15 Best Netflix Miniseries, Ranked According to Rotten Tomatoes

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Although it’s far from the only option available, Netflix is still the king of streamers. With an extensive library comprising originals and acquired content, Netflix keeps audiences entertained and loyal, combatting the usual churning expected in the highly competitive streaming landscape.

Among its original content, Netflix has several highly acclaimed limited series that have earned the audience’s favor while attracting rave reviews from critics. From The Queen’s Gambit to The Haunting of Hill House, the best miniseries on Netflix have enchanted everyone, becoming cultural phenomenons and attracting acclaim, as evidenced by their high scores in the famous review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Updated on November 02, 2023, by David Caballero:

Netflix keeps winning with its original programming. Recent juggernaut hits like The Fall of the House of Usher and Beef proved it’s still the leading streaming service in original content, with its limited series attracting universal acclaim and high viewership numbers. And, while other competitors have worthy alternatives, Netflix has many incredible limited series ranking among the best in the current television landscape, receiving high ratings on review aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes.


15 ‘Maniac’ (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Image via Netflix

Oscar-winner Emma Stone and Oscar-nominee Jonah Hill star in Cary Fukunaga‘s 2018 Netflix limited series Maniac. The plot follows two troubled strangers who agree to participate in an ambitious drug trial that promises to cure all their mental problems; alas, things don’t go as planned.

Maniac received positive reviews from critics, who appreciated its originality and Stone and Hill’s performances. The series’ visual style earned acclaim, as did the screenplay’s bold approach to mental health. Maniac remains somewhat underrated compared to other Netflix limited series, but it’s a daring and trippy journey that is more than worth the audience’s time.

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14 ‘Midnight Mass’ (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Father Paul Hill conducting mass in Midnight Mass

Mike Flanigan delivered another horror masterpiece with 2021’s Midnight Mass. The story revolves around a young man recently released from prison who returns to his hometown hoping to start over. His arrival coincides with that of a young and charismatic priest who tries to restore the town’s faith as increasingly mysterious occurrences happen.

Midnight Mass received positive reviews from critics. The show’s tone and exploration of issues like grief and guilt were lauded by critics, as was Hamish Linklater‘s performance as the enigmatic priest. Midnight Mass was favorably compared to Flanigan’s previous efforts for Netflix, with many considering him among the streamer’s strongest assets.

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13 ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Dani turning around looking scared in The Haunting of Bly Manor.
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The second entry into Flanagan’s Haunting anthology of terrifying paranormal shows, The Haunting of Bly Manor adapts Henry James’ seminal novella The Turn of the Screw. Victoria Pedretti stars as Dani, a young au pair working for an English family who suspects the children are becoming subject to possession by dangerous supernatural forces.

Critics reacted enthusiastically to Bly Manor, praising the cast, writing, and eerie atmosphere. Although most agreed it was inferior to its predecessor, they still considered the miniseries a chilling reinterpretation of James’ novella, with a unique enough vision to separate it from previous adaptations. Pedretti and Oliver Jackson-Cohen earned praise for their performances, as did the scene-stealing T’Nia Miller. Moreover, Bly Manor‘s beautifully haunting ending remains widely acclaimed and is often considered the strongest in Flanagan’s resumé.

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12 ‘From Scratch’ (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Amy smiling widely in From Scratch.
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Zoë Saldaña stars in the 2022 limited series From Scratch, inspired by Tembi Locke’s eponymous memoir. The show follows Amy Wheeler, an American student in Italy, who falls for an Italian chef. However, their romance gets disrupted by unexpected health issues that bring them closer together.

Although somewhat formulaic, From Scratch rises because of Saldaña’s charming, confident work and chemistry with co-starEugenio Mastrandrea. Featuring beautiful Italian scenery and an empathetic approach to love and tragedy, From Scratch was an unexpected success, receiving critical praise from reviewers, who lauded Saldaña’s performance.

