These Netflix episodes are the ones that supposedly hooked you (pictures)

A Netflix analysis shows exactly which episodes fuel full-on binge watching for dozens of shows. Hint: there's not a pilot episode among them.

Michael Franco
Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for CNET and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.
Michael Franco
1 of 10 Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET


Video-streaming service Netflix collects lots of data on the viewing habits of its subscribers. In part, that helps it make relevant recommendations to viewers. It also helps the service collect some intriguing statistics.

The company just released an analysis of the viewing habits of people in 16 countries to try to determine exactly which first-season episodes got them hooked on 25 different shows.

To grant a show "hooked" status, the analysts used the criterion that after watching it, at least 70 percent of the viewers went on to finish the entire series.

That's not exactly the most scientific method of analysis, because it doesn't take into account season length or whether viewers were really hooked at the beginning of the show, as we explain here.

Still, it does get you thinking about those special episodes that made you say: "Oh yeah, I'll be watching this bad boy right to the end."

Here, we present the "hooked" episodes for 10 of the shows readers of CNET's Crave blog are most likely to be interested in.

Tied with "How I Met Your Mother," CW show "Arrow" took the longest to convert viewers to loyal fans, at episode 8.

That was the episode in which the green-clad superhero archer did a lot of flirty arrow coaching with fellow vigilante the Huntress, proving once again that sex (at least sexy revenge talk) sells.

2 of 10 A&E

Bates Motel

Viewers were hooked almost from the beginning on this show that imagines what the lives of motel owners Norma and Norman Bates were like long before they went "Psycho." It was the second episode that hooked fans, the one in which Norman's half-brother Dylan arrives and is greeted by Norman with a meat tenderizer.

3 of 10 AMC

Breaking Bad

Ask fans about their most memorable moments from "Breaking Bad" and the bathtub scene pretty much always comes up. That's the scene in episode 2 when Jesse dissolves the body of dead drug dealer Krazy-8 in the bathtub only to have it --  and the messy gore it contains -- burst through the floor of his house. This is also the episode that got people hooked on the entire season. Go figure.

4 of 10 Showtime


It was episode 3 that got people hooked on this show detailing the twisted life of a forensic investigator slash serial killer (and I do mean slash).

In this episode, Dexter and company are trying to track down the murderer known as "The Ice Truck Killer." But what likely got viewers hooked on the series is the flashback sequence in which Dexter remembers committing his first murder -- a nurse he suspected of slowly poisoning his foster father.

5 of 10 Netflix

House of Cards

As with "Dexter," it only took three episodes for viewers to get hooked on a show with a morally dubious character in a leading role.

Episode 3 of the Netflix original series "House of Cards" features the famous "Peachoid," a water tower with a top shaped like a peach.

Like the turning-point "Dexter" episode, this one also provides some backstory to a main character. The Peachoid is located in lead-character Frank Underwood's hometown of Gaffney, South Carolina, where the politician has to return to deal with a debacle concerning the death of a young girl who got into a car accident while texting about the fruit-like water tower.

(The Peachoid really exists, by the way.)

6 of 10 AMC

Mad Men

For what became such an iconic TV show, it's surprising it took fans until episode 6 to get hooked. But this episode does have both a character-revealing flashback and sex, so maybe that's what did the trick.

The flashback comes at the beginning of the episode when series lead Don Draper slips on a toy and gets taken back to his troubled childhood. And the sex comes when it's revealed that agency partner Roger Sterling is having an affair with lead secretary Joan Holloway (that and a scene where women are trying on various lipsticks while the men of the office gawk at them from behind a two-way mirror).

The episode also showcases the first writing assignment for secretary Peggy Olson, who would go on to become one of the show's central characters.

7 of 10 Video Screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

Marvel's Daredevil

It was about halfway through the inaugural season of "Daredevil" that I started to get hooked, and it seems the general viewing public was of the same opinion. Episode 5 -- out of a total of 13 -- is the one that got fans binging.

That's the one in which bad guy Wilson Fisk stands in his swanky apartment with his new girlfriend, Vanessa Marianna, and watches Hell's Kitchen burn.

Fittingly, it's also the episode in which Matt, the blind lawyer who solves cases by day and fights bad guys with his super senses by night, describes the way in which he sees life as a "world on fire."

8 of 10 ABC

Once Upon a Time

It took a bout of amnesia to make episode 6 the one viewers couldn't forget in this fairytale-based drama.

Episode 6 sees David Nolan come down with a case of the can't-remembers while his counterpart, Prince Charming, slays a giant monster. Additionally, there's a romantic quandary at the heart of this episode as Nolan confesses that he loves Mary Margaret (Snow White) and not his wife Kathryn (Princess Abigail).

9 of 10 Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET


I never quite took to the chaotic yet slow-moving plot line of this show from "Matrix" creators Andy and Lana Wachowski, but it looks like plenty of people did. Most folks were hooked as of the third episode, where the show slowed down a bit and focused on just a few of the characters rather than jumping from person to interconnected person.

At the center of this episode is Nomi, who is rescued from surgery in a hospital where she's being held against her will. The rescue comes in the form of a fire in the hospital set by her girlfriend Amanita.

That's certainly one way to get out of surgery -- and to hook viewers for nine more episodes.

10 of 10 AMC

The Walking Dead

Like "Breaking Bad" and "Bates Motel," it only took two episodes for viewers to get hooked on the AMC smash "The Walking Dead."

And, like the second episode of "Breaking Bad," episode 2 of "The Walking Dead" was also a gore fest -- this time in the form of the humans hacking up a dead zombie and covering themselves in its guts to avoid being detected by the still-walking zombies. In fact, the episode is fittingly named "Guts."

How could you not get hooked?

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos