Netflix might be a streaming service but it has really stood in the place of cable television these days. From the reboots of our favorite shows like Gilmore Girls and Fuller House to being able to binge watch the entire series of classics like Law & Order: SVU and throwback Disney movies, Netflix seems to already be everything we need (i.e. Netflix and chill statement). But with all of the existing shows we have to keep us busy on a rainy Saturday morning, it’s easy to forget the new shows that are already making waves on the streaming service. Of course Orange is the New Black has already gotten its fair share of attention, but there are newer ones like The Get Down, Stranger Things, and House of Cards that were major breakout series for Netflix and helped it prove to be more than a service that lets you order one DVD at a time. Let’s be honest, Netflix has certainly come a long way since the days when you had to mail in a DVD of a television show or movie before you received another one in return. But it has certainly taken over the popular days of Blockbuster and video rental. Thinking of how far Netflix has come, it’s no wonder it has its own library of new shows even hitting the service this year. And it’s easy to forget. So I want to remind you of 15 Netflix originals you probably forgot were getting released this year.
15 Dear White People
After making waves with the film, Netflix apparently thought it was on to something and has decided to kick off the official first season of Dear White People on April 28. Featuring ten 30 minute episodes, the show will star Logan Browning, who many fans might remember from VH1’s series Hit The Floor. The series has already sparked lots of controversy from its name alone, months before it is even released. But hey, so did the film. As for the plot, it’s set to tell the story of the things black students at Winchester college experience, from a protest that happens right on campus grounds to their “oblivious” Caucasian counterparts. Browning has nabbed the role as Sam, an activist who uses her passion and anger to make change on the campus through her radio show. It looks like her character is pretty connected to all of the racial events on campus whether it’s a town hall meeting or discussing a blackface party on school property.
14 Friends from College
Now doesn’t this sound fun? For starters, it stars Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele, so that right there says it’s more than likely bound to be a hit. Also in the show is Cobie Smulders, Fred Savage (throwback!), Jae Suh Park, and Annie Parisse along with Nat Faxton. This group of college friends who went to Harvard are now staring their forties dead in the eye. Of course things get pretty complicated when it comes to their relationships and romances and all that good stuff. After all, college alone was complicated. So to have the same friends decades later could be a dream come true but it could also be a pain. Netflix has said, “Friends from College is a comedic exploration of old friendships, former romantic entanglements and balancing adult life with nostalgia for the past.” No news on a release date yet but I’m sure tons of fans will be counting down for this one.
How scary does this one sound? Well it’s definitely full of lots of twists and turns like anyone would expect. This series is expected to debut on Netflix toward the end of the year. An exact release date hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Netflix has released a synopsis of what to expect possibly with the hopes of holding fans over until its big debut. It tells the story of a dysfunctional family “with a supernatural twist,” who live in Germany. But when two children disappear, their dysfunction shows even more in the ten one hour long episodes. “The story takes on a supernatural twist that ties back to the same town in 1986.” It’s not clear why it's called Dark but I can certainly almost guarantee that that is how many of the secrets exposed will be described. But the idea of the back-and-forth between present day and the mid 80s is pretty cool.
12 Stretch Armstrong
It’s not clear if Netflix thought it was on to something with the fantasy theme for its television shows, but show runners are certainly experimenting when it comes to one of its latest series, Stretch Armstrong, that will also be released this year. You might recognize the name as it was originally a toy. Now, it’s turned into a Netflix series that features 26 episodes telling the stories of three teenage superheroes. Of course things aren’t that easy as the trio known as the Flex Fighters, including the lead Jake Armstrong, hit a few more road bumps than they would like. In case you were wondering, Hasbro Studios is the brains behind this operation. It might be safe to say Netflix is trying to tap into a younger crowd this time around after its first couple rounds of original programming were clearly for adults. Here’s a fun fact: the show was actually supposed to be a movie first but Universal Pictures decided not to get behind it. Only time will tell if the television show will be a success. The release date has not been confirmed yet.
