The show cost how much?! The priciest original series on Netflix

Streaming services have invested some serious dough in recent years to attract new viewers with high-caliber shows. Amazon, for example, has reportedly set aside a budget of more than $1 billion (yes, with a “B”) for five seasons of its upcoming Lord of the Rings series, or $200 million per season. Sometimes, these services are willing to pay top dollar to retain the streaming rights to popular legacy series: Netflix reportedly paid $100 million to keep ‘90s sitcom Friends through 2019.

Moves like this could be part of the reason that Netflix recently hiked its subscription pricing once again, but Netflix has also been dropping massive coin for its own roster of original series and films in the past few years. As such, we’ve put together this list of the most expensive Netflix original series to date. Note that these figures are based on how much Netflix purportedly spent per season for these series, not necessarily per episode. Enjoy!

Chris Rock Stand-Up Specials

Netflix has made an incredible investment in comedy as of late, and the service paid through the nose for access to two stand-up comedy specials from Chris Rock, to the tune of $40 million. At about an hour each (Tamborine, which was released last year, has a runtime of 1 hour, 4 minutes), that’s the equivalent of $20 million per “episode.” The deal marked Rock’s return to stand-up after an eight-year hiatus, during which he focused on movies and other projects. Netflix is clearly on a mission to up its game in the stand-up comedy space, and is willing to spend as much as it does on a full season of a series to attract top comedic talent.

Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist

This is a tough one to quantify since it isn’t a single series, but rather a deal with Marvel. Netflix had a reported budget of $200 million to produce these series, which would equate, if evenly distributed, to about $40 million for each one. Yet Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Daredevil were all canceled last year. The second and third seasons of The Punisher and Jessica Jones, respectively, are filming and both will stream this year. From a sheer economic point of view, the cancellations were puzzling given that Daredevil was reportedly one of the streaming service’s most popular shows, but the fact that Marvel’s parent company is about to launch its own competing streaming service, Disney+, likely played heavily into the decision.

Hemlock Grove

At $45-$50 million for the 13-episode first season, or about $4 million per episode, this horror series about strange happenings in a fictional Pennsylvania town was not very well received, though it reportedly got more viewers than House of Cards for its opening weekend. It did manage to last three, albeit very expensive, seasons.

Orange is the New Black

This might be the investment that has paid off the most for Netflix, as the series about a rough group of ladies in a women’s prison has been one of the most successful for the streaming service, winning multiple awards and being well-received by viewers and critics alike. It has run for 6 seasons, and the upcoming seventh will be its last. But through its run, the drama/comedy has cost $50 million per season, or about $4 million per episode — mere peanuts compared to the massive budgets for series like The Crown.

Dave Chappelle Stand-Up Specials

Like the Chris Rock specials, this isn’t a series, per se, but Netflix reportedly paid a whopping $60 million for rights to three exclusive stand-up comedy specials from the Chappelle, which marked his return to Hollywood after a 12-year absence. That would equate to $20 million per “episode,” though Netflix presumably felt it was worth it for the publicity and subscribers he would bring in.

House of Cards

This political drama was one of Netflix’s most popular series, recently debuting its final season (minus original star Kevin Spacey). In its heyday, the series six-season show cost $60 million per season or about $4.5 million per episode. Add to that the cost of the episodes that were scrapped after reportedly being written and, in some cases, filmed for season 6 — due to Spacey’s controversial departure — and the series total cost may have been even higher.

Marco Polo

It only lasted two seasons, but this pricey 13th-century drama had a reported $90 million budget for its first 10 episodes. Another period piece that required expensive sets and costumes, this one didn’t resonate as well with viewers and reportedly left Netflix with a more than $200 million “loss” however that’s quantified.


Despite fan outcry about the cancellation, this series from the Wachowskis was simply too expensive to produce, costing about $108 million per season or $9 million per episode. The show, which centered around a group of eight characters from around the world who are mentally and emotionally linked to one another, was often shot on location, including a total of 16 cities and 13 countries over the two seasons. After a fan petition, Netflix did end up airing a two-hour series finale special to bring some closure, along with a two-hour Christmas special.

