Although Netflix has had its fair share of problems recently, with subscriber growth slowing, a string of high-profile cancelations, and controversy over their content, there’s no doubt that the platform is still home to one of the strongest libraries available on any streaming platform. One of the primary reasons for Netflix’s continued success in the streaming space is its vast array of high-quality TV shows. While many of Netflix’s most watchable and binged TV shows are not in the English language, such as Money Heist and Squid Game, the dominance of English language content on the platform is still palpable. Netflix’s own user data tracks the total number of hours viewed by subscribers in the first 28 days of release and compiles a list of the most popular content.
Updated on August 11th, 2022 by Stuart Kilmartin: The slate of popular Netflix shows at the top of Netflix’s own charts is constantly changing for the streaming platform. The release of Stranger Things season four has rocked the streaming space and continues Netflix’s journey of creating some of the best original content of the modern era. While hit shows like Bridgerton and 13 Reasons Why still dominate Netflix’s top ten, there are some new additions to Netflix’s most popular series.
10 The Witcher – Season 2 (2021)
Despite a long delay brought upon by the covid-19 pandemic, 2021 finally saw the return of Henry Cavill’s monster hunting Geralt of Rivia in the second season of The Witcher. After an unfocused and conflicting first season, season two of The Witcher is much more streamlined and engrossing experience, ditching the semi-episodic format of season one for a serialized arc stretching across the season’s eight episodes.
Cavill, once more, shines in the central role of Geralt in a season favorably reviewed by both critics and audiences alike. Netflix is certainly doubling down on the world of The Witcher, with The Witcher: Blood Origin set to debut in late 2022, and a third season of The Witcher confirmed.
9 Ozark – Season 4 (2022)
Created by Bill Dubuque, and starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, Ozark concluded in 2022 with its fourth, and final season. The fourth season was divided into two parts, and released separately in January, 2022, and April, 2022; something which Netflix seems to be experimenting with more and more recently. Clearly inspired by the ground-breaking AMC show Breaking Bad, Ozark has a very similar premise and character journey for its central leads, and their dealings with the Mexican cartels. The series has been a slow-burner hit for Netflix, gaining more and more viewers and admirers as the series has progressed, culminating in the final season becoming the fourth most viewed Netflix original.
8 13 Reasons Why – Season 2 (2018)
13 Reasons Why season two is currently the seventh most-watched English language Netflix original series of all-time. Season two of 13 Reasons Why follows on from the aftermath of the show’s monumental, and best, first season, which followed Hannah Baker’s tragic suicide. Unlike the first season of the show, many found the second series unnecessary and poorly executed. A lot of attention was drawn to the harrowing and disturbing scene of sexual violence in the season’s final episode, which many viewers and critics decried as exploitative. After the controversial reception received by both the first and second seasons, 13 Reasons Why never really found its footing again. The show’s third and fourth seasons debuted to much more muted responses, never again capturing the cultural prevalence of the first season.
7 Inventing Anna (2022)
Inspired by the true story of Anna Sorokin, popularized in the magazine New York by author Jessica Pressler, Inventing Anna follows Anna Delvey, played brilliantly by Julia Garner, a German Instagram model who swindles millions of dollars from the highest echelons of New York’s rich. Created by Shonda Rhimes, Inventing Anna proved to be an unlikely smash hit for Netflix, scooping the sixth spot on Netflix’s 10 most watched series, despite some criticism from critics who labelled the show as tonally inconsistent.
6 The Witcher – Season 1 (2019)
Returning to the world of The Witcher, the fifth most-watched English language Netflix original is the premiere season of The Witcher, which debuted in 2019. There had been attempts to bring The Witcher to the big screen, but with more than eight novels (from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski) of material, the task proved too huge. In stepped Netflix, who decided to bring the series to life as a big-budget fantasy epic, which has grown into one of Netflix’s best fantasy TV shows. As mentioned previously, season one of The Witcher struggled with pacing problems and jumbled timelines, which hampered the storytelling. Plenty of fans stuck with the series, primarily due to the pitch-perfect casting of Henry Cavill in the central role of Geralt of Rivia.
5 Lucifer – Season 5 (2021)
Although not a Netflix original in the truest sense since it debuted and ran for three seasons on FOX, Lucifer was picked up and brought back to life by the streaming platform following its cancelation by FOX after its third season. Since then, Netflix aired three more seasons of the show, concluding recently with its sixth and final season. Starring Tom Ellis as DC’s version of the Devil himself, the series follows the titular Lucifer as he works with the LAPD solving supernatural cases together with his work partner Chloe (played by Lauren German). Lucifer’s hybrid genre-bending of supernatural drama with police procedural worked well with audiences, who watched Lucifer on Netflix in droves.
4 Stranger Things – Season 3 (2019)
Netflix’s nostalgia-ridden trip down 1980s Steven Spielberg/Steven King-esque pop culture has been one of the streaming platform’s seminal hits. The third season of Stranger Things follows the adventures of the Hawkins kids and their battle against the mind flayer from the upside down.
Created for Netflix by The Duffer Brothers, the third season of Stranger Things is the third most-watched English language series on the global streaming platform, amassing more than 580 million hours of viewing time within its first 28 days of release.
3 Bridgerton – Season 1 (2020)
This surprise historical period drama grew to become one of Netflix’s most popular original series ever. Set against the background of the Regency era in the United Kingdom, Bridgerton became most famous for its steamy sex and lush period costumes. Season one of the series primarily follows the romantic exploits of Simon and Daphne, played by Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor. While the first season of Bridgerton was Netflix’s most-watched English language series for almost two years, it was recently dethroned.
2 Bridgerton – Season 2 (2022)
The second most-watched Netflix original English language series is none other than the second season of the posh period drama Bridgerton. With over 650 million hours viewed by die-hard fans, there’s no denying the power of Bridgerton’s mix of Jane Eyre meets Fifty Shades of Grey.
Anyone that thought the success of Bridgerton’s first season was lightning in a bottle was proved thoroughly wrong when the second season launched to record-breaking viewing numbers, becoming the platform’s most viewed show for a short time. Out are the central romantic pair in season two, and in are Kate and Anthony (Simone Ashley and Rupert Evans).With a third season in the works, there’ll be plenty more drama for fans of the series to look forward to.
1 Stranger Things – Season 4
It’s hard to comprehend the colossal success of Stranger Things season four. In its first twenty-eight days on the streaming platform, it has become Netflix’s most-watched English language series, with 1.35 billion hours viewed by fans all around the world. The numbers dwarf its nearest English-language rival Bridgerton season two by more than double, truly signifying the monumental success season four has been. Split into two parts, with episodes topping ninety minutes, and two-and-a-half hours in the case of the season finale, Stranger Things season four is full of memorable moments, great interactions between the characters, and a Kate Bush track that has come to define the summer of 2022 for many people. Where the show goes with its fifth, and final, season is unknown, but fans of the series will turn out in force when it finally arrives on Netlfix.
NEXT: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Stranger Things