Netflix’s evolution from humble DVD dispensary, to streaming service, to full fledged original content producer has been a joy to watch. Literally. The company took a leap in 2013 with its first original production, House of Cards, and has been producing binge inducing crowd pleasers like Stranger Things, while rebooting classics like Full House ever since. Netflix doesn’t release data on how many people are watching what, but at over 110 million subscribers, they’ve become the premiere streaming service on Earth.
It’s hard to say what about Netflix original programing has made them such a juggernaut. They’ve hinted at a data based algorithmic approach to writing and there is the nostalgia bait inherent in shows like Stranger Things. Obviously partnering with Disney to show a grittier side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was no small coup. Even their missteps like, Bright, had all of us tuning in and talking. No one strategy explains what makes us crave, binge, and repeat as much as we do. It’s like magic.
In a media landscape crowded by an ever increasing array of producers trying to crack the code of addictive, digestible content; Netflix remains an unparalleled maverick with a healthy stable of bleeding edge originals. As we ease into the first quarter of 2018, they already have dozens of movies, and TV shows in production, waiting to blow our minds and own the internet.
Here are the fifteen shows/movies still in production that you will be watching and talking about all year.
15 Carmen Sandiego
Forget where in the world Carmen Sandiego is going to wind up this week. Netflix has promised that in this ongoing animated series we’re going to find out all about who Carmen Sandiego is, where Carmen Sandiego comes from and exactly why Carmen Sandiego does what it is that she does.
It’s an origin story and probably somewhat of a reboot, though we can’t imagine it being a prequel to the 90s show (although that would be pretty cool). Gina Rodriguez from Jane the Virgin will star as the titular hero and Stranger Things' own Finn Wolfhard is co-staring as a mysterious character known only as 'Player' to be her sidekick. No word on whether or not Rockapella will be returning to do the score, but we can’t imagine how they'd revive a show like this without bringing back one of the most iconic and memorable parts of the original.
14 Bright 2
In a long since erased Tweet, controversial screenwriter Max Landis famously referred to his script for Bright as having the potential to be his Star Wars. Well that ended up not really happening. Max had to take a bit of an L when rumors of misconduct arose right before the release of Bright, which was met with almost unanimous unfavorable reviews. The movie became little more than a punching bag with people referring to it as ‘The Orc Cop movie’ and taking shots at its tone deaf approach to race relations in the United States. The funny thing is after all that negative press, Netflix still announced a sequel was already in development. Huh? But it makes sense if you compare it to a movie like Sharknado. Being a watercooler/Twitter gossip type show is good for ratings, even if the people watching don’t really like what they’re seeing.
13 Jessica Jones: Season Two
If your favorite detective is a super powered alcoholic who can’t quite fly so much as fall gracefully, then you're in luck. Jessica Jones season 2 has been filming and the buzz is good. First there were the set photos of David Tennant which caused a lot of speculation that his character Killgrave was back and the show ended with so many loose ends waiting to be tied up. Will we see Nuke get his face tattoo and robot enhancements? Will Patsy Walker somehow investigate herself into a bright yellow and blue catsuit to fight alongside her adopted sister?
So far the Marvel series on Netflix haven’t had the best sophomore seasons. Daredevil season 2 kind of fell apart once Elektra showed up and The Defenders left fans divided. Plus with Marvel re-acquiring the rights to all its characters to run on their own as of yet unnamed streaming service, the fate of the extended universe might very well be in JJ’s hands.
12 Queer Eye: Season One
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy always felt like a fever dream of a parody. Cringe inducing, clueless, pre-woke reality TV that cashed in on exploiting stereotypes. If you’ve heard of it or never watched it, you could be forgiven for assuming it wasn't real, but just some kind of half remembered parody from Saturday Night Live or MadTV. But no, Queer Eye was all too real and now it’s back.
Times are different and stereotypes aren't cool anymore. But it looks like Queer Eye is doubling down on them anyway. Is it really okay to assume gay men have a supernatural sense of aesthetics? Are cis men really the clumsy fools the show treats them as? What about gender non conforming people? Ideally Netflix has their top data scientists and ethicists working round the clock to deliver something palatable to every gender and orientation out there. They’ve had missteps with Bright and Dave Chappelle's first stand up special. No need to repeat those mistakes.
