These Are the Most Watched Shows on Netflix in 2020

updated Dec 14, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Kath Nash

Having spent much of the year indoors, many have been turning to Netflix to fight boredom. But, as it turns out, the streaming platform doesn’t only entertain—it also provides a glimpse into how we feel and what we want. 

Netflix has revealed What We Watched 2020, a summary of this year’s US viewing trends on their platform. With the coronavirus pandemic keeping people from traveling and making connections, Netflix’s data shows that folks have responded to those emotional gaps by bingeing stories about travel, escape, and love.

According to Netflix, we traveled to other countries this year from the safety of our homes. Americans watched more foreign titles—up over 50 percent—from last year. We enjoyed shows like “The Platform” (Spain), “Barbarians” (Germany), and “Rogue City” (France). The K-drama genre, meanwhile, tripled its viewership, while anime was up 100 percent. Some popular titles include “Kingdom S2,” “The King: Eternal Monarch,” and “Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back – Evolution.”

People also escaped the lockdowns through the reality of other people’s lives, having spent twice as much time watching documentaries and reality TV in 2020 than in 2019. “Tiger King” and “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” were the top docu-series, while “Floor is Lava,” “Love is Blind,” and “Too Hot to Handle,” were the top reality TV series.

If you’ve felt lonely this year due to the absence of social gatherings, you’re not alone; stories about love and friendship have been popular. Data reports that people binged rom-coms twice as much this year, with the favorites being “The Kissing Booth 2” and “To All The Boys P.S. I Still Love You.” “Emily in Paris” was so popular, it created a 340 percent increase in searches for Kangol bucket hats.

Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

The pandemic has also brought attention to the importance of family, so it’s no surprise that those narratives attracted huge audiences. Notable titles include, “The Crown,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” and “Enola Holmes.”

Other genres eased anxieties, too. Netflix says November was a big month for comedy, speculating that, “Perhaps, we all needed a distraction from something … political.” The most popular comedy titles were “Hubie Halloween,” “The Wrong Missy,” and “Space Force.” As for action and adventure, people got a dose of couch adrenaline by watching “Extraction,” “The Old Guard,” and “Cobra Kai.”

We particularly know that a lot of people did home projects and tried improving their cooking in 2020. Searches for related shows were also up this year, with the most beloved titles being “Get Organized with The Home Edit,” “Nailed It!,” and “The American Barbecue Showdown.”

Most importantly, 2020 brought more awareness and empathy. The murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed led viewers to come to a better understanding of the Black experience in the US. “13th” was up 5000 percent, “LA 92” up 1300 percent, and “Dear White People” up 700 percent.

What were your favorite Netflix shows this past year?