While ratings and viewership have been standard metrics for TV success for as long as anyone can remember, Netflix began breaking that mold when it dove into original programming, opting to rarely release its streaming numbers. It's hard for TV fans to really gauge how successful shows on Netflix actually are when the service only mentions viewership a handful of times throughout a given year, usually highlighting one particular film or TV show. Well that changed this week (sort of), as Netflix revealed the streaming numbers for its ten most-watched movies and TV shows over the past 12 months.
The analytics report was published by The New York Times on Thursday and it gave users a glimpse into what Netflix originals truly are the most popular. As expected, Stranger Things topped the TV list by a pretty wide margin, with nearly 20 million more views than the second place series, Umbrella Academy.
While sci-fi titles might dominate the top two spots on the list, Netflix's 10 most-watched TV originals represent a pretty diverse array of programming. The top 10 includes a nature documentary series, a couple of Spanish-language originals, and some hard-hitting crime dramas based on true stories.
Take a look below at the 10 most-watched shows on Netflix over the past year, along with the amount of views each one received.
1. Stranger Things - 64 million
This should come as no surprise. The third season of Stranger Things was probably the most highly-anticipated installment of any Netflix show to-date, and the fans responded upon its release. A whopping 64 million people watched Stranger Things over the last 12 months.
Don't be shocked if Stranger Things is the most-watched show in 2020 also, provided Season 4 arrives before next year is through.prevnext
2. Umbrella Academy - 45 million
Based on the Dark Horse comic series of the same name by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, The Umbrella Academy was an instant TV hit when it launched back in mid-February.
Netflix quickly ordered a second season of the series which will likely bow in 2020.prevnext
3. La Casa de Papel - 44 million
La Casa de Papel, also known as Money Heist, has been Netflix's biggest Spanish-language hit over the last couple of years. The first season of the acclaimed series debuted in May 2017 and Season 3 arrived in July of this year.
Money Heist tells the story of a group of eccentric criminals who carry out multi-billion euro robbery in Spain. Netflix has ordered a fourth season.prevnext
4. You - 40 million
You is a unique addition to this list, seeing as the first and only season of the series wasn't made by Netflix. You began as a TV series on Lifetime, but was purchased by Netflix after the conclusion of Season 1 and quickly ordered for a second installment.
The series stars Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg, a stalker bent on making the woman of his dreams fall for him.prevnext
5. Sex Education - 40 million
Starring Asa Butterfield and Gillian Anderson, Sex Education is an off-beat dramedy about a high school student whose mother is a sex therapist.
Sex Education was one of the first hits of the year for Netflix, its first season dropping on January 11th. Season 2 is set to arrive in 2020.prevnext
6. Our Planet - 33 million
This documentary series featuring the legendary voice of David Attenborough shows the diverse nature of the ecosystems that make up our planet. Our Planet examines everything from the Arctic wilderness to the jungles of South America, showing just how beautiful Earth can truly be.
Following its debut this year, Our Planet won two Primetime Emmy Awards (Outstanding Narrator, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series) on 10 nominations.prevnext
7. Unbelievable - 32 million
This gut-wrenching eight-episode series is based on the true story of Marie, a teenager who was charged with lying about being raped. Two detectives worked tirelessly on her case to try and uncover the truth.
Kaitlyn Dever, Tony Collette, and Merritt Weaver star in Unbelievable, which will surely be a topic of conversation when awards season begins next year.prevnext
8. Dead to Me - 30 million
A portrait of grief and friendship, Dead to Me stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini as two women who meet in grief counseling and form an incredible bond. That bond is tested when lies began to rise to the surface and each of them realizes that the other may not be exactly as they seem.
The dark comedy earned Applegate an Emmy nomination and will return for a second season next year.prevnext
9. When They See Us - 25 million
Ava DuVernay's groundbreaking miniseries tells the story of five Harlem teenagers who became known as the Central Park Five, wrongly accused of a brutal New York City attack.
When They See Us was nominated for an astonishing 16 Emmy Awards this year and took home two trophies: Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series or Movie and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Jharrel Jerome.prevnext
10. Elite - 20 million1comments
The second Spanish series on this list is Elite, a story about three working-class teenagers who enroll in a rich, exclusive private school. Their problems with the upper class students already attending the school lead to a mysterious murder case.
Elite's second season was released in 2019 and a third season is on the way next year.prev