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Streaming Power Rankings February 2022: Apple Stays On Top, But Hulu's Gaining

Meanwhile, bad news and a dearth of new content keep Paramount+ in the basement.
  • Photos: Apple TV+, Hulu, Paramount+, Netflix.
    Photos: Apple TV+, Hulu, Paramount+, Netflix.

    At the end of each month, Primetimer's Joe Reid surveys the undulating fortunes of the eight major streaming platforms for our Streaming Power Rankings.

    It was a busy February for TV as a number of exciting new series — the highly anticipated Inventing Anna; the sci-fi workplace drama Severance; the Fresh Prince update Bel-Air — propped up some of the streamers, while an influx of newly announced projects with major stars and producers made for especially competitive rankings.

    A reminder: our rankings are calculated based on the following criteria: new shows (i.e. shows that premiered, or premiered new seasons), projects that were announced, and bonus points (and/or demerits) that take into account things like high-profile cancellations, awards attention, or significant good/bad buzz.

    On to this month's rankings:

    1. Apple TV+

    Previous Rank: 1

    Premieres: The kidnapping intrigue drama Suspicion premiered to a pretty middling reaction, but Ben Stiller's sci-fi workplace psychodrama Severance — starring Adam Scott, John Turturro, and Patricia Arquette — is a critical fave, and seems poised to pick up steam within the cultural conversation over the next few weeks. Grade: A-

    Projects Announced: Apple announced a ton of future projects this month, including a series adaptation of the Harrison Ford legal thriller Presumed Innocent to be produced by J.J. Abrams and David E. Kelley; Connie Britton re-teaming with her Friday Night Lights producer Jason Katims for Dear Edward; Kristen Wiig (and maybe Laura Dern) in the 1970s-set Mrs. American Pie; Ben Mendelsohn and Juliette Binoche in a new series about the fashion career of Christian Dior; and Rashida Jones in the dark comedy/sci-fi Sunny. Grade: A

    Bonus Points/Demerits: Amanda Seyfried signed up to star opposite Tom Holland in upcoming series The Crowded Room, which can only enhance Apple's reputation as the starriest streamer. Grade: B+

    2. Hulu

    Previous Rank: 3

    Premieres: Pam & Tommy has been one of the most talked-about streaming series since its debut, joining the second season of Dollface as Hulu's two big premieres this month. Grade: B+

    Projects Announced: Hulu is moving forward with The Golden Spoon, a limited series from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna that's set at a televised baking competition. Grade: A-

    Bonus Points/Demerits: A second-season renewal for How I Met Your Father is big, and this one will be a super-sized 20-episode season. We also got the first trailer for the Amanda Seyfried-starring The Dropout, about Theranos fraudster Elizabeth Holmes. And Only Murders in the Building remains a guest star bonanza, this month adding Michael Rapaport and Andrea Martin for its second season. Grade: A-

    3. Amazon Prime

    Previous Rank: 5

    Premieres: After some real snoozy months, Amazon came alive in February with the new series Reacher — based on the novels that were the basis of the Tom Cruise film — and the long-awaited fourth season of their flagship comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Grade: B+

    Projects Announced: Amazon's strategy to combat more high-volume streamers with fewer but bigger-ticket items continues with the announcement that Ridley Scott will produce a new Blade Runner sequel series called Blade Runner 2099. Grade: B+

    Bonus Points/Demerits: A Super Bowl trailer for September's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power pretty much cemented Amazon in the conversation for most anticipated streaming series of 2022. Grade: A-

    4. Peacock

    Previous Rank: 7

    Premieres: Peacock's most tangible success this month was the well-received dramatic remake Bel-Air, starring Jabari Banks as a less comedic West Philadelphia transplant Will Smith. Grade: B+

    Projects Announced: While success isn't guaranteed, a new series based on a Liane Moriarty novel (the writer of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers) is a big deal, so there's lots of anticipation for Apples Never Fall, about a wife and mother's disappearance. A Friend of the Family is a domestic drama set to star Anna Paquin and Jake Lacy. And a pair of pro football docu-series were announced: one on the history of black quarterbacks in the NFL and another on the New England Patriots' dynasty of the Aughts and 2010s. Grade: B

    Bonus Points/Demerits: The day-and-date release of the Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy Marry Me on Valentine's Day weekend drew a ton of publicity for the platform. Grade: B

