14 New & Upcoming Netflix Originals You Need To Be Watching
You know how it goes — you hear about a streaming movie or miniseries when out of nowhere, a friend jumps in to tell you how much they love it, how amazing the cast is, and how they crammed in every episode last night. And then they proceed to spoil the heck out of it for you. That's the downside of streaming services, but the upside is that the content can often be really freakin' good, as shown by these 14 new and upcoming Netflix original movies and TV shows.
While the idea that TV might have surpassed movies has been repeated the last few years, 2017 really meant it. With big budget blockbusters underperforming and quirky niche shows rising in ratings and revenue, this is genuinely the year that TV takes the fore as a creative force. Even more, no longer are viewers tethered to a time slot, or stuck with commercials breaking up the narrative flow. Entire series are available in full on-demand, which is great for those of us who can't stand the nail-biting tension of cliffhanger suspense, and not-so-great for that eager coworker who wants to overshare and spoil an entire season before you even see it in your queue.
So get ahead of the game, with both movies and TV, and check out the list of the best Netflix originals you should be watching right now.
1. 'Lady Dynamite'
Maria Bamford's delightfully awkward, intensely funny show is back for its second season, with a slew of amazing guest stars (including Ana Gasteyer, Jenny Slate, and Weird Al) and a closer examination of Maria's newfound domestic bliss. She's in a loving relationship, and job prospects are good, but life stability can be as difficult to cope with if you're not used to it, and living with mental instability adds an extra layer of challenges. Lady Dynamite keeps up its surreal, emotionally believable logic and charm, and don't worry — Bert and Blueberry still get plenty of screen time.
2. 'American Vandal'
More than just a brilliant send-up of popular true-crime, American Vandal also pokes perfect fun at the banality and idiocy of high school. When 27 teachers' cars are vandalized with phallic obscenity in Hanover High's faculty parking lot, senior class clown Dylan Maxwell is the obvious subject (especially since he films himself drawing dicks nearly every day). But sophomore Peter Maldonado launches a documentary investigation that throws everything into question. As a fellow student says, "This isn't about dicks, this is about the justice system."
3. 'Neo Yokio'
The brainchild of Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, this unrepentantly pretentious, NYC-centric show demonstrates the more things change, the more they stay the same... until they change again. Young Kaz Kaan comes from a famous family of demon-hunting, nouveau-riche "Magistocrats" who get little respect from the old-money upper crust, at least until the blue-bloods are pestered by demon possession. Tormented by a breakup even his robot butler can't help him shake, Kaz navigates the empty social complexities of Neo Yokio trying to stay No. 1 Bachelor. Featuring Jude Law, Desus and Mero, Susan Sarandon, and Tavi Gevinson, this is a fancy-lad show that makes no apologies for its niche appeal.
Based on the real-life group Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling, GLOW follows struggling actor Ruth Wilder as she joins the rag-tag team of ladies forming the rookie crew at the height of 1985. Adopting outlandish personas help the women come into their own, but when Ruth's real-life acting nemesis joins the team, their rivalry will either destroy the league or suplex it to greatness. Created by two ladies and featuring a diverse cast and writer's room, it's unsurprising the show is uplifting and honest about women's confidence (or lack of it).
5. 'Alias Grace'
If "based on a story by Margaret Atwood" (the author behind The Handmaid's Tale) doesn't sell you, maybe the true crime angle will. Based on the scandalous real-life murder of a homeowner and his housekeeper by two other servants, the story follows a fictional Dr. Jordan interviewing convicted murderess Grace Marks, the most notorious woman in colonial Canada. Churchfolk who know her encourage Dr. Jordan to find out if she's a 'hysteric', instead of a killer, so she can be set free. As Dr. Jordan begins his interviews, the life of Grace, and the struggles of being a woman, come to the fore.
6. 'Bojack Horseman'
The surprisingly heartbreaking animated life of former TV star and horse Bojack Horseman has started its fourth season, to near-universal acclaim. We've watched Bojack grow slightly while remaining blindly self-centered, and gotten to know the cynical, bizarro-world Hollywood that helped create him. Season 4 gets more into characters' heads, making the few wide steps back all the more poignant.
7. 'Patton Oswalt: Annihilation'
When someone's gone through as immense a tragedy as Oswalt has, it feels strange to call their standup special a "triumphant return." Especially since Oswalt never left; his set underscores just how important comedy and working were to keeping him sane. Oswalt is a master storyteller, and manages to convey not only his, but others' lives as well with crowd work, a first in his specials. Politics, parenting, and home life all come up, but the set doesn't shy away from the sudden death of his wife. It's clear his emotions are still raw, but this only strengthens his work.
This show's gotten immense hype thanks to David Fincher's name attached as producer. A '70s period drama following the birth of forensic psychology, two FBI agents and a psychologist interview serial killers to learn how they think, and hopefully catch killers still at large.
9. 'Strong Island'
A compelling documentary about a death that never even made it to trial, Strong Island tells the story of William Ford Jr.'s murder, how his killer walked free, and how his family believes a black man's death at the hands of a young white man never stood a chance of impartiality.
This historical drama has gotten acclaim for staying true to its historical era but still highlighting current flaws. The story centers on two families, black and white, living in rural Mississippi during WWII, and the tensions they face.
An experimental documentary from master of the form Errol Flynn, this series examining the mysterious death of a Cold-War scientist drops Dec. 1.
A time-bending mystery spanning generations hits four families as they search for a missing child in this German miniseries that hits Netflix Dec. 1.
Netflix buried the lede on this futuristic dystopian thriller; sure it stars Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux, but it's helmed by Moon director Duncan Jones, so you know it's gonna blow your mind.
14. 'Umbrella Academy'
Based on the highly-acclaimed but sadly underexposed comic series by My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way, this 2018-set miniseries just confirmed Ellen Page has joined the cast.
And that should tide you over through 2018's holiday season. With a slew of programming on the way, stay updated on all the best Netflix content coming to a small screen near you.