Who doesn’t love a good binge watch? There’s nothing quite like putting up your feet, putting on the pants with the waistband that stretches, grabbing some snacks, and watching 10-12 episodes of your favorite series in one sitting.
While Netflix didn’t invent the binge-watching concept, it’s hard to argue that the streaming service helped popularize the idea of inhaling a series as fast as possible.
The executives at Netflix are usually pretty quiet about the exact ratings of their original series, but they recently broke that silence in order to reveal the official list of their most binge-watched original series.
The order of this list was determined by how many accounts binge-watched the entirety of a series during the 24-hour period following its release. While that metric doesn’t quite convey the overall popularity of a show - not every show is popular right away - it does give a pretty good indication of how inspired people were to watch the entirety of a series as fast as possible.
While this list is full of the usual suspects, we’re willing to bet that there are a few original series on the most-binged list that you would have never seen coming.
Here are 20 Most Binge-Watched Shows On Netflix, Ranked.
20 Master of None
Master of None is one of Netflix's critical gems. With a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Aziz Ansari's comedy series can also boast two Emmy awards for writing.
It’s also clear that Master of None is capturing the attention of a great number of people. It’s actually quite surprising that the show is so popular among binge viewers simply because it’s not a show that tries to hook viewers through cliffhangers and other popular binge methods.
Still, there is an appeal to the series that no other show out there can quite lay claim to. Then again, it’s entirely possible that people just speed-run every episode to hear the next song on its awesome soundtrack or get an NYC food recommendation.
19 Chewing Gum
Chewing Gum follows the life of a young woman named Tracy. Tracy is... oh, how to put this. She’s a sometimes unusual girl whose most unusual habits - namely her social awkwardness and tendency to find herself wading through strange situations - aren’t actually as uncommon as she sometimes thinks they are.
Maybe that’s why Chewing Gum appeals to so many viewers. It’s the kind of show that will make you roll your eyes and cringe at times, but you’ll almost always smile while doing it.
All the same, it’s spot on this list is a bit shocking. Chewing Gum is one of those shows that is regularly considered to be one of the most underrated on Netflix. Apparently, it has a more committed audience than we would have thought.
There’s something about the world of professional wrestling that’s oddly appealing - despite absolutely everything about professional wrestling. GLOW captures that appeal better than any other show.
GLOW is the not-always-true true story of an all-women professional wrestling organization that enjoyed a somewhat successful - though fairly brief - run during the ‘80s. This show focuses on some of the wrestlers who worked for the organization and the unique circumstances that led to them occupying that somewhat odd corner of show business.
It's a comedy with a lot of heart and some great characters. An excellent marketing campaign combined with some effective storytelling elevated it above the level of just another wrestling show. It's utterly unsurprising that viewers couldn’t help but binge it.
There is no shortage of shows that try to capture the strange world of young love. The appeal of twenty-something romantic relationships can be traced to the fact that many viewers have been in those same situations. The awkward exchanges, the learning, the carefree joy... it speaks to us.
Love is a show that seemingly tries to de-romanticize romance with its realistic look at relationships. However, there’s a charm to the honesty of it all that is made all the much better by the strength of the series’ cast and the quality of its writing.
Otherwise, Love is the kind of entertainment experience that we’ve seen elsewhere plenty of times before. Still, there’s something to say about comforting familiarity done well, and that is something that Love offers in spades.
16 House of Cards
House of Cards wasn't Netflix’s first original series, but there will always be people that remember it as such by virtue of its status as the first high-profile Netflix series. Netflix invested millions of dollars in House of Cards because they believed it would become their flagship show.
And in many ways it has. This series has fallen on hard creative times in recent seasons, but the story of Frank Underwood, Claire Underwood, and the twisted web of corrupt politics that they weave within the heart of Washington D.C. is the kind of premise that appeals to Americans and global fans of political dramas alike.
It actually speaks to the power of House of Cards that there are so many shows ahead of it on this list. It was the series that started the binge-watch culture on Netflix.
15 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Listen, put Tina Fey in a room with a notepad and a pencil, and there’s a good chance that she’s going to come up with something that’s pure gold. For years, she’s been the most consistent source of wacky - yet oddly down-to-Earth - comedy entertainment.
What’s so impressive about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is how consistently odd it is. The show started off strange enough - it’s not every day we see a series about a woman who escapes from abduction by a cult leader and moves to the big city - but it’s become an almost undefinable piece of surreal comedy.
