Judging by the shows available on Netflix, ’90s kids had it good.
The streaming platform has a handful of hidden gems - TV series that managed to capture the essence of the decade - from the era. From political dramas and Emmy-winning mysteries to stoner comedies, fantasy series, and a kids’ show about a magic school bus, there’s something for everyone who’s feeling a bit nostalgic for the good ol’ days of grunge, Tamagotchis, and dial-up.
If small-town murder mysteries full of camp and supernatural phenomenon are your thing, well then why wouldn’t you watch or re-watch Twin Peaks? The series, crafted all the way back in the ’90s by David Lynch, is a cult-favorite and for good reason. With Kyle MacLachlan playing Special Agent Dale Cooper, a poor schmoe who’s called in to investigate the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer, he’s met with more than he bargained for. Conspiracy theories and otherworldly beings, time travel, and dwarves in red business suits soon follow. The original series may have ended with cliffhangers and unexplained plot-holes, but with the recent Showtime revival, now’s as good a time as any to catch up on all the strange events that seem to plague this sleepy town.
Television’s all-time best political drama, The West Wing, is Aaron Sorkin at his absolute best, working with one of the finest ensemble casts in television history. The show wavers after the fourth season when Sorkin left, but it picks back up in its final season with Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda. It’s celebration of the greatest fictional president of all time to get you warmed up for it.
There are some who argue that Friends was an overrated sitcom, with protagonists as unrealistic as they were lily-white. But like a big bowl of mac and cheese, Friends is TV comfort food: not exactly great for you, but sometimes exactly what’s needed. From classic episodes like “The One With the Embryos” and “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” to its sprawling cast of eccentric supporting characters, the enduringly funny series will be there for you when you need to kick back and forget about the real world for a while.
Charmed is the OG fantasy series, a show about a trio of magical sisters who fight the forces of evil from their model Victorian home in modern-day San Francisco. Prue Shannon Doherty, Piper Holly Marie Combs, Phoebe Alyssa Milano, and later Paige Rose McGowan, are The Charmed Ones, the most powerful of good witches who protect innocent humans from warlocks, demons, and other nasty creatures that go bump in the night. Each sister has her own magical ability – telekinesis, teleportation, premonitions, and so on – but they’re strongest when they fight their enemies together, even though doing so puts them at risk of discovery by non-magical humans.
Before Laura Prepon was causing trouble on Orange Is the New Black, before Mila Kunis was starring in spy comedies with Kate McKinnon, and before Ashton Kutcher was her husband, the gang was hamming it up on this stoner comedy series. The show centered around Erik Forman Topher Grace and his group of slacker friends, who spent most of their time getting high in his parents’ basement and avoiding their responsibilities. Plenty of mishaps, love triangles, and ridiculousness ensued, but the show excelled when it focused on relationships between the main cast, giving us a somewhat realistic view of what it was like to grow up there in the decade of hippies, flower power, and free love.
Sure, technically The Magic School Bus is a children’s educational program, but don’t act like you haven’t revisited this work of art as an adult. Lily Tomlin voices the heroine, Ms. Frizzle, an eccentric grade school teacher who treats her students to all kinds of inventive, informational field trips through her shape-shifting, logic-defying school bus. Whether it’s a tour of the human immune system from inside the body of a student or a wild ride through the skies during a thunderstorm, Ms. Frizzle manages to make learning fun in the most unbelievable of ways. If you haven’t checked this show out in a while, do yourself a favor and bask in the nostalgic fun it provides.
Voyager is rarely the first Star Trek installment on people’s must-watch list, but there’s still plenty to love about this iteration, even without Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart present. Kate Mulgrew helms this ship, leading a crew of capable heroes trying to return to the Federation after being stranded on the edge of the cosmos. Like other Star Trek storylines, this one relies heavily on character development, tackling big themes with some thrilling action sequences thrown in. Plus, Mulgrew in anything is worth your time.
Frasier is one of those difficult to pin down shows, the ones that are brilliantly written with some memorable performance, but that often divide fans. You may cackle with glee at the dry wit of a series that focuses on the squabble between to intellectual siblings, brothers played by Kelsey Grammar and David Hyde Pierce. Grammar plays the titular Frasier, a radio host and therapist who moves back home to manage his aging father and try to get along with his pretentious brother, Niles. Grammar and Pierce have an electric sort of chemistry that totally sells this Two Grumpy Old Men act, so at the very least, you’ll have a good laugh tuning into their arguments.
Another kids series that still feels just as watchable into adulthood, Goosebumps is a show that existed solely to give ’90s kids nightmares. Watching it now, some of those show’s more bizarre storylines seem even more f*cked up, and therefore, more thrilling than when they did when we watched it as kids. The show is an anthology series - a collection of stories from famed horror author R.L. Stine - but unlike recent film adaptations, the series manages to hold onto a bit of the original fright and delight Stine imagined for younger minds.
