Netflix has been notoriously stingy with its data. Even directors and showrunners have had a hard time gauging if what they’d put out into the world was reaching its intended audience. With the advent of the Netflix Top 10, though, we can now get at least one little peek behind the curtain. The list of Netflix’s daily Top 10 Most Popular indicates an omnivorous appetite among the Netflix faithful, from reality shows to prestige TV, animated kids shows to docu-series of every stripe. Here are the entries for September 11, 2023, of the five most popular TV shows and five most popular movies on Netflix.
Creator: Sue Tenney
Stars: Alexandra Breckinridge, Martin Henderson, Tim Matheson, Annette O’Toole
Genre: Romance, Drama
Virgin River is a story about second chances. Based on a series of novels by Robyn Carr, the heartwarming medical romance follows Melinda “Mel” Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge), a skilled nurse practitioner and midwife who packs up her life in L.A. to move to a remote mountain town in Northern California to start over after a series of traumatic heartbreaks. With a cranky new boss (Tim Matheson) who wants nothing to do with her, and a dumpy cabin that fits the definition of an Airbnb scam, Mel questions whether she made the wrong choice to give up her life in L.A. But a warm friendship with Jack (Martin Henderson), a former Marine and current owner of the only restaurant in town, helps Mel put the traumas of her past in the rearview mirror. As their friendship quickly turns romantic, it allows Mel to turn the page and begin a new chapter. —Kaitlin Thomas
Stars: Kim Riedle, Naila Schuberth, Sammy Schrein, Hans Löw
This new German thriller is based on a novel by Romy Hausmann about an unsolved missing child’s case unfolding over more than a decade.
Creator: James C. Strouse
Stars: Iñaki Godoy, Emily Rudd, Mackenyu, Jacob Romero Gibson, Taz Skylar, Jeff Ward, Morgan Davies
Genre: Fantasy, adventure
It’s hard to think of a style of adaptation more unloved than live action takes on anime and manga. Based on past evidence, there is a good reason for this skepticism. While there are a few exceptions, the media landscape is littered with the detritus of failed attempts. These unfortunate examples were overcome by the sheer volume of their source material, struggled to translate character designs initially envisioned for a different medium, and most importantly, failed to capture the spirit and thematic core that made the originals resonate. While showrunners Matt Owens and Steven Maeda’s take on the beloved manga One Piece doesn’t outright solve the first two problems, it smooths over these issues enough to nail the third. There are undoubtedly trade-offs, and it takes time to adjust to its visuals, but this Netflix adaptation successfully conveys the series’ sense of heart. For those out of the loop, One Piece is a behemoth. Its manga spans over 1,000 chapters, and its anime sports a similarly daunting episode count. Since its debut in 1997, it’s sold the most volumes of any comic ever. As evidenced by the popularity of its source material, Netflix’s eight-episode spin on this material has a lot to live up to, and that’s not including its massive $18 million per episode budget. Just like in the original, the Netflix show follows Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy), an affable goofball and aspiring pirate captain. He’s out to find the One Piece, a legendary treasure trove left by the former pirate overlord Gold Roger, so that he can become the new King of the Pirates. Along the way, he meets and attempts to recruit bounty-hunting swordsman Roronoa Zoro (Mackenyu), skilled thief Nami (Emily Rudd), tall-tale-telling marksman Usopp (Jacob Romero Gibson), and chef and martial artist Sanji (Taz Skylar). On their adventures through the East Blue sea, they are hunted by Marines and battle dangerous foes as they attempt to reach the Grand Line, where Gold Roger’s treasure is rumored to be hidden. While they butt heads at first, this burgeoning crew slowly finds common ground as they open up about their aspirations. It’s a series that captures the spirit of adventure and dream-chasing possibility that’s helped make its source material one of the most popular stories in recent memory. And in the process, we’ve been gifted something almost as rare as the fabled One Piece, a good live action adaptation of a manga. —Elijah Gonzalez
Creator: Adam DiVello
Genre: Reality TV
A spin-off of the Netflix real-estate reality series Selling Sunset. But with a twist: this time they’re in The OC.
The latest docuseries from Netflix digs into the world of spycraft with interviews with CIA and MI6 operatives.
