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Upcoming Netflix Originals You Didn't Know Were Being Made

It's hard to overstate just how much Netflix has changed the film and television industry. The streamer is putting billions of dollars into new content every year—and changing the distribution model, drawing in huge talent on both sides of the camera as stars and filmmakers seek more creative freedom.

Netflix's expansion has been a boon for viewers—there's a constant stream of high-quality entertainment if you know where to find it. It's that last bit that's the biggest problem, though; while everyone hears about buzzy releases like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, the sheer amount of content means other shows get lost in the shuffle. To help out, we've tracked down a number of upcoming Netflix originals that are going to absolutely blow you away—and you may not even realize were in the works.

The Irishman

One of Netflix's priciest upcoming projects is The Irishman, which is estimated to have a budget over $100 million. However, the film seems like its definitely worth the price—it reunites Martin Scorsese with Robert De Niro, along with a supporting cast of heavy hitters like Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, and Harvey Keitel. 

Starring De Niro as Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, a mob hitman allegedly responsible for the death of Jimmy Hoffa, the movie—based on the Charles Brandt book I Heard You Paint Houses—also boasts a screenplay written by Moneyball's Steve Zaillian. Its impressive pedigree could score The Irishman a short theatrical release to qualify it for the Academy Awards, so get ready—with a huge amount of talent on both sides of the camera, this movie will surely be on your radar (and in your queue) soon.

Raising Dion

Michael B. Jordan is set to spearhead a different kind of superhero origin story with Raising Dion, a series following an African-American woman who's raising her son Dion alone after the death of her husband (Jordan). As if that wasn't already hard enough, she has to adapt when Dion starts to develop superhuman abilities. With the help of her husband's best friend, she tries to protect her son from those who would use him for his powers. 

UnReal's Carol Barbee is set to be the showrunner for the series, which is based on a short film from director Dennis Liu. Jordan is also on board as a producer, as is American Gods' Michael Green and Fences' Charles D. King. The superhero origin story is a crowded genre, but with a young protagonist and an intense storyline, Raising Dion is a potential standout.  

The Eddy

La La Land's Damien Chazelle is getting back into the musical game. The Oscar winner is set to executive produce and direct two episodes of the Paris-set musical drama series The Eddy, which is set in modern-day, multicultural Paris and is said to revolve around a jazz club with American and French-Arab co-owners. The show will tell the story of "a club, its owner, the house band, and the chaotic city that surrounds them." 

Fitting with its setting, the show will be shot in France with dialogue in French, English, and Arabic. The eight-episode series also has BAFTA Award-winning writer Jack Thorne (National Treasure) on board, as well as Grammy Award-winning composer Glen Ballard, known for Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" and Michael Jackson's "Bad," writing the original score. If that wasn't already enough to get you on board, the show has also nabbed Six Feet Under and The Newsroom Emmy winner Alan Poul to executive produce.

Dolly Parton's Heartstrings

Pay no attention to Dolly Parton's big hair, delightful drawl, rhinestone-decorated outfits, and the other more showy aspects of her long career in country and pop music — she's one of the greatest songwriters who's ever lived. She's had a hand in writing almost all of her most memorable hits, including "I Will Always Love You," "9 to 5," "Coat of Many Colors," and "Jolene." Parton has a knack for composing songs that feel like real people (or characters) are singing them about real situations (or fictional ones), and Netflix is going to turn some of those into narrative films. 

In 2018, the service announced plans for an eight-part anthology series, in which each episode will be a self-contained story based on one of Parton's tunes. "I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music," she said via a press statement. "We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations." Parton will executive produce the series as well as briefly appear in a few episodes.

Sunshine Scouts

After more than a decade creating, producing, and writing hit shows like Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder for ABC, television juggernaut Shonda Rhimes signed a deal in April 2018 to bring her "Shondaland" shingle to Netflix. Three months later, the prolific Rhimes announced that she and her crew were at work on a whopping eight different series, including dramas, documentaries, and even a pitch black half-hour comedy called Sunshine Scouts. 

Overseen by Rhimes but created by writer/actress Jill Alexander, the series takes place after an event of apocalyptic proportions destroys a great deal of civilization and life on Earth. A group of teenage girl scouts at a summer camp out in the wildness survive, and have to continue to band together to thrive in this brave new world, abiding by "Sunshine Scout Law" and using their many scouting skills to find food and shelter... and avoid nuclear fallout.

The Green Beret's Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse

With a title that makes a lot of promises and surely conjures up dazzling images of tough guys in fatigues not letting a little end of the world get in the way of going about their day, The Green Beret's Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse is what it sounds like — and it also isn't. It's a partially scripted comedy series courtesy of and starring some actual military veterans. Shawn Vance is a former Green Beret (an elite soldier with the U.S. Special Forces) and Daril Fannin once worked as a combat medic in the U.S. Army.

But the framework for those written and improvised comedy bits is a show that offers viewers tips and strategies on how to get through just about any horrible scenario manageable. Each of the eight episodes will tackle a different apocalyptic possibility, and outline what viewers should and shouldn't do in such a situation. (Take notes, because there won't be Netflix after the apocalypse.)

