Since its inception in 1997, Netflix’s streaming service has brought original programming and popular material to people all over the world. Netflix has created a wide variety of critically acclaimed and popular programs, from dramas to comedies to documentaries to reality television. But which of these shows has garnered the most attention? This article goes over some of Netflix’s most popular and adored shows, from the cultural phenomenon of “Squid Games” to the action-packed fantasy series “The Witcher,” digging into what made them so successful and why people can’t get enough of them. Get comfortable with some popcorn as we go further into Netflix’s all-time most popular titles.
1. Squid Game
Since its premiere on Netflix in September 2021, Squid Game has become a global phenomenon, smashing records and catching the attention of fans worldwide. It is the most-watched series in Netflix history, with over 1.6 billion hours seen, surpassing other popular shows such as Bridgerton and Stranger Things.
The show’s premise is both fascinating and terrifying: a group of desperate people, each facing crushing debt and poverty, are persuaded to participate in a series of deadly games in exchange for the chance to acquire a life-changing sum of money. The activities are based on traditional Korean children’s games, giving the show a sense of nostalgia and cultural relevance. The stakes are tremendous, with players being removed after each round, and failure can be death.
Hwang Dong-hyuk, the show’s creator, based the plot on his own experiences with economic difficulties, as well as the larger themes of class imbalance and capitalism in South Korea. He wrote the concept in 2009, but it wasn’t until Netflix expressed interest in extending their foreign content that the show was finally greenlit.
Squid Game has gained critical acclaim for its riveting tale, distinctive visuals, and amazing performances from the actors since its release. In addition, the show has prompted several conversations and controversies concerning its themes, symbolism, and social commentary. It has inspired several memes, fan art, and memorabilia and has become a cultural phenomenon.
Bridgerton is another of Netflix’s most popular shows, enthralling viewers with its rich vistas, engaging characters, and hot romance. The show, produced by Chris Van Dusen, is based on Julia Quinn’s book series and is Shondaland’s first written series for Netflix. Set during the social season in the competitive world of Regency-era London’s ton, the series concentrates upon the titular Bridgerton family and their romantic entanglements, as well as the gossip and intrigue surrounding the debutantes and eligible bachelors of the time.
Bridgerton’s first season began on December 25, 2020, and rapidly became a fan favorite, with funny language, magnificent costumes, and varied casting. The show’s popularity only grew, with its second season breaking audience records and confirming the series’ status as a cultural phenomenon.
Bridgerton’s popularity can be ascribed to its ability to merge classic romance with current sensibilities. The show’s themes of love, sex, and scandal are relevant to today’s audiences, and its period setting and attention to historical accuracy provide a unique and immersive viewing experience. The show has also received accolades for its diverse casting, which includes performers of all ethnicities in key roles.
3. Stranger Things
Stranger Things is a ground-breaking Netflix original series that has become a cultural phenomenon since its debut in 2016. The series’ ensemble cast features great actors like Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, and Millie Bobby Brown, who have given enthralling performances throughout four seasons. The Duffer Brothers have created a series that has received critical acclaim for its great characterization, thrilling atmosphere, and compelling storyline.
Stranger Things was highly influenced by 1980s classics such as Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and Stephen King’s novels. The show is also inspired by real-world events, such as Cold War experiments and government conspiracy theories, which adds an uncanny and intriguing sense of reality to its plot.
Since its premiere, Stranger Things has become one of Netflix’s flagship series, collecting a vast global fan base. It has been nominated for and won multiple honors, including the Screen Actors Guild honors, Primetime Emmy Awards, and People’s Choice Awards. Stranger Things will continue to enthrall audiences and leave an everlasting impression on popular culture for years, with a fifth and final season on the horizon.
Wednesday is a television series based on the character Wednesday Addams from Charles Addams’ comic strip The Addams Family. It is a supernatural comedic horror show that follows Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) as she attempts to solve a monster mystery at her new school.
Tim Burton, who also served as executive producer, directed four of the eight episodes. Burton has previously been contacted to make a film rendition of The Addams Family in 1991, as well as a canceled stop-motion animated picture. He was supposed to be directing a television series based on the character in October 2020, which was later handed a series order by Netflix.
