What is it? "Chelsea Does" is a four-part Netflix Documentary Series featuring Chelsea Handler exploring four topics of personal and universal fascination: marriage, racism, Silicon Valley and drugs. With her unique voice and provocative point of view, Chelsea will be seen confronting the topics that connect humanity, having the hard conversations about things that are not easy to talk about, and calibrating and learning who she is along the way. [official synopsis via Netflix]
I'll like it if I like... when "Chelsea Lately" took itself (somewhat) seriously.
Why should I care? Chelsea Handler has always had a unique voice, and now she's putting purpose behind it. That's not to say helming "Chelsea Lately" or guest starring on "Web Therapy" and "This Means War" wasn't important work, but in her investigative docu-series "Chelsea Does," Handler is exploring difficult universal concepts and making them all the more relatable with her disarming, engaging humor. Oh, and her credibility certainly didn't take a hit when "Chelsea Does" landed a screening slot at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
"Chelsea Does" is scheduled to premiere January 23, 2016.
What is it? "Love" follows nice guy Gus (Paul Rust) and brazen wild-child Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) as they navigate the exhilarations and humiliations of intimacy, commitment, love and other things they were hoping to avoid. "Love" is an unflinching, hilarious and excruciatingly honest take on modern relationships. [official synopsis via Netflix]
I'll like it if I like... a blend of "Girls," "You're the Worst" and "Knocked Up."
Why should I care? Judd Apatow is coming to TV — or better yet, he's coming to Netflix! The groundbreaking director and prolific producer is bringing his brand of humor to the small screen yet again (after past projects like, oh, I don't know, "Freaks and Geeks" and "Girls"), but "Love" marks the writer's first series on a streaming platform. Credited as a co-creator alongside Lesley Arfin ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine") and Paul Rust (who also co-stars), "Love" gives former "Community" star Gillian Jacobs her first starring TV role after spending some time in the indie film world. The actress has been heating up considerably since winning over a cult fandom on Dan Harmon's ex-NBC series, including a guest star run on the latest season of "Girls." Apatow has always been kind of hit-or-miss, with a prerogative for running long, but he's never shied away from tackling big issues with a sharp wit, and episodic TV allows ample time to binge or take breaks. The audience can make their own call, which makes "Love" a perfect fit for Netflix's growing subscriber base.
"Love" premieres all 10 episodes of its first season February 19 at 12:01am PT.
READ MORE: Review: Judd Apatow's 'Love' Season 1 Isn't Like Any Rom-Com You've Seen Before
What is it? In "Fuller House," the adventures that began in 1987 on "Full House" continue, with veterinarian D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure) recently widowed and living in San Francisco. D.J.'s younger sister/aspiring musician Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweetin) and D.J.'s lifelong best friend/fellow single mother Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), along with Kimmy's feisty teenage daughter Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas), all move in to help take care of D.J.'s three boys — the rebellious 12-year-old Jackson (Michael Champion), neurotic 7-year-old Max (Elias Harger) and her newborn baby, Tommy Jr (Messitt Twins). [official synopsis via Netflix]
I'll like it if I like... "Full House," we presume.Why should I care? When it comes down to it, "Fuller House" is bigger than just another revival. It could represent a turning point for Netflix: when the streaming giant stopped worrying about producing merely the best, most exciting original content and decided to expand their brand to include alluring, popular picks for a wider audience. Their past revivals — like "Arrested Development" and "Longmire" — may have set the stage for bringing back "Full House," but those series had a high level of respect among critics and the community alike. "Fuller House" is more in line with "The Ridiculous Six," the first in a four-film pact between Netflix and Adam Sandler. Existing subscribers may tune in out of morbid curiosity, but plenty of new subscribers (especially families looking for shows to watch together) will sign up out of sheer excitement — guilty or not.
"Fuller House" is scheduled to premiere February 26, 2016.READ MORE: Does 'Fuller House' Risk Damaging the Netflix Originals Brand?
What is it? "Flaked" focuses on Chip (Will Arnett), a self-appointed guru who's built a business on his own lies, but gets tripped up after falling for his best friend's girl (Ruth Kearney, "The Following").
I'll like it if I like...The Gob sections of "Arrested Development" Season 4.
Why should I care? Based on past experience, it's hard to make a strong case for "Flaked." Will Arnett's work as a live-action lead tends to trend as far down as his supporting roles and voiceover work shoots up. Yet with only eight episodes ordered and Arnett himself credited as a co-writer and co-creator (alongside Mark Chappell, from "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret") and "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz on board as an executive producer, "Flaked" has the most potential of any Arnett project since, well, ever.
"Flaked" premieres globally March 11 at 12:01am PT.