The Get Down

This series only lasted one season, which was divided into two parts and reduced in numbers from what was originally intended. A large part of it being short-lived is likely due to the exorbitant cost, running a reported $120 million that was well over its initial budget. Production issues even led to some writers jokingly calling it “The Shut Down.” Set in the 1970s and cenetered around a group of teens in the Bronx, it required tons of costumes and hip-hop musical numbers. In the end, the ballooning budget, production delays, and shifting direction meant the show could not go on.

The Crown

The elaborate costumes (including a $35,000 replica of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress), top-billed actors, and a life-size replica of Buckingham Palace were presumably worth the money, as this show has been widely lauded for its accurate representation of the life of the Royal Family and a young Queen Elizabeth. That said, the critical acclaim came at a serious price, ammounting to a reported $130 million per season, or about $13 million per episode. That means The Crown is not only the most expensive show for Netflix to date, but it’s also among the most expensive series ever made.

Product Review

Metro Exodus is a journey through a nuclear hellscape that lures you in

Metro Exodus moves the action out of the Moscow subway system and across a devastated Russia, but 4A Games’ latest shooter didn’t forget what made the series so beloved in the first place.
Movies & TV

Marvel’s streaming Loki series gets a plot summary and a showrunner

A Rick & Morty writer will oversee Marvel's Loki series for Disney Plus. Tom Hiddleston is expected to reprise his role for the show, while the series' premise offers a few hints as to how Loki might return from the dead.
Home Theater

10 apocalyptic TV shows that make the end of civilization binge-worthy

There are plenty of ways civilization can get wiped out, and it can make for some great TV. Each of these series showcases a terrifying event that changes civilization as we know it. These are the best post-apocalyptic shows on TV.
Movies & TV

The truth is out there: Here are the 10 best episodes of ‘The X-Files’

From alien-abduction drama to hilarious satires, these are the best episodes of The X-Files from all 11 seasons of the award-winning series that made audiences want to believe that the truth - scary as it might be - is out there.
Movies & TV

Did I really watch that? Here's how to delete your Netflix viewing history

Everybody has some skeletons in their streaming closet, but you don't have to live with them if you don't want to. Learning how to delete your Netflix viewing history is easy, and we're here to help.
Movies & TV

From Roma to Isle of Dogs: Here’s where to watch 2019’s Oscar nominees online

The 2019 Oscar field is a strong one, and if you missed some of the films in theaters, you may be in luck: Several of them are available on popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO.
Movies & TV

You should read these epic sci-fi novels before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

Here's how to turn off subtitles on Netflix, no matter the device

Subtitles are great if you want or need them, but they can be a major headache if you’ve somehow turned them on by accident and can’t figure out how to get rid of them. Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it seems.
Home Theater

Everything to know about Sling TV: Channels, pricing, and more

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Movies & TV

Oscar Effects

Every year, five films are nominated for an Academy Award in the “Visual Effects” category. Each of the projects nominated this year offer a unique, inside look at the amazing tricks filmmakers and their talented effects teams use to…
Movies & TV

Eye-popping Alita: Battle Angel delivers a beautifully hollow cyberpunk spectacle

With Alita: Battle Angel, Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron finally deliver a cyberpunk adventure that keeps the action high with groundbreaking visual effects, even when the story falls short.
Home Theater

ATSC 3.0: The next-gen TV update explained

ATSC 3.0 is the next major update to the broadcast standard we use today. Will this be the second coming of free, over-the-air TV? We're here to explain everything about the new standard.
Movies & TV

Ben Affleck explains why he is no longer working on The Batman

Warner Bros. Pictures' The Batman will come out in June 2021, but it needs a new star. Ben Affleck has confirmed he's hanging up the cape and cowl once and for all and explained why on Jimmy Kimmel Live!