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The 20 Top Shows Gen Z & Millennials Are Binge Watching Now

Young consumers’ TV binging habits can bring old shows back from the dead, and make newcomers into major hits. What are they binge viewing lately? We asked…

There’s no doubt that binge viewing is young consumers’ preferred way of watching TV shows: 56% of 13-37-year-olds tell YPulse they would rather binge watch an entire series at once than watch episodes weekly. Among Gen Z, many of whom don’t remember a world without streaming services, this preference is even stronger, with 65% choosing binging a series over waiting for weekly episodes. It’s no wonder that streaming service on a TV screen is their top preference for viewing TV content—beating live TV out by a significant margin, according to our entertainment survey. And this preference for binge viewing (which we’ve been reporting on for some time) has impacted the industry, bringing back old shows from the dead, extending the timeline of success for new series, and shifting the kind of content that media players are fighting over.

While streaming services are shelling out big money for original series, in the Binge Effect economy, buying already-established hits is equally important. A VP at Hulu explains to Variety that they “look for those shows that are sort of the comfort food to blend in with [originals’] intensity.” They report that 35,000 viewers binge watched every episode of ER in the first two months it was on Hulu. Multi-million dollar battles between networks and streaming services have begun to break out to win coveted comfort TV shows, and be the home to their favorite binge-able content. In other words: Gen Z and Millennial binge watching is powerful. So we asked what series they’ve been binging lately, and why—here are their top recent TV show binges:

The Last Shows They Binge Watched


      1. Stranger Things
      2. 13 Reasons Why
      3. Game of Thrones
      4. Orange Is the New Black
      5. The Office
      6. The Good Place
      7. Mindhunter
      8. Jane the Virgin
      9. Friends
      10. Queer Eye
      11. The Handmaid’s Tale
      12. Grey’s Anatomy
      13. Elite
      14. Lucifer
      15. Workin’ Moms
      16. Big Mouth
      17. Shameless
      18. Parks and Recreation
      19. GLOW
      20. The Boys

Netflix just reported that Stranger Things 3 set viewing records for the platform, watched by 64 million households in its first month to become their most-watched original series ever— And clearly Gen Z and Millennial viewers had a hand in that success. Stranger Things is at the top of the list of the shows they’ve binge watched lately, and many young respondents told us they binge watched the series because of the new season. For some, the desire to keep up with the show and avoid spoilers was a major reason to watch all of the new season at once. A 24-year-old female told us: “I didn’t want any spoilers at work and I know everyone else was binge watching it too. I also wanted to keep up with the memes online and not get spoiled by them.” While some just binged the most recent season, some fans binged the show in its entirety, even if they had already watched it, with one 16-year-old male explaining “I already watched the first two seasons, so when the third season came out on Netflix, I watched the entire thing quickly. I binge watch so I don’t forget anything and because some shows get me to anticipate the next episodes.”

Stranger Things was the top show binged recently among all age groups:

Interestingly, 13-24-year-olds were more likely than older Millennials to say they had most recently binged an older show, with The Office appearing in the top five for both 13-17-year-olds and 18-24-year-olds. But of course, The Office and Friends are actually new shows for many in these groups, who might not have been alive when they originally aired. In our 2016 Binge Effect research, we said, “Binge viewing is helping to give defunct shows new life with a new generation of fans. Young viewers today have access to more content than ever before—and many are choosing to watch the shows that once “belonged” to older generations.” This trend has held true, and Gen Z is continuing to binge comfort TV shows that Millennials grew up on, bringing them new life and renewing the opportunity for products and content for off-air shows.