What is it? Set in present day on a Colorado ranch, this multi-camera comedy series stars Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Sam Elliott and Debra Winger. The show follows Colt’s (Kutcher) return home after a brief and failed semi- pro football career to run the family ranching business with his older brother Jameson "Rooster" (Masterson) and father Beau (Elliott), whom he hasn’t seen in 15 years. Winger stars as Colt’s and Rooster’s mother, Maggie, who runs the local town bar. [official synopsis via Netflix]
I'll like it if I like... "Two and a Half Men," "That 70s Show" and Ashton Kutcher.
Why should I care? Well...honestly, we're not sure. Ashton Kutcher never really turned into the magnetic screen presence many expected after "That 70s Show," despite some sparks of real talent (see "No Strings Attached," for real). Now he seems headed in the wrong direction, sticking with his new pals at "Two and a Half Men" and reuniting with his old "70s Show" buddy Masterson for what sure sounds like a comedy we'd see on CBS in the fall. But hey, Netflix allows for more freedom, and maybe Reo and Patterson have always had something more substantial to say than what was allowed in the broadcast arena. Chuck Lorre isn't involved, so there's at least some hope.
"The Ranch" premieres globally April 1 at 12:01am PT.
READ MORE: The 25 Best TV Episodes of 2015
What is it? As the municipal elections approach in Marseille, Robert Taro, the city's Mayor for the last twenty years, prepares his last coup: push through the vote for the construction of a casino in the historic center of the Marina. Nothing has been left to chance, and his successor, Lucas Barrès, is already designated. But the latter's all-consuming ambition and the secret interests of the city's leaders, whether they come from its opulent villas or from the cities of the northern suburbs, impede the Mayor's plans. The race for Mayor becomes a power struggle where no holds are barred. Only one question arises: how far will they go? [official synopsis via Netflix]
I'll like it if I like... "House of Cards" with a French twist.
Why should I care? We first wrote about "Marseille" a year ago for last year's version of this list, before we knew it would take a lot longer than originally planned to get this from script to screen. That was before Depardieu came on board, so now there are three big reasons to get amped. The primary reason, of course, is that "Marseille" marks the first French-language original series from Netflix, but the second is equally enticing: "Carlos" co-writer Dan Franck is running the show, and he's hired a few respected directors in Florent-Emilio Siri ("My Way"), Xavier Gens ("Hitman") and Cedric Anger ("Next Time I'll Aim For the Heart"). There's a lot of talent here, and — with the natural drama inherent to politics and a little luck — "Marseille" could reach "House of Cards" (Season 1) quality.
"Marseille" premieres May 5 at 12:01am PT.
READ MORE: David Fincher and Charlize Theron Team Up for Netflix Original Series 'Mindhunter'
"Lady Dynamite" (UPDATED)
What is it? Maria Bamford's original Netflix comedy is based on what she has accepted to be "her life." The occasionally surreal episodes, refracted across multiple periods inspired by the actor/comedian’s life, tell the story of a woman who loses — and then finds — her s**t. [official synopsis via Netflix]
I'll like it if I like... Maria Bamford and "Louie."
Why should I care? The pilot is co-written by Mitch Hurwitz, marking his second series on this list not named "Arrested Development," but Bamford is the real reason to be intrigued by "Lady Dynamite." A favorite in the stand-up comedy world, Bamford has already created some creative and exciting podcasts and web series. She's also got plenty of writing experience via "The Martin Short Show" and "The Program" (among others), but, most importantly, Bamford has a specific voice and vision. "Lady Dynamite" may sound like it's her take on "Louie," what with the surreal tale of an actor and comedian's life, but we're betting it will be unlike anything we've ever seen.
"Lady Dynamite" will premiere all 12 episodes of its first season May 12.
READ MORE: By Keeping Its Ratings Secret, Is Netflix Hurting the People Who Make Their Shows?
"Stranger Things" (UPDATED)
What is it? The new drama series written and directed by Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer (Wayward Pines, Hidden) consists of eight, one-hour long episodes. In the series, a young boy vanishes into thin air. As friends, family, and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one very strange little girl. The series, set in Indiana, is a love letter to the ‘80s classics that captivated a generation. [official synopsis via Netflix]
I'll like it if I like... "The Last Starfighter," "E.T." or maybe "The X-Files" as a period thriller set in rural Indiana.
Why should I care? Previously known as "Montauk," this sci-fi drama features a cast made up of mostly pre-teen kids. Winona Ryder — ryding high after "Show Me a Hero" — is the biggest name on the call sheet, playing the mother of the young boy who disappears, but Netflix spent a good chunk of time searching the world to find just the right youths to make up its new supernatural series. The series is created by a pair of newbies, as well: Matt and Ross Duffer have written a few shorts as well as three episodes of "Wayward Pines," but this is their first TV series. With so many fresh faces taking on such a lofty premise, "Stranger Things" feels like a boom or bust entry — meaning it's well worth keeping an eye on for now.
"Stranger Things" premieres July 15 at 12:01am PT.