It’s official: The Squid Game is still Netflix’s biggest series in history.
Not even the massive popularity of Season 4 of Stranger Things – which became Netflix’s most popular English-language show of all time and the first to garner over a billion hours of viewing in its first month – couldn’t dethrone his show Hwang Dong-hyuk. dystopian survival drama, whose dominance as the ultimate series now seems assured for years to come.
Confirmation of Squid Game’s continued dominance comes after Stranger Things’ 28-day release window – the period in which Netflix records and publishes viewership numbers – expired on July 29. In total, Season 4 of the Duffer brothers’ beloved sci-fi show garnered 1.4 billion hours of viewing, about 250 million less than Squid Game’s record of 1.65 billion.
Of course, 1.4 billion hours of viewing – the equivalent of 160,000 years – is still a staggering number for a series that’s been around for six years. But Stranger Things’ failure to eclipse Squid Game’s record serves to further highlight the magnitude of the latter’s achievement.
For starters, Stranger Things got two bites of the cherry with its fourth season. Split into two parts – episodes 1-7 and 8-9 – the show enjoyed a rare 56-day window to garner total viewership numbers, compared to Squid Game’s typical 28-day window. Admittedly, viewership for Volume 1 no longer contributed to the series total after June 24th, but Volume 2 took over on July 1st and continued to run until July 29th.
Additionally, Stranger Things’ extended release window was also bolstered by a much longer runtime than Squid Game. The latter’s nine episodes totaled around eight hours, while the former’s nine episodes totaled 13 hours (courtesy of two impressively long finales).
So essentially, watching all of Season 4 of Stranger Things would have contributed more to the total viewing total than finishing an equivalent binge of Squid Game. Unfair, right?
And yet, The Squid Game remains Netflix’s biggest show of all time — which begs the question: will anything turn the South Korean phenomenon around?
For our money, the only threat to Squid Game’s Netflix dominance in the foreseeable future is… Squid Game. Or more specifically, Squid Game season 2.
“But what about Stranger Things Season 5?” we hear you cry Yes, the series’ fifth and final installment is more than likely to follow in its predecessor’s footsteps by joining the Netflix billionaires club – but the almighty Squid Game record may still remain elusive.
Consider how popular Season 4 of Stranger Things became. The show had the internet – and the global music charts – in its grip for months. The likes of Vecna, Steve and Max were the talk of the town. Heck, Stranger Things made the return of the galaxy’s most famous Jedi look like a rerun of Friends.
And he still couldn’t topple Hwang Dong-hyuk’s survival streak. It’s also important to note that Season 4 of Stranger Things wasn’t universally praised by audiences in the same way that the series’ previous entries were. Some fans were disappointed by the excessively long length of this season and the Duffer brothers’ reluctance to kill off major characters, suggesting that there may be a slight drop in ratings for Season 5.
So despite the enduring popularity of Stranger Things, we don’t think its fifth and final season – or any other Netflix movie or TV series, for that matter – will come close to the success of The Squid Game. If that record of 1.65 billion hours is ever to be broken, the honor will belong to Season 2 of The Squid Game.
By the way, no release date has been set for the return of Squid Game yet, but series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk has teased a 2024 release following the completion of a new movie he’s currently working on. Stay tuned to the Squid Game Season 2 hub for all the latest news on its long-awaited arrival.