2017 anticipates a year of relevant, adapted Netflix original content
With the first seasons of both Stranger Things and The Crown nominated for the Golden Globes, Netflix continues to rise as a Hollywood player in the distribution and creation of original film and television. Though not quite as expansive in production as the venerable HBO, Netflix’s best days still unquestionably lie ahead.
Its two Golden Globe-nominated original series — which, combined, were nominated in three different categories — span in content from 1980s science fiction nostalgia to World War II-era England. This feat showcases Netflix’s commitment to the ever-changing boundaries of format and content, while retaining its title as the iconic streaming service that changed the way the world watches television.
With an impressive range of original content currently including Black Mirror, Arrested Development and Sense8, Netflix continues to promise.
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Jan. 13
Lemony Snicket’s beloved classics are finally coming to life in one of the winter’s most-anticipated releases. Though a 2004 movie starring Jim Carrey was also based on the popular children’s novels, this is the story’s first on-screen retelling in long-form — as the title would have it, as an actual series. Starring veteran actor Neil Patrick Harris, practically unrecognizable in his foreboding make-up as Count Olaf, A Series of Unfortunate Events promises to be a darkly funny visual spectacle.
One Day at a Time – Jan. 6
The original One Day at a Time was a Golden Globe-winning sitcom that ran from the late ’70s through the early ’80s. Starring a classic American (read: white) family, the series depicted its characters using hilarity and optimism to start a new life after a mother’s divorce. Netflix’s new iteration of the sitcom asks us to consider another kind of American family: also single-parent, but this one Cuban American. Starring Isabella Gomez and Rita Moreno, One Day at a Time maintains its humor while centering itself on issues pertaining to veterans, families defined by a blend of cultures and other groups whose voices are rarely portrayed in television.
Frontier – Jan. 20
Though it has been playing in Canada since last November, Frontier is breaking new ground for being Discovery’s first scripted TV series. From a channel whose shows have always taken viewers on journeys, Frontier delves into the brutal and bloody late-1700s fur trade. Featuring Landon Liboiron and the recognizable Jason Momoa of Game of Thrones, the new series will be a fascinating and dramatic take on colonial American history.
Dear White People – TBA
Netflix evidently likes making series out of movies that worked, and who can forget director Justin Simien’s scathing, sharp and honest 2014 film of the same name? The series, like the film, depicts a small community of black students who attend an Ivy League university discovering and fighting through casual racism. At their mostly white school, racist behavior ranges from subtle and insidious to obvious and horrifying. Through this, Dear White People seeks to paint a larger picture of what systemic injustices minority college students face in real life. Starring Brandon P. Bell from the film and directed by Simien and Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins, Dear White People promises to spark as many conversations as its movie counterpart.
13 Reasons Why – TBA
College-age students may recognize this series based on the popular young adult novel of the same name by Jay Asher. After teenager Hannah commits suicide, her admirer Clay is driven to know why. But it seems that Hannah wants to tell her story too, leaving behind audio tapes that wind up in Clay’s hands. 13 Reasons Why is a twisting, dark mystery, and it will be telling to see how the series handles the very real issue of teenage suicide. The upcoming series stars Christian Navarro (of Vinyl and The Tick) and features Selena Gomez as executive producer.
Bill Nye Saves the World – TBA
It is both poetic and frightening that beloved scientist Bill Nye’s new series debuts in a year when the world so desperately needs saving — not just politically, but also environmentally. With the help of five correspondents, including model Karlie Kloss and comedian Joanna Hausmann, Bill Nye will spend each episode discussing the ties between science and American society, as well as debunking false statements from corporate and political leaders. Especially striking in an era when climate change — of all things — has been deadlocked in a political battle, Nye will use knowledge and facts to arm political activists and spread truth to younger generations.