“The way that we’re consuming what we watch. Netflix, binge-watching, destination agnostic were not terms. It was about networks, times, dates. Even with feature films, you had to see it this way, in this capacity, at this time. All that has changed. Now it’s really about the story. It’s a gift that I became a storyteller at this time.”—Ava DuVernay.
Netflix changed the way we consume and even talk the word “television.” For one, is it still “television” the show is barely watched on the TV at all? But rather on a laptop or even on a phone? A dozen years ago, we couldn’t imagine that web series would be drawing eyeballs in numbers that cable broadcasters can only dream about.
We’re buffering all the freakiest facts about the world’s favorite Netflix original programming. What’s the cardinal rule of BoJack Horseman? What dream cameo did Marvel’s Luke Cage fail to snag in time? Stream these 43 chill facts about Netflix Original Shows.
43. We’re Just Not That Into You
Before Mindhunter came to Netflix in 2017, producers Charlize Theron and David Fincher had been trying to sell the show since 2009. In 2013, Fincher went to HBO again, but the cable network told him they weren’t interested in another “two white guys in suits” shows about serial killers. For the record, HBO released True Detective the very next year—although I guess Matthew McConaughey wasn’t wearing a suit for the whole series.
42. Don’t Even Ask…
in BoJack Horseman, none of the characters—human or animal—are allowed to have pets. I get it; some of the show’s romantic pairings could get weird really fast. And yet, it’s established the characters eat meat…
41. Fast and Furious
Christian Navarro had to get his drivers’ license to play Tony Padilla in 13 Reasons Why. Apparently, being able to drive a red Ford Mustang is an important part of his character’s story.
40. Accept No Replacements
Every actress on the wrestling-themed GLOW does her own stunts.
After playing Pablo Escobar on Narcos¸ actor Wagner Moura says he won’t make the same sacrifices for a part again. To embody his character, he gained 18kg, which put a regretful toll upon his health. He also taught himself Spanish, even taking a university course in Columbia to become more fluent-sounding. Which part was harder?
38. The Cameo Spot Formally Known as…
The first season of Luke Cage hoped to have a cameo from Prince in the finale. Pop’s “swear jar” was a shout-out in the singer’s honor. Unfortunately, Prince passed away during the season’s production, so this guest appearance never came to fruition. Having some extra change around is nice, though.
37. Perfection Takes Patience
It’s not easy being Count Olaf. It takes anywhere from 75 to 90 minutes in hair and make-up to get Neil Patrick Harris ready to play the antagonist on A Series of Unfortunate Events. Knowing that, how long does it take Olaf to get into those disguises?
36. From the Classroom to the Bunker
How’s kidnapping for a high school reunion? Before Jon Hamm played the child-abducting Reverend Wayne in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt¸ the former Mad Men star worked as a high school drama teacher. One of his students? Ellie Kemper, who plays the titular Kimmy.
35. Cut It Out
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was originally made for broadcast on NBC. As a result, the show had to massively re-edit itself; it had been written and shot to accommodate for those pesky commercial breaks. On the plus side, each episode could be much longer now that it was on streaming.
34. Continuing Education
Jane Fonda had never done episodic television until Grace and Frankie. She hired an acting coach to prep her for the long-term role, even though Fonda has been in the acting game for literal decades. Just proving that you’re never too experienced to learn something new!
33. Too Famous to Fit
I guess there’s such a thing as over-qualified. Alison Brie almost didn’t get the lead role on GLOW because she was too recognizable. The creators wanted to go with an unknown actress.
32. The Friend Wrangler
Can you have too much chemistry? The Fab Five from Queer Eye get along so well, there’s a professional “wrangler” on set to ensure they don’t get too wrapped up in having fun with each other. Tan France confirms “An actual child wrangler who makes sure we sit and behave between scenes.”
31. Say What?
The Godless miniseries has been criticized for its portrayal of Norwegians. Apparently, for those who can tell, the Norwegian characters are speaking very broken Norwegian. Lack of prep time for American actors is most likely to blame.
30. Super Swole
Krysten Ritter had to beef up for her role in Jessica Jones. The actress gained 10 pounds in pure muscle to embody the super-strong heroine.