It’s not really a shocking idea that Netflix would want to release a lighthearted television show for the 2017 season. After seeing its successes in the drama world, it was only a matter of time before it came out with comedy series. On that note, in comes Girlboss. The series was released on the streaming service on April 21 and has already gotten lots of buzz as the likes of Chelsea Handler and RuPaul make unforgettable and notable appearances. Still, it was actually the original #Girlboss book by Sophia Amoruso that was the launching pad for the series. It’s about a girl of the same name, portrayed by actress Britt Robertson, who starts selling vintage clothes on eBay with the hopes of making a profit. She does more than that and becomes the owner of a multi-million dollar company called Nasty Gal. Talk about inspiration to hit up the local Goodwill.
10 Spirit Riding Free
Now, this one is definitely not an appropriate film for Netflix and chill. But when it comes to completely clean fun for the whole family, the animated series will certainly fit the bill. The DreamWorks original Netflix series is slated to premiere on May 5. It’s probably going to be a pretty big hit considering it's based off of the film that was nominated for an Oscar. It looks like Netflix is starting small, as this is a still a risky move for the company. So there will only be six episodes in the first season. As for the story line, it’s about a girl, Lucky, who is from the city but moved to the country. She’s said to be “courageous,” and “gutsy," something many of the DreamWorks characters can relate to. But one of her closest friends is none other than a mustang named Spirit. Her friends, Pru and Abigail, who also have horses, will also be joining her for the ride. Considering this is a different direction than other Netflix originals, it’s easy too see why this one would be forgotten.
9 Get Me Roger Stone
The name alone says this film is all about the business. Get Me Roger Stone will be available on Netflix starting May 12. It’s actually pretty timely considering all that’s going on in the real world of politics today. For those who don’t know, the film is a documentary about President Donald Trump’s former advisor, Roger Stone. As for what fans can expect from Get Me Roger Stone, it will of course touch on his relationship with the current President, that reportedly dates all the way back to the 1980s. While he’s still a lover of Trump, he left the campaign back in 2015. Netflix has vowed that Get Me Roger Stone will provide “an up-close look into his rise and the transformation of American politics.” As for the people taking the reins behind the scenes, Blair Foster Lisa Nishimura, Adam Del Deo, and Jason Spingarn-Koff are the executive producers.
8 The Mars Generation
It’s safe to say that Netflix is trying to amp up its educational and family programming after hits like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards were clearly NSFW at some moments. So in enters The Mars Generation, a complicated perspective of “the little known history of mankind’s efforts to reach Mars as seen through the eyes of teens who aspire to be the first ever to set foot on the Red Planet…” Interestingly enough, it looks like this one could take the place of Bill Nye the Science Guy in elementary and middle school classrooms. But the show runners were smart enough to team up with the likes of Nye as well as Neil DeGrasse Tyson who both have cameos in the series. “The film sheds light on just how close we are to a manned mission to Mars and the incredible impact that such a journey would have on both the scientific advancement and the collective pride of the people of Earth.” The film hits Netflix on May 5.
7 Las Chicas del Cable
With movies like Hidden Figures telling the story of women making strides in a male dominated world becoming such a success, Netflix is right on the ball with one of its latest releases called Las Chicas del Cable which will be released on April 28. The company describes it as a show that is “set to begin in Madrid during 1928,” according to a Netflix release. “The national telephone company opens its headquarters in the city center and hundreds of girls queue up to get a job as a ‘cable girl’ in the only place that represents progress and modernity for women at the time.” The show centers around four girls who clearly live completely different lives. So it’s only a matter of time before “jealousy, envy and betrayal” are added into the mix “with the hunger for success, friendship and love.” In English, the translation of the title is Cable Girls. I have to say this is a pretty creative plot in a story that has to be told. It will just be interesting to see how it is set up.
