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The Top Streaming Series Of 2021 Might Surprise You

Must-see TV seemed to be part of a bygone era before 2021. No longer do families huddle around television sets at a specific time each week. Streaming content has made entertainment an only vaguely contemporaneous experience for most viewers. And yet, there have been some outliers. 2021 saw some breakout hits that have turned into phenomena. Showtime drama "Yellowjackets" just concluded its first season to amazing ratings, proving that must-see TV may be possible again — at least, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

One of the most notable television series of 2021 was Netflix's "Squid Game." The brutal K-drama depicted characters so desperate to get out of debt that they volunteer to engage in life-threatening games. Although it landed in most U.S. households as a streaming series, the K-thriller became a new kind of must-see TV. "Squid Game" smashed a Netflix record with 1.65 billion hours watched within its initial drop. Fans are already clamoring for a Season 2, but despite all that unprecedented success, there is one record that it has not claimed. 

The title of top streaming series of 2021 went to a different title.

The top streaming show is Lucifer

Netflix's "Lucifer" actually beat "Squid Game" in viewership in 2021, and the two shows could not be more different. "Squid Game" is a horrific look at the toll of capitalism on society, while "Lucifer" is a fun fantastical ride. 

The character Lucifer (Tom Ellis) was taken from Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" comic. Though this iteration has little to do with the original Gaiman version of Lucifer, the Fox series found its footing and continued to grow its viewership on Netflix. The show depicts the Prince of Hell on vacation in Los Angeles. There he helps Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) solve crimes, while occasionally discussing his father issues with his therapist Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris). The show is charming and humorous, and connected with many audiences.

"Lucifer" switched from Fox to Netflix in 2018 and concluded in 2021. Deadline reports that "Lucifer" ultimately clocked 18.3 billion viewing minutes for 2021, surpassing the 16.4 billion that "Squid Game" counted. Though some fans were upset with the ending of "Lucifer," the ratings speak for themselves.