Best of Netflix Middle East in 2017

Thirty-three Netflix shows* to put on your New Year playlists Discuss this article

2017_1_netfilx
© ITP Images

We’re living in a golden age of television. Big budget series, one-off documentaries and rebooted favourites are available 24/7 for your viewing pleasure. Netflix is bringing hours and hours of entertainment to a remote control near you this year. Time Out takes a look at the schedules and chooses the shows we can’t wait to see as well as a few Netflix favourites we’re crossing our fingers and hoping will make it onto Middle Eastern screens some time in 2017.

Coming soon

A Series of Unfortunate Events
Neil Patrick Harris, Joan Cusack and Patrick Warburton star in the television adaptation of the popular children’s novel and film. Produced by Hollywood big-shot Barry Sonnenfield (Men in Black trilogy, Adams Family), it is essential viewing for families and covers four of the Lemony Snicket books over eight episodes.
• Stream from Friday January 13.
• Run time: eight x 50-minute episodes.

Black Sails, series 3
There is very little Time Out-ers enjoy more than a fruitful afternoon of swashbuckling. We don’t get to do it as often as we would like but we can now get our fix with this Michael Bay-produced drama. Already in a third series, the Treasure Island prequel is lots of fun and gives pirates a sense of adventure they have been missing in recent Disney makeovers.
• Stream from Tuesday January 24.
• Run time: ten x 53-minute episodes.

Coin Heist

The hacker, the slacker, the perfect student and the athlete – don’t worry, nobody is rebooting The Breakfast Club (yet). Instead, this Netflix Original film sees a mismatched quartet planning to steal US$10m from the US Mint.
• Stream from Friday January 6.
• Run time: TBA.

DeGrassi: The Next Class, series 3

Kids have been going to school in Degrassi for more than three decades. This reboot of a spin-off of the original adaptation will engage viewers in the lives of teens and their families. Expect the usual insight into the teen issues of the day to be neatly wrapped up in a convenient hashtag or two.
• Stream from Friday January 6.
• Run time: ten x 30-minute episodes.

iBoy

A 16-year-old-boy survives a shooting, saves his high school sweetheart and, at the same time, has fragments of his smartphone embedded in his brain. Obviously, this has given him the sort of powers a radioactive spider bite would summon. The plot is daft, but an impressive cast with Maisie Williams, Miranda Richardson and Bill Milner make it fun.
• Stream from Friday January 27.
• Run time: 91 minutes.

Frontier

What would happen if Game of Thrones’ Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) lived in the Wild West? Don’t pretend like you haven’t asked yourself that before. A co-production between Netflix and the Discovery Channel strikes us as a formula of historical accuracy and cut-throat action. There will be hatchet fights, but the costumes will be authentic.
• Stream from Friday January 20.
• Run time: six x one-hour episodes.

One Day at a Time
Is it even possible to reboot a sitcom? According to the Netflix bods who have commissioned this re-telling of the US show of the same name you can. The original ran for nine seasons across the ’70s and ’80s and this new version gives the family a Latin spin, with actresses Justina Machado and Rita Moreno in starring roles.
• Stream from Friday January 6.
• Run time: 13 x 30-minute episodes.

Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments
More celebrated by Teen Choice and MTV Video Music Awards, the TV version of young adult genre novelist Cassandra Clare’s teen horror series has been picked up for a second series. Look out for more demon-bashing and convoluted plots with visual thrills.
• Stream from Tuesday January 3.
• Run time: 20 x 42-minute episodes.

Tarzan and Jane

It is about time we had a new generation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan story. From the same animation studio that brought us Kong − King of Apes is another jungle spin-off. The action this time takes place in a British boarding school where both Tarzan and a modernised Jane find the sort of adventures that will make kids want to buy the merchandise spin-offs.
• Stream from Friday January 6.
• Run time: 13 x 22-minute episodes.

The Investigator: A British Crime Story

Following in the footsteps of the true-crime investigation genre that made The Jinx and Making a Murderer such compelling viewing, this Brit docuseries promises to chill blood. This look at a missing person case from the ’80s will further our belief that true crime is more nail-biting than any fictional drama.
• Stream from Friday January 13.
• Run time: four x 45-minute episodes.

Streaming now

Barry
A young man in New York struggles to work out exactly who he is, where he comes from and where he is going to go. Spoiler alert – he is Barack Obama and he goes on to be the President of the United States of America. The fictionalised account of young Obama’s life will offer inspiration and political head-scratching in equal measure.
• Run time 104 minutes.

