Shonda Rhimes reveals her slate of Netflix shows


Shonda Rhimes officially reveals the eight series she’s working on for Netflix.

When Rhimes announced she would be leaving ABC to create for Netflix, the entire entertainment industry was shocked. Now that the dust has settled, she’s ready to discuss exactly what she’s working on. Recently, Shonda Rhimes unveiled the eight different shows currently in development with the streaming service. While many of them are still untitled, they all have short synopses prepared for each series.

"Untitled Shonda Rhimes Project — Based on the New York Magazine article How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People by Jessica Pressler. Manhattan makes a new friend like no other. But is she the stuff American dreams are made of or is she New York’s biggest con woman? Is it a con if you enjoy being taken? Shonda Rhimes (EP) will create the series."

This project was announced a while back after Shonda Rhimes got the rights to the New York Magazine article “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People”. The show sounds a bit by another Shonda produced show, The Catch, which wasn’t half bad. With her move to Netflix, it seems possible that this series could be a dark psychological analysis of an intriguing woman.

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"Untitled Bridgerton Project — Based on Julia Quinn’s best-selling series of novels, this smart feminist take on Regency England romance unveils the glittering, wealthy, sexual, painful, funny and sometimes lonely lives of the women and men in London’s high society marriage mart as told through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family. Scandal veteran Chris Van Dusen (EP) will adapt and showrun the series."

A feminist historical romance? This series already sounds like the dream project for Rhimes. Julia Quinn is an awarding winning romance novelist so she’ll have a built-in fan base hoping to see this adaptation. With Chris Van Dusen on board to be a showrunner, then fans can expect this series to have a lot of drama involved. There will definitely be some kind of epic love triangle which will divide fans throughout the entirety of the show’s run.

"The Warmth of Other Suns — Based on Pulitzer-Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson’s award-winning book of the same name, this powerful groundbreaking series tracks the decades-long migration of African-Americans fleeing the Jim Crow South in search of a better life in the North and the West between 1916 and 1970. Playwright Anna Deavere Smith (EP) is set to adapt."

Out of all the shows currently in development, this seems like the most likely to get noticed during awards season. While there will probably be plenty of naysayers who will dislike this show for all the wrong reasons, I think it’s important to reflect on history. There’s no reason why a show can’t be entertaining and also educational. This has the potential to fill the hole that Underground and Roots left behind when they were canceled too early.

"Pico & Sepulveda — Set in the 1840s against the surreal and sensual backdrop of the then-Mexican state of California, the series tracks the end of an idyllic era there as American forces threaten brutality and war at the border to claim this breathtaking land for its own. Emmy-award writer Janet Leahy (EP) will create the series."

Another period piece? It seems like Netflix is giving Shonda Rhimes the opportunity to explore different eras compared to ABC. A large part of that is probably because the budget is higher and it doesn’t need to draw in the typical Nielsen ratings. Nevertheless, Janet Leahy was a writer in one of the best seasons of Mad Men so it’s hard to doubt her capabilities here.

"Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change– Netflix and Shondaland have acquired the rights to Ellen Pao’s groundbreaking memoir detailing her life and career, including the lawsuit she brought against her former employer that sparked intense media scrutiny, shook Silicon Valley to its boys’ club core and pre-saged the Time’s Up movement."

This is bound to be one of Netflix’s most controversial series, but that hasn’t deterred the streaming service in the past. Pao’s lawsuit is almost universally known as one of the most influential gender discrimination cases. However, nowadays it brings up an even bigger controversy because Hao is of Asian descent, and her case inspired a few other Asian women to step forward with similar stories.

"The Residence — Netflix and Shondaland have acquired the rights to Kate Andersen Brower’s brilliant nonfiction book The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, which offers a vividly accurate insider’s account of White House residence staffers and the upstairs downstairs lives they share with the First Families at one of the most famous homes in history."

Are you already missing Scandal? Luckily, The Residence seems like the perfect fit for fans of the beloved political drama. However, this time it looks like the time in Washington will be seen through the people working for the First Families. It seems all but confirmed that plenty of drama is happening behind the scenes with America’s most famous family.

"Sunshine Scouts — In this darkly comedic half-hour series, an apocalyptic disaster spares a rag-tag group of teenage girls at sleepaway camp who must then summon their moxie and survival skills to weather the fallout and ensure all that remains of humanity abides by the Sunshine Scout Law. Writer/actress Jill Alexander (Co-EP) will create the series."

This seems like the largest departure from any project Shonda Rhimes has undertaken. She tends to deal with dramas compared to comedies, but the show does have promise. From the synopsis, it sounds like Sunshine Scouts could become similar to Lord of the Flies but with young girls. Considering the show is described as “darkly” it’s possible that not all of the teenagers make it out alive. Not to mention, a sleepaway camp has been the setting for countless horror and survival stories.

"Hot Chocolate Nutcracker — This documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy’s award-winning reimagining of the classic ballet, The Nutcracker. This staged contemporization – with its inclusive cast of all ages and its blend of dance traditions – has further cemented Debbie Allen’s legacy as one of the greatest forces for good in dance. Oliver Bokelberg (DP/Director Scandal) will serve as director, cinematographer and producer."

The final series under development by Shonda Rhimes isn’t exactly a television show but instead a documentary. As an avid fan of classical ballet and the rigorous schedule involved with maintaining one’s ability, this already sounds like a winner. Undoubtedly, viewers can probably expect this movie to drop sometime around the holidays. It would make sense considering The Nutcracker is often playing during the holidays as a tradition.

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It’s probably safe to assume the shows with working titles are closer to being released than the untitled series. Nevertheless, Netflix confirmed that all titles are subject to change before their official release.

Many of these series have a lot of potential to be big winners for Netflix. Shonda Rhimes has a built-in fanbase despite her abrupt departure from ABC. There will be plenty of her fans tuning in to at least see what she has to offer. Now that she’s on Netflix, she also has the opportunity to focus less on soapy drama and some hard-hitting work. There’s nothing wrong with some of her more dramatic shows, but by the end of her tenure with ABC, it seemed like she was itching to branch out.

Source: Deadline