Netflix reveals its biggest new TV shows – and the winner might surprise you

Cobra Kai
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix's financial earnings calls are mostly made up of boring number-related fodder that affects the lives of wealthy people, but it's also one of the only occasions on which the streaming service reveals viewing figures for its biggest hits. The number one show on Netflix in its third quarter was one the service didn't even make: Cobra Kai, the Karate Kid spin-off acquired from YouTube

50 million households tuned in during the first four weeks it was available, which is an impressive number, and bodes well for Cobra Kai season 3 when it arrives next year. It was followed by Ratched, the Ryan Murphy-created horror drama starring Sarah Paulson, which was watched by 48 million households – Ratched season 2 is already in the works. 

The Umbrella Academy hit 43 million households, while Lucifer reached 38 million. Surely this means The Umbrella Academy season 3 is in the bag?

It's no surprise these have performed well – they've all been regular fixtures of Netflix's own top 10 lists in the US and the UK. Plus, we're all stuck indoors right now, and with a lot of TV shows unable to film, we'll take whatever we can get.

Documentaries have been a big draw for Netflix this quarter, too, with American Murder: The Family Next Door and The Social Dilemma reaching 52 million and 38 million views respectively. Clearly, people still like true crime, no matter how tasteless the name of the documentary is. 

Netflix's movies have been even bigger, showing just what an appetite there is for anything resembling a blockbuster while big movies are delayed due to coronavirus. Just-okay Charlize Theron action movie The Old Guard reached 78 million views, while Jamie Foxx superpower film Project Power landed 76 million views. 

It's probably safe to say that these movies wouldn't have reached the same number of people in the theaters – but that's the point of Netflix's model, really, and having any new films to watch this year has been a bit of a blessing.

Netflix also believes Enola Holmes, the Millie Bobby Brown film, is on-course to hit 76 million views in its first month. 

Netflix's best original film of the year might be The Trial of the Chicago 7 – that landed last Friday. 

Samuel Roberts

Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.