The four most-watched TV shows on streaming in 2021 probably wouldn’t surprise you — unless you were thinking it was “Squid Game,” then you might want to sit down — “Criminal Minds,” “CoComelon,” (ask any parent with a 4 year old) “Grey’s Anatomy” and “NCIS.”
But we’re going to bet you’ve never heard of the show that comes in at No. 5: A Canadian-produced drama called “Heartland” that is available on Netflix. “Heartland” had more than 20 billion minutes viewed last year, according to Nielsen, who released a comprehensive list on Friday of the most-watched TV shows and films last year. The top show, “Criminal Minds” had nearly 34 billion minutes viewed.
So what is “Heartland?” For starters, it’s the longest-running one-hour scripted drama in Canadian TV history. It broke that record seven years ago.
“Heartland” first debuted in 2007 and is based on the book series of the same name by Lauren Brooke. It centers on the Bartlett-Fleming family who own a ranch in Alberta, aptly named Heartland. It stars Amber Marshall is Amy Fleming and Michelle Morgan as Louise “Lou” Fleming Morris as two sisters living on the ranch with their father Tim Fleming (Chris Potter) and widowed grandfather Jack Bartlett (Shaun Johnson).
As of 2021, “Heartland” has aired 234 episodes on CBC across 15 seasons, the last two of which aired in 2021. The first 13 seasons are available on Netflix in every territory but Canada, and also airs in U.S. broadcast syndication on multiple networks, most notably CW stations.
Elsewhere on Nielsen’s report, the top original drama on streaming was “Lucifer,” which edged out “Squid Game” by about 2 billion minutes (“Lucifer” has 93 episodes to “Squid Game’s” 10). The most-streamed movie was Pixar’s “Luca” which was available on Disney+. “Moana” was the second-most.