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Netflix

Increasingly, streaming platforms are delivering top notch original content to rival traditional distribution platforms. Netflix is the behemoth among the networks, however HBO has been dropping stellar shows since way back, while Hulu and Amazon Studios are only getting better with each passing year. And while Youtube Premium has come out with a number of originals in the last couple of years — though mostly reality shows — 2019 could be the year that they join the party with a few genuine contenders.

Whether you’re interested in television series, movies, or documentaries, the slate for 2019 looks stronger than ever, with more esteemed filmmakers and actors giving streaming networks a chance than ever before. Here’s our list of the best original content that has recently dropped, and others that are coming to streaming platforms this year.

Editor’s note: Since many of these originals aren’t dropping for several months, many selections don’t yet have official trailers or photo assets.

Netflix Originals

Sex Education

Release date: January 11

A socially awkward teenager whose mom is a sex therapist (played by The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson, donning her native English accent no less) begins an underground sex therapy racket at his high school. It’s refreshing to see the topic of teenage sexuality handled in the first place, but especially in such a frank way.

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Release date: January 18

The blaze that was Fyre Festival has become so universally known that there’s not only one documentary releasing this year detailing what happened, but two. Grab a bucket of popcorn, sit back and enjoy.

Trigger Warning With Killer Mike

Release date: January 18

Rapper Killer Mike hosts this six-part docu-series where no topic is taboo. A kind of social experiment of sorts, the show puts forth controversial ideas in an attempt to have its audience question the state of affairs in America.

The Punisher

Release date: January 18

The Marvel comic-turned-Netflix-series is back for season two. Frank Castle finds himself questioning if he should continue as The Punisher after he saves a girl from being murdered.

Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Release date: January 24

This four-part series on one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Ted Bundy, offers new perspectives on — and never-before-heard interviews — with the killer.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Release date: February 1

A satire on the art world, Velvet Buzzsaw revolves around a collection of paintings left behind by an unknown artist, which are then passed off as the work of a young woman. Not before long supernatural things begin to happen to those who put greed ahead of art. Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy is at the helm — reuniting with Jake Gyllenhaal — as well as a strong lineup of Hollywood talent.

Russian Doll

Release date: February 1

Taking a Groundhog Day-style premise, Russian Doll stars Natasha Lyonne as a young woman who repeatedly dies while attempting to leave her 36th birthday party. Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler co-created the series with Lyonne and Leslye Headland.

High Flying Bird

Release date: February 8

A sports agent attempts to secure a rookie contract during a lockout in this basketball sports drama. Steven Soderbergh directs a script by Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney and allegedly shot the film on an iPhone 7, as he did with Unsane.

The Umbrella Academy

Release date: February 15

Based on a comic book created and written by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance fame, The Umbrella Academy is about 43 children all born on the same day in 1989, to random women, all of whom weren’t showing signs of pregnancy at the time. A number of them are taken in by a wealthy billionaire who sets up The Umbrella Academy. Years later they reunite and must attempt to stop the apocalypse.

The Dirt

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Release date: March 22

We haven’t seen much yet about this Mötley Crüe biopic, but we do know that Jackass’ Jeff Tremaine is directing while Machine Gun Kelly, Douglas Booth, Iwan Rheon, and Daniel Webber star as the band.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2

Release date: April 4

Netflix’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch reboot returns with Part 2 of its first season, following on from the standalone Christmas special that aired in December 2018.

Our Planet

Release date: April 5

Netflix has come out with its own version of Planet Earth (is there anything the platform can’t do?) narrated by none other than Sir David Attenborough.

Stranger Things

Release date: July 4

Back for its third season, Stranger Things is expected to be a little different this time as it’s set in the summer of 1985, offering a different perspective on the residents of Hawkins, Indiana. Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byers on the show, commented that, “It’s great because it has a lot of the dark parts from season two and a lot of the light playful parts from season one.”

Black Mirror

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Netflix

Release date: TBA

Black Mirror’s fifth season was delayed after the creators detoured from the schedule by releasing the interactive standalone movie Black Mirror: Bandersnatch late last December. While no exact date has been announced, it is expected to hit screens this year.

