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 recent 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 low-budget thrillers to blockbusters, animated kids movies to docu-series of every stripe. Here are the entries for July 30 (only some of which we can recommend) of the most popular TV shows and movies on Netflix.

New entries today include a promising new animated take on the Transformers series from Netflix and, inexplicably, the 2011 dumb Kevin James rom-com Zookeeper.

1. Shameless

shameless.jpg Years: 2011-present
Creator: Paul Abbot
Stars: William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, Ethan Cutkosky, Shanola Hampton and Cameron Monagan
Genre: Drama
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40% (Season 10)

Watch on Netflix

Meet the Gallaghers: six rambunctious kids and their single father living in poverty on Chicago’s South Side. But this isn’t your average heartwarming story of a down-on-their-luck family. When freeloading dad Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) isn’t bemoaning the state welfare system, he’s actively swindling it—the profits of which keep him in booze. Head-of-household duties fall to oldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum), who juggles minimum wage jobs to pay bills while also having to curb her siblings’ truancy, drinking and drug addictions. That is, when she’s not participating herself. In this acclaimed American adaptation of a British series, creator Paul Abbott brings to life a working-class family never before seen on television. Shameless has become one of the sharpest and most progressive shows on TV, facing issues of class, race, gender and sexual identity on the difficult side of the income gap. The Gallaghers are dysfunctional, disenfranchised and combative—but they’re together. James Charisma


2. The Kissing Booth 2

kissing-booth-2.jpg Year: 2020
Director: Vince Marcello
Stars: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Meganne Young, Jacob Elordi, Maisie Richardson-Sellers
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 30%
Rating: NR
Runtime: 131 minutes

Watch on Netflix

I am not the target market for Netflix’s teen rom-com The Kissing Booth. Neither, apparently, were critics. But that doesn’t really matter because its target demo liked the original enough to shoot its college-bound sequel straight to the top of today’s most popular on Netflix. And this time, they nearly doubled the Rotten Tomatoes score to a whopping 30%. At this pace, The Kissing Booth 3, already scheduled for 2021, might reach 47%.


3. Animal Crackers

Year: 2020
Directors: Tony Bancroft, Scott Christian Sava
Stars: Emily Blunt, Danny DeVito, John Krasinski
Genre: Animation, Comedy
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%
Rating: NR
Runtime: 94 minutes

Watch on Netflix

I don’t have any explanation for the return of 2017 Netflix animated comedy Animal Crackers to the top 10 today unless Netflix just decided to play it after whatever animated feature its users had just watched. Call it the power of inertia. Or call it good news for power couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski.


4. The Last Dance

the-last-dance-poster-small.png Year: 2020
Stars: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman
Genre: Sports Documentary
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Watch on Netflix

Unlike Playing For Keeps, the excellent Michael Jordan book by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author David Halberstam, ESPN’s documentary The Last Dancecomes with Jordan’s participation. That means the first two episodes were surface-deep, and a little bit reductive. And yet … they were also utterly compelling. If that sounds paradoxical, it’s because Michael Jordan himself is so fascinating that even the most basic story of his life can’t fail to compel. What defines the Jordan legend, more than his greatness at basketball and more than his championships, is his pathological competitiveness. It’s impossible to overstate the relentless, furious internal engine that drove him, and the viciousness of his all-consuming drive to be the best. He could be cruel to his teammates and opponents, but it was always in the service of winning, of dominating. On these terms, The Last Dance succeeds marvelously, and there’s a degree to which, in 2020, Michael Jordan is a comfort food for Americans of a certain age who were awe-struck children when he was at the height of his powers. There can only be one Michael Jordan, and ESPN’s documentary will deal almost exclusively with the story we already know—the one about the consummate winner who overcame every obstacle on the court. And yet, there’s no escaping the conclusion that this is all a re-tread, slickly made as it may be. The soul of this man is still locked away, and these filmmakers, perhaps bound by the limits of what ESPN and Jordan himself will abide, are not the ones to use, or even find, the key. —Shane Ryan


