The best-rated shows of 2022 have been revealed – and, surprisingly, Stranger Things hasn't claimed top spot.
In data supplied to TechRadar, the hugely successful Netflix series only secured third spot in IMDb's top-rated returning series of the year so far. Given how popular the supernatural show's latest entry – Stranger Things season 4 – has been with audiences, that may come as something of a shock to TV aficionados.
So which shows held off Stranger Things' advances to claim first and second place? Two of Stranger Things' Netflix rivals, funnily enough. Per IMDb's ratings, Peaky Blinders and Better Call Saul – both made their returns this year with their sixth and final seasons – claimed top spot ahead of Stranger Things. Currently, the duo hold 8.8 out of 10 ratings among IMDB's userbase, with Stranger Things just behind the pair with an 8.7 out of 10 rating.
Surprising as it is to see Stranger Things miss out on first place to its Netflix cousins, the streaming giant will be delighted to see so many of its TV offerings in IMDb's top 10 returning series list. Of the shows listed, six are available on Netflix – confirmation that, despite its recent woes, Netflix is still the king of the streaming landscape. The other Netflix offerings to make the list? Love, Death & Robots, plus The Last Kingdom.
Prime Video's The Boys and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel also made the list – the duo tying with Stranger Things on 8.7 out of 10. Meanwhile, HBO Max's Euphoria and family drama show This Is Us – the NBC series that's also available on Disney Plus – round out the top 10.
Stranger Things may have only secured bronze position in IMDb's rankings, but it's possible that the show could eventually usurp Peaky Blinders and Better Call Saul. The second part of season 4 was released on July 1, so it may receive a ranking boost (and move into first) if viewers deem its final two episodes to be the best entries in the season yet. If you caught those episodes over launch weekend, be sure to check out our season 4 volume 2 ending explainer, where we cover everything you need to know about Stranger Things 4's finale.
Analysis: turning the data Upside Down?
Intriguing as IMDb's best-rated returning shows data is, it doesn't paint the full picture of the streaming landscape.
For one, IMDb has only taken multi-season shows into account for this set of data. Each series on this list have two or more seasons under their belt, so it's difficult to determine how these TV series match up against shows making their debut in 2022.
If we factor new shows into the equation – again, using IMDb's user scores – there's only one other series (other than the aforementioned duo) rated better than Stranger Things. Once more, it's another Netflix show, with the wildly popular Heartstopper equalling Peaky Blinders and Better Call Saul's 8.8 out of 10 ratings. Meanwhile, Apple TV Plus' superb sci-fi offering Severance joins Stranger Things in the 8.7 out of 10 score bracket.
However, taking all 20 scores into consideration, Stranger Things season 4 would actually be the joint-fourth best-rated show of 2022 thus far. Heartstopper, Peaky Blinders, and Better Call Saul would share top spot in a combined top-rated show of 2022 list on IMDb, with Stranger Things and Severance forced to settle for fourth position.
Again, though, this doesn't tell the whole story. IMDb isn't the only place where viewers can rate TV shows, with other review aggregator websites including Rotten Tomatoes just as important in determining how a series is perceived among audiences globally.
Interestingly, though, Stranger Things isn't the best-rated returning series of 2022 on Rotten Tomatoes either. The Duffer brothers-created show holds a 90% certified fresh rating among Rotten Tomatoes users, but it's unable to overthrow Peaky Blinders (93%), Heartstopper (98%), and Better Call Saul here (96%) here. Even Severance (93%) and Hulu original series Only Murders in the Building (92%) are rated better than Stranger Things' fourth season.
Sure, there's still time for Stranger Things 4 to snatch top spot from its competitors. As we said earlier, the show's newest episodes could raise its rating if fans think they're worthy enough of doing so. Equally, though, volume 2 may not be the ending that fans hoped to see from season 4, which could cause its rating to decrease. Such are the perils of review aggregator websites.
Still, Stranger Things season 4 can hold its head up high. Its latest entry is a return to form after a good-but-not-great third season, plus it recently set a new record, too. Its 7.2 billion minutes viewed in the week running May 30 to June 5 set a new benchmark for streaming analytics company Nielsen (per The Hollywood Reporter), with Tiger King and Ozark's 5 billion minutes viewed ranking a distant second.
Stranger Things may not have taken the best-rated TV show crown, but it's more than earned its most recent feat. Expect it to reclaim first place in Netflix's top 10 lists in the near future, too.