Fans of Netflix series may have noticed a growing trend among the original shows that the streaming company produces. It seems that Netflix originals almost never get past three seasons.
While the streaming platform is putting hundreds of new shows out every year, almost all of them are canceled within three seasons or less. Why is that, especially when two of the biggest shows in the history of Netflix were Friends and The Office, both with nine or more seasons and well over 200 episodes each?
The reason why has to do with how the contracts for Netflix shows work. A show has to be a certified hit for the streaming service for it to be able to justify a fourth season, and even then, it can be hit or miss.
Still, even with only a handful of shows getting a fourth season or beyond, there are a few that have managed to rack up a fair number of episodes over the years. These are all the Netflix originals that have at least 75 episodes to binge.
1. Grace and Frankie – 94 episodes
This show got its start in 2015 and was one of the earlier Netflix originals. It follows the lives of two older women, played by Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, who both get divorced when they learn that their husbands are in love with each other.
Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson round out the cast as the newly out of the closet husbands. The series was able to get a whopping seven seasons on Netflix.
Perhaps this is at least in part due to the fact, that the series creator Marta Kauffman, was one of the creators on Friends as well. Netflix could have been looking for something that subscribers could sink hours of time into just like they had with Friends.
It seems to have worked as Grace and Frankie has more episodes than any other Netflix original.
2. Orange is the New Black – 91 episodes
You’ll notice that the pattern in this list, is that many of the shows with the biggest episode counts, were from some of the earliest days of Netflix starting to produce their own content. Netflix didn’t have as many shows being produced as they do today.
They were able to put their full marketing weight behind each show. As a result, many of their earliest series are also some of their most successful.
One such example is the women’s prison dramady Orange is the New Black, based on the memoir of the same name by Piper Kerman. The show was probably Netflix’s second biggest hit at the time, behind House of Cards (which misses this list by a mere two episodes).
However, we can’t be sure because at the time viewership numbers for each show were only known by Netflix themselves. Still, it must have been a pretty big success for the streaming platform to give the series seven seasons and more episodes than almost any other show on the service.
3. The Ranch – 80 episodes
The two most viewed shows from Netflix were Friends and The Office. Both of which they lost a few years ago, with Friends going to HBO Max and The Office moving exclusively to Peacock.
While Netflix has produced several high-profile dramas over the years, it seems that the traditional sitcom is still the genre that brought in the biggest viewer numbers. The closest thing that Netflix has to that in their originals is The Ranch, a broad throwback of a sitcom, complete with a laugh track.
The series stars notable That ’70s Show Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson (the latter of which was written off of the show after multiple sexual assault allegations). This show feels like it’s trying to fill that traditional network sitcom role that Netflix needs to have.
It seems like all of the actual older sitcoms get taken back by whoever owned them in the first place, as it feels like everybody has their own streaming service.
4-6. Voltron: Legendary Defender, Dragons: Race to the Edge. The Adventures of Puss in Boots – tied at 78 episodes
If you browse the kids and family section of Netflix, you’re going to find a lot of shows from Dreamworks Animation. Dreamworks Animation and Netflix made a deal in 2014 and it’s been one of the biggest in terms of generation content in the platform’s history.
You can find that almost every Dreamworks animated movie now has a Netflix series based on it, from a King Julian show from Madagascar, to shows based on more forgotten Dreamworks movies like Turbo and Home. While the overall deal has resulted in over a thousand episodes of animation produced for Netflix, the first three shows released all had a commitment of 78 episodes each.
Dragons: Race to the Edge, based on the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, and The Adventures of Puss in Boots, based on the Shrek franchise, were created along with a reboot of Voltron. These three shows are all tied for third place and are the longest running animated projects on Netflix.
7. BoJack Horseman – 77 episodes
For adult animation, Netflix’s first show is still their biggest. BoJack Horseman ran for six seasons, telling the story of a washed-up actor who had his big break in the 1990s.
He hasn’t been able to get past the idea of being viewed as a has been by everyone, as well as by himself. For an animated comedy, the show delves into many serious themes, focusing on the characters’ constant battle with depression, trauma, and self-destructive behavior.
The show has also been one of the biggest successes for Netflix, with it being heralded as one of the best adult animated series from the time period from any network, ranked as one of the best series of the decade by both Time and Vanity Fair.
8. Fuller House – 75 episodes
Fuller House, like The Ranch, seemed focused on bringing that classic network sitcom viewership to Netflix. This time they not only brought famous sitcom stars to Netflix, but they rebooted one of the most well-known sitcoms of the early 90s.
Fuller House serves as a sequel show to Full House, with the now adult Tanner sisters taking on the roles of adults, trying to raise their kids and getting into classic sitcom hijinks along the way. Pretty much every cast member from the original series either returned or made a guest appearance to reprise their character, with the exception of the Olsen twins who shared the role of Michelle in the original series.
The show actually received much poorer reviews than anything else on this list. However, it was still clearly successful enough for Netflix to renew it well past their usual stopping point.
Which makes this the last show to reach that 75-episode mark, even if just barely.
Which of the following Netflix originals that we mentioned above have you watched? Let us know in the comments below!