5. Last Chance U

last-chance-u-poster.jpg Years: 2016-
Director: Greg Whiteley
Genre: Sports Documentary Series
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Watch on Netflix

Netflix’s first sports-centric docuseries, like ESPN’s celebrated 30 for 30, makes its subject so gripping that even those typically apathetic towards any kind of physical activity will find themselves reeled in. Last Chance U first two seasons shine the spotlight on the East Mississippi Community College Lions, a dominant football team based practically in the middle of nowhere, as they attempt to win more national championships. The gifted but often troubled players who are given, and sometimes end up throwing away, their last shot at reaching the big time inevitably serve as much of the focus. But blustering coach Buddy Stephens and pleading academic advisor Brittany Wagner, the two authority figures given the thankless task of whipping the team into physical and mental shape, are just as eminently watchable. Exploring that fine line between victory and defeat, the six-part first season is a riveting, inspiring and at times heartbreaking watch—whether you’re an NFL obsessive or someone whose knowledge of the game extends little beyond the Super Bowl halftime show. After Seasons 3 and 4 focused on Kansas’s Independence Community College, Season 5 moves to Laney College in Oakland. —Jon O’Brien


6. Cursed

cursed.jpg Year: 2020
Creators: Frank Miller, Tom Wheeler
Stars: Katherine Langford, Devon Terrell, Gustaf Skarsgård, Daniel Sharman
Genre: Fantasy
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

Watch on Netflix

Do you want to see Katherine Langford, the bad liberal daughter from Knives Out, go on an Arthurian adventure with Barry’s Devon Terrell as the Once and Future King? The Lady of the Lake origin story Cursed may offer what you’re after. Based on the book by Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller (yes, that Frank Miller), Cursed looked to scratch a more serious swords-and-sorcery itch than the streamer’s other viral fantasy entry earlier this year, The Witcher. (Our staff was split on whether it succeeded, from “takes itself too seriously to be campy, but it’s too campy to be taken seriously” to “Drunk, messy Merlin! Ladies with swords! Yess!”) —Jacob Oller


6. Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy

Year: 2020
Creators: Frank Miller, Tom Wheeler
Stars: Katherine Langford, Devon Terrell, Gustaf Skarsgård, Daniel Sharman
Genre: Fantasy
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

Watch on Netflix


8. Fear City: New York vs. The Mafia

fear-city.jpg Year: 2020
Creator: Sam Hobkinson
Genre: Crime Documentary Series
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%

Watch on Netflix

Gambino. Bonanno. Colombo. Genovese. Luccese. Five Italian-American Mafia families ruled New York City during the 1970s and 1980s, spread throughout—and beyond—the five boroughs. This three-part documentary series recounts “The Golden Era of the Mob” and the coordinated FBI sting against all five families at once through interviews, reenactments, news archives and unearthed surveillance recordings.


10. Dark Desire

dark-desire.jpg Year: 2020
Stars: Erik Hayser, Maite Perroni, Alejandro Speitzer, Magali Boysselle
Genre: Romantic Thriller

Watch on Netflix

I don’t know what it says about Netflix viewers, but this Mexican series, originally titled Oscuro Deseo looks a lot like the Spanish-language TV version of Fatal Affair. A married woman has an elicit encounter with a mysterious and possibly dangerous man. There’s no Rotten Tomatoes rating but the 6.5/10 score on IMDB would indicate that it’s more watchable than the aforementioned movie. It certainly looks steamier.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 recent 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 low-budget thrillers to blockbusters, animated kids movies to docu-series of every stripe. Here are the entries for July 30 (only some of which we can recommend) of the most popular TV shows and movies on Netflix.

The biggest change from yesterday is the latest season of Showtime’s Shameless has knocked The Kissing Booth 2 out of the top spot. Last Chance U has also quickly climbed to the #3 spot thanks to a brand new season focused on Oakland’s Laney College.

