When Netflix premiered House of Cards back in 2013, the idea that the streaming service—which until then wooed subscribers with other people’s content—could become a major player in original, prestige programming seemed quaint. But in just three years, Netflix has become a content industrial complex, producing shows and movies at a dizzying pace. If it feels like there’s a new Netflix show, or movie, or comedy special dropping every week, that’s because there essentially is.
Between now and the end of 2018, Netflix has an astounding number of original television shows and movies premiering on its service, in addition to new seasons of proven hits like Master of None and Orange Is the New Black. As such, it’s hard to keep track of all the new and original programming Netflix has coming through the pipeline—which includes everything from movies it bought at Sundance to Korean television shows it financed—but we tried. And not only that, we ranked these projects, from the ones we are most excited about to the ones we're a little less, but still, excited about. It’s an unfair marker, really, because Netflix has at least one reason to binge-watch everything, but that’s exactly the point.
The last time Jenji Kohan created a show about women existing within a traditionally male milieu, we got Orange Is the New Black. Her new show, about an all-female wrestling league headlined by Allison Brie, should be no less groundbreaking.
This movie from Bong Joon-Ho, the visionary director behind Snowpiercer, follows the friendship between a young Korean girl and an oversized animal created by Tilda Swinton’s mad scientist. Jake Gyllenhaal also stars in what promises to be one of the year’s most exciting and original movies.
As he proved with Se7en and Zodiac, no one has mastered the serial killer genre quite like David Fincher, so there’s no reason to think that this new show about two FBI agents who interview imprisoned killers to find ones on the loose will be any different. Fincher launched Netflix’s original programming boom with House of Cards, and this is his victory lap.
4. Dear White People
The indie movie of the same name came out of nowhere in 2014 to surprise and delight audiences with its razor-sharp satire about racial tensions at an Ivy League school told through the perspective of black students. This version, a full-blown series, features an all-new cast of actors. Based on early screenings at SXSW, it nails the original film’s irresistible spirit.
To understand Netflix’s incredible rise as a prestige content creator, look no further than this show, with Naomi Watts starring as a therapist who gets dangerously close to her clients, with all 10 episodes being directed by 50 Shades of Grey helmer and Serious Artist Sam Taylor-Johnson.
6. Alias Grace
The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the most anticipated miniseries of the year, but this alternate Margaret Atwood, which was adapted by the great Sarah Polley, is right up there. Sarah Gadon stars as Grace Marks, an Irish immigrant who is convicted of a double murder and then exonerated after 30 years in prison.
7. Friends From College
Keegan-Michael Key, one of the show’s stars, described Friends From College to us as “a four-hour movie” and “extremely binge-able.” It’s about a group of old college pals who are all entering their forties at various stages of success, and suddenly find themselves living in the same city again. The show was created by Forgetting Sarah Marshall director, Nicholas Stoller, and Key also told us he has a “good feeling about it.” So do we.
Based on the life and times of Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amoruso, this Charlize Theron-produced series charts the rise of a rebellious young woman as she builds a fashion empire from nothing. Britt Robertson, who stars, has been on the verge of breaking out for a while now. This should do the trick.
9. 13 Reasons Why
The premise behind this YA adaptation is dark: A high school girl overdoses on pills and leaves behind 13 tapes to the people closest in her life to explain why she did it. But the pedigree behind the show means the material will get the thoughtful and mature treatment it deserves. It was written by Pulitzer-winning playwright Brian Yorkey, and the first two episodes were directed by Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy. Selena Gomez serves as executive producer.
Steven Soderbergh and Scott Frank once teamed up to make the modern classic Out of Sight, and so there’s no reason to think their collaboration on this six-part Western will be anything short of spectacular.
11. Kiss Me First
This British series has huge potential to be groundbreaking. It follows a lonely 17-year-old girl named Leila who meets a more outgoing girl named Tess in a virtual video game called "Agora." After the two become friends IRL, Tess disappears, and Leila assumes her identity in "Agora" to uncover the mystery behind her disappearance. Written by Skins co-creator Bryan Elsley, the show is set to use “state-of-the-art animation sequences,” which means it has the chance to be like nothing you’ve ever seen before, at least on Netflix.
12. Our Planet
Because Netflix is committed to taking over the world, it only makes sense that they launch their own documentary series about it. This eight-parter comes from the creators of Planet Earth, and promises to show “never-before-filmed settings, ranging from the ice caps and deep ocean to deserts and remote forests, featuring some of the world’s rarest animals and most precious natural habitats.” So basically more Planet Earth. Fine by us.
13. The Irishman
The only reason this movie—Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro’s first gangster film since Casino—isn’t higher on the list is because it sounds almost too good to be true. We’ll believe it when we see it.
14. Death Note
Based on the Japanese manga of the same name, the premise of this pitch black thriller is enough to hook us: A student (Nat Wolff) discovers a mysterious notebook that allows him to kill off his enemies simply by writing down their names. But once that power corrupts him, a detective must hunt him down a put a stop to it. Adam Wingard, the gifted filmmaker who made the surprise hit The Guest and the Blair Witch sequel, directs.
15. War Machine
Only in 2017 can a movie starring Brad Pitt as a thinly-veiled version of General Stanley McCrystal get released directly to Netflix. Good thing it’s 2017.
16. Altered Carbon
Despite genre home runs like The OA and Stranger Things, Netflix has yet to score with a purely sci-fi property. That should change with this ambitious new series that stars Joel Kinnaman as an “elite interstellar warrior” who has been imprisoned for 500 years, and who is downloaded into a future he once tried to prevent. We told you it was ambitious.
