Along with walks, picnics, and other socially distanced activities, Americans spent a lot of time last year in front of the television. And while some of that time went to watching buzzy new offerings like Tiger King, comfortable old favorites really ruled the ratings.
We’re mainly talking about The Office. U.S. viewers spent more than 57 billion minutes streaming the beloved NBC sitcom on Netflix last year, making it the most streamed show of 2020. Grey’s Anatomy came in second with just over 39.4 billion cumulative minutes watched, and Criminal Minds rounded out the top three with about 35.4 billion minutes. NCIS and Supernatural also made the top 10.
One classic is conspicuously missing from the list: Friends. But it’s probably not because fans finally got tired of re-watching it. The rankings below are based on Nielsen data across four streaming platforms—namely, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix. Since Friends left Netflix in late 2019 and is now on HBO Max, it simply isn’t included in this particular report. Also, Nielsen’s numbers reflect viewing data from TVs, not other devices like phones and laptops. In other words, Americans definitely watched way more than 57 billion minutes of The Office.
As Variety points out, the reason so many older shows ranked high was in part because there are more episodes to watch. You can knock out Tiger King’s eight episodes in a day, for example, while finishing all 366 available episodes of Grey’s Anatomy could take months.
But viewers did make time for recent content, too. Netflix original series Ozark took the fourth spot, and Schitt’s Creek came in sixth. The ongoing obsession with Star Wars (and Baby Yoda in particular) surely helped Disney+’s The Mandalorian crack the top 20; in fact, it was the only show not available on Netflix to do so.
Scroll on to see if your personal favorite made the list.
- The Office (Netflix) // 57.127 billion
- Grey’s Anatomy (Netflix) // 39.405 billion
- Criminal Minds (Netflix) // 35.414 billion
- Ozark (Netflix) // 30.462 billion
- NCIS (Netflix) // 28.134 billion
- Schitt’s Creek (Netflix) // 23.785 billion
- Supernatural (Netflix) // 20.336 billion
- Lucifer (Netflix) // 18.975 billion
- Shameless (Netflix) // 18.218 billion
- The Crown (Netflix) // 16.275 billion
- Tiger King (Netflix) // 15.611 billion
- New Girl (Netflix) // 14.545 billion
- The Mandalorian (Disney+) // 14.519 billion
- The Blacklist (Netflix) // 14.480 billion
- The Vampire Diaries (Netflix) // 14.091 billion
- The Umbrella Academy (Netflix) // 13.470 billion
- The Great British Baking Show (Netflix) // 13.279 billion
- Boss Baby: Back in Business (Netflix) // 12.625 billion
- Longmire (Netflix) // 11.382 billion
- You (Netflix) // 10.965 billion