9 Netflix original series to watch in 2014

Shows from Vince Gilligan, Marvel and the Wachowskis are on the way

A whole host of new series and original programmes including House of Cards season 2, Better Call Saul and Sense8 are coming to Netflix soon, meaning you’ll no longer be plundering Emotional Sports Films featuring a Talking Dog set in 1970s Russia categories in a bid to find something to watch.

Netflix compounded its rise from a mere mail order DVD service to a paradigm-shifting distribution company last year with a raft of commissions that broke the rules for how television is both made and consumed.

The grand yet gritty House of Cards kicked things off in February and was swiftly followed up with more new offerings including an ambitious resurrection of sitcom Arrested Development and the breath of fresh air that was women’s prison drama Orange Is The New Black.

In addition to new instalments of already established shows there are plenty of exciting new series on the way, including a Breaking Bad spin-off, Andy and Lana Wachowski’s first foray into television and a cartoon about a whiskey-drinking horse. Here’s what's streaming in 2014…

House of Cards (season 2)

Ordering two seasons right off the bat, Netflix clearly had huge confidence in this murky political thriller and with good reason, its first outing having all the intrigue of The West Wing but mercifully none of the Stars and Stripes flags slowly unfurling to the patriotic swells of a brass section.

Season 2 will see Kevin Spacey's wily congressman Frank Underwood finally get 'one heartbeat away from the presidency' but face attacks from all sides. The POTUS isn't happy about Frank's back-alley politics, former paramour Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) is closing in on the truth (about Russo perhaps?) and his hollow marriage with Claire is being pecked at by the mass media. Expect icy one liners and plenty of rib sauce.

Orange Is The New Black (season 2)

Orange Is The New Black Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment

Jenji Kohan's Weeds was excellent albeit somewhat overlooked on Showtime, but her next series got the fanfare it deserved on an on-demand platform, telling the story of a white-collar criminal dropped wide-eyed and Mad Men boxset-less into a tough women's prison.

A dark comedy that seemed pitched towards the latter in the pilot, it transformed into a surprisingly macabre insight into how we selfishly cling to love in times of need, bolstered by some moving sub-plots involving the other prisoners.

Better Call Saul

Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad

OK, so we're not likely to get this AMC show (to be shown exclusively on Netflix in the UK ) until 2015, but such was the hysteria surrounding Breaking Bad that the show's spin-off centring on Walter White's crooked lawyer Saul Goodman will be very much on fans' radars from now until TX.

The show isn't without a sense of trepidation. It may struggle to reproduce the high drama of Breaking Bad with a protagonist creator Vince Gilligan has admitted is 'intrinsically undramatic', and as hilarious a character as he is it remains to be seen whether Saul can carry a comedy on his own, but it will be exciting to lose yourself in the dusty palette of Albuquerque once more.

BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman

Speaking of Breaking Bad, how about a cartoon voiced by Aaron Paul aka Jesse Pinkman that follows a whiskey-drinking horse with a bad case of ennui? Thought so.

BoJack originates from a 90s sitcom nobody remembers called Horsin' Around, but Netflix will be hoping to find a new audience with this 12-episode series. Arrested Development's Will Arnett will play the equine degenerate with Paul voicing his human sidekick.

Your answer if you've run out of Archer.

The Killing (season 4)

The Killing season 3

The Killing refused to be killed last year, saved from the chop for a final season exclusive to Netflix.

It's hard to get excited about these US remakes of Scandinavian crime thrillers, which are often akin to brass rubbings - the shape is there but none of the detail - especially when they're given a limited final season in order to expedite the mopping up of plot lines.

For ardent fans these six episodes should at least provide some closure however.

Sense8

Directors Andy Wachowski (L) and Lana Wachowski Directors Andy Wachowski (L) and Lana Wachowski

The always mind-bending output of Andy and Lana Wachowski will be funnelled into the small screen for the first time with this sci-fi series, which like the siblings' recent film Cloud Atlas will focus on a series of seperate and yet interweaving stories - here, eight people scattered around the globe who are connected by a shared, violent vision.

According to TV Line, they include a closeted Mexican telenovela hunk, an Icelandic party girl, a German safe-cracker, a Korean businesswoman, an African bus driver and a transgender American blogger.

No word on a cast yet, but Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski is on board to help write and direct, with 10 episodes expected late 2014.

Some sort of psychological drama about a family who hate each other

Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler apparently left Netflix chiefs 'spellbound' when they pitched this as yet untitled 'suspenseful family drama'.

It will centre on a family whose secrets and scars are revealed when their black sheep brother returns home, which all sounds a bit Brothers & Sisters, only this is Netflix so there will probably be some sex and fratricide in there somewhere.

Narcos

Notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar has seen several film biopics but comparatively few portrayals on television.

This is set to change with Narcos, which will chronicle his life and death in a collaboration with Gaumont International Television. Details are scant, but RoboCop director Jose Padilha is thought to be on board to direct.

Hemlock Grove (season 2)

While many of the Netflix originals thus far have been just that, original, this series relied on a more bankable and well-heeled premise: sexy werewolves.

The warning of 'mild fornication, fellatio, heavy cocaine use, lesbian necrophilia and violent hemorrhaging' in the first season's trailer was indicative of the show's lust for flesh and general ridiculousness, but fans of True Blood, The Walking Dead etc might find reason to return for this second batch.

Marco Polo

Fortunately for the easily bored modern viewer, this nine-chapter series will not focus on the famous explorer's influence on European cartography but his encounters with 'astonishing martial arts, sexual intrigue, political skullduggery and spectacular battles'. Hurray!

Billed as a gripping action-adventure, it is set to shoot in Malaysia soon and debut on Netflix in late 2014.

Multiple Marvel projects

The human race has surely had a surfeit of comic book superhero TV shows and movies in recent years, but they show no signs of slowing down.

As DC gears up for a team-up movie by binding Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman together in its next film, so Marvel sets about raising the profiles of Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones. Each will get their own series, before joining forces for a climactic The Defenders mini-series.

It's a smart idea, allowing viewers to get to know each character individually then paying all their stories off in a comic book orgy of a show, but as ever will depend on how deftly each character is handled.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried