Founded in the summer of 1997, Netflix Inc. has grown exponentially.

The original Netflix logo, used from 1997 to 2000.

From humble beginnings as a mail-in DVD delivery service to a multi-million dollar online streaming hub, Netflix is an app that is used and loved by virtually everyone. They specialize in showing viewer-favourite programming through network partnerships... and they even create their own content spanning over various genres.

Since Netflix has become a staple in entertainment, it has earned the honour of yearly updated lists of the best original content the company produces.

Often, however... there are connections to what's happening in the world, the interests of the target audience and what Netflix releases month-by-month that a lot of people miss.

Here's how Netflix appealed to the masses through original and licensed content in 2016.


Je Suis Charlie: L'Humour de Mort

First seen at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2016, Je Suis Charlie showcases archival footage from French news organization Charlie Hebdo, including clips with deceased cartoonist Jean "Cabu" Cabut and editor-in-chief, Stéphane "Charb" Charbonnier.

The documentary contextualizes the attacks that killed 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris on January 7th, 2015 and was released exactly one year later on Netflix.


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

If anything, 2016 was the year of sequels: sequels announced, sequels released and sequels teased. Netflix is no stranger to this, releasing a sequel nearly 16 years in the making. According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon became the "highest-grossing foreign film in the history of the American box office".

CGI was certainly increased within this Netflix original, thanks to Lee's successor and fight choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping. The franchise's lead star, Michelle Yeoh, signed on to reprise her role as the reigning feminine badass of the film.


Marvel's Daredevil, Season 2

There's no doubt that superheroes and comic books have been the pinnacle of pop culture for over 80 years, with DC Comics and Marvel both launching in the 30s (respectively). Since the two largest comic franchises began, there have been several new ways to interact with everyone's favourite comic book heroes and villains alike - one of those options being a 2016 partnership between Marvel and Netflix to create various series depicting several comic favourites.

With current Netflix titles like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, along with anticipated 2017 shows Iron Fist and The Defenders, Marvel's Daredevil gives viewers everything they could want out of an adapted superhero series: stunning visuals, a fairly-close connection to the comic plot lines and a charming Charlie Cox playing Matt Murdoch, the Daredevil himself.


Team Foxcatcher

Murder mysteries are ever-popular in society today. If there's a conspiracy involved, even better. Viewers are so obsessed with investigative shows like Dateline and 48 Hours, they all might as well be detectives at this point. But what happens when you're lucky enough to look from the inside-out?

Based on true events, Netflix original documentary Team Foxcatcher shows exclusive footage of Team Foxcatcher wrestling founder John du Pont and his eventual descent into a murderer. Once a philanthropist, du Pont created the Team Foxcatcher franchise to refine swimmers, wrestlers and triathlon competitors into Olympic material. There already exists another movie on this story, but it's inferred that the exclusive footage gives this documentary a personal edge not seen before.



If the effects of the upcoming U.S. election weren't enough, Netflix decided to release an original French political drama less than six months before America voted in their 45th president. While that might sound like a marketing tactic, the series certainly did not disappoint.

Although it's set in France, Marseille parallels the U.S. election; considering the contrast of the two candidates and the tension between them. Critics say it's sort of like a "French House of Cards", which is another Netflix original series. Season 2 has been confirmed and is set to be released sometime in 2017.



Although it came out in 2015, Netflix didn't get streaming rights for Spotlight until 2016. Winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, among several other accolades, the film sheds a light on a vintage, corrupt sex scandal that reaches as high as the Vatican and how a team of journalists (coincidently known as "Spotlight") fight to reveal the cover-up of this sex abuse involving several catholic priests.

Based on true events, Spotlight gives some much needed insight into what investigative journalists really go through... and reminds everyone that despite what is currently going on in the world, transparent journalism and freedom of information are crucial to the world we live in - especially today.


Stranger Things

With a remake of Stephen King’s It - based on the 1986 novel - set for release in 2017, along with Netflix series Scream (based on Wes Craven’s 1996 film) being renewed for a third season and supposed rumours surrounding a remake of Spielberg's E.T., it's safe to say that 80s and 90s horror is making a striking comeback.

Stranger Things has the underlying terror of Stephen King, the synth sounds of John Carpenter and every aspect of a nostalgic Spielberg film. With a unique story that thrills at every turn while tugging at heart strings, this original series has everyone talking. Thrown in the mix are countless references to our favourite franchises in the 80s and 90s, as well. Not to mention that it's Netflix's third-biggest original series, with a rating of 14.4 million views within the first month of its release. Season 2 is currently being filmed and will drop in the summer of 2017.


The Get Down

In the spirit of remakes and remixes, everybody loves a good concept with a re-imagined narration. Over 10 years in the making, The Get Down re-tells the history of hip-hop through lively young people hailing from the South Bronx in 1977 New York. Baz Luhrmann, who is best known for his direction in The Great Gatsby (2013), created this musical-drama splashed with tones of history.

The story of this Netflix original is told colourfully by showcasing the music, dance, art and lives of eccentric teens trying to start the hip-hop movement as disco is dying and New York is close to financial ruin. Part 2 of The Get Down series is set to come out sometime in 2017.


Narcos, Season 2

Something else most viewers are interested in falls along the lines of famous villains with backstories. Take Netflix's own Making a Murderer for example: Steven Avery's innocence is debated, but the series was all the rage for several months after its 2015 release.

Based on true events, Narcos follows the hunt for infamous kingpin Pablo Escobar, majorly in his point of view. Season 1 began in the early days of the drug battle and the biggest threat was marijuana... fast forward to bloody violence between cartels, cocaine peddling and thousands of lost lives. Seasons 3 and 4 have already been confirmed; Season 3 is set to be released in 2017.


Black Mirror, Season 3

Technology is an ever-growing source of convenience for everyone that uses it - which, in most cases, is everyone. Sci-fi is also a popular topic right now, especially with buzz around previously mentioned Netflix series Stranger Things - and a newer Netflix favourite, The OA.

While the show primarily dominated UK servers with its first two seasons from 2011 to 2014, Black Mirror is now officially a Netflix entity. The anthropology series, which ties in both technology and sci-fi elements, depicts how dependent society is on technology in this age. Although it's only a show, some of the points made by the series could ring true if we don't look up from our screens once in a while.


The Ivory Game

Extinction is a recurring reality, with several new species facing endangerment or a complete wipe out every year. In 2016, the world said goodbye to: the northern white rhino, the Javan rhino, the Hawaiian monk seal and many others. Often, this is due to human activity; such as the poaching of ivory, which is needed to craft white gold.

The Ivory Game takes a look at "ivory trafficking", in which the filmmakers went undercover for over a year to observe and infiltrate the slaughtering of African elephants for their tusks. With names like Leonardo DiCaprio and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge credited on this film, The Ivory Game fosters a brutal awareness of what is essentially illegal trade and animal abuse in its rawest form.



As the U.S. prepares to say goodbye to 44th President Barack Obama, hearts are seemingly heavy. Obama was in the Oval Office for 8 years (2 terms) and many are having trouble with the idea of not having him around.

Obama's story is nothing less than inspiring, so what did Netflix do with that fact? They made his story into a film, of course. The movie showcases his life before presidency and his journey, which begins by finding a young Obama at Columbia University in 1981.

Netflix supplied us with various different titles in 2016, all intriguing and captivating in their own ways.

Here's to a 2017 filled with more entertaining and informative Netflix content!



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