Netflix is transitioning from a library of other people’s content to a more traditional TV network and film production company. They have no choice: the major studios have realized, possibly too late, that their shows and movies helped turn Netflix into their biggest competitor. So more and more content will be going behind studio paywalls as they create their own private Netflixes. NBC/Universal recently announced that the U.S. version of The Office, one of Netflix’s biggest hits, will be moving to its upcoming service; Friends, another show that seemingly everyone was watching on Netflix, is going to Warner’s hilariously-named “HBO Max,” and Disney will be trying to create yet another quasi-monopoly with Disney+.
Since none of these services are up and running yet, this September’s lineup on Netflix Canada is still mostly the usual mix of original material, semi-recent movies, and complete seasons of shows from other networks. But there are also signs of a new approach to come, including the arrival of a creator that Netflix spent a lot of money to lure away from broadcast and cable – not to mention the rival streaming services to come.
What’s coming and going on Netflix Canada in September
The Walking Dead: Season 9
(available Sept. 1)
This is something that is familiar from the traditional, licensed-content world of Netflix: they get the most recent season of the zombie franchise (in more ways than one, because there are no plans to end it) to help build the hype for a new season on its parent network. This year, though, it may be extra important to catch up with this show, for one big reason: now that Game of Thrones is over, people on Twitter need to find another show to complain about, and The Walking Dead, which lost some of its buzz to its equally violent but much sexier HBO rival, may make a comeback as the show everyone seems to watch while seemingly criticizing everything about it. AMC will premiere the 10th season in October, so you have a month to catch up on the show and get ready to join in the griping.
(available Sept. 6)
Another espionage drama? Yes, but, to be fair, the co-writer and director of this six-episode limited series, Gideon Raff, helped start this whole spy boom when he created the Israeli show “Prisoners of War,” better known in America as the source material for “Homeland.” This time he’s combining that with another trendy TV sub-genre, the biopic: it’s the story of Eli Cohen, a Mossad agent who spent much of the 1960s working undercover in Syria. The international cast is headed by another Cohen, Sacha Baron Cohen, and it’s always intriguing to see his occasional forays into serious drama. But as with most shows about real people, the biggest philosophical question is: does it count as a spoiler if we mention that the main character is currently dead?
The Ranch: Part 7
(available September 13).
An unexpected development in 2010s TV was the return of the serious multi-camera sitcom, where the studio audience often falls silent while characters have heartfelt conversations. This Netflix original, where Ashton Kutcher moves back to Colorado to help run the family ranch, was one of the most unexpected of the bunch: though it comes from writers of Two and a Half Men and features some of the sex and pot jokes you’d expect, it’s also serialized, frequently dramatic, and lit in a style closer to film noir than sitcom. (The cast also includes Sam Elliott as Kutcher’s dad, but not original co-star Danny Masterson, who was fired in late 2017 due to multiple sexual assault allegations.) The combination doesn’t always work, because there aren’t enough big laughs to balance out the seriousness, but like many other shows from co-creator Don Reo (Blossom, The John Larroquette Show), it takes a conventional sitcom setup and turns it into something quite individual and strange.
Between Two Ferns: The Movie
(available September 20)
Zach Galifinakis’s hipster comedy parody of interview shows premiered in 2008 and became one of the defining shows of the Barack Obama era, which President Obama himself acknowledged by going on the show in 2014. Parodying the robotically scripted nature of most celebrity interviews, it helped prove that web-only content could be as influential as anything on regular TV—something that Netflix would soon prove on a much larger scale. Now, in an America very different from what it seemed to be in 2014, Galifianakis and co-writer/director Scott Aukerman are reviving it as a direct-to-Netflix feature film, a behind-the-scenes look at the character Galifianakis plays on the show: he’s humiliated that what he intended as a serious talk show has been mistaken for a comedy, and he goes on a journey to do new interviews with celebrities who are still unannounced as of this writing.