Before he stumbled with last year’s video game adaptation Warcraft, Duncan Jones established himself as a visionary director of original sci-fi thanks to Moon and Source Code. He’s officially back with Mute, another original film that follows a (you guessed it) mute bartender (Alexander Skarsgård) who must track down his missing partner with the help of two doctors, played by Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux. The catch? The movie is set in 2052.
18. The Rain
So many of your favorite shows and movies have been adapted from Scandinavian properties, so it stands to reason that Netflix’s first original Nordic series will be something to behold. Add to that a plot about two young siblings navigating a dangerous world a decade after a virus wiped out most of the humanity and we’re sold.
19. Hold The Dark
With last year’s airtight thriller Green Room, Jeremy Saulnier established himself as one of our most exciting young directors, so expect this movie—starring Alexander Skarsgård and Riley Keough—about a hunter looking for a missing child that’s been kidnapped by wolves in the Alaskan wilderness, to be as dark as it is beautiful.
20. She’s Gotta Have It
The joint that put Spike Lee on the map is being turned into a television series more than 20 years after its release. Anything is possible.
21. The Discovery
Our anticipation for this high-concept sci-fi romance would have been higher if we hadn’t already caught it when it premiered at Sundance, but you, dear reader, should be quite excited for this story of what happens when the existence of the afterlife is discovered and confirmed. Rooney Mara and Jason Segel give heartbreaking performances as a couple struggling to adjust to this new reality.
22. The Incredible Jessica James
Former Daily Show correspondent finally gets the star turn she deserves in this Sundance hit about a woman falling in love again after a crushing breakup.
23. Come Sunday
Chiwetel Ejiofor hasn’t had a role on the level of Solomon Northup since he wowed everyone in 12 Years a Slave, but his turn here, as an evangelical minister who stirred controversy when he rejected the idea of hell, should remind us why he’s one of our greatest living actors.
The spiritual successor to Bloodline, but instead of Kyle Chandler as the patriarch of a family in a remote part of the country, it’s Jason Bateman. Here he plays a man who moves with his wife (Laura Linney) from the city to the Ozarks, where he must pay off a debt to a Mexican drug lord.
Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as the mother of an 18-year-old son with autism, played by British actor Keir Gilchrist. The series is being positioned as a dark comedy, and, if done right, has the capacity to become a landmark series.
Acclaimed director Niki Caro (Whale Rider) updates L.M. Montgomery’s classic novel, Anne of Green Gables, in this eight-part series starring newcomer Amybeth McNulty, who based on the short teaser, looks like an absolute find.
27. Casting JonBenet
As the mysterious, unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey has re-entered the popular imagine, filmmaker Kitty Green takes an inventive approach to telling the telling chilling story, by casting locals from Boulder, Colorado—where the crime took place—as key figures in the story.
Now that The Walking Dead has officially worn out its welcome, it feels like the perfect time for this eight-part Korean zombie thriller to reinvigorate the genre. According to Deadline, the series is “Korea’s medieval Joseon period where a crown prince is sent on a suicide mission to investigate a mysterious outbreak that leads him to a brutal truth that threatens the kingdom.” Yes, please.
Already being dubbed “The German Stranger Things,” this new supernatural mystery, set in where else but a small town, centers on the disappearance of several children. It is Netflix’s first German production.
30. A Futile and Stupid Gesture
This biopic chronicling the rise of comedy writer Doug Kenney and National Lampoon features Will Forte in the title role and one of the most impressive casts you'll see assembled this year, including Natasha Lyonne as Gilda Radner.
31. Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On
From the people who brought you the documentary Hot Girls Wanted (including executive producer Rashida Jones), this limited series takes a look at the crossroads between sex and technology through the eyes of six different subjects.
Not much is known about this sci-fi tale besides the official Netflix description, which goes something like this: “One of the last survivors on Earth, a teen races to cure her poisoned planet before the final shuttle to a distant space colony leaves her stranded.” That teen is played by rising star Margaret Qualley, who’s finally getting the lead role she deserves.
33. Bill Nye Saves the World
Cult icon, childhood hero, and science guy Bill Nye is getting a talk show that will look at how his chosen field overlaps with pop culture, politics, and society at large. Nye will have the help of four correspondents, including Karlie Kloss.
34. Lost in Space
A remake of the 1965 series about a family of intergalactic colonists who—wait for it—get lost in space. The wrap on this is that it’s a more modern take on the ‘60s version, which, well, duh.
35. Love Alarm
Another Korean series from Netflix, this is an adaptation of a popular “webtoon,” which is basically what South Koreans call an online comic. The premise is ingenious: A developer releases an app that can tell its users if anyone within 10 meters is in love with them. Chaos ensues.
36. First They Killed My Father
Angelina Jolie returns to the director’s chair with this harrowing story of the Khmer Rouge’s brutal Cambodian genocide, and the five-year-old that survived it.
37. The Defenders
We’ll admit that the tepid Iron Fist took some steam out of Netflix’s very solid Marvel shows. Daredevil, Jessica James, and Luke Cage each pushed boundaries in their own ways, and introduced us to more relatable superheroes than the ones we’re used to seeing on the big screen. But this series, in which the four heroes team up Avengers-style, still intrigues us.
Will Smith hasn’t given us a reason to get excited for a while—his last few movies have either been flops and/or Suicide Squad. So it’s no surprise that the former Teflon movie star is trying to rejuvenate his career on the small screen, playing an LAPD cop who must team up with an Orc to do battle with supernatural forces in a world that features both humans and mythical creatures.
39. 6 Balloons
Dave Franco and Abbi Jacobson try gut-wrenching drama on for size. He plays a relapsing heroin addict, and she plays the sister trying to save him.
A sitcom starring Kathy Bates as the owner of an L.A. weed dispensary? Sure, why not? A sitcom from Chuck Lorre, creator of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory? Mmm, not so much.