Your Guide to New Original Series for 2016

Original Series have blown up since Netflix got their subscribers amped with House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Now Amazon and Hulu are getting in on the game, and lining up impressive new content for digital-hungry audiences.


Fuller House – Reviving the beloved ABC sitcom from our childhood, Fuller House is premiering 13 episodes on February 26, 2016. The Full House sitcom originally follows widowed Danny Tanner (Bob Saget), as he raises his three daughters with the help of his brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos) and his best friend Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier). The original creator, Jeff Franklin, is back as head writer and executive producer. Several of the original cast members from Full House are coming back to reprise their roles. Despite Full House launching the career of iconic twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson, the two will not reprise their roles. The plot of Fuller House, much similar to the original, follows a widow with three children to raise – only it’s a gender reversal. This time around we have D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) from the original series all grown up with three sons. Netflix and Franklin bring in the female leads with D.J.’s sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), best friend Kimmy (Andrea Barber), and Kimmy’s teenage daughter Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas).


Degrassi: Next Class – Degrassi is the Canadian television namesake that spans over five substantial installments. The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, and Degrassi: The Next Generation are filmed in and around Toronto, Ontario. Netflix’s addition to the teen drama franchise originally started as Season 15 of Degrassi: The Next Generation. Technically nothing has changed with this show aside from how it’s distributed. The new season first aired on FN2, Family Channel’s new teen programming block, on January 4, 2016. Netflix will air 10 22-minute episodes internationally (excluding Canada, France, and Australia) on January 15, 2015. With the same cast and crew the series continues to tackle taboo subjects that made Degrassi a cult favourite such as sex, teen pregnancy, date rape, drug abuse, LGBT issues, and racism. One difference Netflix brought to the series is episode titles referring to a social media trend with hashtags. Get ready for episode #BootyCall.


The OA – This eight-episode series is classified as a Drama/Mystery on IMDB, but at this moment there are no details on the plot. Any and all sound bites from Netflix executives have kept the story a tight secret. The OA, which possibly stands for Abnormal Occurrence, features Brit Marling as acting lead and co-writer and Zal Batmanglij as director and co-writer. Brit Marling is known for shunning Hollywood ideals in a way, as she got tired of being offered stereotypical roles. Marling’s break out roles were ones she wrote for herself in Another Earth and Sound of My Voice. Sound of My Voice is actually directed and co-written by Zal Batmanglij. The OA is the Marling and Batmanglij’s first project together since The East in 2013, and the first TV series the two have produced.


Flaked – Will Arnett looks like a Netflix favourite, as Flaked is the third project featuring the actor. Like the two previous featuring Arnett, the Arrested Development continuation and Bojack Horseman, Flaked is also a comedy. According to this Variety article from last year, the new series follows a self-appointed guru named Chip in Venice, California. Chip falls in love with his best friend’s girl, played by Ruth Kearney. Not only does this centre the plot on a comedic love triangle, but also bring Chip’s character flaws to the surface. Chip will struggle to keep up with his own lies that created his guru image. Flaked is co-created by Will Arnett and Mark Chappell (The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret). The series is also executive produced by Arrested Development creator/executive producer Mitchell Hurwitz.


Marvel’s Luke Cage – Netflix’s edition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe came to life first with Daredevil, then Jessica Jones, and now Luke Cage. Introduced to us in Jessica Jones as the Jess’ love interest, Luke Cage is an indestructible ‘gifted’ man. According to an article from, the Luke Cage series will take place post-Captain America Civil War. The same article also suggests that Luke Cage is complementary to building the world for the upcoming Defenders series. Aside from all the Marvel fans getting nerdy over their favourite characters, the Netflix series has potential to give viewers tons of Cage backstory. This is something that was left rather ambiguous in Jessica Jones, and rightly so since Cage is a supporting character. Luke Cage is set to premiere in 2016 with 13 hour-long episodes.