The premise of this satirical comedy series sounds a bit like a gender-flipped, upscale Election: Payton (Ben Platt) is an ambitious rich kid who sees his high school Student Body President election as the first step in his plan to eventually run the entire country. What makes it significant even before it airs is that it’s Netflix’s first production in their five-year deal with one of TV’s biggest producers, Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story). Murphy got a reported $300 million, which, even in Hollywood, is a lot, and it may be part of Netflix’s strategy to make the transition we discussed earlier: by signing eight-figure deals with super-producers such as Murphy, Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy) and Kenya Barris (Black-ish), Netflix gets lots of prestigious original content and keeps creators away from the likes of Disney+. The new show will use a variant of the seasonal-anthology format Murphy helped pioneer, with every season focusing on a different election in 20 years of Payton’s life, which may explain why everyone in this first season looks like they’re too old to be in high school.
Coming in September
The late Penny Marshall’s most serious movie, with the late Robin Williams and the happily not-late Robert De Niro.
A period drama set in 1847, about the terrible impact of Ireland’s Great Famine.
Johnny Depp stars in this 2001 film about a drug smuggler who helped get America hooked on cocaine.
The film that made Patrick Swayze a star and inspired the educational video “Learn the Art of Dancing Dirty.”
A prize-winning 2011 Russian film about the country’s rampant income and class inequality, told through the story of a nurse who marries her wealthy, elderly patient.
Family Guy, season 17
This is the 2018-9 season, and as with The Simpsons, it’s hard to remember which episode is in which season, but we think it’s the one with Trump jokes.
For the Birds
A documentary about a woman who lives with about 200 birds, and also a husband.
The man who wrote and produced Roland Emmerich’s disaster movies writes, produces and directs his own disaster movie, which made critics nostalgic for Roland Emmerich.
There are so many movies and series called “It” that we’ve kind of lost track of which one this is. Probably not the one that made Clara Bow a 1920s sex symbol.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The ultraviolent, irreverent sequel to the ultraviolent, irreverent spy movie from 2014. Watch it before they release the ultraviolent, irreverent prequel.
Letters to Juliet
This 2002 romance features Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave looking for love in Verona, Italy, and hopefully having better luck than Juliet did.
Mune: Guardian of the Moon
A French computer-animated film where the guardian of the moon is forced to switch things up and go on a quest to bring back the sun.
Olmo & the Seagull
Olivia Corsini stars in a drama about a pregnant actress who is getting ready to star in Chekhov’s “The Seagull.”
PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups
A special double-length episode of “Paw Patrol.” Don’t know what that is? Ask some kids. They’ll know.
Sandra Bullock finds herself living through days in the wrong order, including the day her husband will die.
Jennifer Lopez can’t get a good job because she doesn’t have a college degree, until a fake social media profile gets her a job that will change her life.
Spookley the Square Pumpkin
Revisit the world of 2000s direct-to-video computer animation with this tale of a square pumpkin who experiences racism from his round brethren.
Sofia Coppola’s adaptation of a Civil War tale about a Northern soldier in a seminary full of Southern women, with Colin Farrell in the role played in a previous version by Clint Eastwood.
The Blind Side
Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award as the affluent white woman who adopted the future NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher. Discussion of the film helped mainstream the term “white saviour.”
The Book of Henry
This original drama, about a precocious child and his elaborate scheme to help a classmate, director Colin Trevorrow’s first directorial effort since the success of Jurassic World. Also, to date, his last.
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Season 1
An educational animated children’s show based on the classic Dr. Seuss character, voiced by Martin Short.
The Dark Tower
Idris Elba stars in this 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s famous fantasy novels. If this doesn’t work for you, then there’s a TV series version coming from Amazon in 2020.
The Mothman Prophecies
Richard Gere plays a reporter investigating supernatural doings in a small West Virginia town.
Robert Redford, in his late 40s, plays a baseball player as he ages from his teens to his 30s.
The Walking Dead: Season 9
The Ryan Gosling/Rachel McAdams romance, based on a book by Nicholas Sparks, that defined love for half the world and replaced The English Patient as an easy punchline for the other half.
Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir: Season 2: Parts 1 and 2
The internationally popular children’s cartoon about teenagers who turn into superheroes to battle evil in Paris, presumably because all the other superheroes only care about America.
A biographical film about Robert Mapplethorpe (Matt Smith), whose transgressive photography made him one of the most controversial artists of the 1980s.
A Martin Scorsese crime movie that isn’t as famous as the other Martin Scorsese crime movies.
