ENTERTAINMENT
07/13/2017 08:01 am ET Updated Jul 13, 2017

A Guide To The Rest Of Summer 2017's Netflix Original Series, Specials And Films

Superheroes, coral bleaching, money laundering, Olympic doping — oh my!
Netflix

It’s been known for a while now that Netflix decided to dramatically cut down on the number of non-original streaming titles in order to beef up its original content.

In December 2016, the company announced that it intended to double its originals in 2017, dedicating $6 billion to that mission. (In 2016, the company spent $5 billion.) So far, we’ve been enjoying the fruits of Netflix’s labor: This year has spawned hits like the controversial, überpopular “13 Reasons Why,” the retro-delicious “GLOW,” the thought-provoking “Dear White People” and the realistically grim “Anne with an E.”

Of course, 2017 has also meant saying goodbye to some short-lived misses (“Girlboss”) and fan-favorite series (“Sense8”). But fear not, TV viewers: What’s left of summer 2017 includes some promising new content with which you can chill.

Here’s a rundown of what originals to expect from the streaming service through mid-September.

TELEVISION SERIES

“Friends From College” (July 14)

In this series, a group of friends reconnect in the big city on the edge of their 40s after attending Harvard together. It’s packed with your faves — Keegan-Michael Key, Cobie Smulders — but early reviews of the show suggest that the selfish, uncaring characters miss the “edgy” and “interesting” marks and lean more toward “insufferable.”

“Ozark” (July 21)

“Hypothetically, scale of 1 to 10, how difficult would it be for someone to disappear? Family of four?” asks Marty Byrde (played by Jason Bateman) in the trailer for the new drama series “Ozark.” He and his family, which includes wife Wendy (Laura Linney), escape to the Ozarks after Marty’s money-laundering work with a Mexican drug cartel turns sour. 

“Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later” (Aug. 4)

The year is 1991, and Camp Firewood is filling up with old favorites for a 10-year reunion in Netflix’s second “Wet Hot American” reboot. Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks and more A-listers will return for the eight-part series. (This feels like a good time to mention the original film is no longer available to stream online, which feels downright criminal.)

“Marvel’s The Defenders” (Aug. 18)

Four superheroes, one common goal — saving New York City. After watching “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist,” come August, you can watch all of these guys come together to fight baddies. Based on the trailer, it seems the season will have a lot of scowling, badassery and perhaps even a cool fight set to Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.”

MOVIES

“To The Bone” (July 14) 

“To The Bone” is Netflix’s second project of 2017 to tackle difficult-to-watch mental illness in young women — and, like the series “13 Reasons Why,” it’s already sparked discussion about the responsibilities of portraying uncomfortable, nuanced issues in a productive way. In the film, Lily Collins plays Ellen, a 20-year-old woman with anorexia who moves into a group-home type of treatment center led by a no-bullshit doctor (Keanu Reeves). There, she finds companions who understand what she’s going through, and, perhaps, a way out.

“The Incredible Jessica James” (July 28)

If you don’t yet know the magnetic talent of Jessica Williams, allow this original film to be your introduction. Williams’ first starring vehicle has her playing Jessica James, a 20-something aspiring playwright dating in the big city and creeping on her ex (Lakeith Stanfield) online. HuffPost movie critic Matthew Jacobs calls her character “relentlessly lovable and imperfect.” Sign us up.

“Naked” (Aug. 11)

Think “Groundhog Day,” but with a wedding, and less clothing: Rob Anderson, played by Marlon Wayans, is reliving the morning of his wedding day over and over again — starting with him waking up naked in an elevator

“Death Note” (Aug. 25)

This upcoming film was inspired by a Japanese manga-turned-anime in which a young man finds a notebook with the ability to kill those whose names are written in it. Knowing that, it’s a bit surprising to see that the film adaptation is set in Seattle, instead of its original Tokyo, and that the lead and his love interest are white. Fans of the original reacted harshly to the trailer, seeing it as another example of Hollywood whitewashingclaims the show’s producer refutes. It looks like it will be big on the action and special effects, if that’s your thing.

