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 sees The Unforgivable, the 2021 drama starring and produced by Sandra Bullock, ascend to the top spot
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. Twentysomethings Austin
Netflix’s latest reality dating series Twentysomethings Austin follows — you guessed it — a cast of eight twenty-somethings looking for love in Austin, Texas. The twist? It’s the ‘new normal’ of 2021, baby! Watch these young adults move into gender-specified houses from one another and grow from complete strangers into intimate friends and partners. The series premiered on Netflix this past weekend, which explains why it’s at number 10 on this week’s top 10 list.
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!
8. Money Heist
Money Heist, the crime drama heist thriller produced by writer-creator Alex Pina, follows the story of team of eight thieves recruited by a criminal mastermind known only as “The Professor” who orchestrates one of the most elaborate heist in recorded history. Originally intended as a limited series told in two parts, the popularity of Money Heist has spawned three seasons across six parts that follow the crew’s heist of the Royal Mint of Spain and the Bank of Spain. The final half of season three of Money Heist released on Netflix earlier this month, which explains why the series is at number eight on this week’s top 10 list.
7. Law Abiding Citizen
F. Gary Gray’s 2009 vigilante action thriller Law Abiding Citizen stars Gerard Butler (300) as Clyde Shelton, a man whose wife and daughter are murdered in a home invasion. Ten years after prosecutor Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) cuts a deal with one of the killers in exchange for testimony, the killers are found dead and Shelton admits to murdering them. Imprisoned in jail and with nothing left to lose, Clyde offers Nick an ultimatum: release him, or witness more people around him die. Law Abiding Citizen was added to Netflix at the beginning of December, which explains why it’s on the Netflix top 10 this week at number seven.
6. The Witcher
Netflix’s 2019 fantasy drama series The Witcher returns to the top 10 this week! Based on Andrzej Sapkowski book series of the same name, the show follows the story of Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), a magically enhanced monster killer whose fate is intertwined with Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan) and a powerful enchantress named Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra). The highly anticipated second season of The Witcher is set to release this Friday, so it’s no surprise to see it pop up on this week’s list at number six as audiences try to refresh (or catch up) on what happened before the premiere.
5. Lost in Space
The third and final season of Lost in Space, which premiered earlier this month, follow Judy, Penny, Will Robinson and their robot companion as they attempt to lead a group of young Colonists on an evacuation of the mysterious planet they’ve been stranded on for over a year. As their parents John and Maureen desperately attempt to reunite with them, they’ll have to face off against a terrifying alien threat the likes of which they’ve never encountered before. From our review,
The season projects “finale vibes” throughout and there’s the sense that anything can happen at any time, perhaps to a fault. The back half of the season feels like a marathon of climactic moments that could be the turning point of the story, but then aren’t. The final episode alone has three such twists before ending on the one that’s the least visually interesting, and the attempt to give every lead character their own shining moment of triumph within a limited time frame diminishes a bit from each. This is the only season that runs eight episodes instead of 10, and it’s possible that COVID-era production complications required the story’s final act to get compressed. While the path to the finish line is a bit jagged, the finale effectively hammers home each of the show’s overarching themes, namely the value of trust and the ability of each person (human or robot) to change their own programming.
4. The Queen of Flow
Set in Medellin, Colombia, the telenovela drama The Queen of Flow follows the story of Yeimy Montoya, a talented young songwriter framed for drug trafficking and falsely imprisoned, who emerges from prison 17 years later to plot the downfall of the men who betrayed her and thwarted her dream. The 90(!) episode second season of the series premiered on Netflix last month, which explains why it’s holding strong on this week’s top 10 list at number four.
3. Back to the Outback
Remember Madagascar, the 2005 Dreamworks animated film about eccentric zoo creatures escaping captivity to return to the wild? Well imagine that, but with different animals, and you’ve basically got Back to the Outback. Netflix’s original children’s adventure comedy stars Isla Fisher, Tim Minchin, Guy Pearce, and more as a group of cuddly Australian creatures attempting to make it back home while pursued by a zookeeper who acts and sounds suspiciously like Steve Irwin. Back to the Outback premiered on the service last weekend, which explains why it’s on this week’s Netflix top 10 list at number three.
2. The Shack
Based on William P Young’s 2007 novel of the same name, the 2017 Christian drama The Shack stars Sam Worthington (Avatar) as Mack Phillips, a happily married family man whose life is shattered by the death of his child. Embittered by this loss, Mack retreats into isolation and anger until he receives a mysterious invitation to return to the shack where his daughter’s body was found. There he enters a hidden dimension and meets God (Octavia Butler), Jesus Christ (Aviv Alush), and the Holy Spirit (Sumire Matsubara), prompting him to reconcile his loss of faith and discover a renewed resolve to live. The film was added to Netflix just this past weekend, which explains why it’s on this week’s top 10 at number two.
1. The Unforgivable
Based on Sally Wainwright’s 2009 British miniseries Unforgiven, Sandra Bullock stars in The Unforgivable as Ruth Slater, a former convict who attempts to rebuild her life in the aftermath of a brutal crime. As she struggles to acclimate back to a life in a place that no longer feels like home, Ruth will have to confront those who aren’t willing to forgive her for what’s she done and will stop at nothing until her sins are repaid in blood. From our review,
Despite a deep ensemble led by a transformative Bullock, Unforgivable moves at a turgid pace, lacking the urgency and pathos required in a redemption narrative with any hopes that the audience will pull for its damaged protagonist. Similar to Kidman in Destroyer, Bullock’s appearance oscillates from strained and ragged in present-day scenes, to bright, in-full-make-up in sequences set in the past. Bullock portrays Slater as terse, strained at the jaw, and always at the edge of eruption. Slater tries to keep a low profile. She’s often guarded — she’s served her time, but her reputation as a cop-killer will always follow her around. It’s why when a coworker at the fish-packing plant, the kind, generous Blake (Jon Bernthal, still sporting his King Richard mustache) falls for her, she initially seems hesitant to pursue the first tiny shred of kindness given to her. Slater doesn’t believe she deserves redemption.