At the moment, though, Netflix only releases specific viewing figures on a sporadic basis. This tends to be when a show has really captured the collective imagination and got the internet talking – think cultural phenomenons like Squid Game and Bridgerton.
Still, outlets including The Independent have pieced together the various bits of data that Netflix has released in 2021 to create a very respectable end-of-year list. It’s safe to presume that these are 10 of the most watched Netflix shows of 2021, even if they’re not necessarily the 10 most watched.
It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that these viewing figures only take into account the first 28 days after a show premieres on Netflix. It’s also worth noting that Netflix counts a household as having “watched” a show just two minutes into the first episode, which it says is “long enough to indicate the choice was intentional”.
And of course, it’s too soon to know whether any show that’s premiered in the last month or so – such as Emily in Paris – has been watched enough to make the top 10.
With these provisos in mind, here’s the end-of-year top 10, which proves that Sex Education continues to capture the zeitgeist and Maid, a heart-rending series about emotional abuse, deservedly became a word-of-mouth hit. There’s also a top ten spot for Sex/Life, the erotic drama series that Refinery29’s Ineye Komonibo memorably described as “peak pandemic thirst content”.
1. Squid Game (142m viewers globally)
2. Lupin part one (76m)
3. Money Heist season five (69m)
4. Maid (67m)
5. Sex/Life (67m)
6. Sweet Tooth (60m)
7. Fate: The Winx Saga (57m)
8. Sex Education season three (55m)
9. Shadow and Bone (55m)
10. Lupin part two (54m)
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