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The most popular Netflix series right now is a chilling revenge tale from Korea

Updated Mar 22nd, 2023 7:21PM EDT
The Glory on Netflix
Image: Graphyoda/Netflix

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Each week, Netflix segregates its global ranking of the Top 10 TV series on the platform into two charts — one for English shows and one for non-English titles. More often than not, the #1 title on the Top 10 English TV shows chart is also the most-watched series on the streaming platform, worldwide, but that’s not actually the case this week. That honor, for the 7-day period that ended on March 19, actually goes to the Korean drama The Glory, which pulled in significantly more viewership than You Season 4 (the top English Netflix series this week).

The Glory: #1 in the world on Netflix

Between March 13 and March 19, The Glory — Part 2 of which debuted almost two weeks ago — garnered 123.5 million hours viewed worldwide. The biggest English language Netflix series for the week, You Season 4? Just 64 million hours viewed.

The Glory tells the story over 16 episodes of a woman named Moon Dong-eun (played by Song Hye-kyo) who carries out an elaborate plan to take revenge on five former classmates who tormented her as a teenager. And this week, by the way, marks the second in a row in which the series has utterly dominated Netflix worldwide — with no other Netflix series, including English releases, even coming close.

For the period of March 6-March 12, the story was the same. You Season 4 racked up 75.8 million hours viewed, making it the biggest English-language title worldwide for the week. The Glory, however, pulled in a staggering 124.4 million hours viewed. Moreover, the show has now racked up enough viewership to make it the #7 non-English language Netflix title of all time.

Why this K-drama is different from the rest

That best-in-the-world viewership, meanwhile, is just one of the many things that make The Glory a standout Netflix release.

In an unusual move for a Netflix Korean series, for example, the show was split into two parts, and Part 1 (which debuted at the end of December) stayed on Netflix’s Top 10 non-English TV list for more than a month after its debut. Most Netflix K-dramas get a single, unbroken season.

The Glory on Netflix
Song Hye-kyo as Moon Dong-eun in “The Glory.” Image source: Graphyoda/Netflix

Another unusual facet of this series is that — like the 2021 Netflix Korean crime series My NameThe Glory is built around a female lead and is not primarily about a romance. Song, one of the top female actresses in Korea, also went to great lengths to transform herself for the role — including via the application of special effects makeup that took four to five hours each time.

That’s because her character bore many burn scars because of her tormentors, which is also why Song — to make her appearance more realistic — went on a strict diet three days before filming a scene where all the scars were going to be visible (and stopped drinking water the day before).

In addition to being the #1 Netflix series in the world this week, by the way, The Glory also has a perfect 100% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes and a near-perfect audience score of 95% on the review aggregation site.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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