When They See Us has been Netflix's most watched series since it premiered at the end of May. The four-part miniseries tells the true story of how five young boys of color - Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, and Raymond Santana - were wrongfully arrested and convicted for raping a woman jogging in Central Park in 1989. Ava DuVernay (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time) co-wrote and directed all four episodes in the series, working with a cast that included relative newcomers along with decorated veterans like Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, and Felicity Huffman in key roles.
Reviews for When they See Us have been widely positive, with critics praising the performances by the cast (especially, the actors who portray the Central Park Five as younger and older men) and DuVernay's direction, in addition to elements like Bradford Young's cinematography. There's also been a whole lot of online discussion surrounding the series and its revelations since it started streaming through Netflix. As such, it's not surprising to learn that it's actually been the company's most-viewed original offering of late.
Netflix took to Twitter to confirm that, since its launch on May 31, When They See Us has been the most-watched series on the streamer every day. You can see their post below.
When They See Us has been the most-watched series on Netflix in the US every day since it premiered on May 31 pic.twitter.com/jS8IXIh03g— Netflix US (@netflix) June 12, 2019
Among other things, When They See Us has been lauded for showing how the U.S. justice system is designed to make its easier to incriminate people of color, regardless of their guilt or lack thereof. Former New York City prosecutor Linda Fairstein (who's played by Huffman) has similarly come under renewed scrutiny for her handling of the case, based on the series' portrayal of her and her office's role in convicting the Central Park Five. Both When They See Us and its fellow historical miniseries Chernobyl (which only just finished its run on HBO) have drawn a large number of views and critical acclaim over the last month, following their respective debuts. They've also been hailed as painfully timely and relevant dramas because of their subject matter.
For DuVernay and Netflix, When They See Us marks their second successful collaboration after their efforts together on the Oscar-nominated documentary 13th (which similarly shone a light on the inherently racist structure of the U.S. judicial system). DuVernay, on her end, has been pretty vocal in the past about her appreciation for the streaming service and the way it allows for stories like When they See Us to have a platform that wouldn't be available otherwise. At the very least, the miniseries may've been far less readily accessible - and, in turn, struggled to have the same impact that it's achieved in its first two weeks of release alone - if Netflix hadn't given it a place to hang its hat.
When They See Us is now streaming on Netflix.