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Is Netflix the Next Powerhouse of Premium Entertainment?

When discussing the quality of television programming, there seems to be a consensus among viewers that two categories of content exist. Known for the most high-quality, addictive, controversial and critically acclaimed TV series’, HBO and Showtime are placed in a league of their own, and rightfully so. No other networks seem to captivate audiences like HBO and Showtime can. This changed when Netflix entered the original content game. Netflix produced three shows that received an unbelievable amount of attention and devotion from viewers and critics. Is Netflix the newest key player in premium content creation?

Netflix ventured into the world of original content with the suspenseful, cutthroat political drama, House of Cards. If you haven’t watched House of Cards yet, close this window immediately, sign into your Netflix account , binge watch both seasons, and I’ll get back to you in a few days.

Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, is arguably the most ruthless character on television. As Underwood schemes to become the next President of The United States, he spares no casualties, eliminating even the slightest possibly of threatening opposition to his rise to the top. As an avid TV viewer with better detective skills than Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson, I often predict the major events in television shows before they occur. This was absolutely not the case with House of Cards. Each episode reveals another twist, lie, affair, murder, or betrayal. This outstanding show set high expectations for the newest Netflix show’s premiere.

The next original content produced by Netflix was the fourth season of Arrested Development. This was an appropriate collaboration, considering the show’s substantial rise in popularity when it became available on Netflix Instant play, years after going off the air. The sitcom centered around the world’s most dysfunctional family received poor ratings, eventually leading to an abrupt cancellation after season three. Years later, Arrested Development became a cult hit through Netflix. Viewers were captivated by the Bluth’s insane family dynamics and the endless supply of sarcasm, magic tricks gone wrong, obscene antics, wry commentary from the matriarch of the family, and Jason Batemen’s constant struggle to keep things together. Though the fourth season of Arrested wasn’t up to the standards of the previous three, it still remains one of the wittiest shows ever made.

The next Netflix original series, Orange is The New Black, received instant acclaim and popularity. A lot of credit for the success of the series is due to its producer, Jenji Kohan, who previously produced of Showtime’s hit series, Weeds. Orange is the New Black chronicles life inside a women’s corrections facility, The show centers around Piper, convicted of carrying drug money years ago for her ex-girlfriend Lisa, played by That 70’s Show’s Laura Prepon. The rich character developments and flashbacks revealing each of the inmates’ personal struggles before incarceration adds another, more human element to the show. It also shows that despite their entirely different pasts, they all ended up in the same place.

Though I personally don’t watch Orange is The New Black, it has to be pretty damn good if it succeeded in making Jason Biggs relevant again. The second season of Orange is The New Black premiered last week, and from witnessing the explosion of commentary on the Internet, viewers were elated to start binge watching the lives of their favorite incarcerated ladies.

Judging from the popularity and recognition of their first three shows, Netflix may be the next network to be placed in that prestigious category along with their soon to be competitors, HBO and Showtime.

 

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