The 17 Highest-Rated Black TV Shows & Movies on Netflix

Luke Cage

Ratings? Which ratings? Not that old metric from Nielsen that doesn’t matter anymore. We’re talking about Rotten Tomatoes ratings? Now, I know, Rotten Tomatoes isn’t exactly the source we should rely on for determining the best shows. But! Given how much content there is out there today, especially on Netflix, it’s not a bad bar to clear when you’re trying to figure out what to watch next.

So, we’ve compiled a list of 17 different sitcoms, series, and even some movies for your list of the highest-rated shows, as per Rotten Tomatoes, shows on Netflix. No particular order, just to show you not to care too much about the ratings, but you can see a chart of them all at the end!

#1. Blood and Water

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Blood & Water is a South African teen crime drama television series developed by Gambit Films. Set in Cape Town, the series follows a girl who transfers to an elite school when she suspects one of the students may be her sister abducted as a baby. Puleng, the protagonist, uncovers more and more secrets about her family as her investigation unfolds.

#2. How To Get Away with Murder 

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A group of ambitious law students and their brilliant criminal defense professor played by academy acclaimed and award-winning Viola Davis playing the iconic role of Annalise Keating/Harkness for six exciting seasons should be all you need to know. Annalise is the perfect Shondaland heroine: an imperfect but brilliant woman right in the middle of a web of lies and intrigue. It goes from learning in a classroom to becoming involved in a twisted murder plot that promises to change the course of their lives. It is a sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller about a group of ambitious law students and their brilliant, mysterious criminal defense professor. With such a fantastic cast, this show is a must-watch for everyone. 

#3. When They See Us

When They See Us is a 2019 American crime drama television miniseries created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix. They premiered in four parts on May 31, 2019. It is based on events of the 1989 Central Park jogger case that explores the lives and families of the five Black and Latino male suspects. They were falsely accused then prosecuted on charges related to the rape and assault of a white woman in Central Park, New York City. One of the five men of colour was wrongfully imprisoned for rape and attempted murder in 1989. You might remember them as the Central Park Five. The four-episode series, written and directed by Ava Duvernay, is a personal, heartbreaking look at what was taken from them before their innocence was proven and their convictions overturned.

#4. Colin in Black and White

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Colin in Black & White depicts Colin Kaepernick’s journey as he pursues his passion for becoming a football quarterback and the racism he faces in the pursuit. Created by Ava DuVernay, the series portrays non-violent racial treatment that a black American or an outsider experience because they are not white. With the help of Ava Duvernay, Colin is telling his life story in his own words. This limited series focuses on his teenage years as a biracial boy adopted by a white family.

#5. Seven Seconds

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In an instant, life is forever changed for Brenton Butler and his family. After a white cop accidentally hits and critically injures a black teenager, a northeastern city explodes with racial tensions, an attempted cover-up and its aftermath, and the trial of the century. Regina King won an Emmy for her role in Seven Seconds. She played the grieving mother of Brenton Butler, a teenager. He was left for dead on the side of the road. The show is a visceral portrayal of race relations in the US, police brutality, and grief. 

#6. Black Earth Rising


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The story centers on Kate Ashby, who works as a legal investigator in the London law chambers of Michael Ennis. When Kate’s adoptive mother Eve takes on a case prosecuting an African militia leader, the story pulls Michael and Kate into a journey that will upend their lives forever. If you loved Michaela Coel in, I May Destroy You, here’s another chance to see her shine in a significant role. In her role as a woman who survived the Rwandan genocide but has a lot of questions about her past — especially when she finds out that her adoptive mother has been hiding a lot from her. It’s only eight episodes, so it makes for a quick, intense watch.

#7. All American

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Two separate worlds collide when a star high school football player from South Central is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High School. Inspired by the true-life story of NFL Superbowl Champion Spencer Paysinger, All American is an inspiring, ensemble family drama about a young, high school football phenom, Spencer James and the two families whose homes he shares after transferring from Crenshaw to Beverly High – his mother and brother in South Central LA and the Bakers of Beverly Hills. But as these two families and their vastly different worlds are drawn together, Spencer, the Bakers, and the James family will discover that the differences that divide us on the surface hide a more profound connection – the complicated, imperfect humanity that unites us all

#8. Sister, Sister

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Though Sister, Sister was aired in the early 90s, its spot-on Netflix has made it a hit again. Sister, Sister is an American television sitcom about the identical twins’ Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell. They were separated by adoption at birth after their mother died but found each other by accident 14 years later at a chance encounter at a clothing store at the mall with their adoptive parents, Lisa Landry, and Ray Campbell.

