Most popular TV shows of 2020, according to Google

Tiger King - Credit: Netflix
Tiger King - Credit: Netflix /

Netflix dominated the Google searches for most popular TV shows in 2020

Every year, Google Trends compiles a Year in Search list. “Election results,” “coronavirus,” “Kobe Bryant,” “coronavirus update” and “coronavirus symptoms” were the top five most-Googled searches in 2020.

But the Year in Search list also breaks it down into different categories and topics. In addition to entertainment categories like Movies and most popular TV Shows, they also reveal what was the most searched for in everything from News, Politicians, and Sports Teams to Games, Lyrics and Recipes.

But it’s the most popular TV shows that are of interest to us, especially because out of the top 10, the top five were all Netflix originals! But two more were in the Top 10 overall, accounting for an astounding seven Netflix shows on the list! And nine of the 10 are currently streamable on Netflix.

Let’s take a look at all of the shows and then dive into some more search specifics for the top five.

Google’s 10 most popular TV shows of 2020

  1. Tiger King
  2. Cobra Kai
  3. Ozark
  4. The Umbrella Academy
  5. The Queen’s Gambit
  6. Little Fires Everywhere
  7. Outer Banks
  8. Ratched
  9. All American
  10. The Last Dance

It’s not all that surprising to see any of these shows on a “top” list, but to have the top five come from the same place, be it a streamer or a channel? That’s pretty impressive and shows that Netflix is doing something right.

Most popular TV shows Google searches by state

Google Trends also shows where the searches came from. Let’s break down the top five states for each of the top five shows.

Tiger King

  1. Oklahoma
  2. North Dakota
  3. Vermont
  4. Missouri
  5. District of Columbia

Cobra Kai

  1. Hawaii
  2. New Mexico
  3. California
  4. New Jersey
  5. Nevada


  1. Missouri
  2. Arkansas
  3. Alabama
  4. Kansas
  5. Oklahoma

The Umbrella Academy

  1. Hawaii
  2. Washington
  3. Alaska
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Oregon

The Queen’s Gambit

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Vermont
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Washington
  5. Connecticut

Most popular TV shows topics and related queries on Google

What, specifically, were people searching for when they looked up these shows? Let’s take a look.

Tiger King

Here’s what people wanted to know more about when they searched for info about Tiger King:

  1. The Tiger King himself, Joe Exotic.
  2. Carole Baskin.
  3. Jeff Lowe.
  4. Tiger King memes.

Cobra Kai

Here’s what people wanted to know more about when they searched for info about Cobra Kai:

  1. Season 3’s release date – People were anxious to know when it would start streaming!
  2. The 1984 movie that sparked the series, The Karate Kid.
  3. This one doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but for whatever reason, Stranger Things season 4 was among the top related topics and queries when people searched Cobra Kai.
  4. Ali Mills. Fans definitely wanted to know if Elisabeth Shue would reprise her famous role!


Here’s what people wanted to know more about when they searched for info about Ozark:

  1. Actors in the cast, especially Tom Pelphrey, Charlie Tahan, Janet McTeer and Lisa Emery.
  2. Specific characters, especially Ben Davis (played by Tom Pelphrey) and Darlene Snell (played by Lisa Emery).
  3. Season 4, specifically will there be one and when is it coming.

The Umbrella Academy

Here’s what people wanted to know more about when they searched for info about The Umbrella Academy:

  1. The seasons, specifically about season 2, and whether season 3 is happening.
  2. Actors in the cast, especially Rita Arya, Marin Ireland and Yusuf Gatewood (who were new cast members in season 2) and Kris Holden-Ried.
  3. The Sparrow Academy.

The Queen’s Gambit

Here’s what people wanted to know more about when they searched for info about The Queen’s Gambit:

  1. The game of chess.
  2. The Queen’s Gambit novel by Walter Tevis.
  3. Its star, Anya Taylor-Joy.
  4. The cast overall and who was in it.
  5. Whether it’s based on a true story.

Will Netflix dominate the most popular TV show searches again in 2021? No telling, but in addition to Stranger Things, Netflix is releasing a lot of good movies and shows again this year so it’ll be interesting to see which ones are Googled most!

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