Welcome to our guide of the most popular new releases on Netflix, a full breakdown of the biggest shows, based on who’s watching what.
This week, the star-powered action heist comedy Red Notice rockets to the coveted number one spot on Netflix’s list of the 10 most popular shows and movies, while older series like the third season of You and Squid Game continue to hold strong at the number four and seven spot, respectively. Narcos: Mexico climbs to the number two spot following the premiere of the show’s final season earlier this month, and the Nickelodeon superhero sitcom The Thundermans pops up on this week as well after its first two seasons were added to Netflix this month.
To help you navigate the vast swath of Netflix offerings, we’ve gathered our reviews, features, and quick takes on the shows and films that have cracked the top 10 list for the United States, and put them in one easy-to-read place. Read on to find out what people are watching, and see our coverage to help you choose which of Netflix’s most popular hits meet your needs or personal tastes.
Polygon updates the Netflix top 10 each Tuesday. The actual top 10 is subject to change between updates.
Netflix’s biggest new releases
10. The Thundermans
If you’ve ever wonder what it would be like if the 2005 Disney superhero comedy Sky High was a sitcom, Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans is the answer. Centered on a family of superheroes in a quaint little suburb, the series follows the stories of twin siblings Phoebe (Kira Kosarin) and Max (Jack Griffo) as they train to become use their powers for both good and evil, respectively. Joined by their parents Hank (Chris Tallman) and Barb (Rosa Blasi) and their baby sister Chloe (Maya Le Clark), the pair get into all kinds of shenanigan as they confront the challenges of growing up with superpowers. They also have a pet rabbit that was once a supervillain named Dr. Colosso — fun! The first two seasons of The Thundermans was added to Netflix at the beginning of November, which explains why it’s popped up on this week’s top 10 list at number 10.
9. The Harder They Fall
Featuring an all-star ensemble cast including Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country), Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), Regina King (Watchmen), Idris Elba (The Suicide Squad), LaKeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), and more, Jeymes Samuel’s Western The Harder They Fall follows the story of outlaw Nat Love (Majors) who embarks on a quest for revenge against his nemesis Rufus Black (Elba) after he escapes from prison. The film has garnered much attention for its stylish contemporary take on Western tropes and its predominantly Black cast of performers, but how does it stake up against other Black Western films of its ilk? From our review,
Apart from the star-studded ensemble, with a few of the actors totally miscast, this film is only groundbreaking in the sense that it was designed for streaming. Its aesthetics are more obtrusively loud than stylish or gaudy. Its story is too slight to back up the overlong runtime. The natural Western landscape, rendered artificially, lacks vastness. Samuel’s The Harder They Fall doesn’t rise to the epic scale of its spaghetti and Blaxploitation influences: The genre has never felt so small and streaming-friendly as it does in this tawdry misadventure.
Nothing will ever defeat Cocomelon. The sun will go supernova before Cocomelon is done. Bow to Cocomelon.
If your kid has to watch something (or possibly you’re tuning in yourself? No judgment here!), the animated-nursery-rhymes-and-songs-YouTube-channel-turned-Netflix-animated-series is one of the most popular children’s shows on the service this week. It’s amazing — it’s been on the list since fall 2020 and only fell off once, and shows no signs of going away … ever!
Inspired by Stephanie Land’s New York Times best-selling memoir, Molly Smith Metzler’s streaming miniseries Maid stars Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers) as Alex Russell, a young single mother who becomes a housecleaner and maid in order to escape her abusive home life and provide a better life for her daughter Maddy. The series was released on Netflix three weeks ago and has garnered positive reviews, including Vulture critic Jen Chaney who describes the relationship between Alex and her mother Paula (Andie MacDowell) in her review as, “one of the most enriching experiences of the fall TV season.”
