Netflix has plenty of series in its on-demand library; below we share three of the best Netflix original series of all time based on viewing numbers.
Netflix is one of the leading, global paid subscription video-on-demand streaming services in the market.
As such, the platform has been advancing the offerings available in its library by introducing original content including documentaries, films, and television series.
Netflix introduced its first original series in 2012 and has since released hundreds of original titles. By the end of 2021, the platform was reported to have released over 129 original titles, which was higher than the 125 it released in the 2020 cycle.
What was the first Netflix original series?
While Netflix only released its first original series in 2012, it was believed that the move was inevitable due to the growth and success of the paid-subscription service.
Additionally, the saturation of the market with television and film studios entering the market has resulted in exclusivity deals in terms of the content they shared.
Therefore, Netflix’s first original series was Lilyhammer, which was premised, “A New York mobster goes into hiding in rural Lillehammer in Norway after testifying against his former associates.”
The series enjoyed three seasons between 2012 and 2014 before concluding.
Best Netflix series of all time according to views
Since releasing Lilyhammer, Netflix has found its groove in terms of original series that have captured a global market.
With hundreds of original series released in the 10 years since Lilyhammer, in recent years, the platform has released series that are regarded as global phenomena.
The list below shares the three best Netflix original series based on their total number of views to date as well as other honourable mentions that just missed the top three spots.
Stranger Things is universally considered one of the best Netflix original series ever. Its premise is, “When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief and his friends must confront terrifying supernatural forces in order to get him back.”
However, it is the third season of the series, released in 2019, that lands the series in the top five of the best shows of all time on Netflix, as it has accumulated over 582,100,000 hours watched to date.
The fourth most watched series, in terms of the number of hours it has been watched, is the global pop-cultural phenomenon created by now acclaimed screenwriter and producer, Álex Pina, Money Heist.
The show’s premise is, “An unusual group of robbers attempt to carry out the most perfect robbery in Spanish history – stealing 2.4 billion euros from the Royal Mint of Spain.”
It is the last season before the pandemic hit the world, Money Heist: Part Four, that lands the series in the top four best Netflix series of all time with over 619,010,000 watched hours.
1. Squid Game
Squid Game is the best Netflix original series of all time, according to its number of watched hours.
Despite only having one season currently with talks of a second, the thrilling psychological series premiered in September 2021, and in a matter of days it surpassed all previously set records by other original series.
Squid Game hit the one billion views mark in a matter of 28 days and has since amassed over 1,650,450,000 viewed hours.
The premise of the show is, “Hundreds of cash-strapped players accept a strange invitation to compete in children's games. Inside, a tempting prize awaits with deadly high stakes. A survival game that has a whopping 45.6 billion-won prize at stake.”
2. Bridgerton season 2
Before the premiere of Squid Game, Bridgerton as a series reigned supreme when it first premiered in 2020, premised on, “Wealth, lust, and betrayal set against the backdrop of Regency-era England, seen through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.”
But since every season focuses on a different Bridgerton sibling, each one is considered a limited series of its own.
As such, season two was inspired by the second book in the Julia Quinn Bridgerton series of novels, The Viscount Who Loved Me, which amassed over 627,110,000 hours viewed, and counting, since it premiered in March 2022.
3. Bridgerton season 1
Bridgerton season one, which first premiered in December 2020, is the ship that launched what has been confirmed as four seasons of Bridgerton.
The premise of the first season was based on the first book in the Julia Quinn Bridgerton series of novels titled The Duke and I.
The focus of the season was the love story between the eldest Bridgerton daughter, Daphne, and the Duke of Hastings, Simon. To date, the season has amassed over 625,490,000 watched hours on the platform.