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10 Best Limited Series on Netflix

Kaitlyn Dever wears a hospital gown

Limited series on Netflix have really saved us so much time in recent years, haven’t they? Sometimes we just don’t have time or even the attention span to keep up with a show over the span of multiple seasons which can last up to numerous years. We change, our life circumstances change, our interests change, and that show that caught out attention years earlier just doesn’t hit the same. So, it seems perfect that limited series has soared in popularity over the years, allowing us to get our fix of drama, entertainment, tears, and happiness with just one binge session. Or, if you like to take it a bit slower, a slow-paced, one week worth of watching over your dinner.

Luckily, Netflix has spoiled us with choices due to their seemingly endless amount of limited series that explore a wide variety of topics. For instance, we gained a real insight into the realities of homelessness in present-day America in the limited series Maid starring Margaret Qualley. At the same time, the extent of how one unassuming person can con people out of millions was explored in the true-life-inspired series starring Inventing Anna, with Julia Garner as the titular lead. Then, there are those binge-able series that transports us into a whole other world, such as the genius, chess-playing realm of Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit and the world of a young girl living in fear after escaping from a devil-worshipping cult in Devil in Ohio. There are also other shows that are based on shocking true stories, such as When They See Us and Unbelievable. You will be outraged after watching these two.

So, keep on scrolling for our list of the ten best bingeable limited series on Netflix.

1. Maid (2021)

Margaret Qualley in Maid

Margaret Qualley single-handedly ended the nepotism debate with her extraordinary talents when she starred in the 2021 drama Maid, for which she was nominated for an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. Inspired by Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, the show focuses on single mother Alex who can’t seem to catch a break. After fleeing an abusive relationship and acquiring no help from her own dysfunctional mother (played by her own mom, the wonderful Andie MacDowell), Alex moves from shelter to shelter while at one point being on seven different forms of government assistance to provide for her young daughter. She eventually finds a job cleaning the homes of wealthy residents in a bid to pull herself out of poverty, build a better future for her child, and realize her dreams of becoming a writer. In particular, this miniseries shone a light on the plight of those living in poverty in America on a daily basis.

2. Midnight Mass (2021)

Hamish Linklater as Father Paul Hil

The cinematography, the writing, and the acting all came together beautifully to deliver the most breathtaking limited series in Mike Flanagan’s religious horror Midnight Mass. After serving four years in prison for killing someone in a drunk-driving incident, a young man (Criminal Minds actor Zach Gilford) returns to his remote hometown on Crockett Island in a bid to rebuild his life. However, he arrives at the same time as a charismatic yet mysterious new priest who hopes to renew the island’s faith. However, the priest’s actions cause a divide within the community and it’s not long before a series of mysterious events begin to plague the small town.

3. Unbelievable (2019)

Kaitlyn Dever wears a hospital gown

Based on the 2015 news article An Unbelievable Story of Rape, written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, the Netflix miniseries Unbelievable is based on the Washington and Colorado serial rape cases ranging from the years 2008-2011. The real-life inspired series sees a teenager named Marie (Kaitlyn Dever), who is charged with lying about being raped. However, her arrest doesn’t sit well with two female detectives Det. Grace Rasmussen and Det. Karen Duvall, played by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever, who set on a twisted path to discover the truth of what happened to Marie and a slew of other young victims.

4. The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

Beth Harmon studies up on her chess skills.

The Queen’s Gambit dominated Netflix in 2020 and turned actress Anya Taylor-Joy into a bonafide star as she carried the impressively intricate and complex costume drama with utter perfection. Written and directed by Scott Frank, the show is a coming-of-age tale of a young girl named Beth Harmon, born in a 1950s orphanage, who reveals her extraordinary talent for chess and sets out on an unlikely journey to become to greatest chess player in the world, all, while grappling with addiction and her personal demons. As expected, award season came calling for this series, which became the first show on a streaming service to win the Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series category at the Emmys. Taylor also won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie.

