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Netflix Premiere Dates, Trailers, and Other… Oh My!

2016 is shaping up to be perhaps Netflix’s biggest year yet. At the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California, the streaming content provider announced the premiere dates of additional seasons of several major, Emmy-nominated series. It also announced second seasons and spin-offs of on-going series as well as several new shows starring some of Hollywood’s biggest talent. Yes, HBO has Game of Thrones and Veep, but Netflix’s upcoming roster of dramatic, comedic, and kid-friendly programming will make them a huge force in the 2016 television awards season.

Here are the latest developments with the streamer’s stable of original programming.

Returning Series

  • House of Cards returns on March 4 and released the following clever teaser which echoes to a significant event from its past.

  • Orange is the New Black returns with a fourth season on June 17. Season Four follows a disappointing third season which flagged in awards attention. Here is the latest trailer.

  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt premieres on April 15. A second season was guaranteed as Netflix picked up the series for two seasons when it bought Kimmy from NBC.
  • Grace and Frankie‘s first season only saw significant awards attention for Lily Tomlin with a smattering of traction for Jane Fonda. It’s second season will premiere May 6. A third season is also in the works.

New Series

  • Love comes from Judd Apatow and centers on a nice guy and wild girl as they navigate modern relationships. Here’s a new trailer:

  • Flaked stars Will Arnett as a self-appointed guru in Venice, California. Co-created and executive produced by Arnett, Flaked will run eight episodes and premieres March 11.
  • The Ranch is a comedy starring Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Sam Elliot, and Debra Winger (???). Kutcher plays a semi-pro football star who leaves a failed career to run the family ranch. The series premieres on April 1. How appropriate.
  • Marseille is described as a “tale of power, corruption and redemption” and has the distinction of being Netflix’s first French language original series. It stars, naturally, Gerard Depardieu and premieres May 5.
  • Stranger Things stars Winona Ryder in a supernatural drama. The 8-episode series sounds like a cross between Wayward Pines and Broadchurch as people search for a missing young boy. Secret experiments, supernatural forces, and a potentially possessed little girl somehow factor into the mystery. This premieres on July 15.
  • The Get Down comes from Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) and is a musical drama (drama with music, not specifically a musical) centering on the South Bronx in 1970s-era New York City. The series premieres six of thirteen episodes on August 12.

Kid’s Shows

  • Lost & Found Music Studios is a live action series about teenage musicians finding their way and sound in the big world. For those with kids, it sounds an awful lot like Nickelodeon’s Fresh Beat Band to me. At any rate, the “original series” premieres April 1.
  • Kong: King of the Apes is an animated series that sets the King Kong mythology in 2050. The series establishes King Kong as an anti-hero and premieres April 15.
  • Word Party comes from The Jim Henson Company and follows four baby animals. Viewers are encouraged to help the animals learn new words and, hopefully, learn new words themselves. Tricky, Netflix, very tricky. The Party starts on June 3.

In Development

  • Arrested Development‘s fifth season was to begin production on January 1, 2016, with a rumored schedule of four months. However, as expected, talent schedules proved difficult to negotiate. It is unknown exactly when the season will premiere, but it will pick up on Season 4’s political leanings (introducing a Donald Trump-esqe character) mixed with a true crime influence similar to Making a MurdererSerial, and The Jinx. I literally cannot wait for that.
  • Jessica Jones will have a second season, no surprise given the freshman season’s critical and popular reception. No premiere date has been announced, and it is unknown if the second season will premiere before or after the Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist mash-up of The DefendersJones‘s second season will reportedly focus on her backstory without villain Killgrave.
  • Netflix is also considering but has yet to commit to another Marvel series. This new series would focus on the Punisher character played by Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) who debuts in Daredevil‘s second season.

So, January is a bit of a slower month for new streaming options from Netflix. Still, there are a few options that may tide you over in your post holiday doldrums. Or you could just check out old movies on Hulu, Amazon, or HBO Go / Now. Your call.

Dragons: Race to the Edge, Season 2 – Dragons is an animated series based on the just-so popular Dreamworks films How to Train Your Dragon. Funny story, as I just typed that, I accidentally typed How to Drain Your Dragon which most assuredly should not be viewed by children on Netflix. Or anywhere. Dragons Season Two debuts on January 8.

Tom Segura: Mostly Stories – January 8 also sees the premiere of bearded comic (because he’s called that more than once in the Internet) Tom Segura’s latest stand-up special. Here, he discusses Russian politics, the effects of Chinese markets on the U.S. Dollar, and the theory of relativity. Nah. Just kidding. He’s talking about body piercings, the “Area 51” of men’s bodies, and an elaborate lie he told to Mike Tyson. Line up now.

