The media paid a lot of attention to the 2013 roll out of Netflix’s House of Cards – but the show did not mark the first time Netflix tried content creation. In fact, the company’s first foray into Hollywood as Red Envelope Entertainment was more important than its gambles on Lilyhammer and House of Cards because it laid the foundation for the huge success of its second try. The series represented a new paradigm for the company and the entertainment industry – episodes were released all at once, to all Netflix subscribers, and the series itself was the product of Netflix’s prodigious database.
It seems like common sense now, but nobody knew whether that would work in 2013. Nor did Netflix really know how much value it would reap from its little production company, Red Envelope Entertainment, or from its decision to sponsor the Spirit Awards, which honor independent films, starting in the early 2000s.
I attended a couple of the Spirit Awards ceremonies, and it was easy to see as I watched huge stars like George Clooney mingle with up-and-coming directors, writers, and actors in a big white tent in Santa Monica, California that this was the future of American entertainment. Those young directors, writers and stars remembered Netflix’s early support, and when the company plunged into content creation, they were on board. Here’s an interview I did with NPR about this in 2013.
So much for easing the sting of back-to-school with a new fall TV schedule. Netflix said at the Television Critics Association press tour that it will debut a bunch of new original series over the U.S. spring break season. The new series will debut simultaneously in all international markets. These are the new series and debut dates:
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Friday, March 6
A half-hour comedy series by “30 Rock” co-creator Tina Fey stars Ellie Kemper of “The Office” as Kimmy, who escaped a doomsday cult and started life over in New York City. The 13-episode series (also starring Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess, and Carol Kane) was written for NBC’s 2014 fall schedule but never aired.”Kimmy” will get a second season on Netflix, and it’ll be interesting to see how Fey and Carlock write the series for streaming.
Bloodline – Friday, March 20
Netflix describes this show, starring Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz, Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard, as a combination family drama and psychological thriller. The teaser looks cool and very dark.
Marvels Daredevil – Friday, April 10
“Daredevil,” the first of a four part series planned by Marvel and Netflix, stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, the blind superhero who battles injustice by day as a lawyer and takes on villains, including Vincent D’Onofrio’s character Wilson Fisk, by night in modern day Hell’s Kitchen. The 13 one-hour episodes debut simultaneously, of course, at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time on Netflix. The four-part epic begins with 13 0ne-hour “Daredevil” episodes and continues with at least three more 13-episode seasons featuring “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage” in coming years. The series culminates in Marvel’s “The Defenders” mini-series.
Grace and Frankie – Friday, May 8
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star in a 13-episode comedy about a pair of frenemies (Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston) who are thrown together after their husbands run off with each other.
And for the kiddos — The Adventures of Puss in Boots debuts Jan. 16.
Binge watching of “Friends” — newly added to Netflix’s catalog — apparently supplanted many people’s New Year’s Day football watching tradition yesterday. Major media outlets and blogs provided guides to the best of the 200+ episodes that became available for streaming on Jan. 1. Remember how new TV shows debuted on broadcast and cable television back when “Friends” was huge, and anchored NBC’s Thursday night “Must See TV” lineup? Ah, doesn’t the idea of appointment television seem a bit … quaint?
While the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is running strong on regular television, Netflix subscribers now have the option of watching the first season on its streaming service. Marvel Television and Netflix are planning much more, however, in the near future.
Marvel Television has worked to created a large-scale cinematic universe in which many films – as well as the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – are interconnected. Now, Marvel TV has signed a ground-breaking deal with Netflix for exclusive airing rights for more television shows based on Marvel characters. The first product of this deal is a show based on the character Daredevil, which is set to air in 2015.
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