11 Coach Snoop
Everybody loves Snoop Doggy Dogg, the bonafide 90s rapper who beat a murder charge and sold millions of albums. 20 years later and we’re happy to inform you that Snoop Dogg is a football coach with his own Netflix reality series about the day to day managing of the football league he created and the players who joined it.
This looks to be a gritty, reality doc about Snoop mentoring and coaching young kids from south central Los Angeles. You’ll meet different team members, learn about their life, their struggles and how they got to be in Snoop's league. Bear witness to the hard work Snoop is putting in to help these kids face down the challenges and obstacles of day to day reality. I never thought Snoop would wind up being a inspirational sports hero guru, but it is 2018 and anything is possible.
10 Game Over, Man!
Shaggy, the creators of Workaholics, and everybody's favorite slacker normies (Adam Devine, Anders Holm, and Blake Anderson) are dropping a Die Hard inspired riff on action movies. Expect homages to everything from Fast and the Furious, to xXx, and more as three waiters at an exclusive Los Angeles hotel find themselves as the only hope for stopping a terrorist attack and 'looking bad ass on the news.'
Adam Devine loads up on guns and brings his friends to a bullet riddled coming of age movie where three dudes who have been phoning it in their entire lives finally answer the call to prove they are more than just dumb waiters. They are action heroes with all the pathos and fire power they need to save Shaggy.
9 The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Jim Henson may have passed, but The Muppets will always be an eternal, elemental force in the universe. However, The Dark Crystal was also considered to be Henson’s grand Opus. A mythical fantasy world where larger than life ideas and morals could be communicated to kids with intricate, uncanny puppets. The original movie has always proved divisive and returning to the film as an adult reveals it's kind of slow and a bit heavy handed, but nostalgia goggles look both ways.
Plumbing the depths of the 80s for nostalgia based content has worked for Netflix before, with its patchwork homage masterpiece Stranger Things. This time they’re going right for the source and offering an official prequel to Henson’s most popular work outside of The Muppets. It might be refreshing to see actual real live puppets instead of layers upon layers of CG and The Dark Crystal was never meant to be just one movie, but a whole franchise. It’s heartening to know Henson’s dream is finally coming to fruition.
8 Lost in Space: Reboot
The 1960’s TV classic Lost in Space has existed mostly as a kitschy reminder of a more naive time. It has haunted cable TV in the form of perpetual reruns and even inspired a gritty feature film in 1998 starring Matt LeBlanc, Heather Graham, and Mimi Rodgers (but the less said about that, the better.)
The concept of the show is simply enough; The Swiss Family Robinson… In Space! And there is a reason the concept sticks in our heads, even if the execution hasn’t traditionally been interstellar. We as a people love desert island stories. Shows like Gilligan's Island, Lost, The Walking Dead. These narratives stimulate something ancient in us, like the need to survive, to explore, and to bond together. Let’s hope that they stick the landing with this re-make which features the inspired choice to cast Parker Posey as the nefarious Dr Smith.
7 Godzilla: Anime
Maybe we as a people are just done having new ideas? The Godzilla property is a post war relic that has inspired countless reboots, re-interpretations, a shared universe with King Kong, and a homage heavy ‘original concept’ by Guillermo Del Toro in the form of Pacific Rim. I guess you can come up with the most groundbreaking, thought provoking concepts for a story, but at the end of the day each new generation just wants to see a new spin on two giant monsters beating the heck out of each other in the middle of a city.
This new anime straight out of Japan flips the script a bit by taking place 2000 years in the future and having the biggest version of Godzilla yet kick, stomp and tail whip his way through a future utopia who probably had it coming anyway. The first instalment came out in 2017, with two more slated for release in or after 2018.
