The top 20 streaming TV shows of the year from services like Netflix, Disney Plus, and HBO Max

  • Parrot Analytics provided Business Insider its top 20 most in-demand streaming originals this year.
  • The list is dominated by Netflix, but topped by Disney Plus' blockbuster "Star Wars" series, "The Mandalorian."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Streaming hit new highs in 2020 as audiences spent more time at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Netflix is nearing 200 million subscribers worldwide. Disney Plus has 87 million subscribers since launching in November 2019. Major media companies like WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal launched their own streaming competitors with HBO Max and Peacock, respectively.

But what were the biggest hits among all of these streaming options?

Research company Parrot Analytics provided Business Insider with its list of the top 20 most in-demand streaming originals of the year. The company measures "demand expressions," which take into account viewership, engagement, and desire of a series weighted by importance. The list is ranked by how much more in demand the shows are compared to the average series in the US.

The list is dominated by Netflix, from the comic-book hit "Umbrella Academy" to the former YouTube series, "Cobra Kai." Some shows, like "Stranger Things," did not release a new season this year, but the demand is still palpable.

But Disney took the top spot with its live-action blockbuster "Star Wars" series, "The Mandalorian," which wrapped up its second season last week. 

A common theme throughout the list is the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Back in January, Business Insider found that streaming TV's biggest shows fell into this genre, are heavy on adventure elements, and are based on preexisting material, based on Parrot Analytics data. Nearly a year later, not much has changed in that regard.

Companies will continue to tap into these elements in 2021 and beyond. Amazon is developing shows based on the fantasy book series "The Wheel of Time" and "The Lord of the Rings." Netflix has multiple "Witcher" projects in the works along with "Resident Evil," based on the hit video game, and more. Disney Plus is developing at least 10 Marvel shows and 10 "'Star Wars" shows.

That doesn't even begin to cover all the high-profile, IP-based content in the works from the numerous streamers battling for consumer dollars.

Below are the 20 most popular original streaming TV shows of 2020, based on audience-demand data:

20. "Ted Lasso" — Apple TV Plus, 2020-present (one season)

Time more in demand than the average show: 20.8

Description: "Jason Sudeikis plays Ted Lasso, a small-time college football coach from Kansas hired to coach a professional soccer team in England, despite having no experience coaching soccer."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 90%

What critics said: "On Ted Lasso, American innocence, humility, and heroism are all alive and well-and you don't have to consciously notice any of that for it to bring you comfort." — Slate (season one)

19. (tie) "The Expanse" — Amazon Prime Video, 2015-present (five seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 21.9

Description: "In different parts of the Solar System, the crew of the Rocinante and their allies confront the sins of their past, while Marco Inaros unleashes an attack that will alter the future of Earth, Mars, the Belt, and the worlds beyond the Ring."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 94%

What critics said: "The Expanse's keen understanding of history and politics, combined with its relatively low technology level, has allowed the show to feel about as realistic as science fiction can get." — Polygon (season five)

19. (tie) "Dark" — Netflix, 2017-2020 (three seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 21.9

Description: "A missing child sets four families on a frantic hunt for answers as they unearth a mind-bending mystery that spans three generations."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 95%

What critics said: "One of the most mind-melting shows on television, and possibly the most unique Netflix original, Dark finishes its run with peak writing, shocking conclusions, and a bittersweet sense of finality." — RogerEbert.com (season three)

17. "The Handmaid's Tale" — Hulu, 2017-present (three seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 22.3

Description: "A woman forced into sexual servitude struggles to survive in a terrifying, totalitarian society."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 88%

What critics said: "What's obvious about The Handmaid's Tale works wonders. What's more opaque can create problems." — Indiewire (season three)

16. "You" — Netflix, 2018-present (two seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 23.4

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: 90%

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 (season two)

15. "La Casa de Papel (Money Heist)" — Netflix, 2017-present (four seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 24.4

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: 93%

What critics said: "The early episodes were characterised by a rush of twists and new ideas. Now they are being dragged out to fill airtime." — Independent (season four)

14. "Star Trek: Picard" — CBS All Access, 2020-present (one season)

Times more in demand than average show: 24.5

Description: "'Star Trek: Picard' features Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard, which he played for seven seasons on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation.' The new series will follow this iconic character into the next chapter of his life."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 87%

What critics said: "Picard is Trek through and through, full of thorny ethical quandaries, social allegories, sinister admirals, and an undercurrent of optimism in spite of it all." — Slate (season 1)

13. "Cobra Kai" — Netflix, 2018-present (two seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 24.7

Description: "Decades after the tournament that changed their lives, the rivalry between Johnny and Daniel reignites in this sequel to the 'Karate Kid' films."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 94%

What critics said: "Cobra Kai remains more entertaining and well-executed than it has any right to be." — Entertainment Weekly (season two)

12. "Star Trek: Discovery" — CBS All Access, 2017-present (three seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 25.7

