The 20 Best Half-Hour Shows on Netflix Canada Right Now
Short on time? We’ve curated a list of stand-out shows that clock in at under 30 minutes per episode—perfect for quick TV breaks and weekend binges alike.
Derry Girls (2018-present)
Operating under the idea that tragedy plus time equals comedy, Derry Girls explores The Troubles in Northern Ireland through the eyes of a group of Catholic-school-attending teens. Jam-packed with rapid-fire dialogue and with episodes weighing in at just 22 minutes, this black comedy boasts unsinkable humour and levity in the face of violent conflict. Bonus: fans of Bridgerton will recognize comedic genius Nicola Coughlan as the uber high-strung Clare.
We Are the Champions (2020-present)
Hairstyling, chili-eating or hurtling your body down a hill in the idyllic English countryside in pursuit of a wheel of cheese—We Are the Champions proves that any activity can be turned into a competition. This docuseries, narrated by The Office’s Rainn Wilson, delves into the rich history of quirky competitions and the communities dedicated to them, exploring traditions that sometimes go back hundreds of years.
Check out these hilarious and relatable The Office quotes!
This workplace comedy is set in a fictional “hypermarket” called Cloud 9 (think: a big box department store that also sells groceries, guns and alcohol) where employees get just one bathroom break per day and 15 minutes for lunch. With a cast led by America Ferrera and Ben Feldman, Superstore is both politically relevant and laugh-out-loud funny, tackling topics like gun control, reproductive rights and immigration. Viewed through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic, the series has taken on an added layer of meaning: these are our frontline workers, be nice to them.
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Love & Anarchy (2020-present)
If you enjoy watching characters’ personal and professional lives spin out of control, Love & Anarchy is the show for you. In this Swedish sitcom, the hyper-organized, married Sofie and IT temp Max begin an extended flirtation via a series of increasingly risky challenges and pranks. It’s a (very funny) slow-motion car crash that’s impossible to look away from.
Nailed It! (2018-present)
In Nailed It!, three contestants try their hands at elaborate cakes and confectioneries in order to win a $10,000 prize. The twist? The contestants are all terrible home bakers—and the results are almost never pretty. Still, the creations on Nailed It! are guaranteed to make you laugh and empathize, because really, who hasn’t had a disaster in the kitchen? Endlessly affable host Nicole Byers keeps this cooking competition from edging into mean-girl-territory by dishing out generous helpings of her own self-deprecating brand of humour.
Craving cake but don’t have a lot in the pantry? Try your hand at these simple cake recipes!
Dear White People (2017-2021)
This series is based on the critically acclaimed 2014 movie of the same name, with writer-director Justin Simien returning and key actors reprising their original roles. Dear White People tackles college campus race relations as tensions rise at a fictional Ivy League school, focusing on one character for each 30-minute episode. Smart, incisive and entertaining, this comedy-drama shows how race affects interpersonal relationships between communities and individuals.
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Schitt’s Creek (2015-2020)
All six glorious seasons of Canada’s number one entertainment export (remember that record-breaking sweep at the Emmys?) are on Netflix Canada for viewers looking for big laughs. The show’s premise is simple: If a wealthy family were suddenly broke, how would they live? Schitt’s Creek follows the Roses, who are forced to move into a small town motel, but with their snobbishness and sartorial splendour incongruously intact. Father-and-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, who also created the series, shine in their roles, as does Annie Murphy, but it’s Catherine O’Hara as matriarch Moira who steals the show. Schitt’s Creek is a fish-out-of-water comedy that never flails.
Relive the series’ funniest moments with these Schitt’s Creek quotes.
Russian Doll (2019-present)
Russian Doll finds Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) reliving the night of her 36th birthday in a time loop. (One can only hear the phrase “sweet birthday baby!” so many times.) Nadia must solve the time loop if she has any hope of escaping it, but when she meets a man stuck inside the same loop, they team up to break out. Lyonne’s sardonic, chain-smoking performance holds the high-concept series in place, eschewing hysteria for dry humour and near-nihilism.
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Emily in Paris (2020-present)
Awards season controversy aside, Emily in Paris doubles as a spectacular Paris bucket list guide: sidewalk cafes, tulips in bloom, Eiffel Tower vistas and French bistro fantasies, complete with an attractive French chef. The Darren Star-created dramedy stars Lily Collins as the titular Emily, whose awkward American-ness provides a squirm-worthy foil to the French sophistication surrounding her. With nods to The Devil Wears Prada, Emily takes culture-clashing to a new high as she steps on the toes of nearly everyone she meets. And yet we still like her.
Kim’s Convenience (2016-2021)
A true Toronto success story, Kim’s Convenience was born from a stage play that debuted in 2011 at the city’s Fringe Festival. Set in a family-owned convenience store, the series centres on the Korean-Canadian Kims, and sees traditional (read: parental) values come up against the ideals of the younger generation (in the form of the family’s two twentysomething children). This comedic slice of immigrant life in Toronto pays homage to the city’s multicultural makeup, while also offering viewers the opportunity to see that there’s so much more that unites rather than divides us.
