15 Netflix Originals to look out for in 2019

Our preview of the streaming site’s upcoming slate includes a Paul Rudd doppelgänger comedy and a dark update of Groundhog Day.

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Rory Marsh, Adam Woodward

In case your diary wasn’t already full enough with release dates for must-see upcoming films and TV shows, we’ve scoured Netflix’s upcoming slate to bring you 15 Originals we think could be worth catching. It’s a pretty eclectic mix, too, with new projects from the likes of Ava DuVernay and Steven Soderbergh all arriving on the streaming site in 2019.

1. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Eta 1 March

Chiwetel Ejiofor writes, directs and stars in this drama about a Malawian boy’s effort to build a wind turbine for his village, based on the true story of William Kamkwamba. Having worked alongside the likes of Steve McQueen and Ridley Scott in the past, here’s hoping some of that magic has rubbed off on Ejiofor for his first stint in the director’s chair. RM

2. The Dirt

Eta 22 March

We’ve been treated to many a music film in recent years, what with Bohemian Rhapsody dominating the box office and recent Golden Globes, and A Star is Born garnering nominations galore. Now, Jackass alumni Jeff Tremaine is tackling the story of how Mötley Crüe became one of the most successful – and notorious – rock bands in history. American rapper Machine Gun Kelly joins Douglas Booth, Iwan Rheon and Daniel Webber in the cast. RM

3. High Flying Bird

Eta TBC

His second film of 2019, Steven Soderbergh’s High Flying Bird concerns a sports agent pitching an intriguing and controversial business opportunity during a lockout. Penned by Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney and starring the likes of Zazie Beetz and Kyle MacLachlan, you can be sure this won’t be a run-of-the-mill sports movie. RM

4. Tuca & Bertie

Eta TBC

The early word on this animated comedy is extremely positive. It follows two 30-year-old “bird women” who live in the same apartment building: Tuca (voiced by Tiffany Haddish), a cocky, carefree toucan, and Bertie (Ali Wong), an anxious, absent-minded songbird. BoJack Horseman production designer Lisa Hanawalt created the 10-episode series, with Raphael Bob-Waksberg lending his services as executive producer. AW

5. In the Tall Grass

Eta TBC

The Stephen King cinematic universe ticks along with another offering from Westworld regular Vincenzo Natali. In Kansas, Patrick Wilson and company hear calls for help, before disappearing into the tall grass. Netflix has a strong reputation for doing obscure King properties justice, as was visible in Gerald’s Game and 1922, so the prospect of the service tackling another is doubtless promising. RM

6. Living With Yourself

Eta TBC

Announced in August 2018, this eight-part series stars Paul Rudd in a dual role as a man who undergoes an experimental treatment in order to become a better person – only to find that he’s been replaced by a new and markedly improved version of himself. Showrunner Timothy Greenberg has promised pratfalls aplenty from this high-concept doppelgänger comedy. AW

7. Shaft

Eta TBC

The most successful blaxploitation crossover movies ever made, Shaft has seen multiple remakes and sequels down the years. In Ride Along director Tim Story’s latest iteration, Samuel L Jackson dons the iconic trench coat once more to solve the mystery surrounding the death of a friend. Considering the talent involved, we’re hoping justice is done to this beloved character. RM

8. Always Be My Maybe

Eta TBC

American Dad! producer Nahnatchka Khan makes her feature debut with this romantic comedy about two childhood friends who grow up and fall in love. Khan’s accomplished television career inspires hope that she’ll handle the transition to film just as successfully. Ali Wong and Randall Park play the couple in question, with Keanu Reeves adding support. RM

9. Central Park Five

Eta TBC

The Central Park jogger case is one of the most notorious in US criminal history, so the prospect of a dramatisation from Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th) is a tantalising one. The series, which is being written and directed by DuVernay, will recount the 1989 arrest and subsequent (incorrect) prosecution of five black and Latino teens from Harlem for the rape of a white woman in the eponymous NYC park. The series boasts an ensemble cast including Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, Michael K Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffma and Storm Reid. AW

10. Polar

Eta 25 January

Immediately following his heavy metal outing Lords of Chaos, Jonas Akerlund returns with this adaptation of Victor Santos’ graphic novel. In what sounds like his take on John Wick, a master assassin is forced back into action to confront a group of his subordinates. Throwing Mads Mikkelsen into the mix, this has potential to be a highlight of Netflix’s 2019 slate. RM

11. 6 Underground

Eta TBC

Very little is known about Michael Bay’s upcoming collaboration with Netflix, besides it being their most expensive original to date, budgeted at $150 million. Affording the frenetic director free-reign, as well as an all-star cast including Ryan Reynolds and Melanie Laurent, this will be one for adrenaline junkies to keep their wary eye on. RM

12. Beats

Eta TBC

Music video director Chris Robinson helms this drama about a musical prodigy and his manager shaking off their differences to free each other from the demons of their past. Anthony Anderson stars in what looks to be a collaboration perfectly suited to this actor-director pairing. RM

13. Russian Doll

Eta 1 February

In what sounds like a dark update on Groundhog Day, Russian Doll sees Natasha Lyonne play a young woman who gets stuck in a mysterious loop of having to attend the same party in New York City each night. The actor co-created this eight-part series alongside Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, who all serve as executive producers. Most excitingly, it reunites Lyonne with her But I’m a Cheerleader director Jamie Babbit. AW

14. Dolemite Is My Name

Eta TBC

Eddie Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore, the star of 1975’s blaxploitation classic Dolemite in this docudrama from Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewer. Alongside Wesley Snipes and Keegan-Michael Key, and a script from Ed Wood writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, this is shaping up to be a topically unique documentary, and perhaps a vehicle for Murphy’s comeback. RM

15. Klaus

Eta TBC

Sergio Pablos takes up the directorial reigns for the first time in this animated film about a postman in a frozen northern town who accidentally comes across Santa Claus. With a distinct visual style and star-studded voice cast, including Rashida Jones and JK Simmons, Klaus could be Netflix’s next animated hit. RM

Published 12 Jan 2019

Tags: Amazon Ava DuVernay Chiwetel Ejiofor Jamie Babbit Jeff Tremaine Natasha Lyonne Netflix Steven Soderbergh

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