Dahmer is Netflix's biggest debut series ever – beating Squid Game

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Ryan Murphy’s serial killer biopic Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has broken Netflix records in its first week on the streamer. The Evan Peters-led series landed Netflix’s most-watched Week 1 on record for a new series following its release on September 21.

In its first five days on the platform, it drew in 196.2 million hours of viewership, taking the number one spot on Netflix’s Top 10 in several countries. The figure is the highest first week of viewership for an all-new series on the streamer to date. 

By contrast, Squid Game landed 63.1 million hours in its first week on Netflix and All Of Us Are Dead season 1 recorded 124.7 million hours. Of course, both of those went on to build to higher figures in the weeks after their debut.

Per IndieWire, 10 shows have recorded higher weekly figures of streaming than Dahmer, but these are all established series, including Stranger Things season 4, Bridgerton season 2, and Money Heist: Part 5. 

The only caveat to these figures is that Netflix only has data available from June 2021. As a result, Netflix hasn’t released the first week viewership for huge hits like Bridgerton season 1, Stranger Things season 1, and The Witcher season 1 as these all debuted before this. 

Dahmer was co-created by Glee’s Murphy and Ian Brennan and follows the murders of real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The premise of the series is to tell the stories of Dahmer’s victims and the institutional failures which delayed his capture. 

However, critical and viewer responses have been mixed so far for the new show. Some have called it incredibly well acted and praised its presentation of systemic racism, while others have lamented another sensationalized presentation of a convicted murderer. 

For what else to stream right now, check out our guides to the best Netflix movies and the best Netflix shows.

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.