Open Letter to Netflix: What We Want from Your Next Originals

We have seen your potential in Gilmore Girls, which is why recent shows like Santa Clarita Diet and Riverdale are so disappointing. Our writers’ open letters explain what kind of content students think you should be making.

“Shows like Jeremy Kyle and Dr. Phil have been combatting obnoxious individuals in our everyday lives for ages. Now that we have such a solid online television station, it is time for someone to combat the obnoxious individuals from our online lives through using them as entertainment.

Let’s take the people who write shallow, provocative Facebook posts, inane YouTube comments and gross Tinder messages and make them read them out loud, in person, in front of a live studio audience or a panel of sassy judges who gets to ask them questions afterwards about their lives and thought processes. Even better, let’s bring their parents in to comment as their adult children are forced to sheepishly recite their online interactions. With a low production value and an unique market niche that you are in the perfect position to capitalise on, this show wouldn’t just be a success but an asset for the online community.” – Edi Li

“One of Netflix’s strongest areas when it comes to producing quality entertainment is in their immense creativity. When Netflix originals are at their best, they push the envelope, creating innovative and thought-provoking content. Unfortunately, this has also proven to be their downfall in many situations. The company is by now infamous for delivering long awaited continuations of shows such as Full House and Arrested Development and it is here that the cracks begin to appear in their creative process. When people watch a new season of their old favourite show, they aren’t looking for innovation or genius but rather a sense of nostalgia to remind them of why they loved it so much in the first place and thus, their continuations have rarely found success. In my opinion, Netflix is capable of creating genuinely fantastic entertainment and in order to continue making it so great, they need to stop reviving dead shows and instead simply focus on making original productions so that they can continue experimenting with their own unique form of media.” – Duncan Brown 

“Dear Netflix: one thing that has impressed me about you is your eagerness for diversity. Yet, as always, I find myself wanting more. I want more female-led dramas; dramas where women characters are not just at the forefront but are genuinely empowered. Too often shows fall into the trap of presenting a female lead who is strong but imperfect in annoyingly repetitive ways: unsociable, awkward and cold.

So I’d like you to keep producing female characters in your current manner, but I ask for more variety. I want characters who are diverse, characters who are not beautiful and characters defined by their friendships rather than their romance. Something I love almost as much as shows with strong non-male characters is shows about the outdoors and adventure. So what I want is something that combines the two. Yes, we’ve had films such as Wild and Tracks, but something a bit more unusual would really catch me: an adventure film with a female lead who was more than a conventionally pretty blonde woman looking to find  herself.” – Natasha Ion

“Dear Netflix: From Bojack Horseman and Stranger Things, your original shows have been consistently binge-worthy. I thank you for this: whenever I’m stressed with my reality I know I can rely on you to throw me into an engaging alternate universe. However, your recent political dramas like House of Cards and Black Mirror have been hitting a bit too close to home. I watch ruthless political leaders everyday on the news, so I hardly need Frank Underwood adding to my migraine.

Truthfully, the only show on Netflix that satisfies my escapist needs is the BBC adaptation of Austen’s beloved love story, Pride and Prejudice. The show takes me back to simpler times, when light domestic work was the British pastime and the greatest point of drama was a fervent glance across a ballroom. I suggest you extend the series and produce the rest of Jane Austin’s novels. Please Netflix, witty dialogue and images of rolling hills are the only things that will keep me going.” -Ruby Walsh 

Dear Netflix: As a fan of fantastical dramas, I find it difficult to combine my love for treacherous plots, beautiful costumes and sweaty sex scenes with my feminist agenda. While we are able to imagine all sorts of magical creatures, I do not see why every producer struggles to invent a world without sexist representation of women and heteronormativity. So, here’s my idea: a fantastic drama starring a mysterious and seductive women with unnatural powers. Well actually, she would be a sort of demon/succubus, enjoying killing people while having sex with them. She would particularly kill men, because… why not. And as she tries to get on with her life of crime and debauchery – oh irony – she falls in love with a girl and has to hide it to protect her love’s safety. Because, you know, she basically kills every person she have sex with. It may be a bit cliche, but it is a great starting point and with a Netflix budget it will look great.” – Léa Brémond

“Hey Netflix? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the musicals section of your wide ranging genres is severely lacking in, well, uh, musicals. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but singing is all the range. Obviously the film industry is dominated with musicals, especially prominent since the release of La La Land, but Glee is the only recent TV example. I want a full length TV series with hour long episodes in which there are several musical numbers. Nothing says teen angst like a character staring moodily out of a window belting out an eighties style pop anthem. Nothing says heartbreak like a peppy motown number in the vegetable aisle of a supermarket. Nothing says true romance like a soul ballad sung between a student and their Netflix account. You get the gist. We’re in need of musicals and I know you can comply.” – Ellie Parker 

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The Student Newspaper 2016