Parks and Recreation – Netflix is dropping the final 13-episode season of the beloved Amy Poehler NBC series on January 13. If you’ve missed the sweet flash-forward series finale, then this is your chance to catch up.

Degrassi: Next Class – So, apparently, this is a thing. The words “beloved Canadian tween drama” actually appeared online when I Googled Degrassi. This thing apparently also starred Drake. Well, Netflix is rebooting it starting January 15 with significantly less fanfare than its February-bound Fuller House.

Chelsea Does – Netflix offered comic Chelsea Handler her own documentary series where she apparently explores such varied topics as marriage, drugs, racism, and Silicon Valley. Good for her. Chelsea Does drops on January 23.

Ever After High: Dragon Games – This Netflix original production attempts to further tap the rebranded fairy tale / princess market started by Disney then pirated by Ever After High and their omnipresent dolls and then re-pirated by Disney with The Descendants film and omnipresent dolls. Got it? Good. Me either. Anyway, Dragon Games is available on January 29.

Judd Apatow, fresh from his recent line of Bill Cosby-focused Twitter rants, is returning to television with a Netflix streaming series that has some of the earmarks of his cult hit Freaks and Geeks. So, here’s the teaser for Love, premiering February 19. Given that it’s Apatow, Love could be the Valentine you didn’t know you needed or the sometimes chuckle-worthy but time-stoppingly endless series you expected from the director of This is 40.

In my Star Wars haze, I missed ABC dropping the first episode of the Emmy-winning American Crime‘s second season, which premieres on January 6. It is now available on iTunes. The John Ridley-produced anthology series brings back Emmy nominees Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton as well as Emmy-winner Regina King. The season deals with social media and sexual abuse in a high school setting.

 

Here are the more notable Netflix streaming releases available in December:

  • Broadchurch, Season Two (December 1) – While the follow up season may not have been the phenomenon that Season One was, Season Two isn’t without its merits, according to Robin Write‘s episodic reviews that posted earlier this year. Season Two deals with the aftermath of Season One and the subsequent trial.
  • Tangerine (December 2) – Famously shot using three iPhone 5Ss, Tangerine stars two transgender actresses – Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor – who are currently receiving Oscar campaigns for their acclaimed performances.
  • A Very Murray Christmas (December 4) – Bill Murray and a host of celebrity friends throw an old-fashioned variety show during a snow-bound evening in New York. Directed by Sophia Coppola, Christmas also stars George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, Amy Poehler, and Michael Cera among others. The full trailer dropped a few weeks ago.
  • Additionally, the following recurring series will make their latest seasons available on the streaming service:
    • Comedy Bang! Bang! Season 4 (December 4)
    • Inside Man Season 3 (December 5)
    • Phineas and Ferb Season 4 (December 9)
    • The Adventures of Puss in Boots Season 2 (December 11)
    • Hart of Dixie Season 4 (December 15)
    • High Profits Season 1 (December 15)
    • Helix Season 2 (December 16)
    • F is for Family Season 1 (December 18)
    • Glitter Force Season 1 (December 18)
    • Making a Murderer Season 1 (December 18)
    • Dawn of the Croods Season 1 (December 24)
    • Maron Season 3 (December 28)
    • Parenthood Season 6 (December 30)
    • Battle Creek Season 1 (December 31)
    • Nurse Jackie Seasons 1 – 7 (December 31)
    • Violetta Season 3 (December 31)

Whether you’re a true blood and guts Trekkie or not there may be a captain for everyone’s generation (and tastes). In the documentary The Captains the original Star Trek‘s William Shatner (James T. Kirk) interviews several other captains including the most recent Kirk on film Chris Pine, The Next Generation‘s Sir Patrik Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), Voyager‘s Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway), Deep Space Nine‘s Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko), and Enterprise‘s Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer). Shatner’s old friend Christopher Plummer (Klingon General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) is also involved here, as the performers discuss their respective careers and the effects of the Star Trek franchise.
Before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty of all charges in the Boston Marathon bombing attack there was all manner of speculation and accusations. The Thread, a documentary directed by Greg Barker, presents the many splintered arguments while displaying the growing contrast and conflicts of old and new media. One minute we turn on the TV to see the news, now we are shown it on cell phone video footage. The film uses the famous Reddit posts, as well as other top brand social networks, as clues, to tell a story, or document certain angles of terrorist activity. While depicting terrifying real-life events perhaps it also platforms the fear from the Internet coverage itself.

