Most Popular on Netflix: A Look at Today's Top 10

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Most Popular on Netflix: A Look at Today's Top 10

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 10 of the most popular TV shows and movies on Netflix.

1. Squid Game

Year: 2021
Creators: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Stars: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-jun
Genre: Thriller
Rating: TV-MA

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The prize money is tempting, but the stakes are deadly in this Korean thriller that sees hundreds of people trapped in a horror-filled game show.


2. Sex Education

Years: 2019-2021
Creator: Laurie Nunn
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey, Connor Swindells
Genre: Comedy
Rating: TV-MA

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There’s a lot of darkness in high school TV right now. Shows like Euphoria, Riverdale, and now the Gossip Girl reboot are filled with fashionable teenagers who just can’t get away from local murders and scandals. In this modern landscape, Sex Education shines in not just its colorful design but its joyous take on high school angst. Yes, being a teenager sucks in Season 3 of the Netflix series. But can’t it also be funny, endearing, confusing, and above all fun? After dropping its initial sex clinic premise in Season 2, Season 3 of Sex Education dives straight into the lives and relationships of its central characters. They no longer need reasons to see and interact with each other now that they’re bonded together. But this bond is tested by new headteacher Hope Haddon (Jemima Kirke), a woman with a cool girlboss shell hiding an unwavering and regressive agenda.

Sex Education continues to get better and better because it knows what it’s about: these awkward, funny, and hopelessly endearing characters that have found themselves intertwined. My heart aches for them because each one displays a different kind of pain that comes from growing up. The show is its own kind of therapy session by getting to see the characters deal with their problems in an (eventually) healthy way.

The first season of the show was discussed by many as being “cringey” but that sentiment is gone in the new season. Is growing up embarrassing? Of course. But it’s embarrassing for everyone. Growing up is only embarrassing because we feel so strongly and passionately about everything. And while dark teenage murder mysteries are fun, I can’t overstate how wonderful it is to also see the complex emotions of maturing done so well on TV. Sex Education isn’t just unafraid of awkwardness; it embraces it earnestly and turns it into a wonderful thing. —Leila Jordan


3. Clickbait

Year: 2021
Creators: Tony Ayres, Christian White
Stars: Zoe Kazan, Betty Gabriel, Adrian Grenier
Genre: Thriller
Rating: TV-MA

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Like a good (read: bad) clickbait article, Netflix’s new eight-episode miniseries Clickbait draws you in with a compelling premise. Family man Nick Brewer (Adrian Grenier) is kidnapped, beaten, and forced to hold up cards for an internet video that claim “I abuse women” and “I killed a woman.” As if that wasn’t provocative enough, it ends with: “At 5 million views I die.” From there, Nick’s wife Sophie (Betty Gabriel), his sister Pia (Zoe Kazan), and his sons Ethan (Cameron Engels) and Kai (Jaylin Fletcher) work with police and race (or amble, really) against the clock to try and track down who made the video and where Nick is now. But there’s also a question of how they grapple with what the video suggests. Is the man they know and love an abuser? Possibly a killer? Can they understand, perhaps, the vigilante’s motives? But again, like a good (read: bad) clickbait article, once you get in there, it’s all nonsense. Any of the interesting ideas raised by the series are subverted not to make us question our relationship with online media, but to undermine any decent point the series might have made. It takes a kitchen sink approach to its storytelling, alighting on everything from expectations of privacy and data collection to catfishing, content moderation, revenge porn, and more—but doesn’t make a real point about any of it. It’s like someone heard a podcast about deep fakes, watched an episode of Law & Order, remembered Catfish exists, and then wants to explain The Unified Theory of the Internet Today to you three drinks in. No thanks! —Allison Keene


4. Lucifer

Years: 2016-2021
Creator: Tom Kapinos
Stars: Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro, D. B. Woodside
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery
Rating: TV-14

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In making the move from FOX to Netflix, Lucifer seems to have found its way back to its Season One groove—and I’m ready to reclaim my faith. Fast, tense, and dramatically dense seems to be the show’s new guiding principle. Gone are the airy filler episodes of overlong seasons; gone are any nonsensical backslides in character development meant to keep the story from burning itself out ahead of broadcast schedule. What does that leave behind? Well, just about everything that made Lucifer so fun and innovative from the beginning: Amenadiel’s (D. B. Woodside) back-footed angelic earnestness; Mazikeen’s (Lesley-Anne Brandt) stone cold demonic awkwardness; Linda’s (Rachael Harris) human steadiness; Dan’s (Kevin Alejandro) counterbalancing ambivalence; Ella’s (Aimee Garcia) boppy cheerfulness; Little Trixie’s (Scarlett Estevez) wry self-possession; Chloe’s shining moral compass; Lucifer’s (Tom Ellis) hidden, self-hating brokenness. Plus the killer soundtrack. Tom Ellis’s abs. Add Inbar Lavi as Lucifer’s effervescently naïve old flame, Eve—yes, that Eve—plus Maze singing the sexiest cover of “Wonderwall” that’s ever been sung, and a big dance finale too sublime to put into words, and you’re cooking with some real (dramatic) Hellfire. —Alexis Gunderson


5. Safe House

Year: 2012
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Stars: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, Sam Shepard
Genre: Thriller
Rating: R

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An intriguing chemistry experiment between one of Hollywood’s best actors and a then up-and-coming one, Safe House still serves as a re-hashed, well-worn story of a government operative who may or may not be a villain. Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) runs a rarely used CIA safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. Bored out of his mind and desperate to be reassigned to someplace more exciting, Weston suddenly receives the high-profile fugitive Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington). Frost is an ex-CIA operative who now sells national secrets to the highest bidder and who has turned himself in to the U.S. Embassy to escape unknown attackers desperate to gain information he possesses. When CIA agents begin to debrief Frost with some tough water torture, the same attackers break into the safe house and kill everyone but Westin and Frost who make a dramatic escape. Westin must now deliver Frost to the CIA while protecting him from the bad guys and, at the same time, prevent him from escaping. It all leads to high-speed chases with bullet-ridden bodies left in the wake.

