Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   Miranne Khaled   Miranne Khaled  

In recent years, Netflix has been a daily staple in almost everyone’s life. Not only do we enjoy our time watching new films and series, but we also get to rewatch old ones. So many options on Netflix leave you overwhelmed and unsure of what you should pick next. This is exactly why we are introducing you to a whole enthralling section: the limited series. 

Many series on Netflix come and go according to the license agreement. But that is not what the word “limited” refers to here. The limited series on Netflix is a broad section, offering TV shows and series that are previously decided not to get new seasons. They are short and brief but full of great suspense and thrills. 

This kind of series is suitable for those who are too busy to get hooked on a series with so many seasons to watch. It is also hard to start one season of a captivating series without having the urge to finish the whole thing in a couple of days. It is funny how many of us are willing to lose several hours of sleep because the action has just started. 

These series last for ten episodes at most, and even less in many cases. So, let us save you some time and introduce you to the best short series on Netflix. You can easily fit those hours of fun into your daily schedule without losing sleep or missing out on many really unmissable shows.

1. Behind Her Eyes (2021)

Behind Her Eyes is a superb thriller that you don’t want to miss if you are into the psychological thriller genre. This captivating limited series is adapted from Sarah Pinborough’s novel of the same and runs for only one season (6 episodes), which is convenient for those with tight schedules. The series is a British supernatural noir starring Simona Brown (Louise), Eve Hewson (Adele), and Tom Bateman (David).

Behind Her Eyes narrates the story of a single mother (Louise) who gets swamped by life, trying to raise her little son while healing from her divorce. She falls in love with her psychiatrist boss (David), who also happens to be married to Adele, who coincidently meets Louise, and they become friends. Could things go any more wrong?

2. Unorthodox (2020)

Unorthodox was ranking among the top limited series on Netflix for quite some time, given its suspenseful story that leaves you excited for what happens next. It is based on the 2012 memoir “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots,” written by Deborah Feldman. The protagonist (Esther) is played by Shira Haas, who has proven to be the perfect choice for the role, given her outstanding performance. 

The drama miniseries is made up of only four episodes. It narrates the story of a young ultra-Orthodox Jewish lady raised in an uptight religious community from which she escaped to elope in an arranged marriage. She attempts to start her life over, but her past wouldn’t let her do so in peace. Despite the long distances between her hometown, Berlin, and Brooklyn, it catches up to her.

3. Unbelievable (2019)

Reading the words “based on a true story” at the beginning of a movie or a series makes you perceive it from a whole different angle. The popular Netflix limited series “Unbelievable” can give you the chills, for it is a crime TV show with a dark twist that took place beyond the screen. It stars Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette, and Merritt Wever. 

Throughout the eight episodes, you will vicariously live the frighting reality of a real-life rape victim named Marie, who was accused of lying about the incident. The 18-year-old was left with no justice until two female detectives decided to follow the traces of her story to unveil the truth. During their investigations, they uncovered a series of rape crimes that occurred in Denver and Washington, and they were all based on real-life stories, as well.

4. The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

If you are a frequent Netflix watcher, the chances of the poster of Anya-Taylor Joy repeatedly coming across your screen are pretty much high. Her limited series “The Queen’s Gambit” has gone viral ever since its release in October 2020. This miniseries is a historical drama based on Walter Tevis’s 1983 novel of the same name. 

The drama is based within the walls of an orphanage in the 50s, where little Beth was sent at the age of nine. Beth grew a queer passion for chess, where she possessed an astonishing talent at a pretty young age that took her to stardom. Her fame journey was anything but an easy one, given that she was struggling with addiction after growing an utter dependence on the tranquillisers given to the orphanage children.

5. Tales of the City (2019)

Armistead Maupin’s novel series Tales of the City has always had a special place in the community of homosexuals. Maupin himself is an LGBTQ+ activist who based his novels on the power of gay love. Although the nine novels have been produced through decades, it came back strong with the limited series adaptation of the same name.

The miniseries focuses on Mary Ann, a middle-aged lady who gets back to her hometown, San Francisco, after being away for nearly 20 years and reconnects with some old friends. In 10 episodes, you will get to see life from different perspectives. This limited series brings light to the gay culture during the 70s, focusing on different people of the same community.

6. Somewhere Between (2017)

If mystery shows are your thing, we urge you to give this suspenseful Netflix limited series a run. Somewhere Between is an American drama based on a Korean mystery drama called God’s Gift:14 days. The American version is only 10 episodes and was created by Stephen Tolkin, featuring Paula Patton, Devon Sawa and Aria Birch.

The plot of this mystery limited series is about a news producer and a mother who runs around like a lunatic in an attempt to change fate and save her kidnapped daughter. She was given a one-week chance to stop the serial killer from committing another murder, or she would lose her daughter. The suspense and twists in the plot can be quite nerve-wracking, but it is worth every second.