29. Bad Timing
The 2017 press tour for The Punisher coincided with the tragic Las Vegas shooting. To avoid controversy, Netflix and Marvel pulled the show from its New York Comic Con panel.
28. The Half-Pint Hairpiece
In season one of A Series of Unfortunate Events, they went through 15 to 20 “baby toupees” for Sunny Baudelaire, played by Presley Smith.
27. Defend This
Despite the huge build-up, The Defenders is the lowest-performing series out of any of the MCU Netflix shows.
26. The Bad Guys Dread Our Threads
In Iron Fist, Danny Rand’s outfit is notably different from that of his comic counterpart. Stephanie Maslansky, the costume designer, modeled it after “real Shaolin warrior monk costumes.” Maslansky “took that distinctive silhouette from the Shaolin warrior monk clothing” and then “combined it with the traditional colors of the Iron Fist, green and gold.”
25. Bad Side of the Neighborhood
Piper from Orange is the New Black could have looked a lot different. Laura Prepon, who plays Alex Vause, auditioned to play the lead role. The producers passed because she didn’t look “girl next door” enough. Anyone want to tell them that Prepon built her fame on playing a literal girl next door in That ‘70s Show?
24. The Best of Both Worlds
In the production stage, the creators of Stranger Things were told to choose between (1) not having kids as the leads and just focusing on Hopper’s investigation or (2) making their sci-fi show more kid-friendly. Thank goodness they didn’t listen.
23. In the Game of Thrones, You Win or You Don’t Get the Part
In a galaxy not that far away, Felicity Jones was of the hopeful actress who auditioned to play Elizabeth II in The Crown. Obviously, another blue-eyed brunette got the part (Claire Foy) and Jones went on to rule in Rogue One.
22. Behind the Camera
Selena Gomez is an executive producer of 13 Reasons Why. She was also ready to star in the production back when the book was set to be a movie—not a TV show.
21. Today, Everybody Lives
Fans of Grace and Frankie can take a breath: the showrunners promise that neither Grace nor Frankie will be “killed off.” None of the main characters will. To quote them, “It would be so mean to kill one of them off just for the sake of killing one of them off.” So what I’m hearing is the death has to be “worth” it…
20. Throwback Thursday
Fuller House is the fairly harmless follow-up to the 1990s sitcom, Full House. However, the original non-Netflix Full House already had an episode called “Fuller House.” It was about newlywed Uncle Jesse’s struggles to finally leave the eponymous home—of course, he stays. When are we getting Fullest House?
19. More is More
Before it was even fully developed, House of Cards was the baby in the middle of a furious bidding war between HBO and AMC. In the end, Netflix got the rights by agreeing right off the bat to produce not one but two seasons. This was before David Fincher had even finished one episode. While the other networks were very passionate about the project, it wasn’t passionate enough to invest in 13 episodes. Naturally, in Fincher’s words, he indulged in “infinite hubris” and went for the world of streaming.
18. House of Gold Statues
House of Cards set a precedent for streaming shows everywhere by becoming the first web series to win an Emmy. In 2013, the show won three Emmys for Outstanding Directing (to David Fincher), Outstanding Cinematography (to Eigil Bryld), and Outstanding Casting (to casting directors Laray Mayfield and Julie Schubert).
17. Sister Cities
To achieve maximum authenticity, Sense8 was shot on-location in the real cities where scenes take place in the story. As a result of this sprawling production, directors were assigned not by episode, but by city. All Seoul scenes were be shot by one director, Chicago scenes by another, etc., which grants each location a distinct and consistent “feel.”
16. I Would Walk 100K Miles
In total, the cast and crew of Sense8 put in more than 100,000 miles of travel to complete the sci-fi series. To give a sense of what that means, you would need to circle the globe four times to match their travel points (or just take 18 trips from Seattle to Miami, no biggie).
15. Almost Live
Musical numbers in The Get Down were recorded in advance, but actors still sang over the track. To quote Herizen Guardiola, “[In] order for it to look real, I do sing over my voice that is already recorded. Half of the time when I’m done shooting a singing scene, my voice is shot, and I can barely speak.”
14. You Better Work
Legendary fashion brands opened up their 1970s archives for the costume designers of The Get Down. Some of the designers who provided photos and sketches for the show include Diane von Furstenberg, Halston, and Gucci.