Stranger Things – With this project Netflix paired together Matt and Ross Duffer. The brothers have worked together on several short horror films, and that comprises the majority of their IMDB profiles. The Duffer Brothers, which is how they’re often credited/titled, also wrote and directed a horror, thriller Hidden (2015) with Alexander Skarsgard and Andrea Riseborough. Originally titled ‘Montauk,’ [hyperlink] Stranger Things centres on a little boy who simply vanishes in Montauk, New York in the 1980s. According to Deadline, the series will be, “a love letter to the ‘80s classics that captivated a generation.” Stranger Things also nailed down Shawn Levy as executive producer. The Netflix drama, with supernatural elements, is starring Winona Ryder and David Harbour.


The Get Down – Sony Pictures Television brought back their producing super-resources for this musical drama. Created by Baz Luhrmann and Shawn Ryan, The Get Down looks at the emergence of hip-hop, punk, and disco in 1970s New York City. On January 6, 2015 Netflix released this stellar full-length trailer. Baz Luhrmann’s writer/director experience includes Strictly Ballroom (1992), Australia (2008), Moulin Rouge! (2001), and The Great Gatsby (2013). Luhrmann looks like the right guy to smoothly incorporate musical numbers with a dramatic storyline for modern audiences. Shawn Ryan is known for several crime/drama series including The Shield (2002), The Unit (2006), and Last Resort (2012). Ryan’s storytelling skills most likely serve to the darker, and more violent elements of this series. Ryan is also executive producer on the Amazon Original Mad Dogs. The Get Down will air 13 hour-long episodes.


Love – This one-hour comedy is headed up by Judd Apatow who is best known for The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Girls and Pineapple Express. Lesley Arfin is also credited as co-creator whose previous credits include Brooklyn Nine-Nine, MTV’s Awkward and Girls. Netflix felt so confident that they order two seasons, with the first debuting 10 episodes this year. The cast features Gillian Jacobs, who is best known as Britta on Community, and Paul Rust who also executive produces the project. The series follows Gus and Mickey, Rust and Jacobs respectively, a couple looking to find love. According to Indie Revolver , Love shows both the male and female perspective of the relationship. Love is also the first time Netflix has ordered two seasons upfront since House of Cards.


The Crown – This Netflix Original is a stab at the U.K. market with a series about, you guessed it, the Royal Family. The Crown is set to premiere this year with 13 hour-long episodes. Created by Peter Morgan, the biographical story features Claire Foy as Princess Elizabeth, Matt Smith as Philip Mountbatten, Jared Harris as George VI, and John Lithgow as Winston Churchill. Morgan is best known as a writer/producer for Frost/Nixon, Rush, The Last King of Scotland, and The Queen. There’s no official word on plot details, but according to an article from IGN the story follows Queen Elizabeth after WWII.


Lady Dynamite – This comedy is somewhat Meta, with a mockumentary-style series based on Maria Bamford’s life. Lady Dynamite is co-written by Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development) and Pam Brady (South Park). Bamford is a female comedian, actress, and voice talent. Bamford’s voice credits include BoJack Horseman, Adventure Time, and Word Girl. Bamford also previously worked with Hurwitz on Arrested Development. No word yet on plot details. Netflix will air 13 episodes sometime this year.


Frontier – Back in November Jason Momoa fans may have gotten word of a new series called Frontier. Now most of the details of this project are subject to this exclusive Variety article. One interesting detail about this Netflix Original is that it’s commissioned by Canada’s own Discovery Channel. This means Discovery gets first distribution rights to the series, but only within Canada. According to Variety the plot chronicles the North American fur trade in the late 18th Century. Historically, this has involved both French and British colonists, and delicate interactions with Aboriginal peoples. Aside from Jason Momoa starring, Frontier also has Brad Peyton directing.