It’s also the kind of show that demands you sit through multiple episodes just to see what they’re going to bring. As such, it’s certainly one of Netflix’s great binge programs.
14 Wet Hot American Summer
Wet Hot American Summer was one of those movies that most of us seem to have stumbled upon via word of mouth. It was a box office and critical bomb that later found an audience by virtue of its all-star cast and perfect parodies.
All the same, we never expected Netflix to come along and turn that weird little movie into a series. Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer series does capitalize on the nostalgia of the original series, but it doesn’t entirely rely on it. Still, there’s no denying that its spot on this list can likely be traced to the rapid viewing habits of its rabid fanbase.
Whatever the reason for its success, it’s nice to know that Wet Hot American Summer performed so well and that there’s a hungry market for revisiting cult classics.
13 Grace and Frankie
Grace and Frankie is the kind of show that likely wouldn’t have found a home before the digital age. On the surface, it’s a show about two women whose husbands fall in love with each other. Given that nobody else seems to understand this situation, they turn to each other and form a strange friendship.
Grace and Frankie didn’t start off as one of Netflix’s best shows, but it found a strange rhythm that was very much a beat of its own as the series wore on. While the initial premise is still the heart of the series, it has since evolved and become a fascinating comedy/drama with a little bit of a dark edge.
Though it’s perhaps not a traditional binge show, Grace and Frankie is nothing if not unique.
Atypical is another show which we would have sooner placed under the radar rather than on a Netflix most-binge watched list.
Atypical follows an 18-year-old man with autism who decides to start dating. The show is ostensibly a comedy, but its brand of humor is so dark that you sometimes have to force yourself to find the humor in it all.
While this series has been criticized for its somewhat over-the-top portrayal of certain characters and somewhat inconsistent writing, it seems to have found an audience by virtue of the fact that there’s no other show that deals with this particular subject matter.
We’re not sure it’s a traditional binge-worthy show, but it’s one well-worth checking out if you’ve got a Netflix account.
11 Friends From College
Alright, this one is downright weird.
Friends from College is not an especially noteworthy show. It’s sitting at 23% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a little harsh, but not too far off. This show follows a group of slightly older Harvard graduates still trying to figure out post-college life. As you might imagine, hijinks ensue.
This isn’t an awful show, but it’s a pretty unremarkable one. Many of characters aren’t especially likable, which wouldn’t really be a problem if more of them were entertaining. It’s also hard to really relate to “We just graduated from Harvard, whatever shall we do?”
The fact that these metrics only account for the first 24 hours of viewing probably have an effect on this show’s rankings. Once word of it spread, then it’s possibly viewer numbers dropped.
10 Stranger Things
Now we’re talking.
If you’re somehow unaware, Stranger Things is a show about the disappearance of a boy named Will Byers. As the investigation into his disappearance unfolds, it becomes clear that there are bizarre elements in play that nobody is quite prepared to deal with.
What Stranger Things really is, though, is one of the greatest methods of nostalgia delivery ever invented. Even if you were a fan of the ‘80s films and books that Stranger Things borrowed from, the show’s near-perfect execution of nearly every concept helped remind you just why you loved those things in the first place.
Given that word of mouth really helped Stranger Things in the long-run, we wouldn’t have predicted that it was this successful in the first 24 hours. Still, greatness finds a way.
9 Orange is the New Black
Orange is the New Black was one of the earlier high-profile Netflix originals. It was created by Jenji Kohan of Weeds fame and was accompanied by a pretty robust marketing campaign that caught subscribers’ attention.
Even still, most people didn’t anticipate how great the show would be. Orange is the New Black is definitely a comedy, but it’s loaded with some pretty deep examinations of its principal characters. It’s the kind of show that leaves you particularly vulnerable during its big moments because you’ve spent the rest of the show laughing.
Its 24-hour binge rank is impressive, but given how quickly word of this show spread, we’d suspect that this is another case of the overall ratings for the show being even higher than the initial figures.
8 F is For Family
F is for Family is certainly one of the most polarizing shows in the Netflix Original arsenal.
This animated series follows the adventures of a working-class family trying to make it through the ‘70s. It’s maybe best described as King of the Hill meets South Park meets All in the Family.
F is for Family turns some viewers off with its strange style of comedy that emphasizes political incorrectness. That’s a tough act to pull off and it isn't made any better by the show’s tendency to just kind of say the joke and leave it hanging there.
F is for Family does lay claim to quite a large following, but the initial release of the show surely captured the attention of even those who would grow to not like the show.
