TV research firm Ampere Analysis has determined that Netflix’s #1 genre is science fiction and fantasy, at least as far as the first quarter of 2018 is concerned. Fueled by smash series like ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Black Mirror’, ‘Altered Carbon’ and the just-released (and heavily hyped) ‘Lost In Space’ and original movies like ‘The Titan’, ‘Mute’, ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ and ‘Annihilation’*, the sci-fi genre has pulled ahead of Netflix’s former ruling category, comedy. (I guess my non-stop binging of ‘Parks & Recreation’ didn’t make enough of an impact.) (*’Annihilation’ was released in theaters in the U.S. and China, but went straight-to-Netflix everywhere else.)
Those are just the original sci-fi titles. Fantasy entries include the heavily streamed, but controversial ‘Bright’ from director David Ayer last fall, which set records for views. And Netflix offers a slew of programming that isn’t exclusive to the service, including shows from The CW (‘The 100’, all the DC superhero shows), Syfy (‘The Magicians’) as well as gems from the vault– everything from ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Men in Black’ to the ‘Sharknado’ franchise and ‘Space Buddies’. That doesn’t even include animated series like ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ and a vast assortment of anime. Also, technically, the Marvel-based original shows, ‘Daredevil’, ‘Jessica Jones’, ‘Luke Cage’, ‘Iron Fist’, ‘The Defenders’ and ‘The Punisher’ all sort of fit, even if they aren’t as outlandish as other similar titles.
In the past decade or so, hard sci-fi hasn’t been the draw that it once was, giving ground to more comic book-based entertainment. But gradually, films like ‘The Martian’, ‘Gravity’, ‘Arrival’ and most recently the Academy Award winner for Best Picture, ‘The Shape of Water’ have raised the genre above B-movie level, with the films’ creators exploring the genre while still striving for excellence. (The same can be said about sci-fi’s sibling category horror.)
According to Ampere, in the coming years, sci-fi and fantasy will account for 29% of Netflix’s original programming–more than any other genre.
‘Black Mirror’ originated on the BBC but is now Netflix exclusive with more on the way. ‘Stranger Things’ is expected to last for four or five seasons. And the creators of ‘Lost In Space’ are already mapping out a second season.
Are you enjoying the variety of sci-fi and fantasy programming that Netflix is delivering?