1. Shameless

shameless.jpg Years: 2011-present
Creator: Paul Abbot
Stars: William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, Ethan Cutkosky, Shanola Hampton and Cameron Monagan
Genre: Drama
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40% (Season 10)

Watch on Netflix

Meet the Gallaghers: six rambunctious kids and their single father living in poverty on Chicago’s South Side. But this isn’t your average heartwarming story of a down-on-their-luck family. When freeloading dad Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) isn’t bemoaning the state welfare system, he’s actively swindling it—the profits of which keep him in booze. Head-of-household duties fall to oldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum), who juggles minimum wage jobs to pay bills while also having to curb her siblings’ truancy, drinking and drug addictions. That is, when she’s not participating herself. In this acclaimed American adaptation of a British series, creator Paul Abbott brings to life a working-class family never before seen on television. Shameless has become one of the sharpest and most progressive shows on TV, facing issues of class, race, gender and sexual identity on the difficult side of the income gap. The Gallaghers are dysfunctional, disenfranchised and combative—but they’re together. James Charisma


2. The Kissing Booth 2

kissing-booth-2.jpg Year: 2020
Director: Vince Marcello
Stars: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Meganne Young, Jacob Elordi, Maisie Richardson-Sellers
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 30%
Rating: NR
Runtime: 131 minutes

Watch on Netflix

I am not the target market for Netflix’s teen rom-com The Kissing Booth. Neither, apparently, were critics. But that doesn’t really matter because its target demo liked the original enough to shoot its college-bound sequel straight to the top of today’s most popular on Netflix. And this time, they nearly doubled the Rotten Tomatoes score to a whopping 30%. At this pace, The Kissing Booth 3, already scheduled for 2021, might reach 47%.


3. Animal Crackers

Year: 2020
Directors: Tony Bancroft, Scott Christian Sava
Stars: Emily Blunt, Danny DeVito, John Krasinski
Genre: Animation, Comedy
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%
Rating: NR
Runtime: 94 minutes

Watch on Netflix

I don’t have any explanation for the return of 2017 Netflix animated comedy Animal Crackers to the top 10 today unless Netflix just decided to play it after whatever animated feature its users had just watched. Call it the power of inertia. Or call it good news for power couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski.


4. The Last Dance

the-last-dance-poster-small.png Year: 2020
Stars: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman
Genre: Sports Documentary
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Watch on Netflix

Unlike Playing For Keeps, the excellent Michael Jordan book by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author David Halberstam, ESPN’s documentary The Last Dancecomes with Jordan’s participation. That means the first two episodes were surface-deep, and a little bit reductive. And yet … they were also utterly compelling. If that sounds paradoxical, it’s because Michael Jordan himself is so fascinating that even the most basic story of his life can’t fail to compel. What defines the Jordan legend, more than his greatness at basketball and more than his championships, is his pathological competitiveness. It’s impossible to overstate the relentless, furious internal engine that drove him, and the viciousness of his all-consuming drive to be the best. He could be cruel to his teammates and opponents, but it was always in the service of winning, of dominating. On these terms, The Last Dance succeeds marvelously, and there’s a degree to which, in 2020, Michael Jordan is a comfort food for Americans of a certain age who were awe-struck children when he was at the height of his powers. There can only be one Michael Jordan, and ESPN’s documentary will deal almost exclusively with the story we already know—the one about the consummate winner who overcame every obstacle on the court. And yet, there’s no escaping the conclusion that this is all a re-tread, slickly made as it may be. The soul of this man is still locked away, and these filmmakers, perhaps bound by the limits of what ESPN and Jordan himself will abide, are not the ones to use, or even find, the key. —Shane Ryan


5. Last Chance U

last-chance-u-poster.jpg Years: 2016-
Director: Greg Whiteley
Genre: Sports Documentary Series
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Watch on Netflix

