Netflix has revealed the biggest shows of 2023's second half, and there are 2 surprise entries in the top 10

Nami, Luffy, and Zoro smile as they look at something off camera in One Piece on Netflix
One Piece season 1 was the most popular TV show on Netflix between June and December 2023. (Image credit: Casey Crafford/Netflix)

Netflix has revealed that One Piece season 1 was the most popular series among its fanbase between June and December 2023.

In the second edition of its 'What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report' series, the streaming giant confirmed that One Piece's first season was the most-watched show on its platform in the second half of 2023. Considering that it spent three weeks at the summit of Netflix's Top 10 TV chart – a performance that made it king of the TV high seas in mid-August 2023 – and five weeks in the top 10 overall, that'll come as little surprise to some readers. Given its impressive display, you won't be shocked to know that One Piece season 2 is in development.

But I digress. What's most impressive about One Piece's accomplishment is just how popular it proved to be. 

In total, 71.6 million people tuned into watch some of Netflix's live-action adaptation, whether that's a single episode or the full season. Few other series came close to matching one of the best Netflix shows' treasure-like haul of 541.9 million hours streamed, too. In fact, only one other Netflix TV Original managed to do so – King The Land: Limited Series, a Korean rom-com, surprisingly amassed a whopping 630.2 million hours viewed. However, thanks to its incredibly long episodic runtimes (compared to One Piece, anyway), King: The Land was only seen by 33.2 million people – a haul only good enough to net it 14th position on Netflix's latest bi-annual TV chart.

Shock successes dominate the Netflix TV charts

Geralt prepares to fight someone on a beach in The Witcher season 3 volume 2

Henry Cavill's final outing as Geralt in The Witcher season 3 drew in enough viewers to give it a top five finish (Image credit: Susie Allnutt/Netflix)

While King: The Land couldn't wrestle the 'most-watched Netflix show' crown from One Piece's grasp, it wasn't the only surprise inclusion in the top-20 most popular series on the world's best streaming service between last June and December.

Obliterated, Netflix's hardcore action-comedy from Cobra Kai's creators that was canceled after a single season, actually performed better than anyone expected, sneaking into the top 20 with a not-too-shabby haul of 27 million views. If it wasn't for the critically acclaimed The Fall of The House of Usher's bigger haul of hours streamed – 223.4 million hours viewed to 184.8 million – Obliterated would have bagged itself a 19th placed finish instead.

There were, though, even bigger shocks than Obliterated. Popular shows including The Witcher, Sex Education, Lupin, and The Lincoln Lawyer all managed to nab spots in the top 10, but none of them came close to reining in One Piece. Indeed, Lupin Part 3 could only muster up 49.7 million views to finish 4th, while The Witcher season 3 (47.9 million), Sex Education season 4 (46.3 million), and The Lincoln Lawyer season 2 (35.7 million) finished 5th, 6th, and 10th respectively.

A woman empties a pistol on a table in Netflix's Who Is Erin Carter? TV series

Despite mixed reviews, Who Is Erin Carter? was a big hit among Netflix's global userbase (Image credit: Netflix)

Okay, so if none of these seemingly popular and/or hit shows finished runner-up to One Piece, which ones did?

In a turn up for the books, Dear Child, a German crime-thriller series, took second place in the period running June to December 2023. It only accrued 252.8 million hours streamed but, thanks to its short episodic runtimes, that translates to 52.5 million total views, which is only 20 million less than Netflix's live-action remake of One Piece accumulated.

Even more bizarre is what finished in the bronze medal position. Who Is Erin Carter?, another thriller series (albeit a British one), snatched third place ahead of its competitors with 286.2 million hours streamed and a total haul of 50.1 million views. Why is Erin Carter's position in the final standings so unexpected? Because, based on its mixed reception – it holds 67% critical and 54% audience ratings on Rotten Tomatoes – it shouldn't have been as popular as it is. It just goes to show, then, that using Rotten Tomatoes scores to decide whether you should watch and a show or not isn't always a good idea.

There are other unexpected TV winners and losers on Netflix from the latter half of 2023. The Crown season 6 was, based on its paltry 25.2 million views haul, a certified dud. Netflix's latest engagement report also shows just how popular Suits proved to be following its debut on the streamer last June – the legal drama, which starred Meghan Markle for much of its run, racking up an insurmountable 144 million views across its nine seasons. Even older Netflix originals, such as Wednesday and The Night Agent's first seasons, continued to attract new viewers – the pair mustering up 23.9 million and 19 million views respectively.

What does all of this tell us, then? As much as we think we know which shows will be hits, it's far more difficult to determine what TV series will be popular with the masses. Just look at something like Baby Reindeer, which debuted to little fanfare in early 2024 and has gone on to be Netflix's biggest TV success story so far this year. Don't be surprised if, in six months' time, I'm telling you that Baby Reindeer was the most-streamed series of the period running January to June 2024.

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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.