What shows topped the digital charts in 2017?

Netflix, CraveTV and Apple share their Top 10s, and, for good measure, Kobo presents its most-read books (after all, some could be on next year's most-watched list).

As 2017 winds down, it’s time to look back and reflect on the year that was. Amidst all the politics, social movements and scandals that rightfully attracted eyeballs and attention this year, Canadians found time to turn away from the headlines, seeking out drama of a different sort in 2017.

Here, we asked Netflix, Apple iTunes and CraveTV to divulge the most-watched shows and movies of the year. And as the global race for IP heats up, we thought we’d present Kobo’s most-read and most-bought books of the year for a little inspiration.

(Canadian-produced projects bolded.)

Netflix in Canada 

While Netflix did not reveal its most-watched series, the global streamer has presented it’s most-binged and most-savoured shows – along with some interesting factoids about its Canadian viewers. For example, someone in Canada wached The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 361 times in 2017. Unfortunately, the streamer gave no hint as to why. Canadians also rank second globally for most subscribers that binge every single day, according to Netflix’s data.

While true crime documentaries and mockumentaries proved binge-worthy to Canadians in 2017, the most-devoured show was Lionsgate’s Greenleaf, which airs on OWN in the U.S. The family drama, which follows the founders of a megachurch, is executive produced Canada’s Clement Virgo (who also directs several episodes), Oprah Winfrey and creator Craig Wright (Lost).

Top 10 shows Canadians devoured (watching more than 2 hours per day)

1. Greenleaf (drama)
2. American Vandal (true crime mockumentary)
3. Suburra: Blood on Rome (political thriller)
4. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (family comedy)
5. Ingobernable (political crime drama)
6. The Keepers (true crime documentary)
7. The OA (mystery)
8. The Confession Tapes (true crime documentary)
9. Cable Girls (historical drama)
10. The Mist (horror/drama)

Top 10 shows Canadians savoured (watching less than 2 hours per day)

1. The Crown (biography/drama)
2. Neo Yokio (animated comedy)
3. Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (comedy)
4. Ozark (crime drama)
5. A Series of Unfortunate Events (family adventure)
6. GLOW (comedy/drama)
7. Friends from College (drama)
8. El Chapo (biography/drama)
9. Atypical (comedy/drama)
10. Big Mouth (animated comedy)

Netflix Worldwide

Looking abroad, Canadian shows were a hit with global audiences in 2017, with CBC’s Anne (With an E, in the U.S.) and Showcase’s Travelers two of the most-binged series of the year.

Top 10 shows devoured globally in 2017 

1. American Vandal (true crime mockumentary)
2. 3% (sci-fi/drama)
3. 13 Reasons Why (drama/mystery)
4. Anne with an E (drama)
5. Riverdale (drama/mystery)
6. Ingobernable (political crime drama)
7. Travelers (sci-fi)
8. The Keepers (true crime documentary)
9. The OA (mystery)
10. The Confession Tapes (true crime documentary)

Top 10 shows savoured globally in 2017 

1. The Crown (biography/drama)
2. Big Mouth (animated comedy)
3. Neo Yokio (animated comedy)
4. A Series of Unfortunate Events (family adventure)
5. GLOW (comedy/drama)
6. Friends from College (comedy/drama)
7. Ozark (crime drama)
8. Atypical (comedy/drama)
9. Dear White People (comedy/drama)
10. Disjointed (comedy)


According to the CRTC, Apple’s iTunes is the most-used transactional vide0-on-demand service in Canada, earning more than two thirds of total TVOD revenues in 2016. So what films and TV shows did Canadians buy in 2017?

Top 10 Movies (English and French)
1. Moana (animated/family)
2. Wonder Woman (action/adventure)
3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (sci-fi/adventure)
4. Trolls (animated/family)
5. Sing (animated/family)
6. Arrival (sci-fi)
7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (sci-fi/adventure)
8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (fantasy/adventure)
9. Doctor Strange (action/adventure)
10. The Boss Baby (animated/comedy)
(And making the top 50 in French Canada is Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 at #48)

Top 10 TV Shows (English)
1. Game of Thrones (fantasy/drama)
2. Suits (legal drama)
3. This is Us (family drama)
4. Homeland (mystery/drama)
5. Outlander (fantasy/romance)
6. The Handmaid’s Tale (drama/dystopian)
7. Big Little Lies (drama)
8. The Walking Dead (thriller/drama)
9. Grey’s Anatomy (medical drama)
10. Nashville (music/romance)

Top 10 TV Shows (French)
1. Game of Thrones (fantasy/drama)
2. Big Little Lies (drama)
3. Homeland (mystery/drama)
4. The Handmaid’s Tale (drama/dystopian)
5. Outlander (fantasy/romance)
6. Les Beaux Malaises (comedy)
7. The Americans (crime/drama)
8. Faits divers (crime)
9. Westworld (sci-fi/mystery)
10. Designated Survivor (political drama/mystery)
[Also cracking the top 20 were Les Simone (comedy at #11) and Unite 9 (drama #16)]


It’s no wonder that CraveTV commissioned 40 more episodes of Letterkenny. The New Metric Media-produced series is the most-watched show on the streamer. It also happens to be the only Canadian original series to crack the top 10 (the only other CraveTV original to make the list, Outsiders, hails from Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios). Also making the list were Toront0-shot Handmaid’s Tale and Star Trek: Discovery. 

1. Letterkenny (comedy)
2. The Handmaid’s Tale (drama/dystopian)
3. Billions (drama)
4. Star Trek: Discovery (sci-fi)
5. The Affair (drama)
6. Ray Donovan (crime drama)
7. The Big Bang Theory (comedy)
8. Seinfeld (comedy)
9. Outsiders (drama)
10. Bosch (crime drama)


Some of the most acclaimed and watched (see above) series of the year were adaptations. The Queen of CanLit, Margaret Atwood, had a particularly huge year with The Handmaid’s Tale airing on Hulu and Alias Grace on CBC/Netflix. Although Handmaid’s Tale was originally published in 1985, according to Kobo, it saw an impressive resurgence in sales this year, due to the TV series. Here’s what else was hot (and hey, some of these books could be on next year’s most-watched list).

Canada’s top 10 bestselling titles this year—those that raked in the most sales:

1. The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware (mystery/thriller)
2. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (dystopian)
3. The Silent Wife – Kerry Fisher (suspense/psychological thriller)
4. Origin – Dan Brown (crime/thriller)
5. Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter (mystery/thriller)
6. The Girl Before – JP Delaney (suspense/psychological thriller)
7. The Fix – David Baldacci (mystery/thriller)
8. Lion  – Saroo Brierley (autobiography)
9. Behind Closed Doors – B. A. Paris (suspense/thriller)
10. Blink – K.L. Slater (mystery/psychological thriller)

Canada’s 10 most-read books – that is, the books that actually got finished:

1. Secrets in Death – J. D. Robb (a.k.a Nora Roberts) (mystery)
2. The Right Time – Danielle Steel (romance)
3. The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter (crime/thriller)
4. Y is for Yesterday – Sue Grafton (mystery)
5. The Late Show – Michael Connelly (mystery/crime)
6. Use of Force – Brad Thor (thriller)
7. When the Music’s Over – Peter Robinson (mystery)
8. Glass Houses – Louise Penny (mystery)
9. Rituals – Kelley Armstrong (thriller)
10. Come Sundown – Nora Roberts (romantic suspense)

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