Sorry Cowboy Bebop, Arcane is Netflix's latest TV show darling

League of Legends champion Vi engages in a fight in Netflix's Arcane
(Image credit: Netflix/Riot Games)

Netflix has revealed which of its recently released TV shows is on track to become its next big hit – and it's not Cowboy Bebop or Tiger King season 2.

Arcane, Netflix's animated adaptation of Riot Games' popular League of Legends video game, is currently set to become the streamer's next major success.

And by some distance, too. According to Netflix Top 10, a newly launched official Netflix website that reveals the most popular movies and TV shows on the streaming giant over the past seven days, Arcane has left Cowboy Bebop and Tiger King season 2 trailing in its wake.

For the week ending November 21, Arcane has accumulated over 38 million hours of viewing time in the last seven days. By contrast, the live-action Cowboy Bebop series – which many had expected to perform well, despite a perceived apathy towards the adaptation – is lagging behind with just 21.6 million hours viewed. Tiger King's latest entry, meanwhile, has posted 30.3 million hours viewed in the same timeframe.

Cowboy Bebop main trio and Ein

(Image credit: Netflix)

That's not all, either. According to global audience analysis company Parrot Analytics, Arcane season 1 was the third most in-demand TV show across all streaming platforms up to November 21. Amazon's The Wheel of Time and HBO's Game of Thrones are the only TV series that saw greater audience demand over the same period.

Since Arcane's first three episodes launched on November 6, the show's popularity has grown exponentially. Data from Parrot Analytics shows that global audience interest in Arcane has grown by a whopping 629% since its first season launched, with 228% of that made up of US viewers. Up to November 19, Arcane season 1 was even outpacing Stranger Things and The Mandalorian as America's number one digital streaming series.

So, what gives? Why has Arcane performed so well in comparison to Netflix's other recent TV offerings?

For starters: critical acclaim. Currently, Arcane has a 98% audience rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, as well as 100% 'certified fresh' rating among critics. Many outlets (ourselves included) have praised the show's beautiful, painterly-style 3D animation, voice cast performances, character complexities and rich, engaging story and worldbuilding.

Cowboy Bebop and Tiger King season 2, meanwhile, have been received less well. The former has posted scores of 54% and 48% respectively on Rotten Tomatoes, while Tiger King has performed even worse – accumulating scores of 41% and 18% among fans and critics.

watch surviving joe exotic online

(Image credit: Netflix)

Then there's word of mouth. Like Squid Game before it, Arcane wasn't really on anyone's radar before release, whereas Tiger King season 2 and Cowboy Bebop were being positioned as Netflix's big hitters for November.

And yet Arcane has come out on top. Critics will have helped to spread the word, but Netflix's subscriber base are the ones accumulating all those hours viewed. Many will have talked about it among their friends, families and work colleagues, which will have boosted its viewing figures.

Finally, Netflix has a growing positive track record for animated adaptations of beloved video game franchises. The streaming giant has already enjoyed success with its Castlevania TV show, while its take on strategy game Dota with its Dota: Dragon's Blood was also fairly well received. 

Other upcoming Netflix adaptations of video game series, including Tomb Raider, Sonic, The Cuphead Show, The Division and Assassin's Creed show that it isn't slowing down in this department, either. Add in Netflix's recent move into the games industry, too, and clearly video game movies and TV shows are becoming an increasing priority for the studio.

So it's unsurprising that, based on its unparalleled success, Arcane has been renewed for a second season. There's plenty more story and lore to tell in its world, League of Legends characters and heroes to introduce, and much more.

While the same could be said of Cowboy Bebop – Tiger King has probably run its course at this point – it's not be as well received as Arcane. And, for a streaming platform that's quick to cancel underperforming shows, Cowboy Bebop's future may be determined by whether it can catch up with Arcane or not. Right now, though, that seems very unlikely.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

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