'Bridgerton' becomes most popular Netflix original series, overtaking 'The Witcher'

Regency drama has been viewed by more than 82 million households around the world

Bridgerton is now Netflix's most popular original series yet, watched by more than 82 million households around the world since its release in late December.

The modern take on a period drama has won over fans thanks to its colourblind casting, fresh crop of talent and its reimagined view of Regency era London.

But it seems even the streaming major underestimated how popular the show would be, forecasting the Shonda Rhimes-produced series would be watched by 63 million households during its first 28 days.

Netflix has now revealed that more than 82 million accounts have streamed the eight-episode first season, making it the most-watched original show to feature on the platform, overtaking the record set by The Witcher, which was viewed 76 million times during its first four weeks.

It should be noted, however, that Netflix counts watching a series for two minutes or more as a view, so that figure might not be representative of the number of people who watched Bridgerton in its entirety.

Still, its popularity has ensured that the show, adapted from Julia Quinn's novel series based around the fictional Bridgerton and Featherington families, was speedily renewed for a second season, which will centre on Daphne's eldest brother, Anthony.

While Bridgerton is Netflix's most-watched original show, it doesn't beat the streaming platform's record, held by 2020's action thriller film Extraction, which was viewed by 99 million accounts in its first 28 days.

Netflix has not always been transparent about its viewing figures, however, and has only started releasing statistics in the past couple of years as a bid to attract more talent – a move that has clearly worked in its favour, given the bumper crop of Oscar winners and nominees that appear on its 2021 roster.

In a clip previewing the 70 titles it is set to release this year, it was revealed that Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Regina King, Cate Blanchett and Idris Elba, to name a few, would all star in coming movies.

The TV and film industries have also flagged issues in the past surrounding the verification of Netflix’s viewing figures, as, unlike the box office and many traditional television networks, there is no independent verifier that checks the numbers.

However, from the information Netflix has revealed, these are the most popular original movies and TV shows to hit the platform in the past few years …

  1. Extraction, 2020 - 99 million
  2. Bird Box, 2018 – 89 million
  3. Spenser Confidential, 2020 – 85 million
  4. 6 Underground, 2019 – 83 million
  5. Bridgerton, 2020 – 82 million
  6. The Old Guard, 2020 – 78 million
  7. Enola Holmes, 2020 - 76 million
  8. The Witcher, 2019 – 76 million
  9. Project Power, 2020 – 75 million
  10. Murder Mystery, 2019 – 73 million