Series junkies will be pleased to know that the line-up of shows Netflix has in store for the rest of this year will keep them up most nights wanting to binge on episodes.
Earlier this month, the internet streaming service launched 10 new projects, seven of which are original series, to journalists at their third annual See What’s Next event.
The two-day launch pad was fittingly held in Rome, Italy, as all the shows unveiled were produced in different European countries. Also interesting to know is that the first Netflix original series was not American political-thriller House of Cards but in fact a Norwegian drama series called Lilyhammer that starred The Soprano’s actor Steven van Zandt.
Netflix has made it a point to bring new voices to the entertainment service and localising stories to reach a broader audience. This means that more shows from the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) are in store for subscribers who are choosing the streaming service over traditional television programming.
If you’re a Netflix beginner, like me (I literally opened an account in my hotel room the day before the event to familiarise myself with the content they have), you’ll be happy to know that it’s a pretty easy process to set up and pay for after your first free trial month.
I’m just a few days into my trial, and I am already waking up in the early hours of the morning, making use of my additional night shift W-Fi to watch the first season of Lost in Space. The American sci-fi series is based on the 1965 series of the same name that follows the adventures of a family of space colonists whose spaceship malfunctions and leaves them lost in space.
At the launch, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings spoke on the evolution of entertainment, and how we went from plays to motion pictures to television and now internet TV. All met with resistance at first, but then embraced for their innovation.
“Drama and exploration is core to the human heart. With internet TV, you get the best possible video quality first, 4k ultra high definition, Dolby Atmos sound, higher quality in your home than in most movie theatres around the world,” said Hastings.
More and more people are preferring to Netflix and chill at home, with a selection of their favourite movies, series, comedies and documentaries just a click away.
As the vice-president of Product, Todd Yellin, put it: Netflix is putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time.
“When we started our original effort, we launched our titles in seven languages. With the launch of Lost in Space, it came out with 26 languages, and when they come back in a couple of years, expect a much higher number. We keep on wanting to spread it, we keep on wanting to make this content accessible to whoever is going to enjoy it, no matter what the original language of the content was.”
The consumer has a choice to watch series from around the world with either subtitles, dubs or the original language.
The shows that were unveiled last week were Mortel - a French series about teenagers bound together by a supernatural force, German production The Wave, based on the hit movie by the same name, Luna Nera; an Italian drama about women suspected of witchcraft in the 17th century Italy, Turn Up Charlie, a UK eight-part comedy starring Idris Elba, and The English Game, another UK production written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.
Spanish production La Casa de Papel, also known as Money Heist, has been a success with audiences globally. It’s the most watched non-English series on the internet service.
Screenwriter Álex Pina brought to life eight criminal specialists to pull off a e2.4billion heist, and in the third season, new heists are set in motion.
Other new series that will be available on Netflix are Dogs of Berlin, The Innocents, and young adult show Baby.
As 75% of Netflix’s 125 million audience subscribers stream in for documentaries, two new ones will have them glued to their screens.
One is called The Staircase and focuses in on the story of Michael Peterson, a crime novelist accused of killing his wife after she was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in their home.
The docu-series is produced by Matthieu Belghiti and directed by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, who won an Oscar for his documentary Murder on a Sunday Morning, based on the true story of a 15-year-old boy accused of a murder he did not commit.
The other documentary tells the story of one of the biggest cold cases in French history, the murder of 4-year-old Grégory Villemin in 1984.
“With over 100 European projects launching this year, we are committed to being a voice for European entertainment, giving passionate local content creators a worldwide platform to share their vision, and offering consumers around the world unique and diverse stories they can discover and enjoy, anywhere, any time and at the same time, no matter their place or language of origin. And this is just the beginning of our journey,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix.
I don’t know about you, but after this free trial month is up, I’ll be figuring out how to change my subscription price from euros to rand, so I can continue with the service as a bona fide new age couch potato, seeing as I can watch Netflix on over 1700 devices. I’m sold.
Images: Francesco Berardinelli