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Netflix Finds Itself in Unfamiliar Territory Atop October's Streaming Power Rankings

Also, Hulu's fortunes drop with yet another Devil in the White City setback, and Paramount+ bets even heavier on Taylor Sheridan.
  • Photos: Netflix, Disney+, Peacock, Paramount+ (Primetimer graphic)
    Photos: Netflix, Disney+, Peacock, Paramount+ (Primetimer graphic)

    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.

    In October, Netflix bounced back from a rather dismal year so far, and the streamer did it the old fashioned way: with good TV shows and bad TV shows that a lot of people watched anyway. Disney+ reveled in the good kind of divisive with the She-Hulk finale, Prime Video put Justin Lin and Simu Liu in a project together, and Hulu announced a TV adaptation of Never Let Me Go... while once again putting The Devil in the White City back to square one. Here are our updated power rankings, listed from top to bottom.

    1. Netflix

    Previous Rank: 7

    Premieres: We always joke about Netflix's firehose approach to programming, and it's still true and still not great, but sometimes enough shows hit that it makes the platform look good. So it was for Netflix in October, which saw the returns of Big Mouth, Unsolved Mysteries, and Love Is Blind; a fun new horror series from Mike Flanagan in The Midnight Club; another horror series, this time a Guillermo del Toro anthology called Cabinet of Curiosities that brought some flair to the genre; the much-anticipated return of The Mole that turned out quite well; and Ryan Murphy's The Watcher, which we found to be a wrongheaded approach to the material but which has proved to be a huge viewership magnet. Grade: A-

    Projects Announced: A Jude Law/Jason Bateman team-up for a new show called Black Rabbit is especially intriguing for being an entirely original premise (one being kept under wraps). Meanwhile, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter has been given the green light for his western series The Abandons. Grade: B+

    Bonus Points/Demerits: Picking up Girls5Eva for a third season was not only a show of strength but a boot on the neck of an ailing Peacock. Meanwhile, the back-to-back ratings successes for Dahmer and The Watcher are not only good news on their own, but they're going a long way to re-contextualize a Ryan Murphy/Netflix deal that had been looking positively disastrous. Grade: A-

    2. Disney+

    Previous Rank: 5

    Premieres: The name of the game for Disney+ has always been brand extension, and along with new episodes of Andor and She-Hulk this month, October also featured two premieres tied to its strongest franchises. Werewolf By Night, a Michael Giacchino-directed horror special taking place within the MCU, got some particularly strong reviews for its one-off nature and strong visuals. Tales of the Jedi, meanwhile, is an animated anthology from within the Star Wars universe. Grade: B+

    Projects Announced: Disney's live-action Goosebumps series was already announced, but now that we know it will also star Justin Long, consider it re-announced. Grade: B

    Bonus Points/Demerits: The She-Hulk finale was divisive, but in a way that feels very productive for the TV wing of the MCU, dealing as it did with breaking the fourth wall and acknowledging the storytelling limits thus far under the Marvel umbrella. Grade: B

    3. HBO Max

    Previous Rank: 3

    Premieres: The second seasons of Avenue 5 and The Vow premiered on HBO and are available to stream on HBO Max, though only The Vow seems to be making much of a dent in the pop culture conversation. Or else it's just us talking about Nancy Salzman's looming-old-woman statue. Grade: B-

    Projects Announced: Writer Anna Symon (The Essex Serpent; Mrs. Wilson) and director Shannon Murphy (Killing Eve) are teaming up to develop Heatwave, about a woman who engages in an affair with her friends' teenage son in Ibiza. We're also getting an adult animated series about Velma from Scooby-Doo starring Mindy Kaling in the title role, along with Constance Wu (as Daphne), Sam Richardson (as Shaggy), and Glen Howerton (as Fred). Grade: B

    Bonus Points/Demerits: Some showrunner news this month on a couple of DC superhero properties: the Green Lantern project is changing direction, focusing on a new protagonist and losing showrunner Seth Grahame-Smith. Also, Antonio Campos, fresh off shepherding the adaptation of The Staircase is stepping in as showrunner of the in-development Arkham Asylum series. And in even better superhero news, Harley Quinn is getting a Valentine's Day special focused on Harley and Ivy. Grade: B+

