When the pandemic began, it felt like the nation (bizarrely) got heavily invested in Tiger King. Since then, however, it doesn’t feel like there have been any monolithic series or movies. We have been so consumed by the election for the last couple of months that we’ve barely had time to focus on television, and since there are no new movies in theaters, film has taken a backseat as well with a couple of exceptions on Netflix.
Nielsen began compiling ratings for streaming shows in September. Netflix and the other streaming services do not provide metrics themselves, so Nielsen’s data is limited to basically the number of minutes spent on a TV show or movie on a television set (consumption on mobile devices is not included). Because of the nature of these ratings, they’re also about a month behind.
Still, it’s interesting to see what everyone is watching these days. My guess is that currently it is The Queen’s Gambit, an addictively, bingeable crowd-pleaser, although it is too recent to be included among these ratings, which only reflect series and movies from around mid-August to mid-October.
If these ratings are any indication, however, Netflix appears to easily be dominating the streaming wars, as only two titles from the last two months are from competing streaming networks, The Boys on Amazon Prime, and Mulan on Disney+. Moreover, while a number of new titles came in and out of the top ten over the last two months, there have been several series that have been mainstays on the list since its inception, and they are all licensed programs: Schitt’s Creek, Shameless, Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, Criminal Minds, NCIS, and The Blacklist, The Legend of Korra. The first four are in the top ten every week, while the latter four can frequently be found in the top 10.
Beyond that, I would wager that these were the eleven most popular original series in the last two months (ten of which were on Netflix). I’ve put them in order based on a rough guestimate of their appearances in the top ten and the millions of minutes watched:
The Umbrella Academy
Haunting of Bly Manor
Emily in Paris
Teenage Bounty Hunters
Teenage Bounty Hunters and Away have already been canceled by Netflix. Emily in Paris, meanwhile, has been renewed, while Ryan Murphy’s Ratched received a two-season order upfront. Cobra Kai is technically a licensed program, but since the streamer took over the series and scheduled season 3 for January, I’m including it among the originals.
Friendly reminder Emily in Paris is supposed to be pronounced with a French accent so 'Emily' and 'Paris' rhyme— Netflix (@netflix) November 11, 2020
Meanwhile, season four of The Crown debuts this weekend, so expect it to see it dominate in the ratings a month from now. Alas, the best streaming show of 2020, Ted Lasso, is on Apple+ and not among these titles.
Speaking of Hubie Halloween, a few days ago, I received a typed, three-page letter IN THE MAIL from a reader, and immediately feared it would include words cut out of a magazine, someone’s ear, and an extortion demand. However, the letter ended up being from a teenager in Iowa who is about 15 years old and felt passionately enough about Hubie Halloween to write a lengthy defense of the film. It was a very well written and respectful defense, and while I disagree with the kid’s opinion, I was impressed with his passion. Who sends typed letters in the mail anymore?! (Also, please never send me a letter in the mail. It really puts Mrs. Pajiba-hyphenate on edge.)