Girlboss, 13 Reasons Why and Dear White People: What Netflix has in store for 2017

By Wenlei Ma

With the promise of 1000 hours of new content in 2017, Netflix has come a long way since its first original program, House of Cards, debuted four years ago this month.

When Netflix branched into original content, its first steps were tentative and selective.

After choosing to spearhead bold dramedies including Orange is the New Black or the fourth season of Arrested Development, the streaming giant has since expanded its focus to a more diverse content slate to cater for more than the most discerning of "Quality TV" viewers.

Its business model demands aggressive membership growth as it went global, which means attracting those TV fans that may not warm to irreverent shows such as Bojack Horseman or slow burns like Bloodline.

So, now, for every Master of None you get a Fuller House or The Ranch. Not every show is going to be critically acclaimed but some of the most popular programs in the world are loathed by those who love Lady Dynamite (case in point: Big Bang Theory).

Netflix's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said: "We aren't in the business of creating 'one size fits all' programming. We're catering to a dynamic world full of people with different tastes - and as a result, no two Netflix experiences are alike - we want to have something for everyone to enjoy".

With that goal in mind, Netflix has given a taste of what's the come in the first half of 2017 at a press event in New York City.

One of the most exciting new series is a challenging new comedy called Dear White People, set on an American college campus that's dealing with the fallout of a blackface party thrown by a group of white students.

An expansion from Justin Simien's 2014 festival darling film, the series is a stylised, clever and uncomfortably funny look at race relations in the post-Obama era. Each episode is told from the perspective of a different character.

The series will debut on April 24.

Girlboss, created by 30 Rock and Pitch Perfect writer Kay Cannon and based on the book by entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso, the series details the early days of Amoruso's online retail empire Nasty Gal, and how she went from being a poor 23-year-old scrounging for rent for money in the couch cushions to owning a multimillion-dollar business.

Britt Robertson will play Sophia and the series premieres on April 21.

Bill Nye, The Science Guy, will front a fun half-hour series Bill Nye Saves the World, which will explore issues such as artificial intelligence, sex and climate change, will debut on April 21.

Based on the popular young adult novel by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why is a long-awaited adaptation of the title. Six years ago, Universal bought the film rights as a vehicle for Selena Gomez. The project is now going ahead as a 13-episode series with Gomez as a producer.

Starring Katherine Langford and Dylan Minnette, the series centres on Hannah Baker, a teenager who commits suicide before the start of the series but leaves a collection of cassette tapes to the people in her life, peeling back the layers on what led to her tragic end.

Eighties crooner Michael Bolton will anchor Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special, a satirical holiday spectacular produced by Akiva Schaffer (one-half of Lonely Island) and Scott Aukerman.

The show is wildly bizarre, but in a good way, and sees the likes of Andy Samberg, Janeane Garofalo, Bob Saget, Sarah Silverman, Will Forte, Maya Rudolph and Randall Park guest star, along with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo from Kenny G. Yes, that Kenny G.

It's not necessarily your mum's Michael Bolton - this one wears ironic gold dinner jackets and isn't above jokes about pubes and butt plugs. The special is available to stream right now.

For those with kids, Netflix debuted the first trailer for Julie's Greenroom, a preschooler show with Julie Andrews.

A new version of Anne of Green Gables will be available to stream on May 12. Not much is known at this point except that it's called Anne, and she loves Green Gables and pigtails but hates being called "carrots".

Netflix confirmed a second season for the divisive The OA, which dropped on the service late last year without any marketing or notice. It also announced a third season for Paul Rust and Judd Apatow show Love and a second season for Travelers.

Premiere dates were confirmed for Orange is the New Black season five (June 9), Grace and Frankie season three (March 24), Casting JonBenet (April 28), Buddy Thunderstruck (March 10) and Anne (May 12).

For House of Cards fans, the political thriller has added Patricia Clarkson (The Station Agent, Shutter Island) and Campbell Scott (Royal Pains) to its cast for season five, which will debut on May 30.

Yesterday, Netflix also debuted the first full-length trailer for its next instalment in its Marvel series, Iron Fist, which will drop on March 17.

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- news.com.au

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