Hi Barbie! Netflix goes full Barbenheimer as forgotten Barbie show storms its TV charts

Barbie and Ken look at something off-camera in their cowboy costumes in the Barbie movie
One of Barbie's dormant web series has come back from the dead on Netflix. (Image credit: Dale Robinette/Warner Bros. Pictures)

It turns out that the world's best streaming service isn't immune to the effects of Barbenheimer. 

That's right – not even Netflix can escape the worldwide movie phenomenon. Per the latest update to Netflix's global top 10 TV chart, a long-forgotten Barbie TV series has been given a second life on the streaming giant. Unsurprisingly, its unexpected return is due to the unparalleled success of Barbenheimer, aka the cultural behemoth that saw the Barbie movie and Oppenheimer simultaneously launch in cinemas on July 21.

As revealed yesterday (August 1), Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse – a web series that began airing on YouTube in May 2012 – surprisingly stormed the Netflix charts for the week running July 24 to 30. According to Netflix's in-house data, Life in the Dreamhouse season 1 was watched by 1.9 million users across that seven-day period.

That might not sound too impressive, but it was enough to make Life in the Dreamhouse the sixth most-streamed Netflix show of the week. For comparison, The Witcher season 3 volume 2, which arrived on July 27, was the most-watched series last week, with 7.8 million subscribers tuning in to see Henry Cavill bid farewell to his time as Geralt of Rivia.

A screenshot of the main characters in Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse on Netflix

Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse took the number six spot in Netflix's Top 10 TV show list in late July (Image credit: Netflix)

Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse was so popular, in fact, that it saw off competition from other hit Netflix shows. Cocomelon season 8 struggled to compete, with the massively successful kids TV show being viewed 1.7 million times during the same period. Quarterback season 1, Fatal Seduction season 1, and Mark Normand: Soup to Nuts also failed to see off Life in the Dreamhouse.

Further underlying the show's unexpected success was how close it came to usurping some of the best Netflix shows around, as well as other popular new releases. Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse's first season was just 300,000 views short of surpassing Survival of the Thickest season 1, though it did beat the comedy series in the hours-viewed column, with 9.1 million hours streamed compared to eight million. Life in the Dreamhouse was 1.2 million views short of beating The Lincoln Lawyer season 2 part 1 to fourth spot on the list, too, and only 1.3 million views behind Too Hot to Handle season 3.

Life in plastic really is fantastic

Margot Robbie's Barbie smiles as she sits in her pink car in her solo movie

Barbie has dominated the global box office since its July 21 release (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Of course, Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse's surprise return from the dead wouldn't have been possible without the Barbie movie's box office dominance.

The Margot Robbie-starring fantasy film, which was one of our most anticipated new movies of 2023 ahead of its release, is one of the highest-grossing flicks of the year so far. According to Box Office Mojo, Barbie has earned nearly $800 million (as of August 2) worldwide. Only Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($845.3 million) and The Super Mario Bros. Movie ($1.35 billion) stand between Barbie and the coveted number one spot. As long as other big film releases – including Oppenheimer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, and The Meg 2 – don't eat into its ticket sales, Barbie should earn enough to knock Mario off his perch.

Even if it doesn't, Barbie's impact on the wider entertainment industry is clear to see. There's no way that other licensed Barbie products, whether that's a dormant web series or a poorly received Barbie video game, would have been given new leases of life without their live-action movie namesake. Life in the Dreamhouse's re-emergence is proof of that. And, while its successful return will be a fleeting one at best, it'll surely touch those who created and worked on the series in the early 2010s. That's as much of a win to Life in the Dreamhouse's cast and crew as the Barbie movie's success is to its own talent.

For more Netflix-based coverage, read up on the best Netflix movies and best Netflix documentaries. Alternatively, find out when Barbie might arrive on Max, HBO Max's streaming successor, and why Barbenheimer was one writer's favorite theater-going experience of the year.

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. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.