    4. Prime Video

    Previous Rank: 2

    Premieres: The final couple episodes of Season 1 of The Rings of Power were easily the biggest deal on Prime Video this month, but there were still a few notable premieres. The Chloë Grace Moretz sci-fi series The Peripheral put a spin on the identity-hopping thriller. The Devil's Hour, the latest British series executive produced by Steven Moffat (Sherlock) premiered at the end of the month. And Modern Love: Tokyo put an international spin on Amazon's anthology series. Overall, nothing that could match the enthusiasm of Galadriel and Sauron, but still a solid month. Grade: B-

    Projects Announced: Simu Liu is set to headline the adaptation of the Seven Wonders series of books, for producer Justin Lin (The Fast & the Furious franchise). Meanwhile, the raunchy 2016 animated comedy Sausage Party is getting turned into a series with Seth Rogen (along with his producing partner Evan Goldberg) once again onboard as producer and star. Grade: B

    Bonus Points/Demerits: The sci-fi western Outer Range will be back as it's been renewed for a second season. Grade: B+

    5. Hulu

    Previous Rank: 1

    Premieres: There wasn't a ton in the way of premieres on Hulu this month. The Handmaid's Tale continued to drive Hulu's new programming throughout the month, along with new episodes of the FX on Hulu production The Patient. Solar Opposites showed up with its very first Halloween Special, after producing a Christmas special last year. And the docuseries special The Hair Tales from executive producers Tracee Ellis Ross and Oprah Winfrey "let Black women speak without judgment." Grade: B

    Projects Announced: Never Let Me Go, the Kazuo Ishiguro novel that was adapted into a haunting 2010 movie with Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield, is getting a TV series treatment with The Nevers' Melissa Iqbal serving as showrunner. The 2020 crime novel Interior Chinatown will also be turned into a Hulu series, with Taika Waititi behind the camera and Jimmy O. Yang in front of it. Grade: B+

    Bonus Points/Demerits: The good news is that Jesse Williams is set to join the third season of Only Murders in the Building. The bad news is that, for seemingly the millionth time, The Devil in the White City screen adaptation has fallen through, with star Keanu Reeves and director Todd Field both exiting the project. Grade: C-

    6. Paramount+

    Previous Rank: 4

    Premieres: Paramount brought back Inside Amy Schumer for a long-awaited 5th season after a six-year hiatus, but the results feel pretty dated. Grade: C+

    Projects Announced: After talking about it seemingly forever, Paramount finally gave the green light to the Frasier reboot we've all been bracing for. Grade: B

    Bonus Points/Demerits:Paramount's successful marriage to Taylor Sheridan is showing no signs of slowing down, with the upcoming limited series 1923 now expected to encompass two 8-episode seasons, with plans for further series about the Dutton family to be set in the 1940s and 1960s. Grade: B

    7. Apple TV+

    Previous Rank: 8

    Premieres: The Problem with Jon Stewart returned for a second season, where the host grabbed headlines for apologizing for his crappy history of transphobic jokes. Grade: B

    Projects Announced: The Good Doctor's Antonia Thomas and Red Oaks' Craig Roberts are set to star in Still Up, a new series from creators Steven Burge and I May Destroy You actress Natalie Walter. Grade: B-

    Bonus Points/Demerits: Zooey Deschanel joining Physical is good and intriguing news, as is the fact that Apple is making classic Charlie Brown holiday specials available for free for non-subscribers. Some holiday cheer at last! Grade: B+

    8. Peacock

    Previous Rank: 6

    Premieres: A Friend of the Family was an adaptation of the real-life crime story that was the basis of the Netflix documentary Abducted in Plain Sight, but with Jake Lacy playing the criminal at the center of the story, perhaps it was inevitable that the series was too focused on the criminal and not on his victims. Elsewhere, One of Us Is Lying returned for a second season, and the documentary I Love You, You Hate Me took a deep dive into the phenomenon of the Barney and Friends song that so repulsed a nation. Grade: B-

    Projects Announced: If an erotic thriller series developed by Miley Cyrus's mother piques your interest, then Little Secrets sounds right up your alley. Peacock is also developing a series based on the 1996 thriller Fear that starred Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon. This one comes from Jessica Goldberg who created The Path for Hulu. Grade: B-

    Bonus Points/Demerits: If, after being canceled by Peacock, Girls5Eva ends up thriving on Netflix, that could a real black-eye for the platform. Grade: C

    Joe Reid is the senior writer 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: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount+, Peacock