Netflix’s first sports-centric docuseries, like ESPN’s celebrated 30 for 30, makes its subject so gripping that even those typically apathetic towards any kind of physical activity will find themselves reeled in. Last Chance U first two seasons shine the spotlight on the East Mississippi Community College Lions, a dominant football team based practically in the middle of nowhere, as they attempt to win more national championships. The gifted but often troubled players who are given, and sometimes end up throwing away, their last shot at reaching the big time inevitably serve as much of the focus. But blustering coach Buddy Stephens and pleading academic advisor Brittany Wagner, the two authority figures given the thankless task of whipping the team into physical and mental shape, are just as eminently watchable. Exploring that fine line between victory and defeat, the six-part first season is a riveting, inspiring and at times heartbreaking watch—whether you’re an NFL obsessive or someone whose knowledge of the game extends little beyond the Super Bowl halftime show. After Seasons 3 and 4 focused on Kansas’s Independence Community College, Season 5 moves to Laney College in Oakland. —Jon O’Brien


6. Cursed

cursed.jpg Year: 2020
Creators: Frank Miller, Tom Wheeler
Stars: Katherine Langford, Devon Terrell, Gustaf Skarsgård, Daniel Sharman
Genre: Fantasy
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

Watch on Netflix

Do you want to see Katherine Langford, the bad liberal daughter from Knives Out, go on an Arthurian adventure with Barry’s Devon Terrell as the Once and Future King? The Lady of the Lake origin story Cursed may offer what you’re after. Based on the book by Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller (yes, that Frank Miller), Cursed looked to scratch a more serious swords-and-sorcery itch than the streamer’s other viral fantasy entry earlier this year, The Witcher. (Our staff was split on whether it succeeded, from “takes itself too seriously to be campy, but it’s too campy to be taken seriously” to “Drunk, messy Merlin! Ladies with swords! Yess!”) —Jacob Oller


7. Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy

transformers-cybertron.jpg Year: 2020
Creator: F.J. DeSanto
Stars: Bill Rogers, Brook Chalmers, Edward Bosco, Jake Foushee, Jason Marnocha, Joe Zieja
Genre: Science-Fiction, Animation
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Watch on Netflix

The Transformers movie franchise has been a punching bag for critics, an excuse for Michael Bay to execute countless cool action sequences and just generally blow shit up, all in the service of paint-by-numbers storylines and a cash cow for its toy manufacturers and movie studios. The brand-new Netflix animated saga Transformers: War for Cybertron attempts to lay the groundwork for a new emotional, high-stakes, personal battle between the Autobots and Decepticons. And after its first six reviews, the six-part first chapter has maintained a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.


8. Fear City: New York vs. The Mafia

fear-city.jpg Year: 2020
Creator: Sam Hobkinson
Genre: Crime Documentary Series
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%

Watch on Netflix

Gambino. Bonanno. Colombo. Genovese. Luccese. Five Italian-American Mafia families ruled New York City during the 1970s and 1980s, spread throughout—and beyond—the five boroughs. This three-part documentary series recounts “The Golden Era of the Mob” and the coordinated FBI sting against all five families at once through interviews, reenactments, news archives and unearthed surveillance recordings.


9. Zookeeper

zookeeper.jpg transformers-cybertron.jpg Year: 2011
Directors: Frank Coraci, Walt Becker
Stars: Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, Ken Jeong, Donnie Wahlberg, Joe Rogan
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 11%
Rating: PG
Runtime: 101 minutes

Watch on Netflix

And here we have another depressing entry to the Netflix Top 10, a terrible, low-brow Kevin James rom-com from 2011 that has been revived by Netflix algorithms. Kevin James, fresh off the equally depressing success of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, stars as an unlucky-in-love zookeeper, whose animals break their code of silence towards humans in order to help him win back his girlfriend Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), all while he somehow overlooks his co-worker Kate (Rosario Dawson). Sophomoric jokes abound.


10. Dark Desire

dark-desire.jpg Year: 2020
Stars: Erik Hayser, Maite Perroni, Alejandro Speitzer, Magali Boysselle
Genre: Romantic Thriller

Watch on Netflix

I don’t know what it says about Netflix viewers, but this Mexican series, originally titled Oscuro Deseo looks a lot like the Spanish-language TV version of Fatal Affair. A married woman has an elicit encounter with a mysterious and possibly dangerous man. There’s no Rotten Tomatoes rating but the 6.5/10 score on IMDB would indicate that it’s more watchable than the aforementioned movie. It certainly looks steamier.

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