Kevin K's Guide To 2016 Netflix Originals

Netflix made a huge impact at the TCAs last  month with a bevy of show announcements, giving a slate of release dates that cover their upcoming releases not only in the Winter, but straight on through Spring and Summer.

To help you keep track of all the coming releases here’s a list of 13 shows (both new and returning) guaranteed to drop sometime between now and August, and 3 more likely (though not confirmed) to show up in that timeframe as well. We’ll also help you prioritize with three ratings: day one binge for the shows that demand to be watched on the day of debut, check it out for shows worth sampling, and wait for the reviews for uncertain looking shows that might not be worth your time. Note: in the interest of streamlining this article I only focused on Netflix’s adult programming.

Love

February 11th

What’s it about?: Judd Apatow returns to TV with his signature blend of low key comedy, drama, and romance. Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust star.  

Hype level: Last fall Netflix had an excellent stab at the growing “funny people wander aimlessly through their 30s dramadies” genre in Masters of None. Jacobs is hot off an excellent starring run on Community, while Rust is a stalwart of sketch comedy (most visibly seen on Comedy Bang Bang) just begging for a break out. This one looks like a day one binge.

 

Fuller House

February 26th

What’s it about?: The kids from Full House are all grown up with kids of their own so now their house is….even fuller. The entire cast sans Olsen twins is back, along with new faces playing the next generation of Tanners. 

Hype level: Netflix has pulled off revivals and continuations before, but the 20 year gap between the two Full Houses make this their most ambitious attempt yet. Whether you’re a stalwart fan or have morbid curiosity, you’ll probably check it out.

 

House of Cards (Season 4)

March 4th

What’s new this year?: President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) has backstabbed his way to the top office of the country,  but now he faces his biggest challenge yet: getting re-elected. 

Hype level: House of Cards is pretty divisive show, but if you’re still with it three years in you already know this is a day one binge for you.

 

Flaked

March 11th

What’s it about?: Arrested Development’s Mitch Hurwitz is reuniting with Will Arnett for a comedy about a self-help guru who soon finds himself tangled in a web of lies he created. Ruth Kearney, David Sullivan, and Mark Chappell also star.

Hype level: Hurwitz and Arnett have had a couple of great collaborations in the past, but their latest was Running Wilde, which was…not so great. Hurwitz can be a talented writer, but with an already crowded March I say wait for the reviews.

 

Daredevil (Season 2)

March 18th

What’s new this year?: Marvel’s dark vigilante series returns for a second season that pits the titular hero (Charlie Cox) against the deadly Punisher (Jon Bernthal). Cast members Deborah Ann Woll, Eldn Hensen, and Rosario Dawson return too, along with newcomer Élodie Yung bringing the character Elektra to life. 

Hype level: Though the first season of the show had some problems, particularly in its slow middle, it found its voice loud and clear by the end. For fans of the first season this is a day one binge, but if your reaction was a little colder maybe wait for the reviews to see if this season is the promised improvement.

 

The Ranch

April 1st

What’s it about?: The series follows failed football player Colt (Ashton Kutcher) as he returns home to work on the family ranch with his brother (Danny Masterson) and parents (Sam Elliott, Debra Winger) in this multi camera sitcom. Elisha Cuthbert also stars.

Hype level: Kutcher was fine on That ‘70s Show but more recent roles have made him only more obnoxious. However he’s up with a powerhouse of acting talent, all four of his co-stars are excellent actors who can nail even the mustiest material. You should check it out.

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 2)

April 15th

What’s new this year?: Season 1 ended with bunker survivor Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) overcoming her fears and getting her despicable cult leader/kidnapper arrested. There’s still a few cliffhangers to take care of however, with the sudden appearance of roommate Titus Andromedon’s (Tituss Burgess) never before mentioned wife and the forced green card marriage of Kimmy’s love interest Dong (Ki Hong Lee) closing the season.

Hype level: With Kimmy’s main character arc seemingly wrapped up, it’s hard to say what the new season of UKS will be about, but it’s easy to guess it will be funny as hell, thanks to showrunners Tina Fey and Robert Carlock at the helm. Based off the strength of last season this is an easy day one binge.