6 Love: Season 3
How do you juggle your fledgling career in an industry you love with 21st century cyber dating in a post modern capitalist dystopia? Paul Rust might just have the answer in the third and final season of his hit show, Love. Rust, and the show's producer Judd Apatow, have admittedly rummaged through their own pre-fame love and personal lives to dig up the introspective, relatable, gold that has so many people praising the show. So, you have to wonder what skeletons they have left to pick bare for this final outing.
Known for its realistic characters, contemporary situations, and quirky but all too relatable plotlines, the final season will premiere on March 9th and, in classic Netflix fashion, will be available to binge upon its release. Not much as been said about what to expect in season 3, but Apatow has teased that everything will wrap up and it ends in a sweet way.
5 Watership Down
BBC and Netflix are combining their resources to produce a new version of the 1978 cult classic Watership Down. Based on the novel of the same name by author Richard Adams, the show was originally set to air in 2017, but, for reasons unknown, the release was pushed back to sometime in 2018.
Promising to be four episodes, each one hour long, the show features an all star vocal cast including James Macavoy, Nicholas Holt, John Boyega, Gemma Arterton, and Ben Kingsley. No trailer or art has been released yet, but the synopsis remains the same as the original: A rag tag group of rabbits band together to go on a dangerous journey to escape their home which is being overrun by evil forces. Good luck rabbits. Good luck indeed.
4 The Umbrella Academy
While you probably know Gerard Way best for his time fronting the overtly theatrical emo group, My Chemical Romance, you might be surprised to find out he has a side hustle as an esteemed comic book writer and creator. Netflix is bringing his critically acclaimed original work, The Umbrella Academy, to the streaming screen later this year with a star-studded cast that will have you shook.
The comic is about a dysfunctional super powered family who have been separated and need to re-unite and work on their issues. The comic always had a Burtonesque goth feel to it and each of the characters have quirky, but cool original powers like Rumor who can alter reality by lying, or Spaceboy, the oldest brother, who had his Head surgically attached to the body of a gorilla. Ellen Page will star, along with genre favorites Tom Hopper and Robert Sheehan when the ten episode run premieres later this year.
3 Spy Kids: Mission Critical!
Robert Rodriguez is an absolute madman. The Spy Kids movies kind of went off the rails after a while, but they never stopped being interesting. Especially when you consider these were supposed to be popcorn films for kids. As of right now, no one has confirmed whether or not Danny Trejo will be back or if he is too busy running his various taco and donut stands. But we do know this is a series about two new spies named Juni and Carmen Cortez facing off against a villainous organization called S.W.A.M.P. (Sinister Wrongdoers Against Mankind's Preservation).
The original actors are well into their twenties these days and while some might refer to them as kids, they aren’t exactly the kind of kids you’d be expecting from a TV show for kids. It’s probably safe to say we can expect cameos and references. as well as some other surprises. Who knows, maybe Quentin Tarantino will direct an episode or two.
2 The Ritual
Thor is pretty popular these days, so why not make some more Norse inspired movies? How about a horror film about three friends backpacking in the remote mountain locales of Sweden as a way to get over the death of their friend? After taking a shortcut through some ominously dark woods, the group starts some messed up stuff. “What could do that?” What indeed.
Haunted by nightmares of their dead friend and surrounded by creepy deceased animals, the men start to go a bit bonkers (as one might). The film is directed by up and coming horror savant David Bruckner, who is most known for directing segments in the V/H/S and Southbound movies. Netflix is releasing this on February 9th, so it's just in time for Valentine's Day and whatever nerve wracking ritual of your own you might be committing at the time.
Duncan Jones is finally premiering his long gestating sci-fi project, Mute, this February. The director is best known for his sci-fi thinker, Moon and the fantasy franchise, Warcraft, but claims he has been working on this Blade Runner inspired movie for over twelve years. The film features Paul Rudd, Alexander Skarsgård, and Justin Theroux in what looks to be a dark and moody meditation on what it means to be human in a far future version of Berlin.
Rudd and Theroux play irreverent army surgeons with their own secret goals as Alexander Skarsgård plays a mute on a long quest to find the love of his life. Jones has referred to the movie as a spiritual successor to his film Moon, which is good because if this was some kind of sideways sequel to Warcraft, one doubts anyone would check it out.
Which are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments!
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