And now for something completely different, a collection of short films that simply demonstrate the beauty of nature, that we perhaps take for granted. The two newest additions are Moving Art: Underwater which is directed by Howard Hall, and Moving Art: Waterfalls, directed by Louie Schwartzberg (his Flowers, Oceans, Forests, and Deserts shorts also already available on Netflix). Utilize them to your own advantage, to relax the nerves, soothe the baby, or even just to give your eyes a live-action, actor-less feast. I dabbled in some of the beauty myself and ended up in some kind of blissful trance. Waterfalls is perhaps not recommended, then, if you have a pile of paperwork and a full bladder.

Also added to Netflix is a couple more seasons of the Scottish sitcom Still Game produced by the BBC from 2002, which means 5 seasons are now available. Created by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, they also play the lead the Glaswegian oldies with their many local antics. That broad Scottish dialect might not be to all ears, mind.

Season 3 (not to be confused with the 40+ webisodes) of Urban Legends is also now available this month. The documentary style show presents three such urban legends in each episode, running on the premise of what’s real and what is fiction in the modern world. This season tackles a doll obsession that goes too far, a bus drive accused of crimes, a ghostly text message, a shocking find from a fisherman, multiple lottery winners in one draw, and tons more. You get the picture.

And as per those many requests wanting some kind of 1950s-set Spanish telenovela to replace their Downton Abbey withdrawal symptoms, Velvet seasons 1 and 2 is ready and waiting. Velvet, or Galerías Velvet, refers to the department store setting of the Spanish TV series, a glamorous cocktail of classic romance, fistfuls of drama, and forbidden love.

Master of None is the new comedy created by Aziz Ansari (of Parks and Recreation), he plays Dev, a single guy in New York City finding his feet, or at least developing personal growth with new jobs and relationships and who knows what else.  Already likely to be compared to Friends or Girls, this adapts to the current modern technological era, and the cultural commentary – between generations, the sexes, and race. Looks though to have all the key ingredients to be your average knock-out comedy. I mean, how many times can we watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt anyway? These self-aware, observant sit-coms are killing it right now. Bring it on.

Speaking of starting out in New York, we’re all eagerly awaiting Marvel’s Jessica Jones with the brilliant Krysten Ritter. Right? Well, I know I am. This is based on the Marvel Comics character from Alias (no not that one), who was a former superhero turned private detective due to tragic circumstances. Though this may sound like familiar come-book-formula, this is certainly not a story targeted at kids. This is dark in tone and serious on the more adult issues and struggles (like PTSD believe it or not). Early word is positive, that this is a solid show. Personally, I’ve been craving much more substantial stuff from the quirky, intriguing Ritter. Carrie-Anne Moss and David Tennant also star among others. But we’ll have to wait a little longer for this one, not available on Netflix until November 20.

The Gilmore Girls is coming back, thanks to the almighty Netflix, who brings dead shows back to life like a mad scientist (not that we’re complaining about this latest Frankenstein). The project will apparently be four 90-minute movies rather than the typical hour-long episode.

Gilmore Girls went off the air in 2007 with Luke and Lorelei reuniting and Rory going off to work on the Obama campaign (yes, really).

There are so many expectations with this series. Here are 9 things we’re hoping to see.

 

1. Luke and Lorelei have twins.

In Episode 1 of Season 3 titled “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days,” Lorelei has a dream that she and Luke are having twins. Let’s see that dream come into fruition! Imagine the hijinks of Luke, Lorelei, and Sid and Nancy (or Leopold and Loeb).

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2. Jess. Mariano.

Maybe he’s written another book, only this one is about life in Stars Hollow. He has to do a book tour. Anything. Give him anything to do! *Sigh*

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3. Taylor comes out of the closet.

Finally! Gay marriage is legalized and Taylor finally finds a mate and puts all of his energy into planning the perfect nuptials at the Firefly Inn.

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4. An explanation for the lack of beloved Edward Herrmann.

The Gilmore patriarch passed away in real life in December 2014.

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5. An inside joke about Sookie’s career blowing up.

If anyone from Gilmore Girls has become hugely popular following the finale, then it’s Melissa McCarthy who played chef Sookie St. James, Lorelei’s best friend. Since GG, she’s become more than a just supporting player and even earned an Oscar nomination for Bridesmaids.

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6. No April.

Nuff said.

