The landscape of television is evolving beyond the likes of anything we’ve seen before. Netflix originally started out as a home delivery DVD rental company, but in the last few years has evolved into an enormous online streaming powerhouse. After procuring contracts with multiple television networks and movie production companies in 2007, Netflix began streaming films and shows online.
Now, you can binge-watch a large variety of shows and movies for a low monthly subscription price. This practice has become so popular that Netflix even started creating its own content; Netflix’s original shows, which release entire seasons’ worth of episodes at midnight of their release days, have become some of the most influential aspects of pop culture today. Here we take a look at just a few!
The Best Netflix Original Television Shows
Marvel has been expanding its cinematic universe (officially known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the MCU) beyond just its original Avengers from the beloved 2012 blockbuster film. Part of this concerted effort is through the development of Netflix original television shows focusing on lesser-known—yet equally as compelling?superhero characters stemming from Marvel.
The premise follows Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), a blind, mixed martial arts-trained newly minted lawyer, who turns down multiple lucrative job offers in order to open a small practice with his best friend Foggy Nelson in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. The pair almost immediately becomes entangled with one of the most dangerous underground criminal plots in the city.
Knowing that there exist many limits to what he can do to save his neighborhood within the confines of the law, Matt becomes a vigilante crime fighter by night. The second season mainly follows the enormous effects his secret decisions and actions hold for Foggy, their friend and secretary Karen Page, and for the city at large.
Daredevil has become one of the most popular shows on Netflix due to its compelling cast of characters and beautifully written storylines. Fans of the show can find all sorts of amazing merchandise to proudly display their love of one of their favorite characters.
A sequel series of sorts, and also part of the MCU, this particular show follows Harlem resident Jessica Jones, a freelance private investigator who also just happens to be imbued with super strength and virtual invincibility. Jessica Jones has garnered lots of praise due to its unflinching, highly realistic, and often harrowing portrayal of the damaging posttraumatic effects of sexual assault on survivors.
A feminist show with kick-ass female characters if there ever was one, Jones?along with the aforementioned Daredevil in addition to the upcoming Luke Cage and Iron Fist?is part of an effort by the MCU to eventually create a The Defenders miniseries . . . along the same vein that Marvel utilized the Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor franchises to lead up to The Avengers.
Orange Is the New Black
One of the first original series produced on Netflix, the comedy-drama series debuted in July of 2013 and subsequently enchanted millions around the globe. Based on a memoir by Piper Kerman about her year in a minimum security federal prison, the show has gained such unabashed praise from critics and audiences alike that it has been renewed for the seventh season despite the fact it will only be premiering its fourth season next month!
The series was also instrumental in launching Laverne Cox?one of the first transgender women of color to portray one on a major media network?into superstardom, and helping to thrust transgender issues into the national conversation.
Orange Is the New Black received twelve Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Comedy Series, and even Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for its first season alone. Later seasons have seen it continuously rack up even more nominations, including Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for actress Uzo Aduba.
House of Cards
Despite only existing on Netflix, the smash hit political drama starring Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey has made waves for its sharp, often satirical view of the American political system through the eyes of Frank and Claire Underwood, an ambitious United States House Representative and his equally ambitious lobbyist wife.
Though based on a BBC miniseries and a novel by Michael Dobbs, the show has recently drawn even more attention due to the current American election season’s similarities to many of the fictional political moves made by its protagonists.
The traditional days of waiting an entire week for new episodes of your favorite shows are nearing their end, thanks to the new world of binge-watching made possible by Netflix, but we can’t really complain when the end result is that of so many amazing new shows.