7. Maid (2021)

Another limited series that was taken from the lines between the turning pages and transformed to the screen is Maid. This Netflix limited series is inspired by the renowned memoir ‘Maid’ by Stephanie Land. It grabbed many viewers’ attention, given the TV show’s deeply emotional side. 

The drama series isn’t based on a true story but is inspired by real-life events and stories of many people around us. Just as the name suggests, Maid is the story of a young mother who started working for people by cleaning their houses to provide for her daughter. She struggled to find a proper job for quite some time after leaving an abusive relationship and starting all over.

8. Collateral (2018)

Collateral is one of the great drama series that is worth watching. The best part is that it doesn’t require a huge time commitment, for the whole series lasts four hours. It has one-hour four episodes, with rich events and an amazing plot twist. The star of this limited series is Carey Mulligan, whose performance made this show rank high on Netflix upon its release. 

The drama series takes place in London, where a reputable detective starts investigating the murder of a pizza delivery man. His investigations lead to unearthing the evil intentions of several crime offenders, including drug dealers, spies, and smugglers. The story is not one that you have seen multiple times. It is tackled in ambitious ways that surprise you with endless turns of events.

9. Seven Seconds (2018)

Crime drama is super enthralling, and nothing can beat the hours you spent hooked up before an exciting crime story. Seven Seconds is one of the best that Netflix has produced. It is among the astonishing limited series on the streaming service. It definitely lasts for longer than seven seconds, spanning over 10 episodes that move at a steady pace, keeping the factors of suspense and shock intact. 

Regina King, along with Clare-Hope Ashitey, Micheal Mosley and Russell Hornsby, gave uncanny performances that added to the already well-written story. The series explores the aftermath of an accident that reveals the corruption of the police department. It also attempts to prove how the system fails to deliver justice when it comes to black people.

10. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez (2020)

True stories always hurt far more and much deeper. You can’t expect less pain when it comes to the sad story of Gabriel Fernandez. Netflix’s limited series ‘The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez’ was released in 2020, tackling the 2018 murder of an 8-year-old boy. It is deemed a docuseries that sheds light on the lives of vulnerable children. 

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is deemed one of the grimmest limited series on Netflix. It focuses on the horrific murder of Gabriel, who died after struggling for a full year under the torture and abuse of his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isuaro. This six-episode series reveals the heartbreaking parts of the world.

11. When They See Us (2019)

In just four episodes, this enthralling limited series managed to bring a horrific story to the light. It is based on a true story. ‘When They See Us’ digs deep into a story of tyranny and injustice post the Central Park incident that took place in 1989. The sad part is that it involves several victims, a white woman and five black boys.

This limited series tackles the incident of Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old jogger in Central Park who was raped and assaulted in 1989. Five black teenage boys were accused of the incident. They reported that they were beaten up and forced to give false confessions. The guys became well-known as the Central Park Five.

The DNA evidence found at the scene didn’t match any of the suspects. Yet, they were sentenced to 13 years for other offences. Twelve years later, the real criminal decided to come forward, and the five guys were released. It is a horrific story of young men who were falsely accused while the real criminal was left free. There are so many aspects that this drama tackles, including injustice towards non-white races.

12. Inventing Anna (2022)

Here is one more real story that you will be delighted to know about, Inventing Anna. This limited series is based on a true story yet includes many fictional parts to introduce us to this compelling story. The miniseries was released in June of this year, where nine episodes were released to illustrate the scandal of Anna Sorokin. 

‘Inventing Anna’ revolves around a journalist who investigated the case of Anna Sorokin, the New York fraud that scammed her way to wealth. She was famous as Anna Delvey, an Instagram sweetheart who managed to earn people’s love and admiration. People’s hearts were the only thing that Anna took away; she also stole the money of the city’s affluent elites. 

13. The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

The Haunting of Bly Manor is a limited series of mixed genres, including Gothic romance, horror, drama, and supernatural fiction. Could it get any better? Well, this drama miniseries was hugely trending on Netflix upon its release in 2020. It still counts as one of the best limited series produced by Netflix, starring the lovely Victoria Pedretti (Dani).

The series narrates the story of a governor who seeks an au pair to take care of his two orphan children. Dani is the nanny who arrives at Bly Manor in England to start her job, but she can’t brush off the unsettling feeling she gets once she arrives there. A few days in and she realises that dead spirits haunt the estate. She now has to find a way to live within these haunted halls.

14. The Stranger (2020)

Richard Armitage, Hannah John-Kamen, and Siobhan Finneran came together to give us this British masterpiece, The Stranger. This astonishing Netflix limited series is based on a novel of the same name, written by the American author Harlan Coben and released in 2015. Great reviews have been written about the miniseries, yet many have reported its slow pace.

