2021's Most Streamed Series: Lucifer, Criminal Minds, Squid Game, & More!

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2021 was a big year for streaming, but Netflix emerged as the true victor in the recently released Nielsen streaming rankings.

Lucifer ranked No.1 in the U.S. ranking of all streaming originals, managing 18.1 billion minutes viewed for its library of 93 episodes, according to Deadline.

The number isn't much of a surprise. Netflix saved Lucifer when it was canceled after its third season.

Lucifer and Trixie Season 5 Episode 4

The streamer said it would end the show after its fifth season, before ultimately ordering a sixth -- and definitely final -- season.

Lucifer's numbers put it well ahead of Squid Game, which amassed 16.4 billion minutes watched.

However, Squid Game only took nine episodes to reach that metric, so it's likely the Korean smash hit would have been bigger if it had more episodes under its belt.

The Great British Baking Show managed 13.6 billion minutes viewed with 75 episodes.

Longing Looks -tall - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 10

Buzzy drama series Virgin River, meanwhile, had 12.9 billion minutes viewed with 30 episodes.

The series had nabbed a two-season renewal, so Netflix is clearly looking to capitalize on its success.

Bridgerton, meanwhile, had 12.4 billion minutes viewed for its freshman season, but remember the show actually premiered at the end of 2020.

YOU is no slouch either. The thriller had 11.1 billion minutes viewed across 30 episodes.

Scheming Penelope

Other notable strong performers include:

- Cobra Kai (10.9 billion minutes viewed for 30 episodes)

- The Crown (9.7 billion minutes viewed across 40 episodes)

- Longmire (8.9 billion across 63 episodes)

Stepping Down  - Cobra Kai Season 4 Episode 9

Netflix had the top nine series on the chart for originals.

The Handmaid's Tale was the first non-Netflix show at #10 with 8.6 billion minutes viewed across 46 episodes.

Apple TV+ comedy Ted Lasso landed at #12 with 8.2 billion minutes viewed.

If we look at acquired series by streaming services, Criminal Minds is the bonafide success story.

He's Here! He's There! - Ted Lasso Season 2 Episode 5

Across 322 episodes on Netflix, it had 33.9 billion minutes viewed.

More impressively, Cocomelon had 33.3 billion minutes viewed across just 15 episodes.

Other notable performers:

- Grey's Anatomy (33.6 billion minutes viewed across 382 episodes)

- NCIS (29.5 billion minutes viewed across 354 episodes)

Mediate the Issue - Manifest Season 3 Episode 12

- Manifest (19.9 billion minutes viewed across 42 episodes)

- Supernatural (18.9 billion minutes viewed across 18.9 million viewers)

What are your thoughts on the numbers?

Hit the comments below.

Paul Dailly was an Associate Editor for TV Fanatic.Follow him on X.

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