7 Trailer Park Boys
To clarify, this entry is in reference to the Netflix revival of the show and doesn’t apply to the early episodes of the series that Netflix also offers
All the same, the relative success of Trailer Park Boys on Netflix is only surprising if you don’t consider that the series’ hardcore fanbase probably jumped on the new episodes the moment they were uploaded.
For those who don’t know, Trailer Park Boys is a show about the unusual lives of a group of people living in a trailer park. It’s a surprisingly smart series that may rely on some low-brow humor but always manages to deliver jokes in ways that you certainly wouldn't expect.
While we’d advise new viewers to start from the series’ beginning, the Netflix episodes really did a tremendous job of preserving the things that made it great.
6 Santa Clarita Diet
Santa Clarita Diet is one of those post-zombie craze shows that try to find new ways to portray classic zombie tropes without digging up dead jokes.
For the most part, the show does a good job of just that. The series follows a real estate agent who goes through a serious medical ordeal (not good) and comes out of it craving human flesh (also not good). It’s a dark comedy in every sense of the term, but there’s also a mystery element in play that makes it a bit more binge-worthy than your average comedy series.
It’s definitely a show that’s hard to stop watching once you start. That quality, combined with the undeniably eye-catching premise and the charm of leads Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, probably led to quite a few subscribers binging the show early.
5 The Ranch
For a show that you never seem to hear much about, The Ranch seems to have done quite well with Netflix’s subscribers.
The Ranch tells the story of a dysfunctional family living and working on a ranch in Colorado. It heavily relies on the generational and cultural gaps between the family’s youngest and oldest members. Jokes about the eating of quinoa are made, for instance.
The Ranch is shot like a pretty standard TV sitcom (it’s even filmed in front of a live studio audience), but it’s certainly more vulgar than anything you’d see on ABC. There’s also the matter of its star-studded cast (Sam Elliott, Ashton Kutcher, and Danny Masterson).
We’re guessing that cast probably helped The Ranch draw the attention of quite a few early viewers.
4 The Seven Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Sins being the only Netflix original anime on this list isn’t too surprising. That the show is this high on the binge rank list does come as quite the shock.
The manga this series is based on tells the story of a group of knights called The Seven Deadly Sins who were exiled and defeated by a group called The Holy Knights after the Sins tried to take over the kingdom. When The Holy Knights try to take over the kingdom years later, a princess tries to seek out the Sins to get them to defeat the Holy Knights.
Netflix signed a deal which gave them the exclusive English distribution rights to this anime, and it seems that deal was a pretty great one.
3 The Defenders
While The Defenders caught some flack for being underwhelming, you had to have known that it was going to be listed among the most binged of Netflix series by virtue of its name alone.
Plus, we do have to give Netflix credit for treating most of the individual Defenders properties well enough - Iron Fist very much aside - and ensuring that most viewers had faith that this team-up was going to be a can’t-miss prospect.
In the end, the execution of The Defenders proved to be too uneven. It’s great in spots but relies on some of the worst story threads of the previous shows that built up to it. Of course, that didn’t stop an army of viewers from binging it during that first day.
2 Fuller House
Full House is one of those pop culture phenomenons you kind of had to be there for. Of course, if you were there for it, then it seems you may have been one of the many who devoured every episode of the Fuller House reboot as soon as it was released.
Fuller House is a continuation of the original Full House series that sees D.J. Tanner-Fuller accept the help of her family following the death of her husband. It’s an often sickly sweet series that preys on the nostalgia of its viewers.
There are other factors to consider, though, when gauging its success. First off, this is a family show which is always going to appeal to a broader demographic. Second, it’s a 30-minute show which makes it much easier to binge.
But yeah, this is mostly due to nostalgia.
1 Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
If given 20 guesses, we probably wouldn’t have predicted that Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life was the most binge-watched original series in Netflix history. Yet, here we are.
As the name suggests, this series serves as a sequel to the original Gilmore Girls show. It mostly follows Rory Gilmore as she visits old friends while traveling as a freelance journalist. Effectively, it serves as the final four episodes of the original series.
Yes, it’s only four episodes long. Four hour-and-a-half episodes to be precise. While we’re sure the Gilmore Girls fanbase is quite strong, there’s little doubt that this series’ incredible binge watch success can be attributed to the fact that it was divided into fairly digestible chunks.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the revival is actually quite good.
Which of these shows have you binge-watched? Let us know in the comments!
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