    5. Netflix

    Previous Rank: 4

    Premieres: Inventing Anna had the highest expectations of anything on Netflix's roster this month, and although critics were nonplussed, it was a major streaming release regardless. Better received, albeit on a smaller scale, was Will Arnett's improv murder mystery series Murderville. We also got the requisite scammer docuseries The Tinder Swindler, as well as the highly anticipated second season of Love Is Blind, which managed to sustain a lot of interest after what could have easily been a flash-in-the-pan first season. Grade: B+

    Projects Announced: Speaking of requisite scammer series, Netflix keeps replenishing its quiver when it comes to tales of real-life fraud, including a quite timely upcoming series about a Bitcoin heist. There's also the upcoming Taipei gangster series The Brothers Sun which is co-produced by American Horror Story's Brad Falchuk. And perhaps most promising of all is the comedy series Blockbuster, a Melissa Fumero/Randall Park comedy set at the last remaining Blockbuster Video store. Grade: B

    Bonus Points/Demerits: Keri Russell has been cast as the lead in the anticipated upcoming series The Diplomat, about, yes, a diplomat. There was also the announcement that all of the Marvel TV series that were produced for Netflix (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Defenders, etc.) will be leaving the platform at the end of February. And in a monument to the enduring effect of cancel culture, Dave Chappelle will be producing four new stand-up specials for Netflix. Grade: B-

    6. Disney+

    Previous Rank: 6

    Premieres: A very quiet month for Disney, with only the animated series The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder premiering. Grade: B-

    Projects Announced: After Fear Street was adapted so successfully on Netflix, D+ is now in the R.L. Stine game with an upcoming 10-episode series based on Goosebumps. Also in the works is American Born Chinese, a fantasy series starring Michelle Yeoh and directed by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton. Grade: B+

    Bonus Points/Demerits: Doogie Kamealoha M.D. getting renewed for a second season is great news. As is Catherine Zeta-Jones joining the cast of Disney+'s upcoming National Treasure series. On the flip side, the announcement that Netflix's Marvel TV shows are leaving Netflix was not (as of yet) accompanied by an announcement that they would be coming to Disney+, which is less bad news than it is waiting extra long for good news. Grade: B

    7. HBO MAX

    Previous Rank: 2

    Premieres: The sci-fi drama Raised by Wolves returned for a second season, once again largely acclaimed by critics but not really penetrating into the general cultural conversation as of yet. Similarly, the Gugu Mbatha-Raw/David Oyelowo-starring limited series The Girl Before had strong Hithcock vibes as a stylish thriller, but didn't get anyone talking. Grade: B

    Projects Announced: The Girl on the Bus is an upcoming series based on the reporting of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaigns, with producer Greg Berlanti and his Supergirl star Melissa Benoist, which sounds intriguing at the very least. Grade: B

    Bonus Points/Demerits: We found out this month that the planned Boondocks reboot, which had been in the works since the platform launched, is now dead in the water, which is a bummer. Grade: C

    8. Paramount+

    Previous Rank: 8

    Premieres: Once again, Paramount+ is just not putting out new original shows regularly enough to stay out of the power-rankings basement. Grade: D

    Projects Announced: There's hope this sluggishness turns around in the future since they ordered a whole bunch of new shows this week. With 1883 continuing to get good buzz, P+ had greenlit two new series from Taylor Sheridan: the Nicole Kidman-produced spy series Lioness starring Zoe Saldaña, and Land Man, starring Billy Bob Thornton and based on the Boomtown podcast. Dear White People creator Justin Simien will be helming a movie based on the 1980s movie Flashdance. James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) will be helming a movie based on the 1980s movie Urban Cowboy. We're also getting a new Star Trek series called "Starfleet Academy" and a reboot of the CBS procedural Criminal Minds. Grade: B+

    Bonus Points/Demerits: The good news is that the South Park library is moving from HBO Max to Paramount+ in 2025. The bad news is that amorphous rights issues forced Paramount to pull seasons of Australian Survivor from their service after having only been available for several weeks . Grade: C+

    Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock, 1883, American Born Chinese, Apples Never Fall, Australian Survivor, Bel-Air, Blade Runner 2099, Blockbuster, The Boondocks, Criminal Minds, The Crowded Room, The Diplomat, Doogie Kameāloha, M.D., The Dropout, Flashdance, The Girl Before, The Golden Spoon, Inventing Anna, Land Man, Lioness, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Love Is Blind, Mrs. American Pie , Murderville, National Treasure (Disney+ Series), Pam & Tommy, Presumed Innocent, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, Raised by Wolves, Reacher, Severance, South Park, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, Sunny, Suspicion, Amanda Seyfried, Dave Chappelle, Taylor Sheridan