The OA

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Netflix

Release date: TBA

Another of Netflix’s sci-fi offering, The OA has only had one season air since its December 2016 premiere. However, filming on season two began in January 2018, suggesting a 2019 premiere date is imminent.

Wine Country

Release date: TBA

The former ladies of Saturday Night Live and Bridesmaids reunite in this movie about a group of friends heading to the Napa Valley to celebrate a 50th birthday. It features Amy Poehler in her directorial debut.

Central Park Five

Release date: TBA

Ava Duvernay tackles the true story of the Central Park Five in an upcoming mini-series, about a group of five black teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in Central Park, New York in the ‘80s.

Armistaud Maupin’s Tales of the City

Release date: TBA

This reboot of the original ‘90s series (that’s set in the ‘70s) is actually a sequel, with Laura Linney reprising her role as Mary Ann Singleton. It will be set in modern times and focus on both Linney’s character and her daughter, played by Ellen Page.

Hulu

Future Man

Release date: January 11

The second season of Hulu’s gamer comedy Future Man dropped in early January — starring Josh Hutcherson and executive produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg – the team behind Sausage Party and This Is the End.

Fyre Fraud

Release date: January 14

Hulu’s take on the Fyre fiasco may seem unnecessary if you’ve already tuned in to Netflix’s version, however consider these two documentaries complementary viewing. Fyre Fraud has the added bonus of an interview with festival organizer, Billy McFarland, as well as dishing the dirt on Netflix’s doc being co-produced by Jerry Media – the same agency that helped market the festival in the first place.

PEN15

Release date: February 8

Up-and-comers Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle serve as co-creators, writers, and stars of this nostalgic comedy about two 13-year-old best friends in the year 2000. References to the era look on point, while the supporting cast — who seem to actually be 13 — adds an extra layer of hilarity.

Veronica Mars

Release date: TBA

Hulu announced last year that it was reviving the former UPN/CW show, making a lot of Veronica Mars fans happy. Exact plot details aren’t known, however series creator Rob Thomas did announce that the season will take place five years after the events of the standalone movie and will be set against a Spring Break backdrop.

Amazon Studios

The Grand Tour

Release date: January 18

Now in its third season, The Grand Tour is essentially a rebranding of Top Gear after BBC dropped it amid allegations against Jeremy Clarkson. However with a shiny Amazon Studios budget, The Grand Tour massively ups the production value on its predecessor.

Lorena

Release date: February 15

This four-part true crime docu-series explores the case of John and Lorena Bobbitt – the infamous 1993 assault in which Lorena cut off her husband’s penis while he was sleeping. What transpired was a very public trial that highlighted domestic abuse in America. The series features interviews with both John and Lorena, while Jordan Peele serves as an executive producer.

Hanna

Release date: March

Besides one short teaser trailer, not much has been released about this series reboot of the film of the same name. Only time will tell if it’ll live up to its source material.

Sneaky Pete

Release date: March 9

Giovanni Ribisi plays a con man who takes on the identity of his former cell mate when he gets out of jail. Now in its third season, the fledgling show is only gaining more traction.

Too Old To Die Young

Release date: TBA

Drive director Nicholas Winding Refn doesn’t hold back from doing what he does best in the teaser trailer for Too Old To Die Young – showing gangsters being violent under colored lights set to an electro soundtrack. Set in the underbelly of the LA crime world, Winding Refn co-created the series and will direct each episode.

Carnival Row

Release date: TBA

Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne star in this fantasy noir about mythical creatures who are refugees from their war-torn homeland, causing tension among the local population, while unsolved murders threaten the peace. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Guillermo del Toro plays a small creative role in the series’ production, however it was largely diminished due to his feature film schedule taking precedence.

Good Omens

Release date: TBA

Based on a novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens follows a demon and an angel who seek to delay the coming of the antichrist after growing accustomed to life on Earth. Gaiman serves as show runner, ensuring the series shouldn’t steer too far from the book.

The Man In the High Castle

Release date: TBA

In its fourth season, Amazon’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s book of the same name imagines an America where the axis powers won WWII. Specific plot details haven’t been confirmed but by now there are plenty of questions season four could answer.

