After seemingly being absent since the majority of its younger cast shifted into post-pubescent mode with other projects, Stranger Things finally returned to Netflix subscribers for Season 4 Part 1 on May 27, and it should surprise no one that the horror drama completely took over the pop culture zeitgeist both before and after that debut. From opening up the Upside Down on the sides of giant skyscrapers to pop-up experiences and more, Netflix has been promoting the heck out of the long-awaited new episodes, and it appears as if those efforts were worth it, since Stranger Things 4’s first weekend of release totally broke records for the streaming service.
To be more specific, Stranger Things Season 4 (or at least its first seven episodes) now rank as the most-watched English-language TV series during its first week of release. According to Netflix (opens in new tab), the show’s monstrous and critic-pleasing return raked up 286,790,000 hours of viewing, and that literally only counts the first three days of release, with the week in question going from May 23-29. One can only imagine how much larger that total will be after a full seven days.
For comparison’s sake, the second half of Ozark’s final season was viewed for 78.4 million hours for its first week before peaking with 102.1 million hours during that second week of release. Prior to that, Netflix celebrated the smash release of Anatomy of a Scandal 75.5 million hours, which was itself preceded by arguably the biggest streaming series to date, Bridgerton, whose slightly less steamy second season hit 193 million hours, 251.7 million hours, and 115.7 million hours across its first three weeks of release. For that matter, Bridgerton Season 2 is still in the Top 10 TV shows, earning 11.3 million streaming hours with its tenth week after debuting.
But such totals were apparently no feat for Eleven, Mike, Steve, Nancy and the rest of the Hawkins/California/Russia crew, with Stranger Things topping all other English-focused fare by a wide margin. What’s more, the arrival of Season 4 pushed the previous three seasons back into the Top 10, with Season 1 hitting #3 (38 million hours), Season 3 hitting #4 (24.2 million hours) and Season 2 reaching #5 (22.2 million hours).
Additionally, Stranger Things also set a Netflix record by hitting the #1 spot across 83 countries during the debut weekend, which is obviously no small feat, even for a show as popular as this. Granted, the show’s global success likely won’t put it beyond Squid Game’s wildly popular run, as it reached upwards of 571.7 million hours during the week of September 27 - October 3 in 2021, to say nothing of other weeks. But still not too shabby for ST’s ragtag bunch.
Granted, part of the show’s Top 10 success can be attributed to the gargantuan runtimes of Season 4 episodes, with the shortest episode clocking in at 64 minutes, and the longest from Part 1 being Episode 407, at 98 minutes. The final two episodes will be as long as other drama’s entire seasons, so it’ll be interesting to see how those episodes match up with the first seven.
Fans can stream all episodes now on Netflix, with the final two episodes of Season 4 arriving Friday, July 1.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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