6 Netflix originals we're looking forward to in 2017
When we talk about reaching Peak TV, with 455 scripted series from 2016 and counting, of course we have to throw in a shoutout to Netflix: the streaming service giants who proved that putting a television series on the web can be a huge hit.
Now, heading into 2017, Netflix has 30 original scripted series — either in development or with a planned release — and based on their successful track record, they're probably all worth strong consideration. But we're not (yet) living in a Black Mirror-like reality where we can binge-watch everything in sight: Presumably, most of us have a finite amount of time to dedicate to TV viewing.
With that in mind, here's six Netflix Originals coming in 2017 that we're most looking forward to, as well as the highly anticipated returns of other Netflix series.
A Series of Unfortunate Events, Jan. 13
The twisted quirkiness of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events didn't translate well onto the big screen with Jim Carrey's portrayal of Count Olaf, but Netflix is giving the book adaptation a shot with Neil Patrick Harris' take on the maniacal villain.
A Series of Unfortunate Events needs the right balance of humor and tragedy, what with Olaf sporting various comical disguises to trick the Baudelaire orphans, while also trying to kill them and take their valuable inheritance. We hope Netflix nails the adaptation, and we'll find out soon enough come January.
Marvel's Iron Fist, March 17
Iron Fist has high expectations to live up to, as Netflix nailed its previous Marvel series in Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, each of which brought a distinct style and portrayal of New York. Even the titular Iron Fist — a superhero with a badass martial arts background — has to live up to the fight choreography of Daredevil. We all remember the hallway fight scene.
Plus, there's the issue of Iron Fist's casting for its lead. While the comic book character is white, Iron Fist came about during the martial arts craze of the 1970s, giving him several offensive Asian tropes. Some fans were hoping Marvel and Netflix would right a previous wrong and cast an Asian lead, but instead, it's Game of Thrones alumnus Finn Jones in the lead role.
Whether this hurts Iron Fist's critical and fan reaction remains to be seen, but it's worth keeping an eye on come March.
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, date TBD
Netflix already revisited Camp Firewood with Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, but they'll be piggybacking off a line from Ben (Bradley Cooper) from the original film, when he says the group should reunite in 10 years and see how they've turned out.
Ten Years Later doesn't have a release date yet, but we're hoping that means most of the core cast will be given time to reprise their roles. A big issue with First Day of Camp was the limited window for scenes certain actors had. Take Cooper, who reportedly only had a single day on set. Hopefully he can stay at least a week for Ten Years Later.
Marvel's The Defenders, date TBD
Once Iron Fist is wrapped up, the Netflix heroes in New York will band together (basically, Avengers-lite) for The Defenders. Not much is known about the series aside from the heroes themselves, but we'll likely know more post-Iron Fist. What we do have is a very vague teaser from San Diego Comic-Con, in which Daredevil's former mentor Stick chides the show's heroes — presumably, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
"You think the four of you can save New York?" Stick says in a voiceover. "You can't even save yourselves."
Dear White People, date TBD
Justin Simien's hit indie dramedy is getting the episodic Netflix treatment next year, and with Donald Trump's election, it couldn't be coming at a better time. Presumably, the Dear White People show will borrow a similar premise from the movie of the same name, in which several students of color navigate life at a fictitious, predominantly white Ivy League school.
One of the big in-film controversies is the president of the college's son hosting a blackface-themed party, and it's very likely Dear White People the show will bring forth something similarly egregious to affect the campus and its students. To get an idea of the show's potential tone, you can check out the trailer for the Dear White People film.
Bill Nye Saves the World, date TBD
Science rules, which is a fact many 20-somethings in America are familiar with due to growing up with Bill Nye the Science Guy. While it's been entertaining to see Bill Nye debate creationists and shade climate change doubters, giving Nye another platform to geek out about science is exactly what we need. So get ready for Netflix's Bill Nye Saves the World.
The new show won't follow the same format as his PBS children's show. Instead, Bill Nye Saves the World will be presented in a talk show format, in which Nye and his science-enthused correspondents will try to dispel myths and false scientific claims. But yes, we wouldn't be surprised if those in the audience went with the familiar chant of "Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!"
Bonus: The return of other original series
Of course, new shows aren't the only things coming to Netflix: We'll also be seeing the return of other original series for upcoming seasons. We'll have the fifth season of Orange Is the New Black, after season four ended on a nail-biting cliffhanger, in which Daya (Dascha Polanco) pointed a gun at the worst of the show's prison guards, Humphrey (Michael Torpey). Will she pull the trigger?
Plus, for anyone who watches Bloodline — a beautiful looking show about nothing — the series will wrap up with its third and final season after Ben Mendelsohn won an Emmy for best supporting actor in a drama series while his character was literally a vision, having died in season one. That's oddly impressive.
Meanwhile, the little-known sci-fi series that flew under everyone's radar, Stranger Things, comes back for a second season. Might be worth a binge, too — the music is catchy.