Al Pacino and Brian De Palma remake an older Hollywood crime movie, with equally cheesy accents but a lot more blood.
Murdoch Mysteries: Season 12
In one of Canada’s longest-running hit series, William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) continues to solve early 20th-century crimes using late 20th-century technology.
Elizabeth Banks co-produced and co-starred in this movie, which is about an all-female singing group, and not baseball.
Pitch Perfect 2
Still not about baseball.
The first film in the popular horror franchise about a night when all crimes are legal. Nothing is scarier than government-sanctioned horror.
The Purge: Anarchy
The first sequel to The Purge, which is similar, but with more anarchy.
The Tale of Despereaux
A 2008 animated film written and produced by Gary Ross (Pleasantville) based on Kate DiCamillo’s children’s book about a mouse trying to rescue a princess from rats.
The World We Make
A young woman who loves horses (Rose Reid) and a young man who loves football (Caleb Castille) experience prejudice due to their interracial relationship.
Archibald’s Next Big Thing
Arrested Development actor Tony Hale produces this animated adaptation of a children’s book he co-authored, about a chicken who travels the world in search of his “next big thing.”
Elite, season 2
A drama series about working-class Spanish teenagers transferred to a private school for wealthy kids. In the new season, everyone reacts to the violence that broke out at the end of the first season, and prepares for the violence that is probably on its way.
Hip-Hop Evolution, season 3
This award-winning Canadian documentary series about the history of hip-hop music has already covered the 1970s and the 1980s. Now they’re taking on the 1990s, the decade that never ended, with a focus on star rappers such as Tupac, Lil’ Kim, and current NFL consultant Jay-Z.
Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father, season 3
Season 1 of this documentary comedy followed Whitehall and his father as they travelled through Southeast Asia, and season 2 took them from Germany to Turkey. Now the British comedian and his dad will be touring the U.S. West for another mix of culture clash and generation gap.
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Leaving Netflix Canada on Sept. 6
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Remember when Jason Segel was a big star and Judd Apatow produced every movie ever?
Remember when Adam Sandler’s movies didn’t go direct to Netflix?
Remember when an Austrian bodybuilder was reinventing himself as a family comedy star?
What’s coming to Netflix Canada on Sept. 7
Dragons’ Den, season 13
The hardy Canadian reality series that tells us it’s possible to start a business in this economy, but only if we go on TV and beg for it.
The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, season 1
A continuation of the series about women in the 1950s who use their code-breaking skills to solve mysteries; it’s a co-production between the UK and Canada, but it takes place in the U.S.
Cupcake & Dino – General Services, seasons 1-2
This Brazilian/Canadian animated series is about a talking cupcake and a talking dinosaur, but we can’t remember which one is named Cupcake and which one is named Dino.
Bill Burr: Paper Tiger
The American comedian’s sixth stand-up special was recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where he gives the English his perspective on things like male feminists, relationships, and, in a change of pace from Barack Obama jokes, Michelle Obama.
Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel (Virunga, The White Helmets) makes a documentary about his own family. 12 years after the suicide of his brother, Von Einsiedel and his siblings try to come to terms with the loss by taking a walking tour of the places they used to visit with their brother.
Terrace House: Tokyo 2019-2020
The most recent entry in the Japanese reality TV series, one of the many reality shows revolving around six strangers picked to live in a house together. The show has gotten favourable reviews for being more serious and less exploitative than viewers have come to expect from this setup.
Neil LaBute writes and Kate Bosworth stars in a seven-part event series about ten people trying to fight their way out of a mysterious and dangerous island, with no memory of how they got there. It isn’t trying to hide that it wants to be Lost for the modern era, though the teaser trailer also makes fun of 2017’s disastrous Fyre Festival, suggesting a somewhat more ironic tone.
The Mind, Explained
Emma Stone narrates a documentary about the secrets of the human brain and how it produces things we all take for granted, such as dreams and anxiety.
The Transformers spinoff movie about Transformer in the form of a Volkswagen Beetle, who looks like Herbie the Love Bug, but, sadly, isn’t Herbie the Love Bug.
The Chef Show: Volume 2
In a non-fiction follow up to the fiction film Chef from director Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Favreau and real-life chef Roy Choi visit their celebrity friends and prepare great meals for them.
