Sweet Tooth
This fantasy series based on the DC Comic is set in a post-apocalyptic fairytale world where "nature made everyone sick." That first part sounds all too familiar, but that's where the relatability ends: This pandemic led to the mysterious emergence of hybrid babies born part human, part animal. Unsure if hybrids are the cause or result of the virus, many humans fear and hunt them, making post-pandemic life for these kids a whole lot harder.
34. Who Killed Sara?
Since its release in March 2021, the Spanish series has apparently become the most popular non-English language show the streaming giant has ever seen. The million dollar question: who killed Sara? Alex (Manolo Cardona), a man convicted of a crime he did not commit, wants to know, especially considering that Sara is his sister and he was wrongfully imprisoned for 18 years for her murder.
35. Black Mirror
Turn to Black Mirror 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 frighteningly similar to the scenarios presented in this dark, twisted show, which makes this the perfect binge-watch if you want to lean into psychological terror.
36. Kim's Convenience
Looking to expand your Asian culture awareness past AAPI month? Try Kim's Convenience, a funny, heart-filled sitcom that depicts the Korean-Canadian Kim family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. The show is decorated with awards and it's not hard to see why: From Mr. and Mrs. Kim (stern but well-meaning parents) to Janet and Jung (their Korean-Canadian kids trying to balance the two cultures), it's impossible not to root for the genuine, lovable characters.
37. Ginny and Georgia
Ginny and Georgia are two women who you would never peg as having the same Myers Briggs personality type, but after moving to small-town Wellsbury, Mass., they find out that they're more alike than they originally imagined. Their double lives are filled with sex scandals, petty social cliques, and murder. In short, it's the perfect mix of Gilmore Girls wholesomeness sprinkled with a dark, criminal undertone.
38. The Irregulars
Between the rugged Victorian backdrop, the hints of the paranormal, and the rather ominous Dr. Watson (yes, that Watson), there's a lot happening in this new take on the Sherlock Holmes stories. Bea and her makeshift chosen family struggle to deal with the onset of mysterious powers. Blending some of the teen drama of Outer Banks, the mystery and danger of any Sherlock Holmes story, and a historical setting reminiscent of Bridgerton (if a bit darker), this series is practically guaranteed to be a hit (and it's a great binge-watch, either way).
There's a tiny, itty-bitty chance you missed the launch of this long-anticipated TV series from Shonda Rhimes on Christmas Day. If you've managed to wait to watch the show (and not bought into the hype online), resist no further: Bridgerton is a must-watch. The series follows London's elite in the early 19th century as they seek love and marriage (not always together), political alliances, and gossip during the glittering social season. Think of it as an indulgent, escapist blend of Gossip Girl and Pride & Prejudice with something to appeal to everyone—and a delightful reimagining of how people of color operate in the era. With only eight episodes and plenty of cliff-hangers and drama to keep you hooked, you'll tear through the show in a matter of days. Eventually there'll be a Queen Charlotte spin-off, but for now you can check out Season 1.
40. Schitt's Creek
A heartfelt (and now Emmy-winning) 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. Schitt's Creek made history in 2020 by sweeping comedy categories at the Emmys, and the final season (season 6) launched on Netflix last year. If you haven't watched this wonderfully funny show yet, now is the time.