If you use Netflix long enough, you just might get the feeling that you’ve seen every category they have to offer, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. By tapping into Netflix’s unpublished “secret” category system, you can browse Netflix in a whole new way and find some pretty cool content in the process.

After a spell of heavy Netflix it starts to feel like you’ve seen it all. There’s the “Trending” category, the “New Releases” category, possibly some seasonal categories thrown in like “Family Halloween Films” and of course the generic stuff like “TV Sci-Fi & Horror”, “Binge-worthy TV Shows” and such.

What isn’t apparent, as you’re staring at the categories screen for the umpteenth time, however, is that beneath the surface Netflix is packed with categories you’ll never see if you’re browsing Netflix from the mobile app, and may still miss even if you’re looking for them using the more comprehensive category selection menus on the Netflix website.

For example, when we looked at the general “Comedy” category on the Netflix website, we saw 11 sub-categories (including Dark Comedies, Slapstick, Romantic Comedies, and so on). When we looked at “Comedy” on the mobile app, we saw 10 categories—oddly there was only an overlap of 5 categories between the two methods using the same account.

But there’s so much more in just the Comedy genre alone than those two browsing methods reveal. In fact, there’s currently 21 different “primary” movie comedy categories on Netflix (and that’s not even getting into the TV shows)! Once you get into the really particular subgenres for any bigger category the list quickly balloons into the dozens, if not hundreds of categories.

Note: This trick is for Netflix streaming content only. If you want to explore the genres for the DVDs, albeit in a less granular fashion, check out Netflix’s all-in-one DVD genre list here.

So how do you access all those categories that Netflix isn’t showing you during regular browsing? Through the “genre codes”. Every genre category on Netflix, no matter how broad or how focused, is assigned a unique number. If you browse to the comedy-subgrene “Satires”, for example, you can see the genre code for that category:

If you’re logged into your Netflix account and you visit https://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/4922, it will always take you to Satires, because “4922” is the code for that genre category. When the genre codes are brought into play, suddenly the range of comedy subgenres we can access expands significantly:

With genre codes, we can go from accessing half of the Comedy categories to accessing all of them. What’s even crazier is that the chart above isn’t even a full list of Netflix’s Comedy categories—there are so many that embedding a table would take up a lot of space in this article.

So how do you tap into all those secret categories? While you could fumble your way through, we highly recommend against that method (as the genre category code is 5 digits and yields 100,000 potential combinations).

Instead, take advantage of the work other Netflix fans have done on your behalf and use the numerous tools available online to browse all those secret categories.

Netflixcodes.me, seen above, is one of our favorites (for broader categories), on account of the easy search tool and nice layout. NetflixHiddenCodes.com is also searchable, albeit not as comprehensive or as nice looking at Netflixcodes.me. There’s also NetflixCodes.info, with a similar layout.

If you want a particularly interesting way to drill down through genre tags and really tap into very specific subgenres, we also have to recommend Netflix-O-Matic, a very well laid out site that uses WordPress-like tags to help you quickly move deeper and deeper into the Netflix. Mandarin-Language Dramas Set In Ancient Times, anyone? Remember when we said our list of comedy categories in the comparison chart above was just beginning the scratch the surface? How about Visually-striking Exciting Foreign Action Comedies or Understated Mid-Life-Crisis Comedies?

All said, there’s really no shortage of websites seeking to capitalize on interest in the secret codes, and even if all of our suggested sites eventually go under, as many pet projects like this tend to do, a simple Google query for “Netflix secret codes” will find you a quick replacement.

In addition to websites, there are also two handy browser extensions that cover the same ground. FindFlix is available for both Chrome and Firefox, with Netflix Categories as another option for Chrome users.

Between the many websites devoted to the codes as well as the browser extensions, you’ll never find yourself for want of a show to watch—no matter how obscure the category.

Profile Photo for Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Senior Smart Home Editor at How-To Geek. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at How-To Geek, Review Geek, LifeSavvy, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker's Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek.
Read Full Bio »