A horror film about teenagers being stalked through a desert by a shape-shifting monster.
Hello, Privilege, It’s Me, Chelsea
Comedian Chelsea Handler explores “how white privilege impacts American culture” and confesses her own white privilege.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: The Battle of Unato
The last of three feature film spinoffs of the successful 2016 anime series where the good guys use a train, the Iron Fortress of the title, to battle zombies.
Ava Michelle stars as a teenager who has always been self-conscious about her height, until she falls for a guy who is taller than she is.
An eight-episode miniseries about two detectives (Toni Collette and Merritt Weaver) who investigate the truth behind a rape allegation that a teenager (Kaitlyn Dever) made and then recanted.
The Ranch: Part 7
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Leaving Netflix Canada on Sept. 14
A 2009 comedy where 38 year-old Matthew Perry magically transforms into 17 year-old Zac Efron.
Drug Wars: Season 1
Originally airing on Fusion TV in 2015, this documentary series follows law-enforcement officials as they, well, enforce drug laws.
What’s coming to Netflix Canada on Sept. 15
Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison
50 years after Johnny Cash’s famous concert at the California prison, this Mexican norteño group performed a concert at the same site, including an authorized Spanish-language version of Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”
Edge of Darkness
Mel Gibson stars in a 2010 Americanized version of the English TV series, where a detective investigates the murder of his daughter and uncovers a conspiracy.
Rob Reiner directed this adaptation of Wendelin Van Draanen’s novel about two kids who develop feelings for one another.
Homeland: Season 7
The final season of the show that helped make espionage dramas cool again.
French-Canadian horror film about a zombie apocalypse and a few zurvivors in a small Quebec town.
Steal a Pencil For Me
A 2007 documentary about Holocaust survivors whose love managed to grow even in concentration camps.
The Other Woman
Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton realize they’re all being cheated on by the same man, so they team up to destroy him.
Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives
A 2017 documentary about the Harvard law graduate who brought rock ‘n’ roll to the staid Columbia records in the 1960s, and went on to shape the careers of artists such as Barry Manilow and Whitney Houston.
The Last Kids on Earth
An adaptation of Max Brailler’s children’s book series about kids who are pretty darn well-adjusted considering their town has been hit by a zombie apocalypse. It’s been described as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid Meets the Walking Dead.”
A cute stuntman (Lee Seung-gi) teams up with a cute secret agent (Bae Suzy) to investigate the secret conspiracy behind a plane crash that killed the stuntman’s nephew. The South Korean stars previously teamed in the supernatural drama Gu Family Book, and now they’re back with what sounds like The Fall Guy meets Lost. That’s not a criticism.
A police procedural with a twist: each of the 12 episodes takes place entirely in a room where police interrogate suspects, but there are four different rooms in four different European countries, each in the language of that country and with its own local cast.
Disenchantment: Part 2
The second batch of episodes for the fantasy-comedy animated series from creator Matt Groening and many of his former Futurama and The Simpsons writers.
Fastest Car: Season 2
The reality show that repeatedly tests the question: can old or weird-looking “sleeper” cars beat a sleek modern supercar in a drag race?
Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates
Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) directs this three-part look at Bill Gates and his post-Microsoft career as a philanthropist, trying to use his famous brain to solve the seemingly-insurmountable problems of the world.
Las del hockey
Spanish series (“The Hockey Girls”) about female roller-hockey players tying to save their team.
Between Two Ferns: The Movie
Zach Galifianakis dreamed of becoming a star. But when Will Ferrell discovered his public access TV show “Between Two Ferns” and uploaded it to Funny or Die, Zach became a viral laughing stock. Now Zach and his crew are taking a road trip to complete a series of high-profile celebrity interviews and restore his reputation.
Bryana Salaz stars in this series as a spoiled rich girl forced by a court order to supervise a wilderness club for a bunch of inner-city middle-school children.
Charlize Theron produced and starred in this stunt-filled spy film, based on Antony Johnston’s graphic novel, about a secret agent (Theron) on the trail of double agents during the last days of the Cold War.