The Ranch – Remember That ‘70s Show? Well Danny Masterson and Ashton Kutcher are together again in another multi-camera sitcom, but hopefully this time without a laugh track. The Ranch is a comedy produced and written by Two and a Half Men alumni Don Reo and Jim Patterson. The series follows Colt Bennett, a former semi-pro football player (Kutcher) returning his family’s Colorado ranch to fun the business with his brother Jimmy (Masterson). The series also co-stars Elisha Cuthbert, Sam Elliot and Debra Winger. Winger and Elliot are set to play Colt and Jimmy’s parents, and Cuthbert plays Colt’s old girlfriend. Netflix has ordered 20 episodes, and releasing them in two 10-episode blocks.



Mad Dogs – This Amazon Original series is based off a British black comedy series of the same name. The U.S. adaptation of Mad Dogs has Shawn Ryan signed on as executive producer, with Chris Cole credited as series creator/showrunner. Chris Cole actually created and wrote the original Mad Dogs series. Ryan is best known for The Shield (2002), which ran for 7 seasons, and is also executive producer on the Netflix series The Get Down. The pilot aired with Amazon’s 4th pilot season on January 15, 2015. Amazon later approved the series for 10 episodes. Mad Dogs follows a group of 40-something buddies getting together in Belize to celebrate the early retirement of their rich friend. The group find themselves in the middle of a series of dark and comedic events including secrets, lies, and murder. The series stars Michael Imperioli, Billy Zane, Steve Zahn, Romany Malco, and Ben Chaplin. The series is set to release on January 22, 2016.


Sneaky Pete – This Amazon Original got its full season order as recently as September 2, 2015 [hyperlink]. This means there’s no official release date, or details on the number of episodes viewers will get in 2016. Sony Pictures Television is behind this one, and that usually means serious production value. Sneaky Pete, which has Bryan Cranston as executive producer, follows former convict Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) as he takes on the identity of his cellmate Pete. He moves in with Pete’s unsuspecting family, who happen to run a bail bonds business. The series also stars Marin Ireland and Margo Martindale.


Untitled Amazon Motoring Show – Fan backlash came swiftly with the news of Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson’s dismissal last March. Once BBC made the official announcement, Clarkson’s co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond refused to go on, along with executive producer Andy Wilman. Top Gear’s future looks grim, but fans rejoiced with the announcement of Amazon taking on these four fine gentlemen to make a new motoring TV series. The interesting thing is Amazon’s Untitled Motoring Show will be in direct competition with Top Gear. The series will produce at least 36 episodes over the next three years, and is reported to debut in late 2016.



The Path – Originally titled The Way, The Path is Aaron Paul’s first big acting project since AMC’s Breaking Bad. The series follows Eddie and Sarah Clearly, played by Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan respectively. The married couple get caught up in a cult. Eddie has a crisis of faith, as the truth of his world is challenged. Hannibal’s Hugh Dancy also stars as the cult leader. In December Hulu released the first images. Aaron Paul, along with starring, also serves as producer with his company Lucid Road Productions. The 10-episode series is created by Jessica Goldberg, and premieres March 30, 2016.
11.22.63 – This is Hulu’s most anticipated series for 2016. The eight-part series is based on a Stephen King novel of the same title. 11.22.63 follows an ordinary high school teacher Jake Epping, who travels back in time and tries to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. James Franco stars as Jake Epping, with J.J. Abrams producing and Stephen King serving as executive producer. Just this last weekend, Hulu released the first full-length trailer. With Abrams is helming this project, there’s a good chance there’ll be some good science fiction elements in here aside from the time travel. Time travel itself isn’t a greatly original concept. The challenge for Abrams and King is to keep audiences and critics interested. Franco’s pretty face can only do so much. The series is set to premiere on February 15, 2016.

Jess Morton
Jess Morton
Jess is a film theory geek who spends too much time watching Netflix. As a never-ending side project Jess writes feature articles on web series. She lives with her cat Aira in Toronto.