Dahmer Just Had Netflixs Biggest Series Debut on Record

Netflix’s “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” just had the streaming service’s most-watched Week 1 for a new series on record. And yes, that includes “Squid Game.”

“Dahmer” earned a whopping 196.2 million hours viewed in its first week of availability, which was really just five days. It debuted on a Wednesday, giving the Ryan Murphy drama starring Evan Peters a two-day head start on many other Netflix shows; with some variation, the streaming service typically premieres on Fridays. The Wednesday start was a bit of a throwback for Netflix; given these results, it may be tempting to bring back the company’s former favorite launch day.

For some immediate context, Netflix’s No. 2 series last week was Season 2 of “Fate: The Winx Saga,” which hauled in 60.97 million hours viewed in its second week on the charts (and first full week of availability). “Cobra Kai” Season 5 was third with 38.12 million hours viewed in its third week (second full). Netflix’s most-watched international show was the first full week for newcomer “El Rey, Vicente Fernández,” which had 33.34 million hours viewed.

Netflix’s weekly Top 10 lists date back to late-June 2021. Since then, there have been 10 bigger weeks than “Dahmer’s” — including bigger season-premiere weeks — but never a greater start to an all-new series. (In other words, “Stranger Things 4” had a bigger premiere week, but that’s the fourth season of an established narrative series.)

Below is the full list of weeks that a Netflix series — English-language or otherwise — outperformed “Dahmer’s” first five days. In descending order:

“Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” has renewed fascination with the Milwaukee serial killer who dominated headlines in the early 1990s, and with it has also come scrutiny from those affected by Dahmer’s murders. Episode 8 features a painstaking, almost word-for-word recreation of statements from the victims’ families during his 1992 trial. Eric Perry, cousin of one of Dahmer’s final victims, Errol Lindsey, released a statement on social media over the weekend decrying the series’ “retraumatizing” depiction of Dahmer’s life and crimes.

Meanwhile, Lindsey’s sister Rita Isbell shared an opinion piece with Insider on Monday claiming that Netflix did not contact her about the series. (Perry echoed these claims.) Isbell is played by DaShawn “Dash” Barnes in Episode 8 and is shown emotionally eviscerating Dahmer ahead of his sentencing.

“When I saw some of the show, it bothered me, especially when I saw myself — when I saw my name come across the screen and this lady saying verbatim exactly what I said,” Isbell wrote. “I was never contacted about the show. I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn’t ask me anything. They just did it.”

Since debuting September 23, the series has trended on Twitter with fierce and divided reactions to its use of fact and fiction to tell Dahmer’s story. “Let’s not romanticize Jeffrey Dahmer just because he is played by Evan Peters. Remember the victims. A tread about each victim and who they were,” one user said in a now-viral tweet.

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