Jeff Dunham: Beside Himself
In his second Netflix special, ventriloquist/comic Jeff Dunham continues to do what made him the most popular stand-up comedian in America in the 2000s: using the classic technique of using dummies to say things that he couldn’t get away with saying as himself.
Abstract: The Art of Design: Season 2
A look at the multi-disciplinary nature of design, which takes in the “art, science and philosophy” that informs the work of the great designers featured in the film.
A look at birds on near border walls, where they can freely move back and forth, but the people on opposite sides can’t.
Glitch: Season 3
The all-new season of the Australian overarching-mystery drama about seven people who mysteriously come back from the dead.
Lethal Weapon: Season 3
Read that carefully: this is not Lethal Weapon 3, it’s the third and final season of the TV series based on Lethal Weapon.
This is Us: Season 3
More episodes of the breakout NBC hit that managed to combine Parenthood-style family drama with Lost-style time hopping.
Explained: Season 2
The second season of the documentary series from Vox, which uses the website’s format of providing “explainers” on a wide range of topics, each narrated by a different celebrity.
Grey’s Anatomy: Season 15
This is the season during which the story of Meredith Grey surpassed ER as the longest-running prime-time medical drama (but no one can surpass General Hospital).
Bard of Blood
In this eight-episode spy drama, an adaptation of the novel by Bilal Siddiqui, Emraan Hashmi plays a former intelligence agent who is starting a new life as a Shakespeare professor when he is called out of retirement for one last, very personal, mission.
Dragons: Rescue Riders
A computer-animated show aimed at pre-school children, a spinoff of the “How to Train Your Dragon” films, about two children named Dak and Leyla who can talk to dragons
The Good Place: Season 3
The next-to-last season of the afterlife comedy that tries to make philosophy hilarious.
In the Shadow of the Moon
A serial killer mysteriously strikes every nine years, and a cop (Boyd Holbrook) becomes obsessed with finding the killer and explaining how he keeps re-emerging.
The first show to emerge from Netflix’s five-year deal with TV super-producer Ryan Murphy. The comedy series, whose premise sounds like a gender-flipped Election, is about Payton (Ben Platt), a wealthy teenager who sees a high school Student Body President election as the first step in his plan to eventually run the entire country.
A German series where a young hip-hop producer goes to work for a major record company in Frankfurt, only to discover that the music industry is more connected to organized crime than he was led to believe.
Sturgill Simpson Presents Sound & Fury
An animated visual companion to the country music star’s new album of the same name, which will be released on the same day.
Vis a Vis: Season 4
A Spanish drama series (non-literally translated as “Locked Up”) about a women’s prison. In this season, the prison gets a new boss, and a former jailer comes back as a prisoner.
A 2016 film starring Emma Roberts as a teenager who gets into an online game truth-or-dare game where the dares can be murder.
Tiny House Nation: Volume 2
A second batch of episodes from the 2010s cable series where two renovation experts travel around the U.S. proselytizing for the Tiny House Movement and helping people build and live in small, often portable homes.
Leaving Netflix Canada on Sept. 29
Another Nicholas Sparks romance, starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried. It’s not to be confused with the British sitcom about a man whose wife has left him, or the American remake about a man whose wife has also left him.
What’s coming to Netflix Canada on Sept. 30
Mo Gilligan: Momentum
Netflix’s last comedy special of the month stars the young English comedian (the first Black British comedian to get a Netflix special) talking about topics like family life and dancing.
Overstressed suburban moms rebel against the all-powerful PTA of their kids’ school.
Chip and Potato: Season 1
Canadian animated series about a talking dog named Chip and his friend Potato, a talking mouse.
Rush Hour 3
The last (to date) of the popular buddy-cop movies starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Robert Rodriguez’s sequel to his film of Frank Miller’s neo-noir comic books.
A film version of the Australian children’s book about a boy who adopts three pelicans.
What Men Want
A remake of What Women Want, only instead of Mel Gibson being able to hear the thoughts of women, Taraji P. Henson can hear the thoughts of men.
Computer-animated feature film about a girl whose fantasy of a talking-animal amusement park comes to life.
Leaving Netflix Canada on Sept. 30
Midsomer Murders: Seasons 1-19
This entire British murder-mystery series is leaving Netflix, and it’s been on since 1997, so you have a lot of catching up to do.