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 May 23, 2022, of the 10 most popular TV shows and movies on Netflix.

1. The Lincoln Lawyer

Year: 2022
Creator: David E. Kelley
Stars: Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Neve Campbell, Becki Newton, Angus Sampson, Jazz Raycole
Genre: Drama
Rating: TV-MA

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A densely packed thrillride following the trials (both emotional and literal) of L.A.’s best criminal defense attorney, Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer brings, if not an actual bit of Paste-favorite Bosch to a whole new audience, then at least the Connelly playbook. That said, don’t expect anything like the same aesthetic here. Boasting Ally McBeal’s David E. Kelley as series creator and The Good Wife’s Ted Humphrey as showrunner, The Lincoln Lawyer is as much froth as it is high-level crime. Meaning, while the story Harry Bosch belongs to might be a sun-soaked noir, the one Mickey Haller belongs to is mostly just sun-soaked. For the most part, this balance works. The Lincoln Lawyer wants, unabashedly, to be more primetime than prestige. At the same time, though, between four major criminal arcs and like four thousand interpersonal ones, it occasionally stretches itself too thin. Still, the casting is clever, the performances are solid, and the moral (and musical) parallels with Bosch are tight. For both Connelly fans and newbies, this will be a fun watch. —Alexis Gunderson


2. Ozark

Year: 2017-2022
Creator: Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams
Stars: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz, Skylar Gaertner
Genre: Drama
Rating: TV-MA

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When a white-collar, middle-class family gets involved with the dangerous drug cartel, the Breaking Bad and Weeds comparisons don’t just show up—they’re practically mailed a hand-lettered invitation. And it’s true that the premise of Netflix’s Ozark sets us up for yet another steeply angled slide; by now, we expect we’ll witness the awakening of a desperate man’s latent evil. But there are several critical elements at play to keep the drug-dealing anti-hero trope from feeling like a song we’ve heard one too many times. All these elements center on the prevailing ethics of Ozark’s main character, Martin Byrde (Jason Bateman). Here we see Bateman in a dramatic turn vaguely reminiscent of his most well-known role, as Arrested Development’s Michael Bluth. Martin is a man who wants to be honest, but is willing to lie when he believes his lie to be in the service of the greater good. (In this case, the greater good is his family’s survival). Marty, a financial planner, starts out in the right place at the right time when he stumbles into the opportunity to launder money for—as he endearingly insists on reminding everyone—the second most powerful group of Mexican drug runners. His devotion to “the numbers” and pragmatic, stoic resourcefulness are what make him stand out as a “special” candidate to the cartel’s charismatic (and convincingly terrifying) Chicago liaison, Del (Esai Morales). But Ozark is pinned up by a buoyant implication: that maybe the right person can go a little bit bad, without rotting all the way. Perhaps it is this perpetual game of keep-away that keeps Marty’s hands clean (and his head, for now, intact). The story, at least so far, is one of a man who combats what he’s up against in a way that he believes is right. Ozark takes the anti-hero territory we’ve seen before and elevates it by making its lead not a just a contrarian rule-breaker, but a truly good bad guy—one to root for. —Kate Watson


3. Senior Year

Year: 2022
Director: Alex Hardcastle
Stars: Rebel Wilson, Mary Holland, Sam Richardson, Angourie Rice, Chris Parnell, Jade Bender, Zoë Chao, Avantika Vandanapu
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R

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In its opening minutes, Senior Year tracks the journey of teenager Stephanie Conway (Angourie Rice) from insecure underclassman nerd in 1999 to popular (though still secretly insecure) queen bee in 2002. While the movie isn’t explicit about tracking the cultural changes that saw the end of alt-rock give way to the lip-glossed, boy-banded poptimism of the early ’00s, there’s a tremor of recognition in watching Stephanie contort herself to fit into the model of the plastic, self-aware teen movies of that era. But after a grim cheerleading accident, Stephanie falls into a coma, where she stays for 20 years. Now played by Rebel Wilson, she wakes up in 2022 to a vastly different world, and feels understandably robbed of the prom-queen glory she was poised for back in ’02. Her displacement fits with the initial turn-of-the-century time period: Stephanie’s She’s All That transformation and Bring It On lifestyle have become, instead, a more promiscuous version of Never Been Kissed—because she insists on re-enrolling in high school to finish out her final month and reclaim her crown, metaphorically and literally. She assembles a multi-step plan to become popular, head the cheerleading squad and win prom queen. It’s absurd, of course, that a 37-year-old would be allowed to step back into her alma mater, interacting with a bunch of underage classmates, including Brie (Jade Bender), the daughter of Stephanie’s old nemesis Tiffany (Zoë Chao). But Stephanie’s less-popular bestie Martha (Mary Holland) has become principal of their old high school, while their friend Seth (Sam Richardson) has just started working as a librarian, and they gingerly support her efforts to restart her life while attempting to steer her away from her most superficial fantasies. For a while, the movie fills out the caricatured high-concept ridiculousness of its premise with surprising nuance that refuses to indulge pronouns-in-bio sneering at the younger generation. If Senior Year had been willing to further develop its affectionate social satire, it might have been a surprise 2020s classic of the teen-movie genre. Instead, it’s dead set on proving it has heart, too, and in the process becomes as thirsty for likes as any teenager’s Insta. Unfortunately it rambles on for nearly two hours, with most of its best moments spent by the halfway mark. —Jesse Hassenger


