Netflix’s 15 Most Popular TV Shows of ALL TIME…

With billions of hours of watch time logged, these 15 shows are the most popular Netflix series of ALL TIME…

Not so long ago, Netflix didn’t even make its own TV shows and films. Nowadays, there is new content landing every week – some of it outstanding, some of it not so much (hello, Resident Evil). But out of all the original shows made by Netflix, what are the all-time most popular?

If you think about it, there are so many potential options for the contenders. We have Ozark, Better Call Saul, Stranger Things, House of Cards, Squid Game, The Witcher, and the list goes on and on. But in order to be considered an “all-time great”, a show needs to log billions of hours of watch time.

So which shows made the cut? Here are the 15 most popular Netflix shows of ALL time based on the total number of hours of streaming time. As you’ll see below, some of the shows are obvious choices while others are a little surprising, as are the missing ones too.

Most Popular TV Shows on Netflix

  • Squid Game season 1: 1.65 billion hours
  • Stranger Things season 4: 1.35 billion hours
  • Money Heist part 5: 792.2 million hours
  • Bridgerton season 2: 656.2 million hours
  • Bridgerton season 1: 625.5 million hours
  • Money Heist part 4: 619 million hours
  • Stranger Things season 3: 582.1 million hours
  • Lucifer season 5: 569.5 million hours
  • All of Us Are Dead season 1: 560.8 million hours
  • The Witcher season 1: 541 million hours
  • Inventing Anna: 511.9 million hours
  • 13 Reasons Why season 2: 496.1 million hours
  • Ozark season 4: 491.1 million hours
  • The Witcher season 2: 484.3 million hours
  • 13 Reasons Why season 1: 475.6 million hours

What’s crazy, at least to my mind, is that Better Call Saul isn’t on there, nor is Neil Gaiman’s new TV show The Sandman. I was also pretty surprised that Sex Education, The Crown, and You didn’t make the cut either. But I guess when you’re talking about shows that have generated hundreds of millions – or, in some cases, billions – of hours of streaming time, even the most critically acclimated stuff can fall by the wayside.

Why Popularity Matters on Netflix

A show on Netflix is only as good as its streaming numbers. Take Archive 81. It was a fantastically written and acted, tightly directed horror TV series. It got excellent reviews and totally deserved a second season but because its streaming numbers weren’t great, Netflix killed it.

Neil Gaiman believes a similar fate could befall The Sandman, as the show is incredibly expensive to make and if its streaming numbers aren’t massively impressive, it too could be canceled after just one season. Similarly, with Squid Game, it took almost a decade for Netflix to take a gamble on it – again, because of the cost of making it.

With Squid Game, though, Netflix has a bonafide mega-hit on its hands. The first season of Squid Game is currently the most popular Netflix TV show of all time, amassing some 1.65 billion hours of streaming time. I don’t see any show beating that anytime soon – save for Squid Game season 2 when that gets a release date.

The Enduring Popularity of Squid Game

I don’t think most people appreciate just what a huge success Squid Game was for Netflix. Think about how big Stranger Things is, how everybody talks about it, and ALL the merchandising around the franchise. It is a huge cultural phenomenon.

Squid Game is more popular than Stranger Things, it had more hours of streaming, and is currently beating everything else too – including The Crown.

The Crown is an interesting one too. Following the death of Queen Elizabeth and the advent of The Crown season 5, the viewing numbers for The Crown are massively increasing. Ever since the passing of Queen Elizabeth, the show has consistently sat in the number one spot inside Netflix’s Top 10. If it stays there for another few weeks, it could almost certainly make it into the top 15 of all time.

And with the subject matter of series five of The Crown, it’ll focus on the divorce of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, the show’s penultimate season could well prove to be its most popular yet. There’s a completely new cast for The Crown season 5 too, including Dominic “McNulty” West as Prince Charles and Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II. The Crown season 5 will get its official release date on November 9, 2022.

As for Squid Game, here’s everything we know about Squid Game season 2’s release date, cast, and plot.

For everything else that’s hot right now on streaming platforms and in cinemas, check out our ever-expanding Movie News & Culture hub.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He has written for Den of Geek, Fortean Times, IT PRO, PC Pro, ALPHR, and many other technology sites. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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