Sorry Cowboy Bebop, Arcane is Netflix’s latest TV show darling

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Netflix has revealed that its recently released TV show is on track to become its next big hit — and it’s not Cowboy Bebop or Tiger King Season 2.

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Arcane, Netflix’s animated adaptation of Riot Games’ popular League of Legends video game, is currently set to become the streamer’s next big success.

And even from a distance. According to Netflix Top 10, a newly launched official Netflix website that reveals the most popular movies and TV shows on the streaming giant over the past seven days, Arcane has surpassed Cowboy Bebop and Tiger King Season 2.

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For the week ending November 21, Arcane has accumulated over 38 million hours of viewing time over the past seven days. In contrast, the live-action Cowboy Bebop series — which many expected to do well, despite a perceived indifference to the adaptation — is lagging behind with only 21.6 million hours of views. Meanwhile, Tiger King’s latest entry has posted 30.3 million hours of views in the same time frame.

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Not only that, too. According to Parrot Analytics, a global audience analysis company, Arcane Season 1 was the third most sought after TV show worldwide All Streaming platform till November 21. Amazon’s The Wheel of Time and HBO’s Game of Thrones are the only TV series that saw high audience demand in the same period.

Since the first three episodes of Arcane launched on November 6th, the show’s popularity has grown rapidly. Data from Parrot Analytics shows that global audience interest in Arcane has increased by 629% since the launch of its first season, with 228% made up of US viewers. As of November 19, Arcane Season 1 was surpassing Stranger Things and The Mandalorian as America’s number one digital streaming series.

So, what gives? Why has Arcane performed so well compared to Netflix’s other recent TV offerings?

For starters: critical praise. Currently, Arcane has a 98% audience rating on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, as well as a 100% ‘Certified Fresh’ rating among critics. Several outlets (myself included) have praised the show’s beautiful, illustration-style 3D animation, voice cast performances, character complexities and rich, engaging story and worldbuilding.

Meanwhile, Cowboy Bebop and Tiger King Season 2 has received less than decent response. The former posted scores of 54% and 48% respectively on Rotten Tomatoes, while Tiger King fared worse – earning scores of 41% and 18% among fans and critics alike.

Then there’s the matter of the mouth. Like the Squid game before it, Arcane wasn’t really on anyone’s radar prior to release, while Tiger King Season 2 and Cowboy Bebop were being positioned as Netflix’s big hitters for November.

And yet Archana has come out on top. Critics may have helped spread the word, but Netflix’s subscriber base is piling up all the hours it’s watched. Many people would have talked about it among their friends, families and work colleagues, which would have increased its viewing figures.

In the end, Netflix has an increasingly positive track record for animated adaptations of the beloved video game franchise. The streaming giant has already enjoyed success with its Castlevania TV show, while the strategy game Dota with its Dota: Dragons Blood was also fairly well received.

Other upcoming Netflix adaptations of video game series, including Tomb Raider, Sonic, The Cuphead Show, The Division and Assassin’s Creed, show that it’s not slowing down in this department either. Also add in Netflix’s recent move into the games industry, and clearly video game movies and TV shows are becoming a growing priority for studios.

It is therefore not surprising that, based on its unparalleled success, Arcane has been renewed for a second season. Its world has tons of story and lore to tell, League of Legends characters and heroes to introduce, and much more.

While the same can be said of Cowboy Bebop — Tiger King has probably run its course at this point — it hasn’t been well received as arcane. And, for a streaming platform that quickly cancels underperforming shows, Cowboy Bebop’s future may be determined by whether or not it can catch up with Arcane. However, the possibility of this seems very less right now.

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