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As Netflix continues to add millions of new subscribers, it also continues its competition, as CEO Reed Hastings suggested, to be HBO before HBO becomes Netflix. To do so, Netflix has to be more than simply a streaming service that airs the best television shows of other networks. It’s had to create its own original programming. With the huge success of their new series last year, they’re looking to build upon that in 2014 by not only bringing back the shows that worked, but by creating more binge-watching television events.
Let’s take a look at what’s in store for us in 2014 on Netflix. Some spoilers ahead.
1. House of Cards (Season Two) — Season two of Netflix’s first major original series kicks off a week from tomorrow with Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood now the Vice President of the United States. He, along with his wife (played by Robin Wright) will continue using ruthless tactics as they seek to rise even further, although based on the trailer, it looks as though his former mistress, a reporter played by Kate Mara, and another reporter played by Constance Zimmer, will attempt to stand in his way. It probably will not end well for one or both of them. The season took some of its inspiration from Lyndon Johnson, according showrunner Beau Willimon, an interesting choice since he was Vice President when JFK was shot. Is an assassination attempt on the President Walker in the works? We’ll find out very soon.
2. Hemlock Grove (Season Two) — There’s no official premiere date for season two of Hemlock Grove, though we can — according to one cast member — rule out March. The series, which was not particularly well received by critics, apparently had a sizable enough audience to justify a second season, although with three fewer episodes. Executive Producer Eli Roth has stated that the first season was just a warm-up, so expect at least an uptick in the action. Meanwhile, Orange is the New Black‘s Madeline Brewer will join the cast as Miranda Cates, a graphic novelist; Madeleine Martin (Californication) also joins series regular, starring as Shelly Godfrey, the revived child of the Godfreys, who was played by Nicole Boivin in season one. Finally, JC MacKenzie has also come aboard as “Mr. Big Bad.”
3. Orange is the New Black (Season Two) — The second season of the sensational Orange is the New Black is expected to return in the Spring, and though a few behind-the-scenes photos have been released, we don’t have any specific details. Early reports had suggested that Laura Prepon would be back for only one episode in season two, but more recent reports have suggested she’ll be there for “most” of the season, and others are even suggesting that she may return for season three. Moreover, according to reports last year, the focus this season will be less on Taylor Schilling’s Piper, as Orange is the New Black evolves into a real ensemble show. It was also announced last week that Lori Petty will join the cast in a guest role.
4. Lillyhammer (Season Three) — No date has been set yet for its return, but it has been confirmed that a third season of Lillyhammer will air in 2014. The series, which stars Steven van Zandt as Frank Tagliano — a mob fixer exiled to Norway in a witness protection program — is co-produced with a Norwegian broadcaster, and is apparently a decent-sized hit worldwide. Heading into the third season, Tagliano is continuing in his old ruthless ways, using blackmail, extortion and violence to expand his influence in Lillihammer’s criminal underworld.
5. Marco Polo (First Season) — Written by John Fusco (Young Guns, Young Guns II, Hidalgo), Netflix picked up this series set to air sometime in late 2014 after Starz dropped it. The nine-episode series, which will film in Malaysia, has a price tag of $90 million. Set in 13th century China, a world replete with astonishing martial arts, sexual intrigue, political skullduggery and spectacular battles, it will center on Marco Polo’s early years in the court of Kublai Khan. Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, who will soon direct Pirates of the Caribbean 5, will also direct Marco Polo’s first episode.
6. Narcos (First Season) — Originally targeted for this year, we haven’t actually heard much about Narcos of late. The series is expected to chronicle the life and death of Pablo Escobar, and at one point, Robocop director Jose Padhilla was attached to run the series. The only evidence we have that Narcos will not go ahead as planned, however, is the lack of any reports suggesting that Netflix has abandoned the series.
7. Bojack Horseman (First Season) — Set to premiere sometime this summer, Bojack Horseman is a new 12-episode adult-oriented animated comedy that will revolve “around whiskey-drinking humanoid horse and former TV star BoJack (Will Arnett) who deals with his personal crises with human sidekick Todd (Aaron Paul) and feline agent and ex-lover Princess Caroline (Amy Sedaris). That’s an outstanding voice cast, and not a bad premise, either.
8. Sense8 (First Season) — Premiering late in 2014, the Wachowskis series is — as most Wachowksis projects are — steeped in secrecy. What we do know is that they collaborated with Babylon 5‘s J. Michael Straczynski and that it will focus on eight characters from across the globe, all connected by a very violent vision. Each episode — shot in the UK, Seoul, Mumbai, Nairobi, Berlin, Mexico City, San Francisco and Chicago — will follow the characters’ separate stories, even as one entity tries to bring the octet together and another tries to kill them. One of the evil characters is named Mr. Whiskers. It sounds similar in structure to Cloud Atlas, only now they’ll have a full eight hours to work out all the stories. No casting announcement have yet been made.
9. The Killing (Season Four) — It’s not officially on the calendar for 2014 yet, but we do know that Netflix has renewed the AMC series for a fourth and final (shortened) season of six episodes, which will allow Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder a proper send-off. The third season aired last summer, so it’s not unreasonable to expect that this season will arrive sometime this summer or fall. The fourth season will have a military backdrop, as Joan Allen joins the cast as Margaret O’Neal, the head of an all-boys military academy based outside of Seattle. We’ll also, of course, find out the repercussions of the events in the final moments of the third season finale.
10. Untitled Kyle Chandler Drama — Production on the series is set to begin early this year, so it’s possible the series will debut by year’s end or, possibly, early 2015 (especially if House of Cards does not return for a third season). The psychological thrillers comes from Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler, the creators of Damages. The series will center on a family of adult siblings whose secrets and scars come to light with the return of their black sheep older brother. Chandler will play the middle brother, a married man who takes care of the family, while Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises) will play the black sheep brother, and Linda Cardellini will play the sister.
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