4. Bling Empire

Year: 2017-2022
Genre: Reality
Rating: TV-MA

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A soapy docuseries on crazy-rich Asian-Americans in L.A.


5. Our Father

Year: 2022
Director: Lucie Jourdan
Genre: True Crime Documentary
Rating: TV-MA

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Our Father, first-time director Lucie Jourdan’s Netflix documentary, manages to find the worst of all worlds: A fraud captivating enough to fill a news segment, half-heartedly unfolded to the detriment of all parties involved. The case of Donald Cline, an Indianapolis fertility doctor who decided to personally impregnate his patients instead of using whatever samples they’d been promised (be they donor sperm or that of their husbands), is made as repetitive and uninspired as a creepy old quack masturbating day in and day out behind closed office doors. Sure, it’s seriously gross. Our Father’s failures aren’t in its lurid source material, but in its leering execution. Jourdan’s a reality TV mainstay, overseeing everything from the thematically related sextuplet series Six Little McGhees to shlock like Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy and Ghost Hunters Academy. This familiarity with short-and-sweet, overproduced-to-get-you-through-the-commercials episodic narrative is stretched to its limit over Our Father’s 90 minutes. The Cline case is far too simple to be spread so thin, especially with so little interest in or access to the main players. Cline illicitly fathered a small Aryan militia’s worth of blonde, blue-eyed Indianans, but we mostly devote our time to embarrassing reenactments (with an aesthetic somewhere between Z-grade horror and Z-grade porn) and an unending procession of half-siblings with the same sad story. —Jacob Oller


6. Workin’ Moms

Year: 2017-2022
Creator: Catherine Reitman
Stars: Catherine Reitman, Dani Kind, Jessalyn Wanlim, Enuka Okuma, Sarah McVie, Philip Sternberg
Genre: Sitcom
Rating: TV-MA

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Workin’ Moms, a Canadian sitcom created by and starring Catherine Reitman is about a group of mothers (some very new, some experienced) and their various issues and hurdles as, well, working moms. These women—Kate (Reitman), Anne (Dani Kind), Jenny (Jessalyn Wanlim), and Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) are the series regulars—come together in a “mommy and me” group led by the eccentric and oft-ignored Val (Sarah McVie), nearing the end of their maternity leave and ready to get back to work. But you don’t need to be a mother to relate to Workin’ Moms: The series asks the eternal bullshit question, “Can women have it all?,” but it does so to address why the question is bullshit in the first place. In fact, instead of being about women’s rage, the series is specifically about the mountains of bullshit women wade through every day. In effect, Workin’ Moms is the honest version of Bad Moms: It’s not that the moms in Workin’ Moms no longer give any fucks, but it features a freeing, cathartic sense of nonconformity. —LaToya Ferguson


7. Borrego

Year: 2022
Director: Jesse Harris
Stars: Lucy Hale, Leynar Gómez, Olivia Trujillo, Jorge A. Jiménez
Genre: Thriller
Rating: R

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Filmed in the Anzo-Borrego Desert State Park of Southern California, the thriller Borrego follows a young botanist Elly (Lucy Hale) who tries to escape after being kidnapped by a drug mule.


