We’ve all been there. Counting down the days till the release of a highly anticipated new Netflix show until, finally, it’s here. You grab your snacks, settle in and tell yourself “just one episode.” We all know that’s a lie. But don’t worry, you’re not the only one. It is actually over the course of a show’s first 28 days upon its release that it dominates in viewership—with people all over the world tuning in. With a plethora of shows breaking rating records for the streaming platform, it makes us wonder just exactly which one did people watch the most? Which show is worthy of the title of ‘Binge Lord’?
Well, strap in, because we’re counting down the top 10 most watched Netflix shows of all time.
Maid is one of those series that is very real and hits home for a lot of people. No swords and sorcery in this tale. Based on Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Income and a Mother’s Will to Survive, the show follows aspiring writer Alex as she escapes an abusive relationship with her daughter. Moving into a shelter in Seattle, Alex struggles to navigate providing for her child, her abusive ex, a dysfunctional family and a new job as a maid. Maid premiered on Netflix on 1 October 2021 and has clocked in a whopping 469 million watched hours.
Another one that’ll hit you right in the feels—and should probably come with a trigger warning—13 Reasons Why (based on a book of the same name by Jay Asher) follows high school teen Clay Jensen as he deals with the aftermath of the suicide of, fellow schoolmate, Hannah Baker. Leaving behind a box of 13 cassette tapes, Hannah details the reasons why she decided to take her own life, and the people she believes are responsible for it. A hard hitter for sure, but one to watch if you fancy a good cry.
What do New York’s upper crust, a German heiress and a con woman all have in common? If you guessed Inventing Anna, then you’d be correct. The show is based on real-life events and revolves around Russian born Anna Sorokin, who assumes the identity of Anna Delvey, a German heiress with access to a substantial fortune. Using this persona, she manages to acquire hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, goods and services in order to open an expensive art-themed club. The fact the show is based on real-life events is even more shocking—I guess that explains the 511 million hours watched…
Based on the books of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher is about as fantasy as fantasy can get. Set on a landmass known as ‘The Continent’, it follows the adventures of legendary Witcher—genetically-mutated monster hunters—Geralt of Rivia as well as Princess Ciri of Cintra who are both linked by destiny. Man of Steel actor Henry Cavill is the man behind Netflix’s portrayal of Geralt and does a fantastic job of getting the stone-faced Witcher’s demeanour just right. So, for all you fantasy nerds out there, this is the show to sink your teeth into.
If spooks are your thing, then this one will go down a treat. All Of Us Are Dead—based on the Naver Webtoon Now at Our School—is a South Korean apocalypse horror series set in a local high school during a zombie outbreak. The series follows the aftermath of a science experiment gone wrong as the school becomes overrun with zombies—showing the trapped students as they struggle to survive this terrifying ordeal. There’s little wonder as to why this makes it to number six spot on the list, South Korean filmmakers do seem to have a knack for the scary after all… The success of All Of Us Are Dead comes off the back of another very popular South Korean show, but don’t worry, we’ll get into that soon enough.
Continuing our spooky theme, the next show needs no introduction. Stranger Things first took the world by storm in 2016 throwing us into deep 1980s America, in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, as well as the terrifying Upside Down. The story follows Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Will and Eleven as they investigate disturbing supernatural happenings in their small town. The third instalment focused on a new mall being built in Hawkins, putting many local shops out of business. Little do they know that the mall isn’t what it seems… and that mystery gained the show 583 million hours watched.
With the hotly anticipated fourth series headed for release just around the corner, on 27 May 2022, it’s likely the show will break its own record.
Money Heist captured the attention of millions with its wild heist antics, and for good reason. The series follows a mysterious man known as the ‘Professor’ as he hires a group of eight people to pull off an insane heist: steal €984 million from the Royal Mint of Spain. With many twists and turns that’ll leave you hankering for more, this white knuckle ride most definitely deserves the number four spot on this list.
Based on Julia Quinn’s collection of novels, Bridgerton is the quintessential period drama, up there with Downton Abbey in popularity and with these numbers maybe even more so. Following the lives of eight siblings in the powerful Bridgerton family, we see them navigate Regency-era London in search of love amid all the obstacles of high-brow society.
Following the huge success of its debut, the second season of Bridgerton became the highest viewed Netflix show ever at the time of its release. The story continues where the first instalment left off. Having been renewed for a third and fourth season, fans of the show will have a lot to binge on in the coming years.
Well, here we are—our number one. Catapulting onto our screens in September 2021, Squid Game absolutely blew the record set by Bridgerton’s first season out of the water, overtaking both of its season’s release ratings combined with over 1.65 billion hours viewed in the 28 days after its release. This twisted tale follows a large group of severely in debt people as they are invited to play a game to win $38 million. Little do they know that these games, should they lose, are fatal, with each subsequent death adding $1 million to the prize pot. Based on writer Hwang Dong-hyuk’s own personal experience with economic struggles, as well as exploring the class divide in South Korea and capitalism, this nine-part series is sure to keep you right on the edge of your seat.