7. Squid Game
The South Korean survival drama Squid Game has remained in the Netflix top 10 since it premiered back in September, and it’s easy to understand why. The show’s premise resembles a nightmarish Technicolor mashup of Battle Royale and Big Brother, following the stories of seven people who, along with 449 other perfect strangers, are abducted and subjected to a strange series of challenges that resemble schoolyard games like Red Light, Green Light and tug of war in a contest to win $38.5 million. You can probably guess the catch off the top of your head: If any of the participants lose any of the challenges, they are swiftly executed. Squid Game has maintained consistent popularity since the series premiered in September as fans eagerly await more news regarding the show’s second season, which explains why it’s still at number six on this week’s top 10 list.
5. Big Mouth
Nick Krolland Andrew Goldberg’s raunchy adult animated comedy Big Mouth is back, once again tracking a group of awkward 7th grade teenagers, including best friends Nick Birch (Kroll) and Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney), as they navigate the frustrations of puberty and young adulthood. The fifth season of Big Mouth premiered on Netflix earlier this month, which explains why it’s at number five on this week’s Netflix top 10.
Based on Caroline Kepnes’ best-selling novel of the same name, season 3 of You finds serial killer Joe Goldberg and his love interest/accomplice Love Quinn happily married in Northern California and raising their infant son Henry. Everything seems peachy keen in the suburbs, until Joe predictably falls into his old habit of romanticizing yet another woman before plotting to murder her when the reality of who she is doesn’t match with the idea of her he’s created in his own mind. Naturally his wife, who’s just as crazy as him, is not gonna tolerate any of this shit. The third season of You premiered last month and was confirmed for a fourth season shortly after, which explains why it’s number four on the Netflix top 10 this week.
3. Love Hard
Nina Dobrev (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) stars in Hernán Jiménez’s Love Hard as Natalie Bauer, an unlucky-in-love dating columnist who falls head over heels with a man named Josh over a dating app. Traveling to his East Coast hometown to surprise him for Christmas, Natalie discovers that she has been catfished by a nerdy man (Jimmy O. Yang) impersonating Tag Abbott (Darren Barnet), a handsome former classmate living in his hometown. Eager to make amends, Josh offers to set Natalie up with Tag in exchange for her pretending to be his girlfriend for the holidays. The film premiered on the service two weeks ago and is still enjoying popularity, which explains why it’s at number three on this week’s top 10.
2. Narcos: Mexico
Set in the ’80s and ’90s amid the rise of the illegal drug trade in Mexico, Narcos: Mexico was originally intended to be the fourth season of the hit Netflix crime drama Narcos before spinning off into its own series. Centering on a newly independent cartel struggling to assert its own dominance over the drug trade in the era of globalization, the third and final season of the series premiered on Netflix two weeks ago, which explains why it’s on this week’s top 10 list at number two.
1. Red Notice
The new Netflix original action comedy Red Notice stars Ryan Reynolds as Nolan Booth, an international art thief and Dwayne Johnson as John Hartley, the FBI profiler tasked with bringing him. When Hartley is framed by Sarah “The Bishop” Black (Gal Gadot), he’ll have to team up with Booth to break out of prison and clear his name, all while aiding Booth in his personal journey to usurp Black as the world’s number one thief. There’s action and gunfights and wise-cracks galore, and the film by all appearances seems to be a hit with Netflix viewers in the wake of its premiere last Friday. At least for the two minutes required to clock a “view.” From our review:
Neither the film, the script, nor the actors provide any reason to care about these characters or this plot. What does it matter if they attain all three eggs? The world isn’t on the verge of ending. No governments are being harmed. No one’s life is in danger. Instead, this film is merely an incoherent preamble, a jalopy star vehicle where quality is secondary to producing a franchise launching pad. The film eventually winds toward a legend involving Hitler’s art dealer, with a dreadfully shot car chase set underground, caked in hideous visual effects. The grand finale is so unlikely that the incomprehensible screenwriting logic necessary to sell it provides a coma-inducing whiplash.