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'Stranger Things 4' Beats 'Bridgerton' in Netflix's All-Time Charts

Netflix's latest popularity rankings show Stranger Things is its biggest English language hit ever -- but it has far to go to top Squid Game.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman
2 min read
Character Max levitates above a gravestone, with other Stranger Things characters looking on in shock.

Stranger Things 4 hit Netflix on May 27. 

Netflix

Netflix's Stranger Things 4 is more popular than either Bridgerton season, according to Netflix's popularity rankings, updated Tuesday. 

In the week ended Sunday, Stranger Things 4's total watch time so far rose to 781 million hours since seven new episodes dropped May 27. That tops Bridgerton's second season at 656.3 million hours watched and its first season at 625.8 million. 

That makes Stranger Things 4 Netflix's most watched English language TV show so far. But it's still far behind Squid Game, Netflix's biggest hit ever by watch time. Subscribers binge-watched more than 1.65 billion hours of the South Korean dystopian thriller within the first 28 days it was out. 

Stranger Things is sure to extend its lead over Bridgerton and may come to overtake Squid Game as well. Because Netflix ranks popularity of its shows by how many hours its subscribers streamed new episodes in the first 28 days of release, Stranger Things 4 will continue to amass more watch time through next Thursday. Plus, Stranger Things 4 is releasing two additional episodes on July 1, so all the viewership of those last two installments will contribute to the show's total for another 28 days.  

Netflix launched a website in mid-November posting weekly charts of its most popular shows and movies, as well as a global ranking of all-time most watched titles. The charts are updated every week and ranked by the total number of hours that subscribers spent watching them. 

The rankings represent an unprecedented trove of data about what's popular on Netflix, detailing the most popular titles in the last week not only globally but also for more than 90 individual countries. It is, by far, the most transparency that Netflix has ever adopted for its viewership. It will also help subscribers like you have a better grip on what's most popular on the world's biggest subscription streaming service. 

For years, Netflix was notoriously tight-lipped about its viewership. Beau Willimon -- creator of House of Cards, which put Netflix's original programming on the map -- once said the company wouldn't even share viewership metrics with him. 

But within the last two years, Netflix has become much more open about the popularity of its shows and movies to help it recruit talent and stoke buzz. First, Netflix added a top-trending ranking to its service, so people can see the most popular titles streaming on Netflix in their country on any given day. Then it also started publicly sharing popularity stats for certain titles, publicizing the number of accounts that watched two minutes of a particular title in its first month of release.