13. Carnies in Space
Will in Lost in Space can face anything: the actor who portrays him, Maxwell Jenkins, literally grew up in a circus and has been on the stage since he was a toddler.
12. The People Have Spoken (With Their Wallets)
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return was famously crowdfunded by showrunner Joel Hodgson. Originally, the Kickstarter aimed to get only $2 million for three episodes. Fans met this goal within a single week. The campaign went on to produce a full fourteen-episode season from $5.7 million in donations—it quickly shattered the crowdfunding records set by the Kickstarter for Veronica Mars. Ironically, Hodgson had hired the same publicity people for his campaign.
11. Meat Cute
In Santa Clarita Diet, Drew Barrymore’s character isn’t really munching on human flesh—it’s just a friendly mix of gummy bears, pasta, cake, dehydrated apples, and good old-fashioned beet paste. Note that nothing on that list is meat-based; Barrymore is a vegetarian.
10. A Diet of Realism
Coincidentally, Drew Barrymore was on a diet when she first began filming Santa Clarita Diet. This worked out for her portrayal of a new flesh-eater on an all-protein diet—Barrymore lost 30 lbs. at the time and looked perfectly hungry.
9. You Look Familiar
The 2014 movie Dear White People starred Tessa Thompson as the lead character Samantha White. In the 2017 Netflix series of the same name, her character is played by Logan Browning. However, Thompsons did return to play the character of Rikki Carter in season 2. Who’s who?
8. The Mother of All Roles
In Master of None, star and showrunner Aziz Ansari cast his own real-life parents to play his character’s parents. Originally, they sought professional actors, but just couldn’t find the right fit. Naturally, Ansari looked to the people who’ve been living this role literally all his life.
7. Too Real
In addition to having his parents play his character’s parents, Ansari borrowed their backstory for the character. His parents really did just know each other for one week before they immigrated to the United States. Ansari’s real-life father was also a doctor and his real-life mother really did spend her first night in America sitting on the couch and crying.
6. One Out of Five Ain’t Bad
The four-letter F-word counts for 4 of the first 5 words ever uttered in Master of None.
5. Don’t Judge a TV Show By Its Name, Except for This One
Before Lovesick made the move to Netflix Original Series, it aired on Channel 4 under the name of Scrotal Recall. Not saying the name change required explanation, but it was done so viewers would no longer be “mis-sold” on the British series.
4. Not Seeing Eye-to-Eye
We hope we aren’t shattering anyone’s illusions by pointing out the star of Daredevil isn’t blind in real life. Charlie Cox’s commitment to the Marvel role might have actually cost him the chance to play Han Solo in the Star Wars prequel. Cox had gotten so in the zone of not making eye contact to portray Matt Murdock, that the actor struggled to turn off that straight gaze during his audition. To quote Cox, “I never got invited back, probably because they couldn’t figure out why I was acting like a complete idiot.”
3. Scratch That
Carol Danvers (AKA Captain Marvel) was supposed to appear in Marvel’s Jessica Jones. However, things changed when the show made a pre-development shift from ABC to Netflix; Marvel chose to “shift” the character to her own movie, so Danvers was dumped from the show canon. Instead, the creators drew another comics character to be Jessica’s best friend: none other than Trish Walker, AKA Hellcat.
2. Say or Pay
Actors beware: if a celebrity turns down the chance to voice their character on BoJack Horseman, the depiction goes forth anyways—and tends to be a lot meaner. Andrew Garfield turned down the chance to voice himself, so his cartoon persona ended up falling down a hole in the floor and breaking almost every bone in his body. To quote showrunner Raphael Bob-Waksberg, “If Andrew Garfield would have just said yes, it might not have been so cruel.”
1. The Future of the Crains
What’s scarier, the ghosts of Hill House, or spoilers? Either way, proceed with caution.
The Haunting of Hill House was an instant hit for Netflix, and one that had fans buzzing about blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ghosts and the mysteries of Hill House. After a fairly satisfying ending (for some), people immediately began clamoring for news about a possible season 2 of the series. Executive producer Mike Flanagan has revealed that if there is a season 2, it won’t feature the beleaguered Crain family. In his words, they’ve “been through enough” at this point. Considering that the ending of the first season left more than a couple of them trapped in the house for eternity, wouldn’t they have to show up at some point?