How many of these 15 most-watched Netflix shows have you seen?

With shows like Stranger Things, Money Heist and outstanding Korean dramas such as Squid Game and All of Us Are Dead, Netflix has been shaping content consumption for the global audience like no other. The OTT platform generates so much content every week that it has created a pool of the most-watched Netflix shows of all time, garnering over a hundred million hours of viewership.

The massive number of TV shows on the streaming platform encompasses various genres, such as sci-fi, rom-com, crime thriller and documentary, and languages, including English, Korean, Spanish and Japanese. Thus, viewers from various parts of the world with varied interests contribute to amassing high viewing hours.

Netflix shares the data on the number of hours watched, quantifying this global appeal. But this wasn’t always the case. Previously, Netflix remained tight-lipped about show stats. Rising feedback and critics’ comments compelled it to release a list of high-achieving shows. Since November 2021, the OTT behemoth has been revealing a weekly list of 40 titles that have achieved big viewership numbers across film and TV. Four lists of 10 titles, each providing data about the most-watched English-language shows, foreign-language shows, English-language movies and foreign-language movies, are shared.

It uses the metric data of the total number of hours watched in the first 28 days of the title’s release to determine how popular a show is. The calculations take each season of a show to be a separate entity. Hence, don’t be alarmed if you see Stranger Things season 4 and 3 on the same list.

Here are Netflix’s most-watched shows of all time

Created by: Hwang Dong-hyuk

Cast: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Hoyeon, Oh Yeong-su

Release date: 2021

Hours viewed: 1,650,450,000

Synopsis: The series revolves around a bunch of people who failed at life and suddenly receive an invitation to a survival game. The participants are locked up in an unknown isolated place where they take part in several children’s games but with a fatal twist. Only the last remaining contestant stands a chance to win over USD 38 million.

About the show: With over 1.65 billion hours of viewership, Squid Game practically had the entire world glued to their devices. Interesting plot, themes such as class divide, survival tactics and heart-racing action sequences made it one of the most-watched shows of all time. Squid Game season 2 is also slated to release soon.

Awards won: Lee won the Best Actor award at the 2022 Emmy Awards and Critics Choice Awards. Hwang also won the Best Director award at the Emmys and in total, the series won six out of 14 Emmy nominations.

Image: Courtesy Squid Game/ Photo by Noh Juhan | Netflix/Netflix/IMDb

Created by: Matt Duffer and Russo Duffer

Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Joseph Quinn, Jamie Campbell Bower

Release date: 2022

Hours viewed: 1,352,090,000

Synopsis: This instalment of the series opens eight months after the Battle of Starcourt that wreaked havoc in Hawkins. However, the town is far from being calm. A series of teenage murders makes Eddie Munson (Quinn) the prime suspect. This is also the first time that Eleven (Brown) and her friends are separated, but the kids in Hawkins begin investigating and find the killer to be a powerful monster from Upside Down, whom they dub Vecna (Bower). Meanwhile, after learning about the events at Hawkins, Eleven goes to a secret facility in Nevada to regain her powers. What follows next is a flurry of mind-boggling events and actions as the friends fight the imminent threat.

About the series: Stranger Things season 4, combining volumes 1 and 2, is the most-watched English-language series on Netflix that gave a tough fight to Squid Game. The show also showcased some talented actors.

Image: Courtesy Stranger Things/ IMDb

Directed by: Tim Burton

Cast: Jenna Ortega, Hunter Doohan, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Percy Hynes White, Emma Myers

Release date: 2022

Hours viewed: 1,237,150,000

Synopsis: This dark coming-of-age comedy series is based on the life of Wednesday Addams (Ortega) who is expelled from her school because of a hideous prank gone wrong. As she navigates her adolescent life at Nevermore Academy, Wednesday tries to cope with her emerging psychic ability, defeat a monstrous killing spree and solve a twenty-five-year-old supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents. And all this while she meanders her way through the oddly diverse student body.

About the series: The second highest most-watched English language show on Netflix, Wednesday is a perfect combination of Burton’s vision, the characteristics of the Addams family and dark humour.

Image: Courtesy Wednesday/ © 2022 Netflix, Inc./ IMDb

Created by: Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan

Cast: Evan Peters, Richard Jenkins, Niecy Nash

Release date: 2022

Hours viewed: 856,220,000

Synopsis: At the fourth spot among the top 10 most-watched series of all time on Netflix, this title takes a plunge into the mind of one of America’s most notorious serial killers. The popular and highly controversial show dramatises the life of murderer and sex offender Jeffrey Dahmer (Peters) who is believed to have a body count of more than 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991. It also draws attention to the many criticisms the case received and gives a strong voice to Glenda Cleveland (Nash), who long tried to shed light on his wrongdoings.