Black Mirror, series 3
Charlie Brooker’s dark satire series has a habit of making absurd prophecies that actually come true. Similar to a modern Twilight Zone, it is as dark as comedy comes and likely to make you question your relationship with technology, people and social media. Essential, if challenging, viewing.
• Run time: six x one-hour to 90-minute episodes.

Captive
Crime scene re-enactments have fallen by the wayside in TV network meetings in recent decades. The formula used to be popular and Netflix hopes to revive the format with a slick docuseries that recreates notable hostage situations from around the world.
• Run time: eight x one-hour episodes.

Chasing Cameron
If you have to ask who Cameron Dallas is then you’re probably too old to appreciate this fly-on-the-wall documentary about his life. All you need to know is that he is an “Internet personality” known for Vine videos and his Instagram posts to his 17 million followers. We’re not joking when we say he is regarded as one of the teen world’s most influential people. Now you know.
• Run time: ten x 30-minute episodes.

Comedy specials
Stand-up shows are one of the great genres of binge watching. When not catching up on decades of belly-laughs from the biggest names in the business, you can now catch new names with weekly big-stage comedy shows from rising stars such as Gad Elmaleh, Jen Kirkman, Jim Gaffigan, Neal Brennan and Cristela Alonzo.
• Stream every Tuesday.
• Run time: approximately one hour.

Crazyhead
A smart British comedy-horror which dials the quirkiness all the way up to 11. Think twenty-somethings who can see demons on the loose in the bowling alley they work in. Throw in evil psychiatrists, zombie thugs and rave reviews and we’re intrigued to catch up with a cult show from the UK last year. The next Buffy?
• Run time: six x 45-minute episodes.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Less well-known than his Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy series, this is another creation by the magnificently funny Douglas Adams. There have been various BBC adaptations over the years with radio (Harry Enfield) and television (Stephen Mangan) having a shot at the unconventional detective character. BBC America has jumped on the adaptation bandwagon with Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood taking starring credits.
• Run time: eight x 54-minute episodes.

Fuller House

There will always be family sitcoms with precocious young child stars. Not many, however, will be as enormous as Full House, which starred the Olsen twins, John Stamos and Bob Saget in the ’80s and ’90s. Knowing a smart reboot when they see one, Netflix has revived the show one generation on.
• Run time: 13 x half-hour episodes.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in The Life

Fans of the original seven series of this family comedy-drama had to wait almost a decade to see what became of the beloved mother and daughter and their various loves and rivals in the fictional town of Stars Hollow. And since the new show screened, it’s all we’ve heard about. Absence has made our heart grow fonder, but we’re still no better at not shouting out advice to the characters while watching.
• Run time: four x 90-minute episodes.

The Crown

Don’t call the most expensive Netflix original series to date a big budget Downton Abbey. The US$122 million production received rave reviews for the fictionalised look at the early life of Britain’s royal family and a second series has already been announced. Lavish and regal are words for both the subject matter and the final output. No matter your feelings on Downton, this is a must-watch.
• Run time: ten x one-hour episodes.

The OA
Can’t wait until July for Stranger Things 2? (Neither can we.) Well, luckily for you (and us), Netflix is striking while the sci-fi iron is hot by pushing out another mysterious small-town community spookfest. When a missing blind girl turns up after seven years with sight restored she is going to have seen something weird. Or not. It will make sense if you stick with the atmospheric fantasy thriller. Trust us.
• Run time: ten x 31-64-minute episodes.

Travelers
The last surviving humans travel back from centuries in the future to assume the lives of random people at the moment of their death in 21st century America. Intrigued? We certainly are. We’re just crossing our fingers that this Canadian drama is just one tenth as fantastic as the Quantum Leap it sounds so similar to.
• Run time: 12 x 50-minute episodes.

Trollhunters
The combined forces of Guillermo del Toro and Dreamworks Animation (the creative folk behind Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon − to name a few) make us sit up and take notice of this animated family adventure series. The story skips between the troll and human worlds and revolves around magical amulets and swords and sorcery fun, as friends unearth a mystery beneath their hometown. Kelsey Grammer and Ron Perlman are standout names in the voice cast.
• Run time: 26 x 23-minute episodes.