Jenna Ortega starred as the lead role to symbolize the character’s Latina origin, and Burton requested Christina Ricci, who had played the eponymous character in the 1991 movie and its 1993 sequel, to join the series as a supporting character. Between September 2021 and March 2022, the series was shot in Romania.
Wednesday premiered on Netflix on November 16, 2022, and was distributed on November 23, 2022. Critics gave the show primarily excellent reviews, praising Ortega’s performance. It became the second-most watched English-language Netflix series within three weeks of its release. Ortega got two Golden Globe nominations for the series: Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy.
5. Money Heist
Money Heist, also known as La Casa de Papel in Spanish, is a television heist crime drama series produced by Lex Pina. In May 2017, the series premiered on the Spanish network Antena 3 before being picked up by Netflix, where it became a global success. The show’s success prompted the creation of a fifth season, which was released in two parts in 2021 and 2022.
Money Heist features a squad of criminals carrying two long-planned heists in Spain, led by the enigmatic Professor (Álvaro Morte). The plot is recounted from the point of view of one of the thieves, Tokyo, played by Úrsula Corberó, and incorporates complicated storytelling methods such as flashbacks, time jumps, and an untrustworthy narrator.
The series has won praise from critics for its intricate plot, interpersonal dramas, direction, and attempt to redefine Spanish television. Money Heist received numerous honors, including the International Emmy Award for Best Drama Series at the 46th International Emmy Awards.
Money Heist has become one of Netflix’s most-watched non-English-language series and one of the most-watched programs worldwide, with a strong following in Mediterranean Europe and Latin America.
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a Netflix true-crime anthology series developed by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan. On September 21, 2022, it was released. The series is based on the life of Jeffrey Dahmer, one of America’s most renowned serial killers. The show delves into how Dahmer became a serial killer and the moments when he was on the verge of being arrested before his eventual conviction and death. It also investigates how police incompetence and apathy aided in his crimes.
Evan Peters plays Jeffrey Dahmer in the series, which also stars Niecy Nash, Penelope Ann Miller, Richard Jenkins, Shaun J. Brown, Colin Ford, and Christian Clemenson. The first season of the Monster anthology series consists of ten episodes.
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was praised for its storytelling and acting, particularly Evan Peters’ portrayal of Dahmer. It was also a massive hit with fans, rising to the number one place on Netflix in the first week of its release. Netflix revealed in the second week that Dahmer was the ninth most popular English-language TV show of all time, with 56 million households watching all 10 episodes.
With 701.37 million hours viewed in 21 days, the series became Netflix’s second most-viewed English-language series and the fourth most-viewed series of all time. The series received over 865 million hours of viewing in the first 28 days of its debut, and it became the third Netflix series to reach 1 billion views in 60 days.
7. The Witcher
The Witcher is a Netflix fantasy drama television series that debuted in December 2019. Lauren Schmidt Hissrich created it, and it is based on the same-named book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The series is set on the Continent, a fictional, medieval-inspired landmass, and revolves around the lives of three major characters: Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer of Vengerberg, and Princess Ciri.
According to Parrot Analytics, The Witcher was the third most “in demand” original streaming series in its U.S. launch, after only Stranger Things and The Mandalorian. Parrot Analytics evaluates “demand expressions,” a globally standardized TV-demand measurement unit that expresses a series’ desire, engagement, and viewership weighted by importance.
On December 31, 2019, Parrot Analytics stated that The Witcher had become the world’s most-watched T.V. series across all platforms. With 541 million hours viewed in the first 28 days, the series was Netflix’s most-watched original series premiere at the time. The Witcher’s second season premiered on December 17, 2021, and has had 484 million hours of viewing.
Overall, Netflix has created some of the most popular and critically praised shows of the streaming era. From the thrilling criminal thriller “Money Heist” to the haunting true crime story “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” these hits have captured the attention and hearts of millions of people across the world. With the ever-increasing demand for streaming content, Netflix continues to push the envelope and create new and intriguing shows that keep consumers returning for more. It will be fascinating to see what new blockbusters emerge from this powerhouse streaming service in the coming years.