This past weekend, Netflix showed off not just its usual Top 10 list, what’s popular in a region in any given time, but it’s all time Top 10 list of its most popular original series in history. It’s a rare look at actual numbers from the company, and an overall ranking order of its original series (licensed shows like Grey’s Anatomy and such aren’t in here). Allegedly Squid Game is about to rocket to number one, but until more data comes in, it’s not on the list yet.
Even following Netflix for a living, I was surprised with the placement and presence of some of these series in the top ten here. Let’s go through them:
1. Bridgerton: Season 1 (82 million) – This one I am not super surprised about taking the number one spot, given what a phenomenon it was, and it was able to unseat The Witcher by a fairly significant margin. I do wonder how season 2 will do, considering the dramatic shift in focus and the complete lack of breakout star Regé-Jean Page, who is not in the next season.
2. Lupin: Part 1 (76 million) – Alright, what? This one really threw me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Lupin, the French-language series based on the classic character, and yet I am pretty shocked to see it up this high and effectively tied with The Witcher. I had no idea the show was this popular, though it’s a little weird that Part 2 isn’t on here, when it’s already out. I guess interest may have dropped off?
3. The Witcher: Season 1 (76 million) – This is one show we knew would be on here for sure, but I hadn’t realized it had sunk all the way to third. Netflix is treating The Witcher like its own Game of Thrones, greenlighting two more seasons already, doing an animated special and even a kids show spin-off. They’re going a bit wild with it after one successful season.
4. Sex/Life: Season 1 (67 million) – Another surprise for me here. I saw Sex/Life hovering in the top ten list for a while, but Netflix’s fourth most popular show ever? No wonder it was just renewed. I watched bits and pieces of this and it is far and away the most nudity I have ever seen in a Netflix original. Or hell, even most HBO originals, and it’s clear there’s some sort of 50 Shades-style appeal going on here. Which is great! Just surprised that it’s this high.
5. Stranger Things: Season 3 (67 million) – I figured we would not get through this list without Stranger Things, and I suppose it’s only getting more and more popular as time goes on. Season 3 was really good, so I think it’s probably the right season to see on the list here.
6. Money Heist: Part 4 (65 million) – Also not shocked Money Heist is on here, one of only two foreign language productions (at least before Squid Game shows up), but Part 4 making the cut makes this the “deepest into airing” series on the list. Everything else here besides Stranger Thing is season 1 or part 1.
7. Tiger King: Season 1 (64 million) – The show that kicked off the pandemic and stayed planted at number one for ages. Season 2 is indeed coming, as is a fictionalized movie, but I doubt it will retain the bizarre appeal of the original.
8. The Queen’s Gambit (62 million) – A unique, breakout miniseries hit for Netflix, I’m glad to see The Queen’s Gambit land on the list here. Given how successful it was, I’m still not going to rule out a follow-up someday, but we’ll have to see.
9. Sweet Tooth: Season 1 (60 million) – Another big surprise for me here. I thought Sweet Tooth was fine, but I had absolutely not idea that it had become this popular, enough to make the top 10 list, as I really saw no indication that was the case based on the Top 10 list or social media chatter. But here we are.
10. Emily in Paris: Season 1 (58 million) – A controversial show that has been accused of attempting to buy award nominations with lavish trips, this is actually the only comedy series on the whole list, so that’s something to note. No surprise it’s coming back for a second season.
So, which of these surprised you the most? What’s not on the list that you thought would be?
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