Netflix continues to pour an ever-increasing amount of money into producing its own content. According to reports, the company now spends an eye-watering $7 billion on original shows every year.
Most people have watched at least one of the company’s leading titles. Series such as House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, The Defenders, and Stranger Things have earned worldwide acclaim.
But there are also lots of Netflix originals that have flown under the radar. Which is a shame, because in many cases, they’re just as enjoyable as the company’s most famous shows.
In this article, we’re going to introduce you to 10 Netflix originals you’ve probably never heard of. And while we will be giving you a brief synopsis of the plots, don’t worry, you won’t find any spoilers here!
Psychological thriller Gypsy sees two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts take her first role as a leading actress in a TV series.
Watts plays the role of Manhattan therapist, Jean Holloway. She seemingly leads a perfect life, but over the course of the series, she starts to develop intimate and illicit relationships with various people in her patients’ lives.
Unfortunately, Netflix opted not to renew the series for a second season. Instead, it decided to add more resources to women’s wrestling comedy, GLoW. But don’t let that put you off: Gypsy is a simmering drama with plenty of twists and turns.
2. Neo Yokio
Neo Yokio is a fantasy-comedy anime series. It’s the brainchild of Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig. It boasts an impressive cast list, with Jaden Smith, Susan Sarandon, and Jude Law all taking starring roles.
In the show, Neo Yokio is the name of a fictional city in North America. Loosely based on New York, it’s considered to be the greatest city on earth. The series tracks the lives of Kaz Kaan (Smith), Charles (Law), and Agatha (Sarandon) as they try to simultaneously balance being fashionistas and demon slayers.
The first season, consisting of just six episodes, premiered on Netflix in September 2017.
3. The Ranch
Comedy series The Ranch features Ashton Kutcher, Elisha Cuthbert, and Danny Masterson. Kutcher takes the lead role. He plays Colt Bennett, a failed college football star who now lives on a Colorado ranch with his dysfunctional family.
So far, Netflix has released two seasons of the show. They both consist of 20 episodes. In July 2017, the company announced the show would return for a third season in 2018.
Despite not drawing the same crowds as Netflix’s more well-known titles, The Ranch is popular among viewers. Google reports 95 percent of people who have watched it enjoyed it.
Anne With an E is based on the Canadian young adult novel Anne of Green Gables. The show tells the story of Anne, a young orphan who fights against difficult odds in her pursuit of love and acceptance.
Amybeth McNulty plays the lead role. She is ably supported by Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson, Corrine Koslo, and Dalila Bela. The showrunner is three-time Emmy winner, Moira Walley-Beckett.
The first season of eight episodes was popular enough for Netflix to commission a 10-episode second season which will screen in 2018.
Between is a sci-fi-meets-horror thriller. It’s a co-production between Netflix and Canadian television network City.
Based in the small town of Pretty Lake, the show details the outbreak of a mysterious disease that kills anyone above the age of 22. It also explores some powerful themes, including the effects of enforced isolation, selfishness, and the authority of young leaders.
The opening series hit screens in 2015, with the second installment following 12 months later. As yet, there has been no word about a third season, though the show has not been officially canceled.
If Anne With an E and Between sound too much like hard work, perhaps you should check out the comedy series Flaked.
Starring Will Arnett and co-produced by Arnett and executive producer of Arrested Development, Mitch Hurwitz, the show takes a look at the life of Chip.
Chip is a self-help guru who lives in Venice Beach, California. Patients flock to him for an insight into their own lives, but they have no idea that the protagonist is a recovering alcoholic whose own life is beyond chaotic.
Currently, two series are available, with the second having aired in mid-2017.
3% is Netflix’s first original Brazilian production. Indeed, it’s only the second Latin American original after the Mexican soccer-based comedy-drama, Club de Cuervos.
Offering a twist on the idea of “the one percent,” 3% portrays a dystopian future in which people can apply to live in the “better side” of the world: an offshore paradise island far away from the devastation and poverty on the mainland. Unfortunately for residents, only three percent of applicants are successful.
Academy Award-nominated cinematographer César Charlone (City of God) is the director. Netflix has renewed the show for a second season.
One Day at a Time is a reboot of the late-1970s sitcom of the same name. The series tracks the life of Penelope and her Cuban-American family. Three generations of the family live under the same roof.
Penelope, played by Justina Machado, is a newly-single army veteran. Most episodes revolve around her ongoing battle to raise two children while maintaining her job as a nurse.
The series earned glowing reviews from both critics and viewers. It boasts a 96 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 95 percent score from Google users. Season one aired in 2016. The second series will become available in 2018.
Starring Maria Bamford, Lady Dynamite is loosely based on the stand-up comedian’s life. The story arc sees Bamford move back to Los Angeles after spending six months in a rehab clinic in a bid to beat bipolar disorder.
Once back in LA, she teams up with her agent, Bruce Ben-Bacharach (played by Fred Melamed), as she attempts to rebuild her life.
The show occasionally borders on the surreal, and the never-ending flashbacks can be tough to follow. However, it’s still a fun watch.
Season two went live in September 2017. There’s currently no word from Netflix about a possible third series.
10. F is for Family
The final show on our list is F is for Family. It’s the second animated show to make the cut.
Fans of shows like Family Guy and American Dad will be instantly familiar with the premise. The show, which is set in the 1970s, reprises many of the jokes, pranks, and storylines that have become common in the two more-established animated shows.
Frank Murphy, an Irish-American Korean War veteran, is the head of the household. His wife, Sue, is a stay-at-home mum, and they have three offspring, Kevin, Maureen, and Bill. There’s even a Quagmire-esque character in the shape of Frank’s womanizing neighbor, Sam Rockwell.
In mid-2017, the show was renewed for a third season.
Which Netflix Originals Would You Recommend?
The shows we’ve listed here show the depth and breadth of original programming that Netflix now offers. It’s no longer limited to gripping dramas — the company is producing everything from anime to sitcoms.
Have you watched these shows? Would you recommend them to your friends? Which one is your favorite? And we also want to know what lesser-known Netflix originals we missed. You can leave all of your opinions and suggestions in the comments section below.
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