The Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2
Last March, ComingSoon.net took a look at the 10 Best Netflix Original Series, and it’s been one of our most popular posts of the year. There’s just one problem: Netflix’s lineup of original programming has grown exponentially, and our first list is no longer up to date. Netflix doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time in the near future, as it has already committed billions of dollars to creating new series in 2017 and beyond.
Our theory is that Netflix is getting ready for the day when its original programming outnumbers the shows it runs from other sources. Netflix built its empire on the movies and TV shows that it didn’t own, but now its reputation has been staked on a wide variety of shows like House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Daredevil, Master of None, Bloodline, and many others. We covered those signature series in our previous Netflix Original list, which is why it’s time to put the spotlight on some of the newer shows as well as some fan favorites that barely missed the cut in our last roundup.
The amazing thing is that we’ll probably need to update the list again in just a few months, since Netflix has A Series of Unfortunate Events, Iron Fist, The Defenders, Frontier, Santa Clarita Diet, Mindhunter, and Dear White People slated for next year… and that’s far from the complete lineup!
Part of Netflix’s formula for success is that its shows are geared towards many different audiences. There’s something for almost anyone on Netflix, if you know where to find it. For now, these are our picks for Part 2 of our Best Netflix Original Series feature. But feel free to share your picks in the comment section!
Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2: Stranger Things
Netflix’s executive producers went on the record months before Stranger Things was released and predicted that the show would be a breakout hit. But it’s doubtful that anyone could have predicted just how popular the eight-episode first season would be. Stranger Things became the show of the summer, and the kids from the series appeared everywhere from The Tonight Show to the Emmy Awards as it kept building up awareness.
With this series, Matt and Ross Duffer made a loving tribute to the ‘80s while creating their own mythology that included parallel dimensions, a superpowered girl, a monstrous creature, and the lengths that three teenage boys went through to find their missing friend. Stranger Things even went the extra mile by giving its supporting character important roles to play in the story, so that by the end of the season, the multiple plotlines came together in a satisfying way. Season 2 is on the way for release next year, and we can’t wait to see what’s next!
Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2: Luke Cage
So far, Marvel is batting three-for-three with its Netflix original shows. Daredevil and Jessica Jones were already renewed, and now Luke Cage will also get a second season. The recent news wasn’t that surprising, since Netflix had a rare outage the weekend that Luke Cage debuted and it was widely believed that the show’s popularity had something to do with it. Mike Colter proved he was good choice for Luke Cage back in the Jessica Jones series, but he truly came into his own for this solo series.
What many fans seemed to appreciate about this show is that it was not only about the first African-American lead in a Marvel Cinematic Universe television series, it was also very much about the black experience in NYC. This was one of the few series that even dared to touch upon those topics, even when it was wrapped up in a modern superhero story. Luke Cage had its own identity and it arrived at a very timely moment for both Marvel and Netflix. Luke is the hero we need right now, but his solo adventures probably won’t pick up again until 2018.
Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2: BoJack Horseman
BoJack Horseman has been around since 2014, and it’s easily the most popular animated original series for adults on Netflix. It’s already been renewed through next summer’s fourth season, and it just narrowly missed the cut in our first list of Netflix originals!
This show plays like it could have been an Adult Swim series. Will Arnett voices the title character, BoJack, as an actor fighting his fade into obscurity… who just happens to be an anthropomorphic horse. BoJack Horseman is also a hilariously bleak take on Hollywood and celebrity culture with a voice cast that includes Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, and Aaron Paul. On a network, this show would have probably struggled to find an audience. But on Netflix, BoJack Horseman thrives… and we may get even more seasons out of it!
Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2: The Crown
With The Crown, Netflix has a new British prestige drama series that already has a second season lined up. This show is all about the life of Queen Elizabeth II, as portrayed by Claire Foy. And unlike most period dramas, The Crown has found a way to present a compelling story while remaining relatively accurate to what actually happened during the early years of Elizabeth’s reign as England’s monarch.
Impressively, Netflix and Left Bank Pictures lined up former Doctor Who star Matt Smith to play Prince Philip, Elizabeth’s husband of nearly 70 years. If The Crown gets to run a full six seasons as planned, then Foy and Smith will be sharing the screen for many years to come.
Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2: Black Mirror
Netflix already has the streaming rights for The Twilight Zone, but it also went the extra mile and picked up the streaming rights to its modern successor, Black Mirror. This show began as a British import, but the recently-released third season was produced as a Netflix original, and it was just as twisted as the two previous seasons.
Black Mirror can be a difficult show to describe, since it’s an anthology series that deals with “the unanticipated consequences of new technologies.” That it does so with some of the darkest humor and twists means that Black Mirror isn’t for everyone. But if you can handle a journey through humanity’s worst instincts, then it might be for you.
Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2: The Get Down
Amazingly, The Get Down is reportedly one of the most expensive series on any network or streaming service, with a $10 million dollar budget per episode. That’s insane, but the show is an unquestionably ambitious undertaking. Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis spent years developing The Get Down, which explores the origins of hip-hop, punk and disco in New York during the ‘70s.
The first six episodes of the series are out now, with the remaining six episodes of the first season slated to hit Netflix in 2017. Because of the production costs, this show may not be getting a long run, but it should be a popular series on Netflix for many years to come.
Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
If Gilmore Girls hadn’t been such a strong performer for Netflix, it’s doubtful that the revival miniseries, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, would have ever happened. Another key factor was that series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino left Gilmore Girls before the final season, leaving her originally planned ending behind… until now.
Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, and the majority of the original cast returned for these four episodes, which managed to revisit the characters and give most of them a satisfying sendoff. Although now that we know what the final “four words” were, it does make us wonder if the Gilmore Girls will stage another comeback down the line.
Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2: Love
Even Judd Apatow has an original show on Netflix, but Love is very much its own thing compared to most of Apatow’s films. Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust star in the series as Mickey and Gus, respectively. They’re an unlikely couple with self-destructive tendencies, and both Mickey and Gus are often their own worst enemies.
The first season explored the odd courtship of Mickey and Gus, and we’re eager to see what happens in Season 2 early in 2017.
Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2: W/ Bob & David
Anyone who ever wanted a new season of HBO’s Mr. Show got their wish with Netflix’s W/ Bob & David. Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad) and David Cross (Arrested Development) reunited for a new four episode sketch comedy series that recaptured some of their old magic together. The only downside is that we’re not sure when a second season is coming, or if it’s even happening! But for a quick dose of humor, it’s hard to go wrong with this comedy duo.
Best Netflix Original Series – Part 2: Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
In theory, nothing about Wet Hot American Summer should have worked. The original film was a bomb in 2001 and it seemed destined to be forgotten. Instead, it got a cult following as most of the actors and actresses went on to become major stars in Hollywood. Somehow, Netflix managed to lure back the entire cast to play younger versions of themselves in the prequel series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. And that included Elizabeth Banks, H. Jon Benjamin, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Janeane Garofalo, and more more!
Both the film and the Netflix series are parody of teen sex comedies, and First Day of Camp won’t be the end of the story. Netflix has commissioned a new season, which will be a true sequel to the film: Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. And once again, most of the cast will be back!
Don’t forget to tell us which of the best Netflix Original Series makes your top 10 list in the comment section below!