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Plus, Vanessa Marano (who played April) has other things to do now anyway. Like ABC Family/Freeform’s Switched at Birth.  

7. Kirk becomes mayor of Stars Hollow.

You know he’s never gonna leave.

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8. Rory doing a walk-and-talk in the White House like an Aaron Sorkin character.

She’s working for Obama, but maybe she’s unsure of what her plans are post-oval office. Maybe… she has to head back home.

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9. Lane becomes a YouTube star as a Mommy Rocker with hubby Zach.

Give the girl the fame and fortune she deserved! And something beyond that series ending (Zach got to go off on tour while she stayed behind with twin babies).

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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Robin Write’s personal website Write Out of LA.

Captivating from the opening moments of childhood in Africa through the suffering and hope for survival of war, Beasts of No Nation is a rare feat of film-making excellence in just about every area. Setting up the innocence before shattering it, the opening moments are charming and endearing as children attempt the sale of an old hollowed out television set with the nickname Imagination TV – the kids perform various genres behind the frame, switching from melodrama to music dance to even 3D as one child protrudes through the empty frame. Minutes into the story, our young protagonist Agu (Abraham Attah) has to witness the horror of his mother, father, and older brother being murdered by malicious armed forces. Life-changing doesn’t cover it as free-spirited youth becomes the embroilment of war.

Agu’s journey lingers further into the realm of violence as rebel militia leader, known only as Commandant (Idris Elba), takes him under his wing under the proviso that he must kill or be killed. Soon enough Agu makes his first kill, handed a cleaver to horrifically dispatch of a captive man begging for his life. One of many brutally shocking moments in the film. Later Agu has little hesitation in firing a bullet through the head of a woman thus ending the torment of her rape. There are heavy scenes of front-line war throughout, overpowering emotionally rather than gratuitously relentless. While not easy to watch it is impossible to turn your eyes away. Each harrowing event or life taken drags these children further from their innocence – Agu’s voice-over at one point ponders tragically on how when the war is ended that he won’t be able to do child things.

Fresh off the True Detective acclaim, the clearly talented Cary Joji Fukunaga not only adapts the 2005 novel by Uzodinma Iweala, but also efficiently acts as director and cinematographer. Fukunaga’s grasp of the material and brilliance of execution has to go down as one of the clear remarkable achievements of this year. His nifty, composed handheld camerawork and long takes glide and drift meticulously amidst smoke and color – including an non-distracting, unforgettable sequence of intoxication and flourish with a distinct palette alteration. It’s a bravado visual effort, Fukunaga and his technical team have crafted a motion picture that lavishes multiple senses. Dan Romer’s score has poignancy and power, one of the most memorable in years. The film’s components sweep across the screen, perhaps reminding us of the likes of Apocalypse Now or The Thin Red Line, while somehow delivering a level of promise they may not have even declared.

Each moment and transition is different from the next, but none the more powerful and engulfing. Brutality and beauty seem to merge, acts of unquestionable violence and morality carry such emotive impact, as do some particularly engrossing sequence of dance and community bonding. Elba’s Commandant appears to be both a father figure and ruthless leader, a commanding, fearless turn and maybe the charismatic actor”s finest performance. Young Attah is just as mesmerizing, saying as much with his polluted face and eyes as he does with words – the film ends with his self-aware remorse and hope, and his eyes venture so close to the direct camera he could almost be speaking to us.

Branded by the Netflix distribution, Beasts of No Nation‘s scale and visual splendor means this was no where near the ideal release for a platform that allows us to huddle in a corner watching on a small screen with crummy laptop sound outage. I saw it as loud and as big as my home surroundings allow, but should you be fortunate to find the theatrical release close by then I implore you to go to an even bigger screen. I wonder how such a distribution can detract from the film’s own journey through awards season. It remains to be seen whether this is the best film of the year by the Academy’s criteria, but certainly one of them, and has all the right ingredients to make a realistic serge for a rare Best Picture winner worthy of the accolade.

First airing on ABC in America, this is that crime drama that has held the marvelous Viola Davis aloft in many a conversation of esteem lately – How To Get Away With Murder (available 22/10). Just a few weeks ago she also made Emmy history as the first African-American actress to win the Lead Actress Drama prize. Davis is Philadelphia law professor Annalise Keating who with a bunch of her students become embroiled in murder investigation. The first season is 15 episodes, and any visitors of Awards Daily TV will know how highly talked about this is.