5. Inventing Anna (2022)

Julia Garner as imprisoned Anna Delvey in 'Inventing Anna'

Julia Garner constantly won rave reviews for her epic performance in Ozark, but Inventing Anna really made us appreciate the true extent of her acting capabilities. In the series, Garner transforms into the real-life inspired role of Instagram-famous Anna Delvey, who managed to convince New York’s elite that she was a German heiress and swindled them out of their money to fund her own hugely ambitious projects. But, it’s not long before journalist (Anna Chlumsky) sets out to investigate the story, which has people begging the question, is she really a brilliant entrepreneur or a cunning con artist? During an interview with Elle, Garner explained how the famous Delvey accent she had to learn for the role saying, “A lot of times, people coming from Europe to live in America, their accents start to shift. And Anna especially does that anyway, she kind of embodies whoever she’s hanging out with. She’s struggling a lot with her own identity, so you see her pick up on traits from whoever she’s hanging out with.”

6. Clickbait (2021)

Nick Brewer holds a sign that says "At 5 Million Views I Die"

Clickbait was the stuff of nightmares and really showed us the true extent of the dangers online. When a loving family man Nick Brewer is abducted, and a viral video of him emerges online saying he will die if the video receives 5 million views, those close to him race against time to uncover who is behind the atrocious acts and for what reasons. This show, starring Adrian Grenier, Zoe Kazan, and Betty Gabriel, will keep you on the edge of your seats throughout and will honestly have you guessing till the very end. Now that’s what we call a masterful thriller!

7. From Scratch (2021)

Zoe Saldana in From Scratch

Just a little warning in advance, okay, more like a major warning, get your tissue box at the ready! This emotional miniseries, starring Zoe Saldana and Eugenio Mastrandrea, follows the journey of an American student named Amahle “Amy” Wheeler, who falls in love with Sicilian chef Lino while studying in Italy. After mixing their two cultures and families, the pair finally have their happily ever after, but Lino soon faces a serious health issue which threatens their future forever. Want to know something that will devastate you further about this limited series? It’s based on a true story!

8. Unorthodox (2020)

Esty Shapiro wears a floral dress

In Unorthodox, a nineteen-year-old Hasidic Jewish woman named Esty Shapiro (played by Shira Haas) escapes an arranged marriage in the Satmar sect of the ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn, New York City. She heads to Berlin, where her estranged mother lives to start a new life abroad. However, while discovering life outside her community and rejecting the beliefs she grew up with, it’s not long before her past catches up to her as her husband discovers she is pregnant and, by order of a rabbi, travels to Berloin to find her. Haas sat down with Vogue to explain why she was drawn to the character of Esty explaining, “She’s tough, stubborn and knows what she wants, but she’s also very naive and wants to please people and fit in. It’s a beautiful challenge for an actress to be all of those things, and it’s still rare to find female leads who are that powerful.”

9. When They See Us (2019)

When They See Us (2019)

When They See Us, which was created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix, is truly an important watch. The likes of Jharrel Jerome, Michael K. Williams, Blair Underwood, Vera Farmiga, Niecy Nash and many more truly excel in this series that was based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case in which five Black and Latino male suspects were falsely accused and then prosecuted on charges related to the rape and assault of a white woman in Central Park, New York City. The story, including their time spent in prison, is followed until their exoneration in 2002.

10. Devil in Ohio (2022)

Mae leans her head on Suzanne's shoulder

Devil in Ohio flew under the radar when it was released on Netflix in 2022, but we still think it is a truly brilliant horror miniseries that deserves more recognition. Emily Deschanel plays psychiatrist Dr. Suzanne Mathis who takes in a young and traumatized patient (Madeleine Arthur) after she escapes from a devil-worshipping cult in the rural neighboring county. However, she doesn’t realize that taking the teen in puts the lives of her loved ones in danger and must race against time to save her family before they all meet a deadly fate.

(featured image: Netflix)

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