We’re living in a golden age of television. Big budget series, one-off documentaries and rebooted favourites are available 24/7 for your viewing pleasure. Netflix is bringing hours and hours of entertainment to a remote control near you this year. Time Out takes a look at the schedules and chooses the shows you need to watch to ensure tip-top water cooler chat, as well as a few Netflix favourites we’re crossing our fingers and hoping will make it onto Middle Eastern screens some time in 2017.
A Series of Unfortunate Events Neil Patrick Harris, Joan Cusack and Patrick Warburton star in the television adaptation of the popular children’s novel and film. Produced by Hollywood big-shot Barry Sonnenfield (Men in Black trilogy, The Addams Family), it’s essential viewing for families and covers four of the Lemony Snicket books over eight episodes. Run time: eight x 50-minute episodes.
Black Sails, series 3 There’s very little Time Out-ers enjoy more than a fruitful afternoon of swashbuckling. We don’t get to do it as often as we would like but we can now get our fix with this Michael Bay-produced drama. Already in a third series, the Treasure Island prequel is lots of fun and gives pirates a sense of adventure they have been missing in recent Disney makeovers. Run time: ten x 53-minute episodes.
The hacker, the slacker, the perfect student and the athlete – don’t worry, nobody’s rebooting The Breakfast Club (yet). Instead, this Netflix Original film sees a mismatched quartet planning to steal US$10 million from the US Mint. Run time: one hour, 37 minutes.
DeGrassi: The Next Class, series 3 Kids have been going to school in Degrassi for more than three decades. This reboot of a spin-off of the original adaptation will engage viewers in the lives of teens and their families. Expect the usual insight into the teen issues of the day to be neatly wrapped up in a convenient hashtag or two. Run time: ten x 30-minute episodes.
iBoy A 16-year-old-boy survives a shooting, saves his high school sweetheart and, at the same time, has fragments of his smartphone embedded in his brain. Obviously, this has given him the sort of powers a radioactive spider bite would summon. The plot is daft, but an impressive cast with Maisie Williams, Miranda Richardson and Bill Milner make it fun. Run time: 91 minutes.
What would happen if Game of Thrones’ Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) lived in the Wild West? Don’t pretend like you haven’t asked yourself that before. A co-production between Netflix and the Discovery Channel strikes us as a formula of historical accuracy and cut-throat action. There will be hatchet fights, but the costumes will be authentic. Run time: six x one-hour episodes.
One Day at a Time Is it even possible to reboot a sitcom? According to the Netflix bods who have commissioned this re-telling of the US show of the same name you can. The original ran for nine seasons across the ’70s and ’80s and this new version gives the family a Latin spin, with actresses Justina Machado and Rita Moreno in starring roles. Run time: 13 x 30-minute episodes.
Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments Celebrated by Teen Choice and MTV Video Music Awards, the TV version of young adult genre novelist Cassandra Clare’s teen horror series has been picked up for a second series. Look out for more demon-bashing and convoluted plots with visual thrills. Run time: 20 x 42-minute episodes.
Tarzan and Jane It’s about time we had a new generation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan story. From the same animation studio that brought us Kong − King of Apes is another jungle spin-off. The action this time takes place in a British boarding school where both Tarzan and a modernised Jane find the sort of adventures that will make kids want to buy the merchandise spin-offs. Run time: 13 x 22-minute episodes.
The Investigator: A British Crime Story Following in the footsteps of the true-crime investigation genre that made The Jinx and Making a Murderer such compelling viewing, this Brit docuseries promises to chill blood. This look at a missing person case from the ’80s will further our belief that true crime is more nail-biting than any fictional drama. Run time: four x 45-minute episodes
Ones to wait for
Atypical Netflix is splashing out something like US$5 billion (Dhs) on its Original shows and we’re excited to see this dark coming-of-age comedy about a young man on the autistic spectrum as he searches for love and independence in a baffling world. Keir Gilchrist, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport star. Stream in TBA. Run time: eight x one-hour episodes.
Chef’s Table Season 3 The ultimate foodie documentary series is coming back for a third season. That means more great close-ups of delicately prepared dishes from some of the world’s best kitchens. The slow motion camera tour of chopping, cooking and serving visits chefs from Peru to Moscow, Russia. Prepare to drool. Stream in TBA. Run time: six x 50-minute episodes.
Iron Fist As if the Marvel Cinematic Universe couldn’t get any more convoluted, the numerous TV series are crossing on unprecedented levels this year. This story sees a billionaire who... oh, let’s face it, you don’t care, do you? All you need to know is more superhero action is coming to your screen and it is going to be kung-fu packed. Stream in March. Run time: 13 x one-hour episodes.
Master of None Season 2 Aziz Ansari’s masterful indie sitcom was one of the hits of 2015 and fans of the scene-stealing Parks and Recreation star have had to wait longer than expected for the follow-up. Part-sitcom, part-relationship drama and part-vehicle to shoehorn in Ansari’s stand-up observations on modern romance and the perils of love, social media and finding really good pasta. Artfully made, it is the quintessential Netflix series with the second series picking up Ansari’s trip to Italy. Stream in April. Run time: ten x 30-minute episodes.
Santa Clara Diet Drew Barrymore is the latest actress to dispatch an agent and instruct them to come back with a Netflix Original series (and you can’t really blame her at this point, can you?). She will join up with Timothy Olyphant (Justified, Deadwood) as married real estate agents going on a life-changing adventure. Expect plenty of LA soul-searching and great dramatic actors showing off their comedy chops. Stream in February. Run time: 13 x one-hour episodes.
Stranger Things 2 Like just about everybody else who remembers the best of Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and the ’80s in general, we loved dark, sci-fi horror Stranger Things. One of the shows that made a Netflix subscription essential, the sequel gets a follow-up set one year on from the original. The same cast will return (hurrah, we love those kids!) although series makers The Duffer Brothers have hinted that it could be darker and more pop culture-filled than the first. Bring it on. Stream in July. Run time: nine x one-hour episodes.
The Defenders Remember how we said Marvel crossovers were going to get convoluted? Ideally you will have seen at least four other entire different TV series to have any idea of what’s happening. Pulling together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist plotlines it is to the separate shows what the Avengers movies are to standalone superhero movies like Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and the likes. Confused? Possibly, but just sit back and enjoy the snappy dialogue and big budget episodes (and have Wikipedia to hand for reference). Stream in TBA. Run time: eight x one-hour episodes.
Ultimate Beastmaster Sylvester Stallone has teamed up with The Biggest Loser producer, Dave Broome, to produce this obstacle course challenge game show. No, honestly. We’re thinking a more expensive, more awesome version of Gladiators with added flexing. That’ll certainly get you in the exercising spirit (or, more realistically, completely put you off). Stream in February. Run time: ten x one-hour episodes.
Watership Down We can’t watch the 1978 animated movie adaptation of the late Richard Adams’ novel without getting a tear in our eyes and an unexplained hankering for Chinese food in our tummies. Netflix has joined forces with the BBC to create an all-star mini-series adaptation with James McAvoy, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton and a warren of other big names. Rumour has it there is US$25 million behind the family animation. Stream in TBA. Run time: four x one-hour episodes.