The Most-Watched TV Shows and Films of Last Year, According to Nielsen

updated Jan 16, 2021
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Credit: Netflix

During a time when we couldn’t really leave our homes, entertainment served as the ultimate form of escape last year. We visited Buckingham Palace in “The Crown,” strayed far from the New Republic in “The Mandalorian,” and revisited a past America in “Hamilton.” It’s safe to say we streamed a lot of content in 2020. Well, media research company Nielsen has released its annual list of top TV shows and films to provide better insights into the titles that helped us escape last year.

What came out on top? The company has expanded its ratings system to include streaming content along with regular ol’ titles  in recent years; so, no surprise here, but Netflix dominated much of the top TV shows, while Disney+ reigned supreme in the movies category. According to Nielsen, Netflix’s “Ozark” came out as the top original TV show of 2020 with a whopping 30.5 billion minutes streamed. In terms of acquired shows, though, “The Office” came out as the top TV show with 57.1 billion minutes streamed.

On the film front, Disney’s “Frozen 2” came out as the top film of 2020 with a total of 14.9 billion minutes streamed, followed by “Moana” (10.5 billion), “Secret Life of Pets 2” (9.1 billion), “Onward” (8.4 billion), and “Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch” (6.2 billion). For a full breakdown of the top 10 original series, acquired series, and films of 2020, read on below.

Credit: Courtesy of Disney+

Original series

1. “Ozark” (30.5 billion)

2. “Lucifer” (18.97 billion)

3. “The Crown” (16.3 billion)

4. “Tiger King” (15.6 billion)

5. “The Mandalorian” (14.5 billion)

6. “The Umbrella Academy” (13.5 billion)

7. “The Great British Baking Show” (13.3 billion)

8. “Boss Baby: Back in Business” (12.6 billion)

9. “Longmire” (11.4 billion)

10. “You’ (10.97 billion)

Acquired series

1. “The Office” (57.1 billion)

2. “Grey’s Anatomy” (39.4 billion)

3. “Criminal Minds” (35.4 billion)

4. “NCIS” (28.1 billion)

5. “Schitt’s Creek” (23.8 billion)

6. “Supernatural” (20.3 billion)

7. “Shameless” (18.2 billion)

8. “New Girl” (14.6 billion)

9. “The Black List” (14.5 billion)

10. “The Vampire Diaries” (14.1 billion)


1. “Frozen 2” (14.9 billion)

2. “Moana” (10.5 billion)

3. “Secret Life of Pets 2” (9.1 billion)

4. “Onward” (8.4 billion)

5. “Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch” (6.2 billion)

6. “Hamilton” (6.1 billion)

7. “Spenser Confidential” (5.4 billion)

8. “Aladdin” (2019) (5.1 billion)

9. “Toy Story 4” (4.4 billion)

10. “Zootopia” (4.4 billion)