The action scenes are plentiful, and well choreographed, and Washtington does have his moments to let loose. Frost’s bravado during his torture, for example, is classic Denzel. And his continual badgering of the rookie Weston makes for some great give and take, something in which both Denzel and his character are darn good at. Just as impressively, Reynolds keeps up with him. As Westin, he is torn in a variety of directions as he suspects that someone within the agency is jeopardizing his duty. Reynolds demonstrates his command of the part and appears to up his game to compliment Denzel. Unfortunately, Safe House just becomes too predictable, despite the casting of (and wasting of) three great talents: Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga and Sam Shepard as the CIA veterans. —Tim Basham


6. The Father Who Moves Mountains

Year: 2021
Director: Daniel Sandu
Stars: Adrian Titieni, Elena Purea, Judith State
Genre: Drama
Rating: TV-MA

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When his son goes missing on a snowy mountain, a father ignores the warnings of local authorities and puts together a rescue team to save him in this Romanian action-drama set in the Bucegi mountain range.


7. Cocomelon

Years: 2020
Genre: Kids, Animation
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%
Rating: TV-Y

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The massively popular YouTube channel is now a Netflix show, sure to worm its way into the brains of kids and parents everywhere. The 3D animated nursery and kids songs have already been streamed billions of times online and has consistently appeared in Netflix’s “most popular” lineup for months.


8. The Circle

Year: 2021
Host: Michelle Buteau
Genre: Reality Competition
Rating: TV-MA

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On paper, Netflix’s new reality series The Circle seems like a disaster waiting to happen. The show follows eight contestants sent to live in a fancy apartment building who are forbidden from interacting with each other except via an in-house, Alexa-like social media platform known as “The Circle.” Their goal? Become its most popular “influencer” to win a $100,000 prize. In short, it pretty much sounds like something that could only take place in a fairly deep level of hell.

In such an anonymous, competitive atmosphere, how long could it possibly take before the contestants start telling lies, backstabbing, and sabotaging one another? Or just straight up attacking their rivals for the most petty and superficial of reasons? Viewers can’t really be blamed for tuning in expecting a complete train wreck. The real surprise is that The Circle doesn’t give them one. Instead, the series turns expected reality television tropes on their heads, ultimately shunning catty competition and calculated betrayal in favor of genuine emotion, real friendship, and a positive message about being and accepting who you are. No matter how they choose to play, many genuine moments of authenticity and connection take place, often times in what feels like a direct contrast to everything we expect from this genre.

Yes, The Circle is the sort of silly, addictive television that most will dismiss out of hand. It’s not exactly prestige television, and it won’t reinvent the way you understand the power of drama. But it might change the way you think about people, a little bit, and how we relate to one another in this increasingly scary modern world. No matter how much it wants to be a story about technology, The Circle is a warm, wholesome reminder that humanity and sincerity matters, even in the face of that which encourages our worst selves. And that’s a reality competition worth watching. Heart emoji. Praise hands emoji. Send message.—Lacy Baugher


9. Kate

Year: 2021
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Stars: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Miku Patricia Martineau, Woody Harrelson, Michael Huisman
Genre: Action
Rating: R

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It’s been a busy year for that busiest of professions, the best-in-class lone female assassin. Killing dudes, getting revenge, revealing vulnerability by unexpectedly caring for a child, bathing in neon light, ripping off Crank...these daughters of John Wick and Atomic Blonde truly have it all. Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s titular Kate fires precision kill shots from rooftops; she has the obligatory male-mentor father-figure handler played by another name star, in this case Woody Harrelson; she has easy-to-remember rules (in Kate’s case, don’t involve children at the scene of her crimes) that exist to be broken (guess who shows up at her opening hit). And, of course, she wants out of this life. Before she can become the first female assassin to retire with no fuss whatsoever, there’s, well, some fuss, in Crank form: Kate is severely poisoned, and suddenly has just about 24 hours to live. She chooses to spend this time gunning for revenge, of course, a plan that is complicated not just by the sheer number of Yakuza henchmen she has to fight her way through but also Ani (Miku Patricia Martineau), a girl who is both the daughter of a recent target and the key to locating Kate’s unseen enemy.

Let’s dig into the numbers: Kate features four extended sequences that involve hand-to-knife-to-gun-to-hand combat, plus one truncated car chase that looks simultaneously great (Kate steals a car with a neon-pink-lit interior) and awful (when the car crashes, it looks like she’s off-roading in Toontown). The fight scenes are brutal, easy to follow and crisply shot by director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan (The Huntsman: Winter’s War), expertly whipping around the rollercoaster tracks connecting Winstead’s dramatic urgency and the cheap thrills of well-timed kicks, jammed guns and surprise dismemberments. They are why people watch movies like this, and if they don’t have the full stamina of Wick or Blonde, they come closer than most. Despite the existence of so many movies like it, Kate tires you out on its own terms. —Jesse Hassenger


10. Sharkdog

Year: 2021
Creator: Jacinth Tan
Stars: Liam Mitchell, Dee Bradley Baker, Grey Griffin
Genre: Animation, Kids
Rating: TV-Y

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He’s half shark, half dog. He loves fish sticks. What else do you need to know? Just plop your toddler down and get back to work.

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