5 Shows Netflix Hopes Will Be the New 'Orange Is the New Black'
"Lilyhammer," which stars "Sopranos" alum and E Street Band icon Steven Van Zandt, generated modest buzz, but it wasn't until last year when "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black" hit the fast-growing service that critical raves and Emmy nominations started coming together.
Since strong proprietary content apparently goes hand in hand with subscriber growth and stock gains, it's not just it subscribers who are waiting to see if Netflix has another hit on the way. The debut of "Happy Valley" -- the six-part BBC One drama -- could help, but let's look at a few shows in the pipeline that could keep the exclusive content rally going for investors.
"BoJack Horseman" -- Aug. 22
Friday's debut of "BoJack Horsemen" was noteworthy for a few reasons. It's a cartoon, and it's Netflix's first foray into the "Adult Swim" type of animated fare that caters to grownups. It also comes with star power as comic actor Will Arnett and "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul do some of the voice work.
"Marco Polo" -- Late 2014
Netflix may never have a match for HBO's "Game of Thrones," but this one could be close given its hefty production budget and appetite for action. This series takes a look at the early years of Marco Polo in the court of Kublai Khan. Producers told Variety in January that the series is set in China in a world "replete with astonishing martial arts, sexual intrigue, political skullduggery and spectacular battles." Sounds like someone wants a piece of the "Game of Thrones" audience.
"Grace and Frankie" -- 2015
A comedy about two women who come together after their two husbands fall in love may seem like a weak premise for a show, but there are two big reasons to get excited. For starters it's the handiwork of "Friends" co-creator Marta Kauffman. The other reason to pay attention is that it stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. These actresses could attract an older demographic than typical Netflix subscribers, and expanding the membership base beyond today's 50 million worldwide is always on the agenda.
"Daredevil" -- 2015
Netflix and Disney (DIS) have been streaming partners for a couple of years. Disney is trying to milk more money out of its Marvel acquisition, and it struck a deal with Netflix to serve up five shows based on some of Marvel's less-popular characters. "Daredevil" is one of them. Granted, he's not that obscure. Ben Affleck starred as the crime-battling superhero in a 2003 movie by the same name. He's not attached to next year's series, but if Netflix and Disney are able to make a hit from just one or two of these Marvel shows, it could make it that much harder for comic books fans to cancel the service.
Chelsea Handler's New Late-Night Show -- 2016
E!'s "Chelsea Lately" ends on Tuesday with a live finale, but that won't be the last that we see of Chelsea Handler. The celebrity-bashing comedian and talk show host will have a stand-up special air exclusively on Netflix in October, and next year she will film a few documentaries, including ones on Silicon Valley and the NBA draft. The big prize for Netflix, though, will come in 2016 when she introduces a late-night talk show. It's a departure from Netflix's original content deals that typically involve shows that are somewhat timeless. Given the censor-restricted nature of most talk shows, Handler should be able to get away with head-turning antics on Netflix.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Netflix and Walt Disney. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.