Dead to Me

Will Ferrell is helping two of his most prominent co-stars get a comedy show on Netflix. Along with longtime collaborator Adam McKay, Ferrell will produce Dead to Me, a dark comedy starring comedy veterans Christina Applegate (Anchorman) and Linda Cardellini (Daddy's Home). The premise is original and intriguing — Deadline has described Dead to Me as a "comedic Big Little Lies."  

Applegate (who is also a producer) will portray uptight Jen, a widow whose husband just died in a hit-and-run who copes with a streak of dark humor and a serious anger management problem. Cardellini will play Judy, a younger free spirit with whom Applegate develops an unlikely but important friendship... who is also trying to keep something she did a secret. In April, Netflix ordered 10 episodes of the series, written by showrunner Liz Feldman, who previously penned episodes for 2 Broke Girls. If anybody can make Big Little Lies funny, it's this crew.

Turn Up Charlie

After stepping away from the small screen for a while to appear in multiple movie franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (he's an ally of Thor), Star Trek (nefarious warlord Balthazar Edison), and Pacific Rim (he helps kill gigantic sea monsters), Idris Elba will return to television with an edgy comedy called Turn Up Charlie. The potential James Bond was once a mere TV guy, co-starring on The Wire and Luther. The right TV project had to come along, and for Elba it must have been a show he co-created that's partially about a topic close to his heart: electronic music.

Along with producer Gary Reich, Elba came up with the story about an aging bachelor and EDM DJ (as Elba is in real life) who agrees to be a caretaker for his celebrity best friend's obnoxious young daughter. Turn Up Charlie should turn up on Netflix in late 2018 or 2019.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

After decades of delighting the world with movies and TV shows featuring the comedy and musical stylings of his manic Muppets, Jim Henson and his progressive partners in puppetry released the dazzling and ambitious The Dark Crystal in 1982. This serious, hardcore fantasy epic with shades of Tolkien focused on mythical races called the urRu and Skeksis vying for control of a powerful gem (a dark crystal, if you will) that keeps order in the universe. It was a box office hit and a cult classic — and now Netflix, in conjunction with the Jim Henson Company, is revisiting Thra. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a prequel, set long before the events of the film — the plot involves Gelflings uncovering why and how the Skeksis are so evil, and their quest to keep those forces in check. Netflix attracted a bunch of stars to voice various characters, including Natalie Dormer, Helena Bonham-Carter, Simon Pegg, and Mark Hamill.

Another Life

The breakout star of one of the most popular and critically acclaimed sci-fi TV shows of all time is making her way back to a space-set series. Katee Sackhoff, Captain Kara Thrace (or more familiarly, Starbuck) on the 2000s Battlestar Galactica reboot, has signed on to star in a Netflix thriller called Another Life. And she's even portraying a captain again.

In this dark science-fiction drama that sounds like equal parts Alien and The Orville, Sackhoff stars as Niko Breckinridge, an astronaut who leads a crew on a spooky and possibly (and probably) deadly space trip to explore the origins of an important artifact of an alien civilization. Selma Blair (American Crime Story) and Justin Chatwin (Shameless) are also part of the cast. Another Life boasts a notable pedigree: it's produced by Halfire Entertainment, the company that made Netflix's acclaimed adaptation of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace.


There's room enough in the infinite expanse of Netflix for another show about the infinite expanse of space. Like Another Life, Away is a show about astronauts, but this one is much more — pardon the pun — grounded in reality. It's an interpersonal drama about the people living and working in very close quarters together on the International Space Station. And it's probably going to be very poignant and often sad because of the man behind it: Away is the co-creation of Jason Katims, the mastermind behind beloved weepfests Friday Night Lights and Parenthood.

Based in part on "Away," Chris Jones' 2014 Esquire article about preparations for manned space travel to Mars, the personal, narrative drama stems from the arc of Emma Green, an American astronaut struggling with leaving her family behind for her one-year trip into the wild black yonder. (Netflix is likely hoping Away goes over better than The First, rival Hulu's one-season wonder about the first manned mission to Mars.)


Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill star Uma Thurman is finally coming to episodic television. (Her brief work on twin NBC duds The Slap and Smash shouldn't have to count.) Chambers is an intriguing show, a thriller with elements of mystery, medicine, and spirituality. Thurman plays the grieving mother of a deceased woman whose heart is transplanted into a young heart attack survivor who desperately needs it. Before long, the patient gets curious about why and how she came to receive her heart, as it saves her life on a daily basis and such. She gets closer and deeper to the truth — too close and too deep, it would seem, especially when she starts to take on the personality of the heart's original vessel. 

Not only does it star Thurman trying something relatively new, but it also represents a pivot for Super Deluxe, Turner's digital wing that previously made primarily short comedy videos.


