How Netflix's 'Bridgerton' compares to the streaming giant's biggest original TV show hits

  • Netflix is projecting Shonda Rhimes' new series "Bridgerton" to be watched by 63 million households in its first 28 days of release.
  • That makes it Netflix's fifth biggest original series yet, ahead of hits like "The Queen's Gambit" and "Ratched."
  • It marks a win for Netflix and Rhimes' mega deal, struck in 2018 and worth $150 million, according to The New York Times. 
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Shonda Rhimes' first Netflix original series is a smash hit.

Netflix is projecting "Bridgerton" to be watched by 63 million households in its first 28 days (it debuted on Christmas), the streaming giant said on Monday. Netflix counts a view if an account watches at least two minutes of a show or movie, so while the metric doesn't account for how many users watched the entire series, it does provide a good idea of how many were interested in it.

That 63 million would make "Bridgerton" Netflix's fifth biggest original series ever. (That's assuming we count "Stranger Things" season three, which was watched by 64 million households based on Netflix's former, stricter metric that required an account to watch at least 70% of a movie or TV episode. Netflix changed the metric in late 2019.)

"Bridgerton" marks a win for Netflix and Rhimes' mega deal. The "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal" creator struck the deal in 2018 worth $150 million, according to The New York Times.

Netflix made a similar deal with superstar producer Ryan Murphy, but his original Netflix output so far has been hit or (mostly) miss. "The Politician" and "Hollywood" received poor critics reviews and didn't spark the kind of enthusiasm with viewers that "Bridgerton" has, though Murphy's "Ratched" is Netflix's ninth biggest series.

But even "Ratched" still received lackluster reviews and has a 62% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, while "Bridgerton" has a 92%.

Other recent Netflix hits include "The Witcher," "The Umbrella Academy," and "Tiger King."

Below are Netflix's top 10 biggest original series yet based on its two-minute metric, including "Bridgerton":

10. "The Umbrella Academy" season two — 43 million

Description: "Reunited by their father's death, estranged siblings with extraordinary powers uncover shocking family secrets — and a looming threat to humanity."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 90%

What critics said: "The Umbrella Academy is what you get when you mix Wes Anderson with Matthew Vaughn, stuff them full of Red Bull and Adderall, and give them a Spotify Premium subscription. Yes, that's a compliment." — Observer 

9. "Ratched" season one — 48 million

Description: "In 1947, Mildred Ratched begins working as a nurse at a leading psychiatric hospital. But beneath her stylish exterior lurks a growing darkness."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 62%

What critics said: "The name Ratched calls to mind words like 'ratchet' and 'wretched,' but in this slick, inconsistent series she's more a jumble of qualities whose truths are coyly withheld from us." — Boston Globe

8. "Too Hot to Handle" season one — 51 million

Description: "On the shores of paradise, gorgeous singles meet and mingle. But there's a twist. To win a $100,000 grand prize, they'll have to give up sex."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 37%

What critics said: "For those viewers who aren't already primed to suspend their disbelief in the face of manufactured drama, Too Hot to Handle gives them no reason to care." — Polygon

7. "You" season two — 54 million

Description: "A dangerously charming, intensely obsessive young man goes to extreme measures to insert himself into the lives of those he is transfixed by."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 88%

What critics said: "A self-aware work of melodrama, You combines the best elements of murder-mystery series, Millennial sitcoms, and revenge fantasies." — The Atlantic 

6. "The Queen's Gambit" — 62 million

Description: "In a 1950s orphanage, a young girl reveals an astonishing talent for chess and begins an unlikely journey to stardom while grappling with addiction."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 97%

What critics said: "Raise your hand if you anticipated a coming-of-age, period-piece drama about a female chess prodigy in the 1950s and 1960s becoming perhaps the most addictive and binge-worthy series of 2020." — Chicago Sun-Times

5. "Bridgerton" season one — 63 million

Description: "The eight close-knit siblings of the Bridgerton family look for love and happiness in London high society. Inspired by Julia Quinn's bestselling novels."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 92%

What critics said: "There are eight episodes of Bridgerton, and they all have endings that are like chapters in a good book: They leave you in a spot where you just want to read one more chapter before you turn off the light for the night." — NPR

4. (tie) "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness" — 64 million

Description: "A zoo owner spirals out of control amid a cast of eccentric characters in this true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 86%

What critics said: "A compelling series in fits and starts that doesn't amount to much more than a trip through an extremely strange world filled with extremely strange people." — Newsday

4. (tie) "Stranger Things" season three — 64 million*

Description: "When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one strange little girl."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 89%

What critics said: "It's a real and joyful return to form for the show that has been taken fiercely to the hearts of people who weren't there the first time round and, perhaps even more fiercely, by those who were." — Guardian

*based on Netflix's former viewership metric, in which an account had to watch at least 70% of a TV episode

2. "La Casa de Papel (Money Heist)" season four — 65 million

Description: "Eight thieves take hostages and lock themselves in the Royal Mint of Spain as a criminal mastermind manipulates the police to carry out his plan."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 75%

What critics said: "All the joy in the heist format is wondering how the robbers will escape. With Money Heist, I'm starting to dread the new ways the producers will find to keep me locked in." — Independent

1. "The Witcher" season one — 76 million

Description: "Geralt of Rivia, a mutated monster-hunter for hire, journeys toward his destiny in a turbulent world where people often prove more wicked than beasts."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 67%

What critics said: "And although The Witcher is more fantasy balderdash, it's also somewhat addictive fantasy balderdash. Bring on the blood-spilling, the orgies, the haunted forests and wizards: It seems we can't get enough." — Detroit News

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.

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