Check out the funniest quotes from Kim’s Convenience!
The IT Crowd (2006-2013)
This British cult comedy hit stars Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson as the lowly staff members of a company’s IT department. Set primarily in the office’s dungeon-like basement, this team of “standard nerds” spend their days fielding calls about uncooperative hard drives and broken printers, as well as making life difficult for their tech-illiterate boss. Fans of The Great British Baking Show should also keep an eye out for Noel Fielding’s character, a sad goth who’s been banished to the department’s server room.
In need of some professional motivation? Check out this hilarious collection of work jokes.
Please Like Me (2013-2016)
From its earworm theme song to its self-deprecating cast of loveable but flawed characters, Please Like Me might be the most charming show to ever come out of Australia. Starring, written and created by Josh Thomas, the series addresses serious themes through a comedic lens, beginning with its main character’s awkward coming-out—to his girlfriend, over ice cream, no less—and his mother’s suicide attempt. Pathos abounds, but so does a kind of sweet, gentle humour that makes sure that the butt of each gag is also in on the joke.
These romantic movies on Netflix Canada should only be viewed with a box of tissues nearby. (You’ve been warned!)
Dead to Me (2019-present)
With multiple Emmy nominations to its credit, this dark comedy focuses on the friendship between two women (Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini) who meet at a grief support group. Each claims to have recently lost a partner, but only one is telling the truth. As their relationship grows closer, however, it’s not only lies that pile up, but bodies, too. Fans of gallows humour will love Dead to Me, but it’s Applegate and Cardellini that make the show truly great.
Swedish Dicks (2016-present)
A former stuntman (Fargo’s Peter Stormare) and an ex-DJ (Johan Glans) are at the core of this buddy comedy in which the two Swedes team up as private investigators in downtown LA. While the pair investigate cases and stoke the flames of a rivalry with a competing detective agency, Glans’s character tries to find out why his partner left the movie business. Created by Stormare, Swedish Dicks’ brilliant supporting cast includes Keanu Reeves and Vivian Bang (Always Be My Maybe).
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Set in the fictional town of Manscheid, this Luxembourgish crime drama begins with the discovery of 15-year-old girl’s body. Enter Luc Capitani: the hard-edged police inspector who’s called in to investigate her death. Dealing with a tight-knit community in which everyone seems to be hiding something or protecting someone, Capitani must carefully unravel a web of secrets—without getting stuck in it. Evoking the mood and mystery of shows like Broadchurch and Dark, this eight-episode series can be binged in a single satisfying sitting.
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Before Killing Eve and Fleabag made her a household name, Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote, created and starred in the miniseries Crashing, a dramedy about a group of twentysomethings who take up communal residence in a condemned hospital in exchange for cheap rent. Waller-Bridge plays Lulu, whose arrival at the hospital creates both romantic and dramatic tension in the already tense environment—foreshadowing her singular knack for embodying disastrous but likeable leads.
Atypical is one of those rare shows that keeps getting better season by season. The comedy-drama follows Sam Gardner, an 18-year-old on the autism spectrum. Autism, however, is not his defining feature—instead, it’s just one of many elements that contribute to family and high school awkwardness. As the series progressed, Atypical’s creative team made efforts to include more autistic actors, resulting in an even funnier, more layered show which has truly found its own unique rhythm.
Later remade in 2018 with Jonah Hill and Emma Stone in the lead roles, Maniac stars comedian Espen PA Lervaag as a thirtysomething man with an engaging and exciting life—albeit one that’s lived entirely inside his head. In reality, he’s a non-verbal patient at a psychiatric institute under observation by a medical team that hopes to bring him back from his dream world. Maniac succeeds by avoiding predictable story beats, choosing far more interesting destinations instead.
I Am Not Okay with This (2020)
Sadly, this acclaimed coming-of-age comedy-drama was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the show’s sole season, with its intriguing cliff-hanger ending, is still worth watching. Based on the comic book of the same name, the highly original I Am Not Okay with This features a teen protagonist dealing with the exploration of her own sexuality, plus the realization that she has telekinetic powers—ones that aren’t yet completely under her control.
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Nadiya Bakes (2020)
Winner of the 2015 edition of The Great British Bake Off, Nadiya Hussain was a shoo-in for her own cooking show thanks to her self-taught skills, effervescent personality and wry wit. Now, Nadiya Bakes is just one of three series featuring Hussain wielding hand-mixers and rolling pins with expert ease! In England, she’s become both a spokesperson for the Muslim community and a bona fide cooking star—sit down to a single episode of this baking series and you’ll quickly understand why.
Looking to cure a case of the blues? These feel-good movies on Netflix Canada will surely do the trick.