White Rabbit Project
From the people behind Mythbusters comes an investigation series which answers the questions nobody ever asks but can’t wait to see the answer to. Jailbreaks, superpower technology, heists, hoverboards and more gadget- and stunt-driven experiments for high-octane journalistic inquiries. Great stuff.
• Run time: ten x 50-minute episodes.

Ones to wait for*

Atypical
Netflix is splashing out something like US$5 billion on its Original shows and we’re excited to see this dark coming-of-age comedy about a young man on the autistic spectrum as he searches for love and independence in a baffling world. Keir Gilchrist, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport star.
• Stream in TBA.
• Run time: eight x one-hour episodes.

Chef’s Table Season 3
The ultimate foodie documentary series is coming back for a third series. That means more loving of the close-ups of delicately prepared dishes from some of the world’s best kitchens. The slow-motion camera tour of chopping, cooking and serving visits chefs from Peru to Moscow, Russia. Prepare to drool over this show.
• Stream in TBA.
• Run time: six x 50-minute episodes.

Iron Fist
As if the Marvel Cinematic Universe couldn’t get any more convoluted, the numerous TV series are crossing on unprecedented levels this year. This story sees a billionaire who... oh, let’s face it, you don’t care, do you? All you need to know is more superhero action is coming to your screen and it is going to be kung-fu packed.
• Stream in March.
• Run time: 13 x one-hour episodes.

Master of None Season 2
Aziz Ansari’s masterful indie sitcom was one of the hits of 2015 and fans of the scene-stealing Parks and Recreation star have had to wait longer than expected for the follow-up. Part-sitcom, part-relationship drama and part-vehicle to shoehorn in Ansari’s stand-up observations on modern romance and the perils of love, social media and finding really good pasta. Artfully made, it is the quintessential Netflix series with the second series picking up Ansari’s trip to Italy.
• Stream in April.
• Run time: ten x 30-minute episodes.

Santa Clara Diet
Drew Barrymore is the latest actress to dispatch an agent and instruct them to come back with a Netflix Original series (and you can’t really blame her at this point, can you?). She will join up with Timothy Olyphant (Justified, Deadwood) as married real estate agents going on a life-changing adventure. Expect plenty of LA soul-searching and great dramatic actors showing off their comedy chops.
• Stream in February.
• Run time: 13 x one-hour episodes.

Stranger Things 2
Like just about everybody else who remembers the best of Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and the 1980s in general, we loved dark, sci-fi horror Stranger Things. One of the shows which made a Netflix subscription essential, the sequel gets a follow-up set one year on from the original. The same cast will return (hurrah, we love those kids!) although the series makers The Duffer Brothers have hinted that it could be darker and more pop culture-filled than the first. Bring it on.
• Stream in July.
• Run time: nine x one-hour episodes.

The Defenders
Remember how we said Marvel crossovers were going to get convoluted? Ideally you will have seen at least four other entire different TV series to have any idea of what’s happening. Pulling together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist plotlines it is to the separate shows what the Avengers movies are to standalone superhero movies like Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and the likes. Confused? Possibly, but just sit back and enjoy the snappy dialogue, big budget episodes and have Wikipedia to hand for reference point.
• Stream in TBA.
• Run time: eight x one-hour episodes.

Ultimate Beastmaster
Sylvester Stallone has teamed up with The Biggest Loser producer, Dave Broome, to produce this obstacle course challenge game show. No, honestly. We’re thinking a more expensive, more awesome version of Gladiators with extra added flexing. That’ll certainly get you in the exercising spirit (or, more realistically, completely put you off).
• Stream in February.
• Run time: ten x one-hour episodes.

Watership Down
We can’t watch the 1978 animated movie adaptation of the late Richard Adams’ novel without getting a tear in our eyes and an unexplained hankering for Chinese food in our tummies. Netflix has joined forces with the BBC to create an all-star mini-series adaptation with James McAvoy, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton and a veritable rabbit warren of other big names. Rumour has it there is US$25 million behind the family animation.
• Stream in TBA.
• Run time: four x one-hour episodes.

By Will Milner
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

Add your review/feedback

Subscribe to weekender newsletter

Submit

The Knowledge

Dazzling dance show taking centre stage at Abu Dhabi culture festival
Sep 20

The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi continues exciting programme with spectacular light show

Five fantastic staycation deals for the long weekend
Sep 20

Get away for less across the UAE

Alternative music nights to try this cultural season
Sep 20

Music lovers in Abu Dhabi will be on song for months with this rich array of live acts.

Newsletters

Sign up now