DOCUMENTARIES AND DOCUSERIES

“Chasing Coral” (July 14)

Planet Earth” lovers, here’s another one for you. This documentary follows the crew who made time-lapse cameras that capture coral bleaching, a phenomenon related to climate change in which stressed corals expel the algae that typically lives in the organisms and turn white. If left in warm water for too long, whole swaths of coral can die. Netflix promises a dramatic, eye-catching journey as the camera crews face inclement weather and technical malfunctions in the name of capturing this devastating environmental occurrence. 

“Last Chance U” (Season 2) (July 21)

This award-winning docuseries follows young football players at East Mississippi Community College, which Netflix calls “one of NCAA football’s most fertile recruiting grounds.” Players who have faced obstacles such as criminal accusations or failed drug tests come to EMCC’s pressure-cooker football program for a shot at redemption, professionally and beyond. 

“Daughters of Destiny” (July 28)

This film tells the inspiring story of the Shanti Bhavan school, which offers free education in India to some of the nation’s most impoverished children. Filmmaker Vanessa Roth follows the lives of several girls in the school over the course of seven years. While watching the trailer for the four-part series, you can get a sense of both the opportunity and responsibility to their families back home that the students feel.

“Icarus” (Aug. 4)

Netflix landed this examination of an insidious Russian state-sponsored doping program for Olympic athletes in a “historic” deal, shelling out $5 million after its premiere at Sundance Film Festival. The premise: Director Bryan Fogel, an amateur bike racer, tried doping himself to see if it would increase his endurance. He got in touch with Russian scientist Grigory Rodchenkov to do so, and the rest, well, you’ll just have to watch. 

“Strong Island” (Sept. 15)

Director Yance Ford chronicles his family’s history in this documentary, which also premiered at Sundance. Ford begins with the Jim Crow–era South, following his family to the New York suburbs, culminating in the murder of his brother, a 24-year-old teacher, by a 19-year-old white mechanic; Ford’s brother was unarmed, but became the top suspect in his own murder. The resulting film is an examination of grief amid historical racial injustice, as well as the politics of living in a nation with “a false sense of justice,” as a Netflix release reads.

COMEDY SPECIALS

“Ari Shaffir: Double Negative” (July 18)

This one’s for lovers of edgy dude humor. In the teaser for his two-part special, comedian Ari Shaffir rattles off jokes about condoms and chlamydia to raucous applause.

“Aditi Mittal: Things They Wouldn’t Let Me Say” (July 18)

Known as one of the first female professional stand-up comedians in India, Aditi Mittal offers a brash and real form of comedy where she’s unapologetic about modern Indian womanhood. Think riffs on shopping for bras and period talk.

“Joe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Special” (July 25)

Joe Mande has the bona fides to earn him an hourlong Netflix spot: He was a writer for “Parks and Recreation” and “The Kroll Show,” and regularly appears on “Modern Family,” among other popular shows. The streaming service promises jokes about “dating shows, ‘Shark Tank,’ Jewish summer camp” and more.

“Maz Jobrani: Immigrant” (Aug. 1)

Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani will bring his politcal-tinged humor to Netflix this August, with him riffing on life as an immigrant under the current administration. To get a sense of his style, check out his 2015 special “I’m Not a Terrorist, But I Play One on TV,” based on his book of the same name.

“Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo” (Aug. 15)

Brad Paisley and comedy: Who’d’ve thought? The country singer had David Hasselhoff help him announce the Netflix special, and he’ll have a host of names to bring the laughs once it airs, including Nate Bargatze and Sarah Tiana. (The Hoff is set to make an appearance, too).

“Lynne Koplitz: Hormonal Beast” (Aug. 22)

Lynne Koplitz delivers her brash, no-holds-barred form of comedy to an hourlong special at the end of the summer, which promises “a woman’s take on being crazy” and “the three things all men really want.” To get a sense of her style, check out this 2014 clip from “Comedy Underground with Dave Attell,” where she riffs on “giving up” and the benefits of wearing a sports bra when you’ve never done sports.

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