The‌ ‌Most-Streamed‌ ‌Netflix‌ ‌Shows‌ ‌and‌ ‌Movies‌ in‌ ‌America‌

Netflix Playback Report: US Streaming in 2020

The average American spent 612 hours watching Netflix in 2020 (that’s nearly a month!). That amounts to 1.68 hours per day (and if you watched more than that, we understand). Also 93% of Americans reported having a Netflix subscription.

As we looked ahead to 2021’s streaming roster, we dug into the data surrounding Netflix’s top TV shows and movies in 2020 to create our Netflix Playback Report.

America’s most-streamed TV shows on Netflix

With all the options available on Netflix, we were curious which shows could hold onto a top-ten ranking the longest.

Michael Scott and the rest of The Office crew spent 189 days in Netflix’s top 10. Even though The Office ran from 2005-2013, the show remained a nostalgic favorite for many Americans in 2020.

Last year, we all needed those go-to shows—the shows that work whether you’re glued to the screen, browsing social media on the couch, or doing chores around the house.

2020's Top TV Shows on Netflix

CoComelon, a show built for families, features catchy sing-along songs and spent 127 days in the top ten. The colorfully animated show helps kids with learning lessons and socializing—all the better during the pandemic.

The Queen’s Gambit premiered on October 23rd and spent 70 days of 2020 in the top 10. Who knew we all loved chess so much?

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Netflix Original Content
Netflix knows what it’s doing. A staggering 71% of TV shows appearing in the top 10 were Netflix Originals. If you were thinking about switching to Hulu over Netflix, you may want to stick with your subscription to see what’s coming out this year.

Which TV show captured America’s attention for the longest?

When America went into lockdown, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, captured our attention, and it locked in its #1 ranking for 27 consecutive days. (The world felt weird. We needed a reminder that someone out there has an even wilder life than us. Joe Exotic delivered.)

Following Tiger King’s lead, The Queen’s Gambit spent 22 days at #1 on Netflix. Beth’s cathartic chaos and masterful chess moves won people over across America.

Rounding out the top three is a tie between Ratched, a drama series that follows an asylum nurse, and The Umbrella Academy, which follows a diverse and dysfunctional group of sibling superheroes.

A lot of us enjoyed delving into a bit of darkness to help us process 2020.

What was the most-popular TV Show on Netflix for each month?

The Most Popular TV Show by Month
MarchLove is Blind
AprilTiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
MayOuter Banks
JuneSpace Force
JulyUnsolved Mysteries
AugustThe Umbrella Academy
SeptemberCobra Kai
OctoberSchitt's Creek
NovemberThe Queen's Gambit
DecemberVirgin River

America’s most-streamed movies on Netflix

Despicable Me has been a family favorite since it was released a decade ago. Maxing out at 111 days, the animated movie with loveable minions (and all the memes) took the top spot for America’s most-streamed movie in 2020.

Animated features and likable villains such as Gru and The Grinch stole the spotlight for folks staying in and streaming. Almost all of the most-watched movies were family-friendly, but if you scrolled through the seemingly endless library, you know there’s something for everyone.

That said, we ranked Netflix as the best streaming service for kids.

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Netflix Original Movies
About one third (32%) of movies that appeared in the top 10 were Netflix Originals, which is significantly less than in the TV category. We may continue to see Netflix invest more substantially in TV in 2021.

America’s top-streamed movies—ranked by most days spent in the top ten

Movies Ranked by Consecutive Days in the #1 Spot
RankTitleMost Consecutive Days in the #1 Spot
1Spenser Confidential18
2Hubie Halloween14
3Project Power13

Adam Sandler’s Hubie Halloween had the second-longest streak with 14 days in the top spot. Project Power followed in third by holding the #1 spot for 13 consecutive days.

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Most-Popular Genres on Netflix
In 2020, Americans watched comedies, dramas, and crime shows the most. People are also seeking out thrillers, action, and mystery. Netflix’s originals will cover all these bases in 2021, but because of this demand, Sci-Fi, Western, and Musical fans may feel like they’re getting left out with only a handful of originals in those genres.

America’s favorite actors on Netflix

A familiar face can help you find the shows you want to watch, and America felt the need for some funny folks to laugh within a time of social distancing.

The following actors starred in the most top 10 shows or movies in 2020:
Actor/ActressNumber of Starring Roles in the Top 10
Adam Sandler7
Kevin James5
Anna Faris5
Bruce Willis4
Gary Oldman4
Mark Wahlberg4
Jamie Foxx4
Will Ferrell4
James Caan4

Adam Sandler’s man-child roles garner mixed reactions among critics, but he’s beloved by the people. He proved his range as an actor in films such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love and the relentless Uncut Gems (shoutout to the Safdies). However, don’t expect that Sandler to show up in 2020’s Hubie Halloween. This movie is more of a throwback to Billy Madison or The Waterboy.

The rest of the list features comedy actors such as Kevin James, Anna Faris, and Will Ferrell. A few classic stars round out the list, like Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Mark Wahlberg, Jamie Foxx, and James Caan.

The burning question is, which actors would you like to see more of in 2021?

Reviews of the top movies on Netflix

Despicable Me (4 of 5)

Gru’s plan to steal the moon with his minions’ help won over many folks worldwide. While Despicable Me might not be “Pixar-quality” in some respects, it continues to be a hit ten years later.

The Grinch (3 of 5)

The Grinch (2018) might not live up to the animated classic’s charm or Jim Carrey’s rendition, but it remains a go-to holiday movie for many families. We think it’s interesting to see fresh interpretations of generational classics.