MTV’s Scream TV series, based on the late Wes Craven’s tongue-in-cheek horror by Kevin Williamson (who has no input here this time around) aired Stateside in June. It is the usual set-up, a bunch of teenagers, here played by relative unknowns, becoming directly involved in some bloody encounters – touching on the more modern subject of cyber-bullying. Already green-lighted for a second season, I won’t say don’t read the reviews for this one perhaps, but give it a shot and make your own mind up instead.

There’s also some rather badly cooked food-for-thought in the reissue on Netflix UK of the American version of Hell’s Kitchen with the illusive Gordon Ramsay. As rivetting as this kind of cursing-angerball-chef and plate-thrown-in-garbage shenanigans are, you will have to make do with the first two seasons only at the moment. And you’ve probably already seen them, right? Might be the perfect entertainment though to stick on the box while you have your microwave cooked dinner on your lap.

Based on a video game, which is evident from its refreshingly impressive Adobe Flash software animation, this is Wakfu. The animated series is a huge phenomenon in its domestic France, but if you’ve neither heard of nor been a part of this cult success then this may be news to you. The 26-episode first season is landing on Netflix shortly with it’s vibrant multitude of characters and adventures. Is it for kids? Let’s find out.

What may be more suited to get your nippers to bed is Shushybye, also the entire first season, which is essentially a dream-fueled kiddie show set in various comfy-sounding villages like Slumber Heights and Nap Valley. There’s also a bit of song and dance, including some jazz and country to lure the adults and educate the kids. I have a 3 year-old daughter who will be sampling both of these shows shortly. As soon as she is done with Sons of Anarchy.

An array of Nova documentaries broadcast on PBS show up on Netflix UK too this month. I won’t artfully hustle you like a Seattle market fish monger and throw them all at you, I’ll just put four of them out there. Feel free to take a look yourself, the documentary is a somewhat under-appreciated genre (wrongly so) and there are tons of them on Netflix. Rise Of The Hackers explores the scientific investigation into our security as well as our natural paranoia as we live a life in the digital world. This of course means a life with crime, online hackers (didn’t that used to be a much more fun term?) taking what is ours and jeopardizing our cyber-safety. Time to catch these invisible bad guys. Why Planes Vanish delves deep into that very enigmatic question in light of the mysterious vanishing of the Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which was meant to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, in March 2014. Featuring interviews with expert aviators and engineers, and produced by Emmy winner Miles O’Brien, this is a fascinating account for all to absorb.

The film-makers behind Killer Landslides intended to give “a greater appreciation for the potential for rapid and unexpected earth movement in geologically unstable terrain” as the focus hits one of the deadliest landslides in recent American history in Oso, Washington. The film documents the search and rescue mission, touches on similar, larger events in Afghanistan and Nepal, as well as trying to fathom why landslides happen at all. What else? According to paleontologists around 100 years ago, which is not a long time really in a 65 million year span, the fossil bones of a dinosaur named Spinosaurus meant there could well have been a creature walking the Earth that was Bigger Than T-Rex. The film attempts to put the pieces together to reconstruct the great Spinosaurusis as new hope follows bone destruction from World War II when further discoveries arise in Morocco.

Finally, for now, two wonders of entertainment comedy that really don’t need any introduction at all. Richard Pryor: Icon shows how the misfit genius altered the face of comedy as we knew it with his own stirring, no-holds-barred brand of stand-up humor. Revealing his often troubled, tough life behind the comedy, yet showing how those very experiences filtered through it, the documentary features remarks from those that both knew and admired the icon. Robin Williams Remembered – A Pioneers Of Television Special is an hour long tribute to the great man, taking snippets from a late Williams TV interview as he talks about his early work on TV and on stage, his longing to entertain – not just comedy, but drama. Again featuring warm words from those he knew including Pam Dawber (Mindy), Penny Marshall (director of Awakenings), and Whoopi Goldberg, among many, many others. You have no excuse to miss these.

Amazon Prime announced today that it is offering a $32 discount on its yearly Amazon Prime subscription, and you have the Emmy’s to thank for that. After winning five Emmy awards for its critically acclaimed series Transparent, Amazon is using the moment in the spotlight to spread its online streaming service ahead of such high-profile new entries as The Man in the High Castle and the second season of Transparent.

Amazon normally charges $99 per year for its Prime service, which includes access to its video catalog as well as free shipping on many items. The Transparent discount brings the yearly service down to $67. This may provide a much-needed boost to Amazon in the entertainment market as Netflix steps up its game into the Oscar race with the critically acclaimed fall entry Beasts of No Nation. That fill will release worldwide and online simultaneously on October 16.

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