The TV show narrates the story of Adam Price, who almost had a perfect life until his wife went missing. A mysterious 20-something lady appears out of nowhere, approaches Price, and makes an appalling claim about his wife. It took Adam one secret to question the integrity of everyone around him desperately, and a series of shocking secrets were already out to the public.

15. Clickbait (2021)

Clickbait is one drama miniseries that is full of twists and turns. Get yourself hooked on one of Netflix’s most popular limited series and expect the unexpected. The series is made up of 8 episodes and features the iconic stars Adrian Grenier and Zoe Kapan. 

It may not be inspired by a true story, but the interesting part is that it is inspired by real-life crime stories found on the internet. And, we all know what the internet can actually hide. This limited series reveals how dangerous the internet can actually be despite its significance in today’s life. 

Clickbait follows the story of Nick Brewer, a man who happens to lead a happy and harmless life. However, that wasn’t enough to keep him out of trouble. Brewer was kidnapped and forced to film a ransom video, stating that he would be killed if the video reached five million views. His family and the police have to move fast in order to stop the video from going viral and save Nick.

16. Godless (2017)

Godless is a compelling combination between the life of an outlaw and that of Western America. The limited series was a hit on Netflix in 2017, featuring Jack O’Connell, Michelle Dockery, and Jeff Daniels. It was created and directed by Scott Frank and consisted of only 7 episodes, making it easy for the viewers to catch up with the storyline.

The series is set in the late 19th century. It tells the story of Roy Goode, who escapes the West to get away from Frank Griffin, the leader of a gang he used to be part of. Goode finds peace and tranquillity in the small town of Santa Fe in New Mexico. Surprisingly, the town’s population are only women. Meanwhile, Griffin goes around terrorising the West region in an attempt to find Goode.

17. Safe (2018)

Another British drama story that was written by crime author Harlan Coben and made into a compelling show is ‘Safe’. This limited series received great reviews from different viewers, describing it to be an enthralling roller coaster ride that takes you through a wide spectrum of emotions. However, it received only a 7.2 rating on IMDb.

The story narrates the story of a widowed surgeon and father whose two teenage daughters are making their connection with him quite challenging. They are mourning the death of their beloved mother, who lost her battle with cancer. Hall’s problems don’t just end here; they escalate by the disappearance of his daughter. On his rescue journey, he starts to find out dark secrets about the people he thought he knew.

18. Alias Grace (2017)

Alias Grace is originally a historical fiction novel written by Margaret Atwood and was released back in 1996. Today, this beautiful masterpiece has turned into a compelling limited series, ranking among the best on Netflix. It consists of 6 episodes and features Sarah Gadon as Grace (the main character), Edward Holcroft, and Anna Paquin.

It is based on the true story of an Irish immigrant, Grace Marks, who travelled to settle in Canada and worked as a housemaid. The storyline focuses on the actual events that took place in 1843. Grace was convicted of the murder of her employer and his lover. However, her fate changed upon the arrival of a psychiatrist whose diagnosis of Grace’s mental state changed the course of everything.

19. Someone Has to Die (Alguien Tiene Que Morir) (2020)

Netflix has made the Spanish series and shows come under the spotlight and become popular in different places around the world, given the huge success of its production ‘Money Heist’ and ‘Elite.’ Now, we are shedding light on one of its Spanish limited series, starring Elite’s star Ester Exposito along with the Mexican actor Alejandro Speitzer and Isaac Henandez. 

The thriller series focuses on an interesting time period in Spain, where people were quite conservative, and homosexuality was taboo. It also shows shade over the social discrimination between the Spanish and the Mexicans and violence against women.

This limited series is only 3 episodes long, set in the 50s, narrating the story of a young man whose family asks him to come to Spain to meet his fiancé. However, the young boy struggles to confess the feelings he has for his Mexican ballerino friend. The latter happens to be attracted to his friend’s mother. Such complications will lead to the murder of so many people, and a series of unfortunate events will keep coming through.

20. The I-Land (2019)

The I-Land thriller show comes at the end of this list of Netflix limited series. Unfortunately, it was poorly rated on IMDb, whooping at 4.6. However, we believe the storyline deserves a chance, and you can decide for yourself whether it was worth the time. The I-Land is 7 episodes long, starring a group of young actors, including Ronald Peet, Kate Bosworth, and Natalie Martinez.

The story is about ten people who wake up to suddenly find themselves on an island, yet that was not the biggest of their problems. They seem to have trouble remembering who they are or how they end up on the island. They have to cooperate to manage to get back to their homelands, but they realise that everything they have known about the world is not the same anymore.

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