On a rainy Saturday, when you're in no mood to do household chores, there is no gravitational force stronger than your couch. And thanks to streaming services that let you binge on both past, recent and original shows, it's easy to spend an entire afternoon without moving.
The idea of binge-watching was foreign just a few years ago, but the rise of streaming services and the ever-increasing number of millennials has made it a big part of the entertainment landscape.
"They've taken the traditional TV broadcast model and turned it on its head," said P.J. McNealy, founder and CEO of Digital World Research. "The behavior of binge-watching is foreign to the broadcasting model. I think it's largely generational. It's the younger demographics doing it. This comes at a time when virtually any device is a viable consumption screen — and the younger generation are satisfied with smaller screens."
As binge-watching has become more common, it has become increasingly important for streaming services to rely not only on old broadcast series, but to create their own 'must see TV' — resulting in programming like "Orange is the New Black" and "Transparent." (Beyond competing with traditional networks, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are also fighting with stand-alone services from HBO and Starz for viewers.)
"This is still evolving," says McNealy. "At the end of the day, you want enough content to keep people on your service, so once they finish binge-watching 'The Archer,' they have something else to roll into. ... Original content is driving differentiation between the services."
To keep customers happy — and loyal — streaming services regularly roll out new shows and seasons. Here are 10 upcoming programs that are likely to be favorites among couch surfers.
— Posted 12 Aug. 2016
Disclosure: Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, is a co-owner of Hulu.
"Jessica Jones" was a smash for Netflix, garnering an estimated 4.8 million viewers in the 18-49 adult demographic during a 35-day viewing cycle between September and December of last year. The Luke Cage character was part of the appeal of that series — and now he has a spinoff series of his own. Marvel, as a brand, is still red-hot, too — both in theaters and on Netflix (where "Daredevil" has been a viral success), which should help Cage's chances.
The comedic/drama series, which originally aired on the WB from 2000-2007 was one of the first flagpole shows for the then-burgeoning network. And its appeal has never faltered among fans. After the success of "Fuller House" and "Arrested Development" on Netflix, it was a no-brainer to try to bring this critical darling back. The new series will consist of four 90-minute episodes and will feature most of the original cast, including primary stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel.
There's a seemingly insatiable appetite among U.S. viewers for all things pertaining to British royalty. "The Crown," which will trace the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding to present day has been called the most expensive drama ever made by a U.S. streaming company. And the addition of "Doctor Who" star Matt Smith as Prince Philip is certain to win over some BBC loyalists. The series is expected to ultimately run 60 episodes over six seasons.
As if basing a series on the extraordinarily popular children's books wasn't a solid enough bet, Netflix roped in Neil Patrick Harris to star as the main antagonist Count Olaf (along with Patrick Warburton as the show's "author" Lemony Snicket). "Men in Black" director Barry Sonnenfeld is producing the show, which will run for eight episodes.
After running three seasons on Fox, the sitcom moved to Hulu for a 26-episode fourth season last September. A 16-episode fifth season kicks off this October. Star and series creator Mindy Kaling returns once again, along with co-stars B.J. Novak and Bill Hader (and several new cast members). The show has become something of a flagship original series for the service.
Hugh Laurie is something of a specialist when it comes to playing troubled doctors. He's not quite "House" in this psychological thriller, but he does have his share of problems, including mistaken identity, mental illness and police corruption. Adapted from Kem Nunn's novel, this series found itself in a bidding war and has already received a two-season commitment. Hulu, rather than releasing all of the episodes at once, will stream them weekly.
A look at Los Angeles psychics might not sound compelling at first — until you learn it's coming from Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein, the producers of "Breaking Bad." Starring Isabella Rossellini, Jeffrey Donovan, and KaDee Strickland, it's set to run for 10 episodes.
This motoring show, featuring former "Top Gear" stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May may be the most eagerly anticipated upcoming program on any over-the-top network. The wildly popular trio have signed for 36 episodes over a three-year period, largely doing the same show they were famous for on the BBC. Amazon plans to air the show in 4K ultra high definition.
Most Amazon series have to pass an audience test, where viewers provide feedback based on pilot episodes, which determines if a series gets a full order. "Goliath" bypassed that, with Amazon making a 10-episode commitment out of the gate. Billy Bob Thornton and William Hurt will star in the David E. Kelley legal series. Thornton portrays a lawyer ousted from the high-profile firm he co-founded who must clean up his act when a young lawyer, who has just been fired from that same firm, brings a wrongful death case, pitting Thornton against Hurt, the head of the legal outfit.
Written and directed by Woody Allen (the first time he has written a television series), this is said to be a one-shot/one-season deal. The plot remains a mystery, but it's officially described as a comedy set in the 1960s. Allen stars in the show as well, alongside Miley Cyrus, Elaine May and Joy Behar, among others.