This is the story of a female therapist, Jean Holloway, who just gets way too close to her patients. If you haven’t heard of it, it stars Naomi Watts opposite Billy Crudup. It has been described as, “a thrilling new series” that tells the story of a therapist who “develops dangerous and intimate relationships with the people in the patients’ lives.” It's not exactly clear how close Watts’s character gets to the people she is caring for, but based on a spotting of Watts filming the scene with another actress, it’s safe to say the therapist gets way too close; after all, it had to be interesting enough to create a whole series around it. Also starring in the 10 episode season are Karl Glusman, Melanie Liburd, Poorna Jagannathan, Maren Heary, and Frank Deal. It doesn’t look like Gypsy has been given a premiere date yet. But it will debut by the end of the year.
As special needs like Autism gets more attention, the idea of the upcoming series Atypical on Netflix is a really great one. It’s about a guy named Sam (portrayed by actress Keir Gilchrist) who is 18-years-old and lives with Autism. Still, he doesn’t let the diagnosis stop him from going on a hunt for not only love but a journey to find himself. His family is consistently worried and concerned about whether he can do it all alone. It makes them address the question that so many others are wondering in the world we live in, “What does it really mean to be normal?” Netflix has said, “Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as his mother, Elsa, who is on her own journey of self-discovery.” Atypical is a brand new series in its own right but it also follows the footsteps of shows like AMC’s Born This Way, a reality show about children with Down Syndrome. The announcement of the show also came around the time Sesame Street debuted its first Autistic character.
4 War Machine
Brad Pitt stars in this film that is about the story of a US General who was once on top of the world before everything came crashing down on him and everything around him. War Machine is out on May 26. The trailer is definitely enough for fans to get an idea of what to expect from this highly anticipated project. “Most of us here will know Gen. McMahon as the man who kicked al-Qaeda in the sack,” the beginning of the trailer said. Well, if that doesn’t scream "Set your calendar" then I don’t know what will. I have to say Netflix seems to be amping up when it comes to the historical shows as well as the educational films and projects. War Machine has already been described as a “film for our times,” with Pitt leading the ranks as the disgraced four-star general that still has the ability to be a rockstar.
3 Bill Nye Saves The World
It’s The Doctors meets Dr. Oz. It was only a matter of time before the beloved scientist of the nineties and early 2000s snagged his own Netflix series, and that’s just what he did! It premiered on April 21 so it’s not clear if the show is a success just yet. But there was definitely some high anticipation around it. Besides reminding us that “inertia is a property of matter” (who remembers that from the Bill Nye the Science Guy intro theme song?), the scientist, who is still going strong, now “hosts a talk show exploring scientific issues from space exploration to fad diets.” What’s interesting is that the same kids who were once fascinated with space are probably now the adults who are wondering if they should try the latest fad diet they see on Pinterest. That Bill, I tell you, he’s a pure genius. Will you be tuning in to that one?
This segment is ready to live out loud on Netflix on June 23. GLOW stars Alison Brie, Marc Maron, and Betty Gilpin along with other Hollywood heavy hitters. As for the plot, this special tells the story of female wrestlers. Like seriously, who would have thought to do that? It looks like Netflix is proud that this show will “showcase big hair and body slams,” which sounds like a pretty interesting and unlikely combination. As for the main character, she’s a struggling actress who goes after her dream one last time “in the form of a weekly series about female wrestlers,” according to a Netflix statement. If this goes anything like the cliche plots, it’s safe to say that the main character might find another dream that she is already accomplishing, or somehow fall into a way to complete her own. This show is said to be inspired by the success of Orange is the New Black and Weeds.
I have to say I’m actually pretty excited about this one. Yes, there are tons of shows like it already on television from 24 (and then of course 24: Legacy), Scandal, Quantico, and the ongoing list of prolific government shows, but Mindhunter does have the potential to stand out. This series, which premieres on October 19, is about an FBI agent who works for the “elite” Serial Crime Unit and “develops profiling techniques as he pursues notorious serial killers and rapers.” Now, don’t get me wrong, this could be a good or bad thing for fans who watch shows that could be very similar such as Law & Order: SVU. The good thing is that some might already be a fan of Mindhunter just because of its story line, while others could be over the whole political, authoritative movement that has become so popular on the small screen and in movies. But with a promising cast, we have high hopes!