For hundreds of years now, the King Arthur legends have been part of the cultural fabric of England and its colonies, a mythology for the English-speaking world on par with the pantheons of Greek and Norse gods. Those fantastical tales about Sir Lancelot, the Lady of the Lake, the Knights of the Round Table, and Excalibur get adapted into movies and TV shows with regularity because people know and love them... and also because they're squarely in the public domain. 

Legendary graphic novel creator Frank Miller will publish his own take, told from the point of view of the Lady of the Lake; Cursed won't hit bookstores until late 2019, but Netflix has already recognized the pull of the material, and put a serialized version of the book into production. Starring as Nimue, the teenager destined (or "cursed," rather) to become the Lady of the Lake: Katherine Langford, best known for anchoring Netflix's controversial hit 13 Reasons Why.

10 After Midnight

Visionary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is a beloved fixture of the horror-fantasy genre, with a filmography that runs from dark fable Pan's Labyrinth to his more recent hit The Shape of Water. Thanks to a deal with Netflix, del Toro will revisit his roots in the scary filmmaking he so obviously loves, as demonstrated by films like Mimic and Crimson Peak.

With the success of Netflix's own Black Mirror, unsettling anthology series are back in a way not seen since the heyday of The Twilight Zone in the '60s. The service wants more, and more scary, so it's ordered 10 installments of Guillermo del Toro Presents 10 After Midnight. According to Variety, del Toro will produce the series while also curating the stories he wishes to tell, and will personally hire interesting filmmakers to make those standalone episodes. He's also slated to write and direct a few of the episodes himself.

No Good Nick

With shows like GLOW, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Master of None, Netflix helped popularized the notion of single-camera, film-like comedy series, particularly ones that expanded the idea of a sitcom — that the tried-and-true TV format could be a lot more than "taped in front of a live studio audience" and sweetened with a laugh track. Well, Netflix is all things to all people and it's also explored the classic sitcom format with The Ranch, Fuller House, and soon, No Good Nick. 

This three-camera family comedy stars two very familiar faces: Sean Astin (The Goonies, Stranger Things) and Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains it All, Sabrina the Teenage Witch). They play parents Liz and Ed, a career-oriented mom and goofy dad who bring into their family a 13-year-old named Nicole (Siena Agudong), only to slowly realize that she's actually a con artist with specific but inscrutable goals. Netflix has ordered 20 episodes of this serialized, mystery-laced laffer.

Living with Yourself

From Wet Hot American Summer-quoting comedy nerds to devoted Ant-Man-loving MCU acolytes, just about everybody loves Paul Rudd, star of those films and plenty of other perennial favorites, including Role Models, Anchorman, and I Love You, Man. He's starred in a couple of Netflix original movies (Mute and The Fundamentals of Caring), and he's set to star in his first series for the online giant. 

From the mind of The Daily Show showrunner and directed by Little Miss Sunshine duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Rudd's latest Netflix project is Living With Yourself. Rudd stars as a man for whom life did not turn out so well, and so he submits to an experimental self-improvement treatment. One problem: His replacement is his newer, better self... and that's also his new rival. It sounds like this could be a wry, silly affair with shades of both Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Multiplicity. 

Locke and Key

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's fantasy/horror title Locke & Key is one of the most popular and well-received comics in recent memory. Three siblings move into the Massachusetts home that's been in their family for generations, where they find special keys that give them all magical and superhuman abilities. (There's also a nasty demon in the mix who wants those keys for obvious reasons.)

Just two years after its first issue hit newsstands in 2008, Hollywood got to work on an adaptation for television. And it's been in the works ever since. Fox passed on a pilot, and a big-screen version at Universal never transpired. Hulu then tried developing it, only to abandon it in early 2018. Two months later, Netflix grabbed the rights and put the wheels in motion. Hill will write on the 10-episode series, while Carlton Cuse of Lost is onboard as a producer and developer. Darby Stanchfield, late of Scandal, is attached to star.


Netflix has blossomed into such an entertainment juggernaut that it's able to attract — and more than decently compensate —content creators from the world of traditional television. Joining Shonda Rhimes at Netflix is FX's former golden boy Ryan Murphy. The prolific writer/director/producer helped make that Fox cable offshoot into a prestige channel on par with HBO, drawing huge ratings and winning tons of Emmys for his annual American Horror Story anthology entries, his multiple American Crime Story miniseries about O.J. Simpson and Andrew Cunanan, not to mention Feud, Nip/Tuck, and Pose. That's all well and good, but Netflix offered Murphy $300 million — the most lucrative producer contract in TV history — to do whatever he wants on the streaming platform.

The first of what will likely be many Ryan Murphy series feels very on-brand: Ratched, a prequel series to the classic film and novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It focuses on Nurse Ratched, the no-nonsense nurse played by Louise Fletcher in the 1975 movie version of Ken Kesey's novel. Frequent Murphy collaborator Sarah Paulson will take over the role for the series. Also starring in what will likely be a creepy, unsettling show in the spirit of American Horror Story: Rosanna Arquette, Sharon Stone, and Cynthia Nixon.