“Loki,” which returned for a second season on Thursday, might (low key) be the best Disney+ original series. Although “Star Wars” spinoff “The Mandalorian” is widely considered the star of the original Disney+ series, a close look at Nielsen data suggests that Tom Hiddleston’s “Avengers” spinoff could be the brightest celestial body in the galaxy .
Since Nielsen released its weekly streaming top 10 list in 2020, 19 of all Disney+ original series have appeared on the charts at least once, for a total of 120 appearances by the streamer. Of those 120 appearances, 12 reached one billion minutes watched: nine for “The Mandalorian,” two for “Loki,” and one week for “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” (“The Mandalorian” surpassed 1 billion minutes in the last full week of 2019, when the seventh of the first eight episodes was released; Nielsen estimated the length but did not yet compile a list.)
“Loki” reached this magical number for the first time with the release of its fifth episode. This happened again with the sixth (and final) episode of the first season. Strong backloading viewership makes sense in the on-demand era: More minutes to binge (see: Netflix and “Suits”) and the benefits that come with a season finale are a powerful combination.
The opposite can also be the case. Viewership for a new series or season could be advanced based on anticipation alone. “Obi-Wan Kenobi” hit a billion minutes in its second week of release, but never again. (It came very close in Week 3.) The Mandalorian had more than a billion minutes the week Season 2 premiered, but no more in the next three weeks.
“The Mandalorian” has three seasons, each with eight episodes, available on Disney+. “Obi-Wan,” like “Loki,” has six (to date).
“Loki” enjoyed the biggest series premiere week of any Disney+ show ever, with 731 million minutes viewed in Week 1. When we hit the back button on our Nielsen chart, The Mandalorian, a much more recent series, had 495 million minutes watched on Disney+.
Disney has called “Loki” “the most-watched Marvel Studios series on Disney+,” but has not publicly compared it to “The Mandalorian.” Disney declined for this story.
Our comparison continues: “Loki” and “The Mandalorian” both have a critic rating of 71 on Metacritic(aka “generally positive”), with “The Mandalorian” enjoying a slightly higher rating among viewers.
IndieWire TV critic Ben Travers gave Season 2 of “Loki” a “C,” the same as Season 1. (Professor Travers was more generous on “The Mandalorian” and “Obi-Wan.”)
However, “Loki” Season 2 has to contend with more than the critics: There is one major problem. The upcoming installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will also have to deal with the news cycle and the New York City District Attorney’s Office
Jonathan Majors, one of the main actors in Loki, was arrested (and released) in New York on March 25th. His former girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, says Majors attacked her as he rode in a taxi back to his Manhattan apartment. Police responded to a 911 call and found minor injuries to Jabbari’s head and neck. Majors, who has been charged with negligent harassment and assault, denies the allegations.
The Majors’ defense team has filed a motion to dismiss the charges. Oct. 6, the day after the second season premiere of “Loki,” is the deadline for the district attorney to respond to the Majors team’s motion to dismiss. The defense has to answer this The until October 13th. Unless there are changes, the already postponed trial against the Majors will begin on October 25th; he must appear in person. As for the schedule for Loki season 2, episode 4 (of 6) will be released on Disney+.
Kevin Wright, executive producer of Loki, spoke with him diversity about Season 2, including the Majors situation. He said the production did not do any additional footage to edit out Majors or recast his character, Kang the Conqueror. Kang was also the villain in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, released in February.
“It felt rushed to do something without knowing how it was all going to turn out,” Wright said.
There are (were?) big future plans for Majors in the MCU. Majors was set to star in the feature film “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” in 2026. He is also booked for “Avengers: Secret Wars” in 2027. However, production on these films is far from beginning, and plans for the Kang character are almost certainly awaiting the results of negotiations.
“Loki” episode 201 premieres on Disney+ on Thursday.