About the series: DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story became another major Netflix show of 2022 as it crossed the 1-billion-watching-hour mark within 60 days.

Awards won: A 2023 BAFTA Award for the Production Team

Image: Courtesy DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story/IMDb

Directed by: Jesús Colmenar

Cast: Úrsula Corberó, Álvaro Morte, Itziar Ituño, Najwa Nimri, Pedro Alonso, Rodrigo de la Serna

Release date: 2021

Hours viewed: 792,230,000

Synopsis: Viewers across the world donned their Salvador Dali masks and red broiler suit for a final run of the Professor’s (Morte) detailed plan and the group’s heists in both volumes of the season. The group is able to rescue Lisbon (Ituño), but their plan is on the verge of shattering as Sierra (Nimri) finds out the Professor’s whereabouts and brings him to his knees. For the first time, he might be out of an escape plan. Locked up in the Bank of Spain for over 100 hours, the gang is focused on getting the gold out while making the government believe the country’s economy isn’t harmed.

About the series: Money Heist Part 5 is another highly successful most-watched show of foreign language. Its Spanish name is La Casa De Papel.

Award won: In 2022, the crew won a prestigious Iris Award for Best Production.

Image: Courtesy Money Heist/ IMDb

Created by: Chris Van Dusen

Cast: Jonathan Bailey, Simon Ashley, Charithra Chandran, Nicola Coughlan, Claudie Jesse

Release date: 2022

Hours viewed: 656,260,000

Synopsis: The second season of one of Netflix’s favourite period dramas focuses on Anthony Bridgerton (Bailey) as he must look for a wife. The Sharma sisters, Kate (Ashley) and Edwina (Chandran), arrive in town from India, and Anthony finds himself drawn towards Edwina. Although Kate poses as an obstacle, Edwina and the handsome bachelor share unmissable chemistry and growing sexual tension.

Awards won: The series won a 2022 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Hairstyling and was nominated for a 2022 Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.

Image: Courtesy Bridgerton/ IMDb

Created by: Shawn Ryan

Cast: Gabriel Basso, Luciane Buchanan, Eve Harlow, Phoenix Raei

Release date: 2023

Hours viewed: 626,990,000

Synopsis: Peter Sutherland (Basso) is an FBI agent who is responsible for tending to phone calls late into the night from undercover spies from the White House basement. The phone hardly rings; but when it did one night, it turned his life completely upside down. On the other end of the line was Rose Larkin (Buchanan), with whom he teams up to uncover the truths of the subway bombings that killed many and tarnished his career.

About the series: One of the most-watched shows on the streaming platform, The Night Agent is based on a novel by Matthew Quirk of the same name. After a successful first season, the show has been renewed for its second run.

Image: Courtesy The Night Agent/ Photo by DAN POWER/NETFLIX – © 2023 Netflix, Inc./ IMDb

Created by: Chris Van Dusen

Cast: Jonathan Bailey, Nicola Coughlan, Julie Andrews, Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page

Release date: 2020

Hours viewed: 625,490,000

Synopsis: This soapy period drama, set in London during the Regency era, shows eight elite Bridgerton sisters, marking themselves in society. Bridgerton season 1 shows, the eldest sister, Daphne (Dynevor) is chosen as the most prized spinster of the season by Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel). Although a bevy of suitors follows her, Daphne’s older brother Anthony (Bailey) is extremely protective and thwarts her chances. To keep Anthony off her back, Daphne fakes a relationship with Rakish Simon (Page).

About the series: Bridgerton is based on the novels by Julia Quinn. It is executive producer Shonda Rhimes’ first fictional show on Netflix.

Image: Courtesy Bridgerton/Photo by LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX/ IMDb

Directed by: Jesús Colmenar

Cast: Úrsula Corberó, Alba Flores, Álvaro Morte, Itziar Ituño, Pedro Alonso, Rodrigo de la Serna, Rodrigo de la Serna

Release date: 2020

Hours viewed: 619,010,000

Synopsis: Money Heist season 4 picks up the threads from the previous season after Nairobi (Flores) is shot. While the Dali-masked gang try to save her, Tokyo (Corberó) takes control of the group. The Professor (Morte) also learns about Lisbon’s (Ituño) whereabouts and is relieved. In the meantime, Palermo (Serna) teams up with the beastly chief of security of the Bank of Spain, Gandia. A series of action, gun fights and chases take place until the group loses a significant member.