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. Outlander

Year: 2014-2022
Creator: Ronald D. Moore
Stars: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan
Genre: Drama
Rating: TV-MA

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Based on Diana Gabaldon’s immensely popular book series, Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a nurse in 1940s England who, while on a holiday to Scotland, gets transported back through mystical stones to the 1740s. There, as she fights for survival and a way home, she meets a tall, dark, and handsome Highlander named James Fraser, and the rest is history. Except that Outlander actually does a really wonderful job of tracking the couple’s place throughout history, providing tense, riveting, and yes romantic storytelling along the way. The series’ truly wonderful cast is augmented to the stratosphere by its leads, whose chemistry will make you believe in love at first sight. Full of battles, political intrigue, and gorgeous on every level, the show is a wonderfully cozy (and sexy) adventure. From its hauntingly beautiful theme song by Bear McCreary onwards, Outlander will transport you to its dangerous, surprising world as quickly as those magical stones. —Allison Keene


4. A Perfect Pairing

Year: 2022
Director: Stuart McDonald
Stars: Victoria Justice, Adam Demos, Luca Sardelis, Samantha Cain
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: TV-14

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Victoria Justice plays a wine seller fed up with her demeaning boss who quits her job and goes out on her own. She heads Down Under to work on a sheep farm in order to secure an Australian winemaker as a client, meeting a hunky local as she struggles with a much different—and more rugged—lifestyle.


5. Wrong Side of the Tracks

Year: 2022
Creator:
Stars: José Coronado, Luis Zahera, Nona Sobo
Genre: Thriller
Rating: TV-MA

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This Spanish thriller follows an old war veteran who goes vigilante when drug dealers take over his neighborhood. Take that, Liam Neeson.


6. jackass 4.5

Year: 2022
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England
Genre: Comedy
Rating: TV-MA

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These endearing and undeniable features of Jackass have slowly won critics over. It’s clear in the gradual shift in the overall critical perspective on Jackass, the first film of which scored a less-than-desirable 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, inching upwards with each installment until Jackass Forever, currently sitting at an impressive 87%. It’s not that the movies really got better—they were always good—but that our world, an increasingly inhospitable one, slowly became more hospitable to their simple, silly charms, free of oppressive, culturally destructive IP and buoyed by real, human connection. As is more transparent than ever in 2022, there is no use fighting the cultural phenomenon that is Jackass. It is a disservice to ourselves to do so. As I sat doubled over in convulsions from a camera placed artfully underneath Steve-O’s taint, or from a mound of swarming bees dangling from his cock, I gave myself happily over to the lowest common denominator of entertainment. Because in our hellish world embattled on all sides, from which it seems we will never find any escape, it is in our most base human desires and functions where we can find reminders of what is truly beautiful about being alive. —Brianna Zigler


6. Boss Baby: Back in the Crib

Year: 2022
Stars: JP Karliak, Mary Faber, Nicole Byer, Zeke Alton
Genre: Kids, Comedy
Rating: TV-Y7

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This Netflix animated series follows an adult who turns into a baby to go undercover to clear his name after being framed at the baby corporation… or something.


8. Who Killed Sara?

Year: 2021-2022
Creator: José Ignacio Valenzuela
Stars: Manolo Cardona, Ginés García Millán, Carolina Miranda
Genre: Thriller
Rating: TV-MA

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This Mexican crime drama follows Alex Guzman (Manolo Cardona) framed for his sister’s murder and out for justice. Season 1 debuted last March, and somehow Netflix has already released the third and final season.


9. Love on the Spectrum U.S.

Year: 2022
Genre: Reality
Rating: TV-14

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Let me be very clear: I am one autistic person. I am not a conglomerate of autistic people. And I, Joseph Stanichar, adore the Netflix series Love on the Spectrum. The reality television show interviews people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as they go on dates and other outings. Unlike many reality dating shows, this series is fairly laid back. While it does naturally rely on some of the tried-and-true, occasionally obnoxious pacing techniques to keep audiences watching, it’s mostly a peaceful, occasionally electrifying, careful, and empathetic portrayal of the lives of ordinary people, autistic or not. —Joseph Stanichar


10. Love, Death & Robots

Year: 2019-2022
Creator: Tim Miller
Genre: Animation, Sci-fi
Rating: TV-MA

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The brainchild of Tim Miller (Deadpool) and David Fincher (Zodiac), Love, Death & Robots is the experimental playground of contemporary adult animation. An anthology series that curates self-contained stories from animators around the world, it showcases an array of animation styles and techniques from 3D to stop-animation. While Season 1 leans more into sexualized stereotypes and tropes, Season 2 gets more existential and features an impressive sampler of the best in the field. With no content guardrails, this series is a fascinating overview of what incredible artists around the world are doing in the medium when given a budget and resources to let their creativity soar. Season 3 premiered on May 20. —Tara Bennett