Description: "After making the jump in the second season finale, season three of "Star Trek: Discovery" finds the U.S.S. Discovery crew dropping out of the wormhole and into an unknown future far from the home they once knew. Now living in a time filled with uncertainty, the U.S.S. Discovery crew, along with the help of some new friends, must together fight to regain a hopeful future."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 85%

What critics said: "It's finally able to grow, unfettered by entrenched canon or unnecessary blockbuster aspirations (or unnecessary white guys — did y'all even see one this week?), into a series that will succeed or fail as a Star Trek show on its own merits." — Vulture (season 3)

11. "The Crown" — Netflix, 2016-present (four seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 25.8

Description: "This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II's reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 91%

What critics said: "This new set of episodes continues to give us both the long run and the short, the epic and the specific, as it goes from strength to strength." — Boston Globe (season four)

10. "The Boys" — Amazon Prime Video, 2019-present (two seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 26.0

Description: "In a more intense, more desperate Season 2 of THE BOYS, Butcher, Hughie and the team reel from their losses in Season 1. On the run from the law, they struggle to fight back against the Superheroes. As Vought, the company that manages the heroes, cashes in on the panic over the threat of Supervillains, and a new hero, Stormfront, shakes up the company and challenges an already unstable Homelander."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 90%

What critics said: "A wonderfully subversive, cynically entertaining piece of work." — NPR (season two)

9. "Narcos: Mexico" — Netflix, 2018-present (two seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 29.3

Description: "Witness the birth of the Mexican drug war in the 1980s as a gritty new ‚Narcos' saga chronicles the true story of the Guadalajara cartel's ascent."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 88%

What critics said: "Cartel dramas like Narcos are fairy tales for a nation in decline, flattening diverse and complicated countries for the benefit of a nation that refuses to acknowledge the havoc it has wreaked on the world." — The Verge (Season 2)

8. "Lucifer" — Netflix, 2016-present (five seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 31.9

Description: "Bored with being the Lord of Hell, the devil relocates to Los Angeles, where he opens a nightclub and forms a connection with a homicide detective."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 86%

What critics said: "Lucifer will always be the show that gave us an archangel chasing a chicken while the Devil laughs in the background and Season 5 is going all-in on the parts of the show that make it such an addictive watch." — TV Guide (Season 5)

7. "Harley Quinn" — HBO Max, 2019-present (two seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 32.0

Description: "Harley Quinn has taken down the Joker and Gotham City is finally hers for the taking … whatever's left of it that is. Gotham has become a desolate wasteland, left in ruins, following the huge earthquake caused by the collapse of Joker's tower. Harley's celebration in this newly created chaos is cut short when Penguin, Bane, Mr. Freeze, The Riddler, and Two-Face join forces to restore order in the criminal underworld. Calling themselves the Injustice League, this group now stands in the way of Harley and her crew from taking sole control of Gotham as the top villains of the city."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 94%

What critics said: "By almost entirely removing the Joker from the equation, Harley Quinn has so much more space to figure out what makes Harley as a character so compelling, and it uses every inch of it." — Variety (season two)

6. "The Umbrella Academy" — Netflix, 2019-present (two seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 32.1

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: 82%

What critics said: "Employing dry Wes Anderson-style humour and end-of-the-world exploits worthy of Heroes, the second season of The Umbrella Academy is just as — if not more — wacky than the first." — Independent (season 2)

5. "The Witcher" — Netflix, 2019-present (one season)

Times more in demand than average show: 39.8

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: "The [action] is of a kinetic and impressively top-shelf variety, Cavill's Geralt moving like a man possessed as he rends flesh from bone and engages in some surprisingly balletic bouts of swordplay." — Fortune (season one)

4. "Titans" — HBO Max, 2018-present (two seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 40.0

Description: "'Titans' follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and lovable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 80%

What critics said: "With a bit of time, Titans might end up getting steady on its feet again and returning to being one of the better live-action cape shows, but for the time being, it's definitely showed itself to be a bit more than rusty." — io9 (season two)

 

3. "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" — Disney Plus, 2008-2020 (seven seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 46.3

Description: "From Dave Filoni, director and executive producer of 'The Mandalorian,' the new 'Clone Wars' episodes will continue the storylines introduced in the original series, exploring the events leading up to 'Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.'"

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 93%

What critics said: "While the series rehabilitates the weaker parts in the Prequel trilogy, it breaks away from the light-vs.-dark dichotomy that defines the franchise." — Polygon (season seven)

2. "Stranger Things" — Netflix, 2016-present (three seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 60.2

Description: "When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 93%

What critics said: "What these ideas come down to, in the show's thrillingly propulsive and self-consciously familiar conclusion, is the nature of a country that fully believes it's the greatest in the world while also being well aware of its own capacity for destruction." — The Atlantic (season three)

1. "The Mandalorian" — Disney Plus, 2019-present (two seasons)

Times more in demand than average show: 65.7

Description: "After the fall of the Empire, a lone gunfighter makes his way through the lawless galaxy."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 94%

What critics said: "This was a thrilling and ultimately tear-jerking conclusion to a season that leveled up in pretty much every way from a very satisfying debut year." — Rolling Stone (season two)

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

Source: Read Full Article