Angry Birds 2 (3.5 of 5)

Kids may enjoy this slapstick comedy about learning to love your enemies, but it’s loud, chaotic nature may aggravate a few adults.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (4 of 5)

The animated classic’s live-action adaptation has won a place in many people’s hearts, but it does run a little long. However, if you love Jim Carrey’s brand of spastic comedy and quotes, it’s a perfect film.

365 Days (2.5 of 5 stars)

If you’re looking for a Sicilian-mafioso-meets-salesperson romance, this may be your movie. However, a lot of folks found it in the “cringe” category for its spicier emphasis, which left plenty of plot holes.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 (3 of 5 stars)

If you need something to throw on for the kids, this fun adventure will give animal lovers some warm fuzzies.

The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2.5 of 5 stars)

Even if you’re a picky streamer, a Christmas movie is always an easy option. Don’t expect many surprises in this flick, but if you liked the first movie, you might as well go for round two.

Extraction (3.5 of 5 stars)

Following a former mercenary’s rescue mission, Extraction is an action-driven flick starring Chris Hemsworth. It’s less about in-depth character development and more about cool car chases and kickin’ butt. If you liked The Russo Brother’s work with The Avengers, you might dig this militarized movie.

The Willoughbys (3.5 of 5 stars)

The Willoughbys,a comforting animated adventure, is an exciting film for your whole family. This energetic and vibrant flick comes with a sweet, albeit odd and silly, story about the importance of good family relationships.

The Christmas Chronicles (3 of 5 stars)

If you dig Kurt Russell’s appeal as Santa Claus, this is your first stop. It’s an enjoyable holiday movie that doesn’t add much to the slew of familiar favorites, but it’s worth throwing on at least once.

Reviews of the top TV shows on Netflix

The Office (4.5 of 5 stars)

While some aspects of The Office may not hold up forever, the show’s lasting charm is undeniable. Everyone who watches the show ends up finding a favorite character (and maybe one they love to hate too) and ends up rewatching the comforting show at some point.

CoComelon (4 of 5 stars)

This Netflix show features quality animation and music to help your family connect and learn. Some parents find its repetitive and simple nature better suited as a distraction for their kids while they take some time for themselves.

The Queen’s Gambit (5 of 5 stars)

This coming-of-age story made chess a thrilling experience with its visual beauty and superb acting. With her powerful performance, we’re likely to see more of Anya Taylor-Joy in the coming years.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (4 of 5 stars)

Ang and his friends are back, but this year was the first time viewing this phenomenal show for many folks. The series came out in 2005, but Avatar: The Last Airbender is an excellent pick if you’re looking for a fun, profound, and timeless animated story.

Ozark (4 of 5 stars)

Jason Bateman leads this dark and engaging crime drama, and while critics initially thought it was mediocre, the third season picks up to live up to Ozark’s full potential.

Schitt’s Creek (4 of 5 stars)

If you’re looking for some belly laughs, look up Schitt’s Creek. Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara’s deadpan delivery of decadents thrust into squalor left fans wanting more, but the show ended on its own terms and at its peak.

Outer Banks (3.5 of 5 stars)

This coming-of-age teen tale calls out to those who want romance, adventure, and mystery. If you’re into the melodrama of the OC, but need it to be a bit spookier, this guilty pleasure might be up your alley.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (4.5 of 5 stars)

You still haven’t watched Tiger King? After being released right around the beginning of the pandemic, this wild, wandering-but-wonderful show will shock you at every turn. It might even be worth a re-watch, but a first-time view carries some special surprises.

The Crown (4.5 of 5 stars)

The Crown takes viewers into the life of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, and the rest of the royal family. This high drama is stunning to look at and filled with powerful performances.

The Umbrella Academy (4 of 5 stars)

Following a dysfunctional group of adopted orphans who happen to have superpowers, The Umbrella Academy weaves an emotional web that fans connect with. You’ll get wrapped up in the characters while enjoying gorgeous visuals and wonderful music.

While we’re leaving 2020 behind, we look forward to another year of streaming in 2021.


We‌ ‌sourced‌ ‌‌Flix‌ ‌Patrol‌ to‌ ‌gather‌ ‌which‌ ‌movies/TV‌ ‌titles‌ ‌appeared‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌daily‌ ‌top‌ ‌ten‌.‌ ‌We collected additional‌ ‌data‌ ‌on‌ ‌these‌ ‌titles‌ from‌ ‌the‌ ‌‌Open‌ ‌Movie‌ ‌Database‌.‌

Additionally, surveyed 316,174 Americans to determine their streaming habits and which streaming services they use. We used this data to determine the percentage of persons with a Netflix account, and the amount of time spent watching the service throughout the year.

This content is administered by and is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Netflix, NBCUniversal, Treasure Studio, Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Left Bank Pictures, Sony Pictures Television Studios, Borderline Entertainment, Touchstone Television, Paramount Television Studios, Universal Television, 21 Laps Entertainment, Intrepid Pictures, Amblin Television, Red Canoe Productions, Deedle-Dee Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment, Overbrook Entertainment, Westbrook Studios, Universal Pictures, Illumination, Imagine Entertainment, Next Film, TVN, 1492 Pictures, 20th Street Pictures, Wonder Worldwide, AGBO, Bron Studios, Creative Wealth Media, Original Film, Closest to the Hole Productions, Leverage Entertainment, Film 44, Happy Madison Productions, Screen Arcade, Supermarche, Komixx Entertainment, A24, Elara Pictures, IAC Films, Sikelia Productions, Scott Rudin Productions, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Rovio Entertainment, Wonderland Sound and Vision, Hybrid Films.