Netflix and Feels Index: The Shows That Shed the most Tears


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  • Breaking Bad is the saddest show, scoring the highest in the Netflix and Feels index with 130 points and producing enough tears to fill 10 swimming pools
  • The show with the most swimming pools filled with tears is Orange is the New Black, the show generated enough tears to fill an outstanding 96 standard swimming pools
  • The 4-part drama series When They See Us rounds off the top 10 and would have filled 5 swimming pools with tears

There are a number of reasons why we choose to watch sad films and TV shows or why we cry when our favourite characters break up or die in the film/series we’re watching.

To determine the top 10 tearjerkers from the Netflix archives, OnBuy TV surveyed 2,936 Netflix users worldwide on what shows made them cry the most and then accumulated different attributing factors to be scored on.

To find out how many tears were shed per show, OnBuy TV painstakingly researched each show to find out how many sad scenes it had and analysed the level of “sadness” it created. They then pulled the data for the average crying time for both men and women and used the standard tear volume to determine how many were shed. The final figure was then multiplied by the shows reported viewership.

To put into context just how upsetting each of these shows are, OnBuy TV calculated how many swimming pools could be filled with the tears shed.

In first place for the show that made us the saddest is the crime drama Breaking Bad, scoring 130 points in the Netflix and Feels index. Despite being a slow starter among fans, the series increased in popularity when it was picked up by Netflix.

Having a collective 74,200 searches for keywords like “sad”, “cried” and “heartbreaking” on Reddit, a whopping 271 character deaths (8 of them main characters), and having the highest number of sad scenes in a series at 62, it’s no wonder the tears for this series could fill 10 swimming pools.

Fan favourite Stranger Things swooped in at second place, scoring 88 points. With 78,590 sad word searches on Reddit, the show saw 5 main characters die and had 27 sad scenes, which contributed to 11 swimming pools filled with tears.

In third place with the highest recorded viewership of a whopping 105 million is Orange is the New Black (also known as OITNB) scoring 80 points. With 20,010 sad word searches on Reddit, 4 main character deaths and 59 sad scenes, this series generated enough tears to fill an outstanding 96 swimming pools or just over 2 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

In fourth place with 65 points is the controversial 13 Reasons Why, with enough tears shed to fill just over 4 swimming pools. In fifth place is the dark comedy Dead to Me, with 41 points and enough tears to fill 4 swimming pools. In sixth place is the American superhero series Umbrella Academy, with 33 points and enough tears to fill an impressive 16 pools.

Placing seventh is the painful 8-part crime drama Unbelievable scoring 30 points and filling 20 swimming pools with tears. In eighth place is the British comedy-drama Sex Education with 25 points and enough tears to fill 11 swimming pools. In ninth place is the genius comedy series Schitt’s Creek, with 22 points and 2 swimming pools worth of tears.

Rounding off the top 10 is the 4-part drama series based on true events, When They See Us, scoring 19 points in our Netflix and Feels Index, with 14 sad scenes, this 4-part series would have had enough tears to fill 5 swimming pools.

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