Mike Schur, the creator of Parks and Recreation, is an avowed disciple of Cheers, citing the NBC sitcom as his favorite show and driving influence. It’s not hard to see why: Cheers is a classic for a reason, a sitcom populated with colorful characters Norm!, complicated relationships Sam and Diane, and reliably hilarious hijinks that legendary Thanksgiving food fight that easily sustain its 11 seasons. Schur has often said that he modeled the protagonists of Parks on the characters of Cheers, people who genuinely liked each other in spite of their differences. Sure, Cheers frequently features caustic one-liners particularly those delivered by Carla and grating personalities why anyone hung out with Cliff is a bit of a head-scratcher. But despite the occasional unpleasantness, Cheers isn’t just a place where everybody knows your name – it’s where everybody’s family, misfit barflies and all.
Netflix has ordered 10 episodes of the new series Ginny & Georgia from first-time showrunner Debra J. Fisher Alias, Criminal Minds, Being Mary Jane and first-time creator Sarah Lampert. The streaming giant has also revealed the main cast for the mother-daughter drama with newcomer Antonia Gentry Candy Jar in the role of Ginny and Brianne Howey The Passage as Georgia. Production is underway in Toronto, Canada and the series is slated to debut in 2020.
Anya Adams GLOW, Black-ish will direct the first two episodes of the one-hour drama which will follow angsty and awkward fifteen-year-old Ginny Miller who often feels more mature than her thirty-year-old mother, the irresistible and dynamic Georgia Miller. After years on the run, Georgia desperately wants to put down roots in picturesque New England and give her family something they’ve never had… a normal life. For Ginny, that means navigating a prestigious school, rising popularity, and complicated love interests. But it’s not all carpool and Kombucha as Georgia’s past threatens her and her family’s new way of life.
Joining the Howey and Gentry are Diesel La Torraca Little Monsters, Jennifer Robertson Schitt's Creek, Felix Mallard Happy Together, Sara Waisglass Degrassi: Next Class, Scott Porter Friday Night Lights and Raymond Ablack Narcos.
clockwise from top left Diesel La Torraca , Jennifer Robertson, Felix Mallard, Sara Waisglass, Scott Porter and Raymond Ablack Courtesy of Netflix
Lampert wrote the script while working as the manager of development at Madica Productions, a subsidiary of Sunshine Sachs. Madica then brought it to Critical Content formerly T Group as part of their first-look deal with them. It was shared with the independent TV studio Dynamic Television before it landed at Netflix.
Read the full character descriptions below.
Brianne Howey will play “Georgia.” Georgia is shrewd, smart manipulative and steely under her charm. She escaped poverty and had her first child, Ginny, at age 15. A firm believer in retribution, Georgia is a survivor, no matter what life throws at her. Antonia Gentry will play “Ginny.” Ginny is a very smart, rebellious, and vulnerable teenager beneath an armor of outspokenness and quick wit. Ginny is the bi-racial daughter of Georgia and not quite sure what to make of their new home in an upscale Massachusetts town. Diesel La Torraca will play “Austin.” Austin is Ginny's sweet, innocent, perpetually unkempt younger son. He is desperate to hold on to the promise of their new life in Massachusetts. Jennifer Robertson will play “Ellen.” Ellen is a working mom and more grounded than her preppy upscale neighbors. She is the mother of 15-year-old twins Maxine and Marcus, says what she thinks, and lives across the street from new neighbors Georgia and her two children. Felix Mallard will play “Marcus.” Marcus is the edgy, bad boy across the street you shouldn’t have a crush on but do. Maxine's twin brother, he is intrigued with his new neighbor Ginny. Sara Waisglass will play “Maxine.” Maxine is cool, popular, smart, quirky, confident, and has a huge crush on Georgia. She is impressed with new girl Ginny and immediately befriends her. Scott Porter will play “Mayor Paul Randolph.” Some would call him a young JFK. As Mayor of Wellsbury, Massachusetts, Paul is focused, driven, and recognizes a formidable force in Georgia. Raymond Ablack will play “Joe.” Joe is granola in a manly way, not a man bun way. He owns the local farm to table restaurant, Blue Farm Cafe. And can’t help but notice when Georgia moves to town.
Fisher and Adams will serve as Executive Producer along with Jeff Tahler Madica Productions, Jenny Daly Critical Content, Holly Hines, and Daniel March Dynamic Television. Elena Blekhter has signed on as Co-Executive Producer.
Hot off a Sundance win and with the backing of both Netflix and newly-minted film producers Barack and Michelle Obama, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert's non-fiction stunner “American Factory” is gearing up for a big showing during this year’s Oscar race. An eye-popping look at the differences between American and Chinese workers when they come together at a Chinese car-glass factory in Ohio, the film won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary after it debuted at Sundance in January, becoming a top early contender in the 2020 Oscar race in the process.
The Participant Media production focuses on the dramatic culture clash when a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Following its Sundance premiere, the film impressed the Obamas, who launched their Netflix-partnered Higher Ground Productions last spring “to harness the power of storytelling,” as the former U.S. president described it at the time.
In his review out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote that the the film “extends beyond Trumpian rhetoric about the perils of the working class to examine the real tensions of international businesses in human terms.”
