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 may be the last of November, but we are officially in full-on Christmas season with the release of several new Netflix holiday-themed movies including the fantasy adventure film A Boy Called Christmas, the seasonal rom-com A Castle for Christmas, and many more. The new limited drama series True Story starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes rises to the top of the Netflix top 10 this week, along with the newest season of Selling Sunset at number two, the telenovela drama The Queen of Flow at number three, and the Halle Berry-directed MMA drama Bruised at number four.
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
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!
9. A Boy Called Christmas
If you were a fan of The Santa Clause or the 2012 animated fantasy film Rise of the Guardians, you’ll most likely love A Boy Called Christmas. Starring Henry Lawfull, the adventure fantasy film follows the story of an ordinary boy named Nikolas who, along with the help of his loyal pet mouse Miika (Stephen Merchant) and a reindeer named Blitzen, sets off on a epic quest to find his father in the fabled village of Elfhelm. The trailer looks appropriately whimsical and heartfelt and seems to be fairly popular among Netflix subscribers since the movie debuted last week, which explains why it’s at number nine on this week’s top 10.
8. Red Notice
The new Netflix original action comedy Red Notice stars Ryan Reynolds as Nolan Booth, an international art thief and Dwayne Johnson as John Hartley, the FBI profiler tasked with bringing him. When Hartley is framed by Sarah “The Bishop” Black (Gal Gadot), he’ll have to team up with Booth to break out of prison and clear his name, all while aiding Booth in his personal journey to usurp Black as the world’s number one thief. There’s action and gunfights and wise-cracks galore, and the film by all appearances seems to be a hit with Netflix viewers in the wake of its premiere earlier this month. At least for the two minutes required to clock a “view.” From our review:
Neither the film, the script, nor the actors provide any reason to care about these characters or this plot. What does it matter if they attain all three eggs? The world isn’t on the verge of ending. No governments are being harmed. No one’s life is in danger. Instead, this film is merely an incoherent preamble, a jalopy star vehicle where quality is secondary to producing a franchise launching pad. The film eventually winds toward a legend involving Hitler’s art dealer, with a dreadfully shot car chase set underground, caked in hideous visual effects. The grand finale is so unlikely that the incomprehensible screenwriting logic necessary to sell it provides a coma-inducing whiplash.
7. Cowboy Bebop
Based on the acclaimed 1998 anime of the same name, Cowboy Bebop is a sci-fi western action series follows the story of Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda); three bounty hunters trekking across planets in the year 2171 in search of the solar system’s most elusive criminals, all while being haunted by the mistakes of their respective pasts. Despite a divided reception among critics and audiences, the live-action Cowboy Bebop has nonetheless proven popular since it premiered on Netflix two weeks ago, which explains why it’s at number one on this week’s top 10 list. From our review,
Throughout season 1, Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop feels unmoored aside from the soundscape of Kanno and company returning to contribute several pieces of music, new and old, to the live-action series. But even that only further underscores just how indebted the Netflix show is to the 1998 original — for as much as the live-action Cowboy Bebop attempts to create its own identity and take on its characters and universe respective to the Cowboy Bebop anime, the strongest parts of the show are not what it adds in, but rather what it lifts wholesale from the original. It doesn’t need to be the anime, it can’t be; but the crucial element that the new series lacks, and that the original anime exuded in abundance, is a confidence in its own voice. For all the inspiration it took from other forms of art and music, 1998’s Cowboy Bebop felt curated into something entirely its own. The new show just turns up the volume.
6. School of Chocolate
Have you ever sat down and thought to yourself, “What if there was a show like The Great British Bake Off ... but only for chocolate?” Well good news, School for Chocolate is precisely that show! Netflix’s latest cooking competition series follows eight contestants under the tutelage of world-renowned chocolatier Amaury Guichon as they learn and compete for the chance to win a $100,000 prize. You ever wanted to see what an elephant made out of chocolate would look like? No, what about a pterodactyl? You will see all of this and more while watching School for Chocolate. The series just debuted on the service last week, which explains why it’s currently at number six on this week’s top 10 list for Netflix.
5. A Castle for Christmas
Brooke Shields (The Blue Lagoon) stars in the Christmas romantic comedy A Castle for Christmas as Sophie Brown, a bestselling American author who travels to Scotland to escape the scandal surrounding her last book. Hoping to buy a castle of her own, Sophie’s hopes are dashed away by Duke Myles (Cary Elwes), the prickly owner of the castle Sophie wants to buy who scoffs at the idea of ever selling his estate to a foreigner. Eventually these two fall in love — no big surprise, right? But c’mon, you don’t watch rom-coms to be surprised by the ending. You watch them for the yearning. A Castle for Christmas released on Netflix last week, which explains why it’s at number five on this week’s top 10.
Directed and starring Halle Berry, and produced by Basil Iwanyk (John Wick, Sicario), Bruised tells the story of Jackie Justice, a now disgraced MMA fighter who agrees to a brutal underground fight in order to win her way back into spotlight, all while attempting to wrestle with her inner demons and reconcile with her son Manny whom she abandoned years before. From our review,
Bruised generally lacks the kind of immersion that a story like this demands. It wants us to step alongside Jackie and stay with her, experiencing her pain and her triumph, but it makes the journey from locker room to octagon unfathomably long. Even a slight dialing back of the continuously tragic mode Berry commits herself to would have made a difference, but as it is, the film fails to land a KO.
3. 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 earlier this month, which explains why it’s on this week’s top 10 list at number three.
2. Selling Sunset
The Netflix original reality television series Selling Sunset follows The Oppenheim Group, a company of successful realtors jockeying for success and recognition in the cutthroat world of Los Angeles real estate. Season four of Selling Sunset, which premiered last week, sees the introduction of two new agents to the dysfunctional power dynamic of Oppenheim, inflaming old feuds and igniting some new ones along the way. Given how recent the premiere of the new season has been, it’s no surprise that it’s at number two of the Netflix top 10 list this week.
1. True Story
Kevin Hart stars in Eric Newman’s (Narcos, Narcos: Mexico) dramatic limited series True Story as Kid, a rising comedian who finds himself implicated in a precarious situation after reuniting with his older brother Carlton (Wesley Snipes) while visiting his hometown of Philadelphia. Hart has begun to broach and experiment with more serious roles as of late such as his turn earlier this year in Paul Weitz’s comedy-drama Fatherhood, and True Story seems to be continuing that trend. The series premiered on Netflix last week, which explains why it’s on this week’s top 10 at number one.