 

Marseille

May 5th

What’s it about?: A French political drama about the last days in office of fictional mayor of Marseille Robert Taro (Gérard Depardieu) as he tries to establish his legacy during a tumultuous elections season. 

Hype level: It’s interesting to see Netflix branch globally with a foreign language series, and the series boasts a great lead in Depardieu, but political drama is one of the trickiest genres to tackle. Nothing about this series seems particularly original or exciting, so maybe wait for the reviews.

 

Grace and Frankie (Season 2)

May 6th

What’s new this year?: Grace and Frankie ended with its titular couple (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) finding friendship while their exes turned newly found couple (Sam Waterson and Martin Sheen) have awedge driven between them.

Hype level: This is a great, quiet little dramedy anchored by a stellar cast. You should definitely check it out.

 

Orange is the New Black (Season 4)

June 17th

What’s it about?: Netflix’s acclaimed prison drama found its prison turned upside down at the end of season 3, and who knows what the new private management from MMR will bring will bring to Litchfield now that they have even more control.

Hype level: OitNB is a fantastic show that shows no sign of slowing down, and the new wrinkles in the premise just make the thought of season 4 more exciting, making this a day one binge.

 

Marco Polo (Season 2)

June 2016

What’s it about?: Netflix’s historical epic about the adventures of Marco Polo in the court of Kublai Khan, saw the Khan at the height of his power before teasing a new threat to his rule.

Hype level: Reactions to the first season were certainly mixed, maybe wait for the reviews to see if this season is an improvement.

 

Stranger Things

July 15th

What’s it about?: The vanishing of a young boy kicks off a mystery involving, to quote the press release, “top secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one very strange little girl”. Winona Ryder leads a huge ensemble cast.

Hype level: The press release also dubs this “a love letter to ‘80s classics”. Meanwhile the kitchen sink approach to genre elements reminds me of a much more recent show, the dearly departed Fringe. Sounds intriguing enough to check it out.

 

The Get Down

August 12th

What’s it about?: Baz Luhrman, one of Hollywood’s most stylish directors, produces this “music-driven” series set in ‘70s New York and focusing on the youth that gave birth to some of music’s most beloved movements.

Hype level: Luhrman is a stylish director who livens up even the dodgiest of scripts and the premise sounds very interesting. Though we still know very little about this one looks like it’s still worth it to check it out.

 

Sense8 (Season 2)

TBA

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What’s it about?: Eight strangers from around the world suddenly find themselves psychically linked in this strange and brilliant sci-fi series. Last season was a slow and intimate introduction to the principle characters and their newly found powers of telepathy and skill sharing, and ended with them attracting the attention of an evil organization run by a man who shares their gift. Though there’s no official word on a release yet, it’s been suggested it will drop in the summer like last season.

Hype level: The first season of this show was brilliant, but also felt like warm-up, a mere set-up for explosive action that we only got a taste of in the final hours. Now that the sensates have a clear enemy to fight and a goal to work together towards, expect season 2 to be an insane and fun ride, and a day one binge.

 

Bloodline (Season 2)

TBA

What’s it about?: The twisty, soapy, family drama will be back, and this time the Rayburns are going to be haunted by much more recent actions than just their troubled past. The whole cast, lead by Kyle Chandler, returns and they’re joined by new additions John Leguizamo and Andrea Riseborough. The new season finished filming last fall, so expect a sudden drop of this series sometime in the Spring.   

Hype level: The stakes are even higher in season 2 for reasons I’m working hard not to spoil. Sufficed to say, followers of season 1 are chomping at the bit for a day one binge.

 

BoJack Horseman (Season 3)

TBA

What’s it about?: The talking animal Hollywood comedy that also has a surprising amount of heart will probably come back in the summer, same time it’s last two seasons debuted. Season 2 ended with BoJack’s (Will Arnett) career at its highest point just as his emotional state reached its nadir. Will he find the strength to improve himself?

Hype level: The first two seasons are absolute knockouts, hilarious on the surface but with a heartrending core. Season 3 is a day one binge for sure.

- Kevin Koeser