#9. Greenleaf

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TV and film icons Keith David and Lynn Whitfield the show is about the lies and secrets that threaten to unravel the wealthy Greenleaf family, whose family business is a Memphis megachurch that serves a primarily Black community. Eldest daughter Gigi returns home after not seeing her family for 20 years. Greenleaf follows the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family with scandalous secrets and lies, their palatial family mansion compound, and their sprawling Memphis megachurch. 

#10. Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show

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Sketches in the show deal with various issues, focusing on the black experience, race relations, and attitudes towards black people in the media and cinema. Astronomy Club is the Upright Citizens Brigade’s first all-Black troupe, and they made six episodes of sketch-comedy gold. Some of the sketches are based on the cast’s real-life experiences. The humor has a very meta quality (aside from the fact that it’s hilarious).

#11. Luke Cage

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After a sabotaged experiment leaves him with super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive trying to rebuild his life in modern-day Harlem, New York City. But he is soon pulled out of the shadows and must fight a battle for the heart of his city–forcing him to confront a past he had tried to bury. Give him a spot in the MCU and other shows featuring Luke Cage or references. If you are an MCU fan, this show will leave you wanting more. 

#12. The Last Dance

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The series revolves around the career of Michael Jordan, with particular focus on his final season with the Chicago Bulls. A docuseries that provides an intimate look at one of the best athletes ever lived. Watching Jordan’s unrelenting competitiveness drive him to the title after title after the crown is nothing short of thrilling.

#13. Queen Sono

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Queen Sono is an adult orphan who finds her purpose working for a spy agency dedicated to protecting the entire African continent. Queen’s loyalties are tested once she finds suspicious information about her mother’s assassination, a late political activist. She tries to balance her intense work responsibilities while dealing with problems in her personal life…like you do. It has thrills, (unique) action, melodrama, and even some comedy. Unfortunately, it was cancelled after only one season due to Corona Virus, but the first 6 episodes are worth the watch. 

#14. Dear White People


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Based on the acclaimed film of the same name, this Netflix-original series follows a group of students of colour at Winchester University, a predominantly white Ivy League college. The students are faced with a landscape of cultural bias, social injustice, misguided activism, and slippery politics. The series uses irony, self-deprecation, brutal honesty, and humor through an absurdist lens to highlight issues that still plague today’s “post-racial” society.

#15. Self-made

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The inspiring story of trailblazing Black entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker built a haircare empire that made her America’s first female self-made millionaire. Self-Made fictionalized the story of Madam C.J Walker and created a thrilling account of the woman that shifted and cultivated an entire group of people.

#16. On My Block

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This show follows a quartet of bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school, including all the triumph, pain, and newness they experience along the way. Lifelong friendships are tested as Monse, Ruby, Jamal, and Cesar confront adolescence and life challenges in their predominantly Hispanic and black neighbourhood in South Central Los Angeles in this coming-of-age Black comedy series.

#17. She’s Gotta Have It

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Iconic filmmaker Spike Lee revisits his first feature film with this Netflix original series of the same name. Brooklyn-based artist Nola Darling struggles to stay true to herself and her dreams while dividing her time between her friends, her job, and her lovers — all three of them. That trio includes married businessman and father Jamie Overstreet, photographer and self-described “biracial Adonis” Greer Childs and chatty Michael Jordan fan Mars Blackmon. In addition to creating the series, Lee directs all the episodes and serves as an executive producer alongside wife Tonya Lewis Lee.

Need More?

Of course, if you need more black TV shows in your life, you can always tune into BlackOakTV, where you can find original shows from emerging, new, black talent serving up original digital series that you can’t find anywhere else! Shows from prolific digital creators like Dormtainment, King V, Nuanse Entertainment, and more! BlackOakTV is a new streaming video platform set out to exclusively serve the content needs of black viewers. 


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