Director: Alex Zamm
Stars: Timothy Omundson, Thaila Ayala, Eric Bauza
Genre: Kids, comedy
Warner Bros.’s mischief woodpecker gets the live-action treatment from Netflix in this new family comedy.Woody Woodpecker proves you shouldn’t mess with his home this time, going head-to-head with a lawyer who wants to cut down the forest to build a mansion.
Director: Sammi Cohen
Stars:Sunny Sandler, Samantha Lorraine, Sadie Sandler, Adam Sandler, Idina Menzel, Sarah Sherman, Jackie Sandler, Dylan Hoffman, Luis Guzman
At first glance, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah looks like a project where Adam Sandler has finally jettisoned his aging crew of allegedly grown-up hangers-on and fully replaced them with those who presumably replaced them in his heart. Stacey Friedman, the girl who is so not inviting her former bestie to the most important ceremony and after-party of her young life, is played by his teenaged daughter Sunny Sandler. Stacey’s older sister Ronnie is played by Sunny’s older sister Sadie. Stacey and Ronnie’s slightly curmudgeonly dad is played by, yes, Adam Sandler. Their mom is played by, well, Idina Menzel, Sandler’s about-to-be-ex from Uncut Gems… but Sandler’s wife Jackie does turn up in a supporting role. Yes, there’s source material (a YA novel of the same name), a director not principally affiliated with Happy Madison (Sammi Cohen), and a screenwriter who didn’t meet the Sandman during his SNL days (Alison Peck). But the Happy Madison house style conquers all. The Netflix-era Happy Madison style, however, has proven surprisingly durable following a rocky start, producing some of Sandler’s best and most surprising comedies in years. Its latest surprise is that nepo babies Sunny and Sadie Sandler both have a winning, instantly likable comic presence. Sunny has the spotlight here as the excitable, sometimes dramatic Stacey, whose best friendship with Lydia Rodriguez Katz (Samantha Lorraine) has lasted for most of their lives; their plans for the ultimate bat mitzvah parties to usher them into womanhood have gone on nearly as long. But when Lydia is lightly pulled toward a more popular crowd, and attracts the interest of Stacey’s crush-bro Andy Goldfarb (Dylan Hoffman), Stacey more or less loses it, spiraling into self-centered anguish, hence the rescinded invitation. Stacey’s adolescent turmoil makes Ronnie’s blasé style–she’s supportive of her younger sister but also dedicated to spending as much time as possible watching horror movies on her phone with her own best friend–even funnier, and Sadie Sandler has a deadpan directness. And it’s not just the Sandler clan that shares an easy, lightly comic chemistry; the movie gives Lydia and Stacey’s friendship plenty of screentime before their conflict emerges, and its margins are full of engaging little side characters and throwaway moments that don’t feel overly calculated. If You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah does have the feel of an expensive, well-appointed, but not exactly lushly-made family project–maybe even a coming-of-age gift to the younger Sandler daughter–at least it mounts a charm offensive, rather than treating its audience like a pack of easily manipulated rubes. —Jesse Hassenger
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Susan Sarandon, Michael Kenneth Williams
Ten years ago, The Rock starred in this action thriller about an undercover dad helping take down a drug kingpin in order to get his son out of jail earlier.
Director: Pete Travis
Stars:Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris
Seventeen years was probably far too long after the fact to offer an apology to comic book fans for 1995’s abominable film adaptation of Judge Dredd. After that extended leave of absence, no one could blame American audiences for having long since stopped wondering why the hell John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s grim lawman endured as one of Britain’s most popular comic book anti-heroes. Still, 2012’s Dredd 3D wastes no time showing why—director Pete Travis’s film is a brutally efficient exercise in B-movie know-how. Karl Urban, who’s no stranger to tightly wound sci-fi fare, provides the scowl and chin of Judge Joseph Dredd, a total-law package professional who is clearly as disinterested in humoring his rookie partner (Olivia Thirlby) as the script is in coddling its audience. A few lines of raspy Man with No Name narration, coupled with a superbly bleak establishing shot from cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, are all the generosity afforded by the filmmakers toward understanding this world before it unleashes chase sequences and bursting heads. This is a film that respects its source’s established fan base, and cares little for casualties who can’t hang on through its grindhouse paces. Apology accepted. —Scott Wold
Director: John McTiernan
Stars: John Travolta, Connie Nielsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Daly, Giovanni Ribisi
John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson reunite for a military thriller about a basic training exercise in Panama that leads to disaster.