The film will hit the streaming platform later this month, along with a planned theatrical release, all the better to astound a wide viewership with its insightful commentary on commerce, community, and a changing economic world.
The duo aren’t strangers to either the glare of the awards season spotlight or the topic at hand: Bognar and Reichart were previously nominated in 2010 for the Oscar for Best Documentary, Short Subject. That film, “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant,” followed the very same Ohio-area automobile plant, going through some major changes a decade earlier.
“American Factory” marks the first title from Higher Ground to premiere on the streaming service, though the newly-announced slate includes a variety of inspirational projects that touch on a variety of subjects including race, class, democracy, civil rights and more. Among the Obamas' initial Netflix projects are an adaptation of Michael Lewis' “The Fifth Risk” and a Frederick Douglass biopic.
Check out the newest trailer for “American Factory” below. As IndieWire exclusively reported earlier this year, Netflix will release the film in select theaters and on its streaming platform on August 21.
Netflix and A+E Networks' Crime & Investigation have renewed true crime doc series I Am A Killer for a second season.
The show has been picked up for another ten-part run. It features in-depth interviews with some of the longest serving death row prisoners in America. It looks at how these death row prisoners are treated in the prison system as well as the impact of their crimes on their communities and families. The first season opened the debate over rehabilitation and restitution in America's criminal justice system. The second will feature female lifers for the first time and will also explore themes of repentance and redemption.
The show launched on C+I in the UK and on Netflix around the world in 2018 with the SVOD service recently launching a second window in the UK.
It is exec produced by Danny Tipping, Ned Parker and Natalka Znak for Znak & Co. and Crime+Investigation Commissioning Editor Diana Carter.
Natalka Znak said, “Amazing access and incredibly gripping stories have made this format a global fan favorite, attracting incredible critical response. This is a great success for our factual department, led by Danny Tipping who has built a team of talented crime and docu experts making Znak &Co a real player in this genre.”
Danny Tipping, executive producer for Znak & Co., added, “I'm extremely proud of this series – it shows that you can tell these challenging stories with integrity and without compromise, and still find a global audience.”
Diana Carter, CI Commissioning Editor and Executive producer said, “ I Am A Killer plays a key part in our programming strategy; sitting alongside other locally produced hits like Murdertown with Katherine Kelly and the forthcoming Evil Up Close. Our audience of passionate true crime fans appreciated the thoughtful and carefully crafted approach of the film makers to such controversial subject matter. We are proud to bring it back for a second season.”
strong>EXCLUSIVE: Netflix prevailed over several studios to land Pyros, an adaptation of the Thomas Pierce science fiction short story Tardy Man that has Reese Witherspoon attached to star in the film, and produce with Simon Kinberg. Pierce will write the script.
Deal comes a day after Apple unveiled a teaser trailer for Morning Show, a series that Witherspoon stars in with Jennifer Aniston. Now, Netflix has a Witherspoon feature vehicle. I’m told that up to six studios chased this package and that Sony Pictures was among the finalists.
Pierce will write the script based on his short story that was published in The New Yorker magazine last year. It’s the second major movie deal he has made on one of his New Yorker short stories; Chairman Spaceman was bought and is being developed by Fox Searchlight. Kinberg is producing that one as well. Deadline revealed the package hit the market August 1.
Hello Sunshine's Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter are producing with Genre Films' Audrey Chon.
em>Tardy Man deals with a group of augmented people who are fitted with indestructible fire suits that are fused to their spines. They work for a corporation that recovers objects for wealthy people when their houses are burning. It is strictly forbidden for them to veer from their salvage missions, even when other humans are in danger. The protagonist decides to make an exception to this rule and that is the jumping off point.
It’s the second big female-driven package deal to land this week. Yesterday, New Line beat out 17 other bidders for Don’t Worry Darling, the spec script that Booksmart’s Olivia Wilde will direct and star in. CAA is in the middle of both auctions, which are expected to sort themselves by next week. Witherspoon is managed by LBI and the writer by Kaplan/Perrone.
strong>EXCLUSIVE: Australian actor Ben Lawson has been cast opposite Katherine Heigl in Netflix's Firefly Lane, a drama series from Maggie Friedman No Tomorrow based on the bestselling novel by Kristin Hannah.
Written and executive produced by Friedman, who also serves as showrunner, Firefly Lane follows the story of Tully Heigl and Kate, two unlikely best friends who meet as young girls and become inseparable for nearly 30 years, until a tragedy breaks them apart. Lawson will play Kate's ex-husband Ryan, who also has a long history working with Tully.
Friedman executive produces with Stephanie Germain and Lee Rose. Hannah is co-executive producer. Peter O'Fallon will direct and executive produce the first episode.
Lawson recently starred on the second season of Netflix's hit drama series 13 Reasons Why and on ABC's action dram a Designated Survivor. He also recurred on NBC’s critically acclaimed comedy series The Good Place. On the film side, he’ll next star as Lachlan Murdoch in the upcoming Untitled Roger Ailes biopic from Charles Randolph and Jay Roach. Lawson is repped by ICM, United Management, Untitled and Derek Kroeger.