Image: Courtesy Money Heist/ IMDb

Created by: Matt Duffer and Ruso Duffer

Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Dacre Montgomery, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard

Release date: 2019

Hours viewed: 582,100,000

Synopsis: Ever since its debut on the OTT, Stranger Things has become a cult series with every season racking up over a few hundred million hours of viewership. Season 3 revolves around a danger lurking below the newly opened mall in Hawkins, Indiana. A Russian lab is working to open a conduit to the Upside Down, and the diabolic Mind Flayer poses a lethal threat when its mind controls Billy Hargrove (Montgomery). Now the kids must reunite to save Hawkins.

Image: Courtesy Stranger Things/ © 8FLiX/ IMDb

Created by: Tom Kapinos

Cast: Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro

Release date: 2020

Hours viewed: 569,480,000

Synopsis: Lucifer is among the top Netflix successes, and the audience does not seem to get enough of Lucifer Morningstar (Ellis), the Lord of Hell. However, he leaves the throne to come to Los Angeles, opens a dark glitzy nightclub and makes some mortal connections. In the meantime, he falls for LAPD detective Chloe Decker (German) who is initially unaware of his true self. In the fifth and penultimate season, Lucifer returns to Hell, and just when Chloe deals with this, his twin brother Michael (Ellis) arrives.

About the series: Lucifer derives inspiration from a DC Comics character by Neil Gaiman from his series The Sandman. Fox initially cancelled Lucifer after three seasons, but it was then picked up by Netflix for three more seasons, ending in 2021.

Image: Courtesy Lucifer/ IMDb

Directed by: Lee Jae-kyu and Kim Nam-soo

Cast: Park Ji-hu, Yoon Chang-young, Cho Yi-hyun

Release date: 2022

Hours viewed: 560,780,000

Synopsis: It is a normal day at Hyosan High School until a virus outbreak turns it into the epicentre of flesh-eating zombies. Nam On-jo (Park) and Lee Cheong-san (Yoon) are childhood friends who harbour feelings for one another. In the face of such mayhem and adversities, they try to hold on to each other and fight back. The students, trapped in classrooms, must strive for survival or they will turn into the walking dead.

About the series: All of Us Are Dead is based on the webcomic Jigeum Woori Hakkyoneun by Joo Dong-geun. The K-drama series is renewed for season 2 which is expected to roll out in 2024.

Image: Courtesy All of Us Are Dead/ IMDb

Created by: Lauren Schmidt Hissrich

Cast: Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, Freya Allan

Release date: 2019

Hours viewed: 541,010,000

Synopsis: Among the most-watched Netflix fantasy series is The Witcher, which is based on the stories of Geralt of Rivia (Cavill). As destiny would have it, Geralt becomes Princess Ciri’s (Allan) protector. As a witcher, his main job is to battle demons and wild beasts, but often he finds the world around him to be more diabolic than these creatures.

About the series: The Witcher is an adaptation of the book series of the same name penned by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The first season is solely based on the short stories The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, which come ahead of the main Witcher Saga. Backed by an existing large band of followers, it comes as no surprise that the Netflix show would garner such a high number of hours watched.

Image: Courtesy The Witcher/ IMDb

Created by: Shonda Rhimes

Cast: Julia Garner, Anna Chlumsky, Arian Moyaed

Release date: 2022

Hours viewed: 511,920,000

Synopsis: Inventing Anna is based on the true story of Anna Delvey (Garner) who tricked New York elites into believing she is a German heir and conned thousands of dollars. One of the most-watched shows on Netflix, it shows the bond between Anna and journalist Vivian Kent (Chlumsky) who tracks down her motives, life and more.

About the series: It draws inspiration from the New York Magazine article “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” by Jessica Pressler tracing Anna Delvey’s case. Pressler is also a producer on the show.

Image: Courtesy Inventing Anna/ Photo by Nicole Rivelli/Netflix/ IMDb

Created by: Brian Yorkey

Cast: Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Alisha Boe, Kate Walsh, Brian d’Arcy James

Release date: 2018

Hours viewed: 496,120,000

Synopsis: After Clay Jensen (Minnette) follows the tapes left by Hannah Baker (Langford), who dies by suicide, a series of mysteries and secrets begin to haunt the students of Liberty High School. The second season continues along the same lines as Hannah’s parents Olivia (Walsh) and Andrew (James) file a case against the school, alleging they turned a blind eye to the bullying Hannah faced. Meanwhile, a number of Polaroid images lead Clay to the wrongdoing of the school baseball team.

About the series: Adapted from the novel by Jay Asher, the show is executive produced by Selena Gomez. 13 Reasons Why garnered massive popularity and became one of the most-watched Netflix shows of all time, as it addressed sexual assault and mental health, among other issues. Even with a trigger warning, it received criticism.

Image: Courtesy 13 Reasons Why/ IMDb

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