Fans of Riot Games’ long-running arena game League of Legends are having a moment right now. A new series based on the game, Arcane, is the number one show on Netflix. It’s more than just popular: it’s excellent. The series has been lauded by critics and audiences alike, with everything from the voice acting to the animation receiving praise.
League of Legends isn’t a niche property. It’s a popular game series, especially among fans of competitive eSports. However, it wasn’t a household name until Arcane dropped on Netflix earlier this month. The new series is the first TV series from Riot Games, and it has made a stellar first impression on legions of new fans.
Seizing the Top Spot
Squid Game, a brutal Korean drama about a twisted game show, sat atop the Netflix chart for months thanks to its viral success. Its compelling drama, slick production, and shocking violence proved to be a winning mixture, catapulting it to pop culture dominance. It’s poetic that the program that knocked it off of the number-one spot is thematically as different as possible.
Where Squid Game is a gritty, live-action thriller, Arcane is an animated romp. Both series deal with some heavy themes, though. Arcane focuses on a pair of sisters trying to make their way in a world defined by steampunk magic and wealth inequality. The show managed to secure Netflix’s top spot through a mix of existing League of Legends fans tuning in and positive word of mouth over the internet.
Critics love the show, too. Arcane currently holds a rare 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it Netflix’s first show to achieve that benchmark. It isn’t just a critical darling, either. Fans of League of Legends and newcomers alike love it. Rotten Tomatoes audience score for the series is sitting at 98 percent, while responses on social media show that people are fascinated with Arcane’s presentation.
The show’s popularity has spilled over into League of Legends itself. The series’ protagonists, like Vi, Jayce, and Jinx, are more popular than ever. Players are playing those three at a much higher rate in November due to the show’s explosion in popularity.
It doesn’t hurt that Riot is giving away free cosmetic items for those characters to tie in with the Netflix series. Vi, Jayce, and Jinx haven’t benefitted competitively from their newfound popularity, though. Their win rates are plummeting as new players flock to them. Jayce and Vi, in particular, are tricky characters for new players.
The Show Rules
Anecdotally, the show is great. Even if you’ve never played League of Legends, Arcane is a must-watch series. The animation is breathtaking, the voice acting is superb, and the action is smooth and easy to read. Arcane is great at ramping up the tension, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats before chaos breaks loose.
The first six episodes are streaming on Netflix now. The final three episodes, marketed as “Act 3,” will drop on November 20.