The 16 best Netflix original shows of 2016, according to critics

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Claire Foy and Matt Smith as Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Philip, on “The Crown.”
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Robert Viglasky/Netflix

Netflix is pumping out so many shows these days, it’s hard to keep track of which ones are worth your time.

To help out, we put together a list of the best Netflix series that released new episodes in 2016. This list includes old favorites that had new seasons this year, like “Orange Is the New Black,” and blockbuster newcomers like “The Crown.”

It left off some popular Netflix shows that are still going but didn’t get any updates in 2016 – “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” for instance.

How did we construct the ranking?

To get a sense of how Netflix’s 2016 shows stacked up against one another, we turned to the reviews aggregator Metacritic, which pulls in critic and audience reviews from all over the world. We looked only at dramas and comedies Netflix had originated – not coproduced or taken over. Then we picked 16 that got the best combined critics ratings.

There were a few surprises in the data. The cult megahit “Stranger Things” was only in the middle of the pack, while “Lady Dynamite,” which has relatively little buzz, was a critic darling.

Here are the shows that made the cut, along with their ratings and descriptions:


No. 16: ‘The OA’ — 61/100

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Brit Marling stars in Netflix’s “The OA.”
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Netflix; Facebook

Average critic score: 61/100

Audience score: 7.0/10

Netflix description: Seven years after vanishing from her home, a young woman returns with mysterious new abilities and recruits five strangers for a secret mission.


No. 15: ‘Sense8’ — 63/100

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“Sense8” stars Tina Desai and Max Riemelt.
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Netflix

Average critic score: 63/100

Audience score: 7.9/10

Netflix description: Their gift of telepathic communication made them targets for extermination. But it’s the one thing keeping them alive.

Note: The first season of “Sense8” came out in 2015, but Netflix released a Christmas special, so it was eligible.


No. 14: ‘Bloodline’ — 67.5/100

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Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Average critic score: 67.5/100

Audience score: 8.1/10

Netflix description: The Rayburns seem to have the perfect life in their lovely Florida town. But nobody’s perfect – especially the Rayburns.


No. 13: ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ — 68/100

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Netflix

Average critic score: 68/100

Audience score: 8.9/10

Netflix description: A boyhood accident blinded him. But now he can “see” even better. And he doesn’t like what’s going on in Hell’s Kitchen.


No. 12: ‘The Get Down’ — 69/100

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Netflix

Average critic score: 69/100

Audience score: 7.6/10

Netflix description: In 1977 New York City, the talented and soulful youth of the South Bronx chase dreams and breakneck beats to transform music history.


No. 11: ‘Love’ — 72/100

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Netflix

Average critic score: 72/100

Audience score: 7.5/10

Netflix description: It’s awkward. It’s impossible. It’s infuriating. And it may just be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.


No. 10: ‘Easy’ — 72/100

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“Easy” creator Joe Swanberg.
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Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Average critic score: 72/100

Audience score: 5.5/10

Netflix description: This eclectic, star-studded anthology follows diverse Chicagoans fumbling through the modern maze of love, sex, technology, and culture.


No. 9: ‘Stranger Things’ — 76/100

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Netflix

Average critic score: 76/100

Audience score: 9.0/10

Netflix description: When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one strange little girl.


No. 8: ‘Narcos’ — 76/100

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Netflix

Average critic score: 76/100

Audience score: 8.5/10

Netflix description: First they got coke. Then they got money. Now the Colombian cartels want the power. Let the drug wars begin.


No. 7: ‘House of Cards’ — 76/100

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Netflix

Average critic score: 76/100

Audience score: 8.5/10

Netflix description: Is it true that absolute power corrupts absolutely? Congressman Frank Underwood absolutely intends to find out.


No. 6: ‘Marvel’s Luke Cage’ — 79/100

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Myles Aronowitz/Netflix

Average critic score: 79/100

Audience score: 8.3/10

Netflix description: A hoodie-wearing, unbreakable ex-con fights to clear his name and save his neighborhood. He wasn’t looking for a fight, but the people need a hero.


No. 5: ‘BoJack Horseman’ — 79/100

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Netflix

Average critic score: 79/100

Audience score: 8.7/10

Netflix description: He’s a half-horse, half-man, has-been TV star who drinks a bit too much. He’s really got a lot going on right now.


No. 4: ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ — 80/100

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Netflix

Average critic score: 80/100

Audience score: 7.8/10

Netflix description: What’s a Midwest girl to do after she’s spent the last 15 years trapped underground? Move to New York City, of course.


No. 3: ‘The Crown’ — 81/100

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Claire Foy and Matt Smith as Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Philip, on “The Crown.”
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Robert Viglasky/Netflix

Average critic score: 81/100

Audience score: 8.7/100

Netflix description: This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.


No. 2: ‘Orange Is the New Black’ — 84.3/100

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Netflix

Average critic score: 84.3/100

Audience score: 8.2/10

Netflix description: Piper Chapman doesn’t deserve her prison sentence. Of course, every one of her fellow inmates thinks the same thing.


No. 1: ‘Lady Dynamite’ — 85/100

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Netflix

Average critic score: 85/100

Audience score: 6.7/10

Netflix description: Comedian Maria Bamford stars in a series inspired by her own life. It’s the sometimes surreal story of a woman who loses – and then finds – her s—.