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11 ‘Stay Close’ (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Two people standing and looking at something on the street

The British mystery miniseries Stay Close stars Cush Jumbo, James Nesbitt, and Richard Armitage. It tells the story of three individuals — a suburban housewife with a mysterious past, a tortured paparazzi, and an obsessed police detective — whose lives collide following a man’s disappearance.

Based on Harlan Cobel‘s novel of the same name, Stay Close received highly positive reviews from critics with praise for the cast’s performances and the effective tense, eerie tone. Stay Close also received acclaim for its rewatch value, with many loyal viewers considering it among the most binge-worthy shows on Netflix. And considering how competitive the streaming space is, there’s no higher compliment for a show.

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10 ‘Lost Ollie’ (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

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Lost Ollie tells the story of Ollie, a toy rabbit who wakes up in the Lost and Found section at an antique shop. With only a few memories of his past, he decides to go on a journey to reunite with his owner, a kid called Billy. Jonathan Groff lends his voice to Ollie, joined by Mary J. Blige and Tim Blake Nelson.

The four-episode miniseries received acclaim from critics. The show’s plot and animation attracted rave reviews, with many comparing it favorably with such groundbreaking animated efforts as Pixar’s Toy Story. Lost Ollie also earned praise for its depiction of adult issues, although some considered it too mature for younger audiences. Despite high reviews, the show remains among the best animated hidden gems on Netflix, and more viewers should give it a chance.

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9 ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

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Mike Flanagan’s first project with Netflix was the terrifying The Haunting of Hill House. A loose adaptation of Shirley Jackson‘s eponymous horror novel, the story is told in two timelines and chronicles the life of the Crain family and their experiences in the haunted Hill House.

The Haunting of Hill House received near-universal acclaim with praise for Flanagan’s directing and the miniseries’ dark and complex storytelling. The cast received rave reviews, particularly Victoria Pedretti and Flanagan’s recurring muses, Carla Gugino and Kate Siegel, who many believed were robbed of Emmy nominations. Flanagan’s approach to the classic and his choice to turn it into a familial drama was also admired, with legends like Stephen King expressing their admiration for the show.

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8 ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’ (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

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Bridgerton is among Netflix’s biggest hits, cementing it as a leading force in the entertainment industry. Logically, the streaming giant sought to capitalize on the show’s success, premiering its first-ever spin-off this year. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story centers on the titular character’s marriage with a young King George, portraying their passionate romance that would revolutionize English high society.

Queen Charlotte was a surprising critical darling, with reviewers considering it among the best efforts in the first half of 2023. Series star India Amarteifio received rave reviews, with fans appreciating the show’s romantic elements and considering it a worthy companion to the Bridgerton brand. Queen Charlotte might not be historically accurate, but it offers enough romantic thrills to warrant a place among Netflix’s all-time best.

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7 ‘Maid’ (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Alex looking confused at something off-camera in Maid.
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Margaret Qualley rose to stardom with her tour de force performance in the 2021 miniseries Maid. Based on Stephanie Land‘s memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, the show focuses on a young mother who escapes an abusive relationship and secures a job cleaning houses to support her infant daughter.

Critics lauded Maid as one of the best miniseries on Netflix, praising its sensitive, sympathetic, and insightful portrayal of abuse and hardship. Qualley’s performance received unanimous praise, earning her Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG award nominations. Maid’s writing and intense yet uplifting message garnered acclaim from critics and audiences.

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6 ‘Transatlantic’ (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Deleila Piasko as Lisa Fittko, Ralph Amoussou as Paul Kandjo, Lucas Englander as Albert Hirschmann, Gillian Jacobs as Mary-Jayne Gold, Cory Michael Smith as Varian Fry and Amit Rahav as Thomas Lovegrove in Transatlantic
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Gillian Jacobs leads an ensemble cast in the Netflix limited series Transatlantic. The plot centers on a journalist who arranges passage for several refugees in Nazi-occupied France and is based on the real-life Emergency Rescue Committee.

Transatlantic does right by its real-life story, delivering a gripping and stylish adaptation that is as entertaining as informative. Unfortunately, with so much content readily available on Netflix, Transatlantic slipped through the cracks despite strong reviews and a prestige cast. However, fans can always discover it when browsing the streaming service’s library.

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5 ‘Unorthodox’ (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

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Like Qualley, Shira Haas rose to prominence with a Netflix miniseries. Inspired by Deborah Feldman‘s 2012 autobiography, Unorthodox follows Esty Shapiro, a young woman who runs away from her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community to lead a secular life in Berlin. Upon finding she is pregnant, her husband and his cousin travel to find and bring her back.

Critics gave Unorthodox stellar reviews. Overwhelming positive reviews went to Hass’ performance, with the actress earning Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. The show’s adaptation of its source material also attracted praise, although its depiction of Hasidic Jews earned some criticism from Jewish commentators. Nevertheless, Unorthodox is an intense and rewarding viewing experience that ranks among the all-time best Netflix dramas.

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4 ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Beth Harmon sitting and turning to her left in The Queen's Gambit

Although Anya Taylor-Joy was well-known before her breakthrough in The Queen’s Gambit, the show catapulted to international stardom. The seven-episode period miniseries follows Beth Harmon, a fictional chess prodigy whose career quickly advances as she deals with intense alcohol and drug addiction.

Widely considered one of Netflix’s flagship series, The Queen’s Gambit received unanimous acclaim. Critics lauded Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance, with the actress winning the Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and SAG Awards and receiving an Emmy nomination. The show’s production values, writing, and supporting performances also earned universal praise; it won several awards, including the 2021 Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series.

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3 ‘Beef’ (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Ali Wong holding a gun to her iPhone as Amy Lau in Beef
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Academy Award-nominee Steven Yeun and Ali Wong star in the dark comedy Netflix miniseries Beef. The story chronicles the escalating feud between two strangers whose lives turn increasingly chaotic following a road rage incident. Young Mazino and Patti Yasutake also star.

Beef earned near-universal acclaim from critics and audiences, who instantly embraced it, turning it into one of Netflix’s most popular shows of 2023. Irreverent, clever, and darkly funny, Beef received praise for its humor, clever screenplay, and the performances of its stellar cast, with Yeun and Wong earning some of the best reviews of their careers.

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2 ‘Unbelievable’ (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Detective Karen Duvall and Detective Grace Rasmussen in Unbelievable
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Oscar-nominee and Emmy winner Toni Colette joins Emmy winner Merritt Wever for the 2019 true-crime miniseries Unbelievable. The show dramatized a series of sexual assaults committed in Washington and Colorado between 2008 and 2011, focusing on Marie, a young woman charged with lying about being raped. When two detectives suspect there’s more to the story, they begin unraveling the mystery, leading to a shocking truth.

Unbelievable received universal acclaim from critics and audiences. Colette and Wever earned praise for their work, as did Katlyn Dever, whose performance as Marie was named by several critics as one of the best in the 2019-2020 season. The show received several nominations, with all three actresses earning Golden Globe and Critics Choice mentions. Now, four years since its premiere, Unbelievable remains highly regarded, with many considering it among the all-time best thriller miniseries.

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1 ‘Alias Grace’ (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Grace Marks is arrested and led out by two policeman. Courtesy Netflix
Image via Netflix

The underrated Sarah Gadon stars in one of the best short series on Netflix, the Canadian miniseries Alias Grace, opposite an ensemble including Edward Holcroft, Zachary Levi, David Cronenberg, and Oscar-winner Anna Paquin. The plot centers on a young doctor arriving to secure the acquittal of Grace Marks, a young woman convicted of killing her employer and his lover.

Based on Margaret Atwood‘s eponymous novel – which, in turn, was based on a 19th-century real-life case – Alias Grace was an immediate critical hit. Gadon’s performance was universally praised, with many considering it an Emmy-worthy tour de force. Alias Grace is a hypnotizing mystery, entrancing the audience into doubting everything and everyone, leading to a shocking but satisfying finale.

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