HBO

True Detective

Release date: January 13

After a three-and-a-half year break following a lackluster second season, True Detective is back. Oscar nominee Mahershala Ali fronts the cast alongside Stephen Dorff, with a similar decade-spanning structure as the first season — as well as a return to the South.

Game of Thrones

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HBO

Release date: April 14

The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones is (almost) here. Details are scarce on what could happen, even for the stars of the show. Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, revealed in an interview last year that they’re filming various endings for the series, ensuring that not even cast or crew will know what ends up in the final cut. We wait with bated breath.

Deadwood

Release date: Spring 2019

Fans of Deadwood — HBO’s foul-mouthed Western drama that ran from 2004-2006 — are in luck as the long-awaited film follow-up is here. Set 10 years after the series ended, the film is “about the passage of time, the toll of time on people.” And undoubtedly it will have hit some residents of Deadwood harder than others.

Chernobyl

Release date: TBA

A co-production between HBO and Sky UK, Chernobyl is a dramatization of the tragic nuclear disaster that occurred in Ukraine in April 1986. Notable actors include Stellan Skarsgard, Emily Watson, and Mad Men’s Jared Harris.

The Righteous Gemstones

Release date: TBA

The synopsis for the show explains that it’s about: “the world famous Gemstone televangelist family, which has a long tradition of deviance, greed, and charitable work, all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Combined with the fact that Danny McBride is the creator, The Righteous Gemstones is sure to be nothing short of ridiculous.

Watchmen

Release date: TBA

Since 2015, HBO has been in talks about developing a television adaptation of Zack Snyder’s 2009 film that’s based off the Watchmen comics by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Details are scarce but it will likely have a 2019 release.

The New Pope

Release date: TBA

A continuation of Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope mini-series from 2016, The New Pope sees Jude Law reprising his role as Pope Pius XIII, while John Malkovich steps in as the titular role.

Los Espookys

Release date: TBA

Los Espookys is a Spanish-language comedy set in a strange and dreamy version of present-day Mexico City, with a group of friends who take their love for horror and turn it into a business. Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armison and Lorne Michaels are at the helm, with Armison also taking on writing and acting duties.

Euphoria

Release date: TBA

A remake of an Israeli series with the same name, Euphoria follows a group of high school kids as they navigate sex, drugs, social media, and other #relevant millennial topics while coming of age. Drake is on board as an executive producer, while Zendaya leads a cast of upcoming talent.

The Outsider

Release date: TBA

An adaptation of the Stephen King novel that just released last year, The Outsider focuses on the murder of a child and the ensuing investigation.

Lovecraft Country

Release date: TBA

Based on Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Black as he attempts to find his missing father while searching through Jim Crow-era America, coming up against racism and monsters straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft story. Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams are both producers, while the plot sounds as if their minds had a baby in the form of this TV show.

Demimonde

Release date: TBA

Another J.J. Abrams outing, we don’t know much about Demimonde except that it’s a sci-fi fantasy drama about a world that battles an oppressive, monstrous force. Sounds about right for the acclaimed director.

YouTube Originals

Weird City

Release date: February 13

Would you believe it, Jordan Peele is exec producing yet another show this coming year. Alongside his second feature film releasing, he sure is keeping busy. Weird City is about a place called Weird, set in the not-too-distant future, where issues pertaining to daily life are examined through a comedic science-fiction lens. A strong lineup of actors and a quirky plot make this Youtube Original series worthy of a watch.

The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story

Release date: March

The man behind both the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC was convicted con man Lou Pearlman – a fraudster — who was behind one of the largest and longest-running Ponzi schemes in history. The documentary features ex-*NSYNC member Lance Bass as a producer while former band members offer their take on what happened.

On Becoming a God in Central Florida

Release date: TBA

On the topic of fraudulent schemes, this dark comedy stars Kirsten Dunst as a woman working in a water park in Florida, who’s out to make her way up the ranks of Founders American Merchandise – an elaborate pyramid scheme that ruined her family.

Words by Marta Sundac
Contributor
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