Disney’s decision to pull their movies from Netflix is just the latest move in a continuing trend of legacy media companies shifting their content to home-grown streaming services, in response to dwindling cable and satellite subscribers. Given that Netflix’s core business is delivering movies to consumers, this would seem like devastating news, right? Turns out, Netflix hardly blinked!
Perhaps anticipating Disney’s actions, Netflix has made a series of their own announcements regarding original content. In the past couple weeks Netflix signed a deal with TV icon David Letterman, purchased comics/film auteur Mark Millar’s Millarworld company, and released new trailers for several of their key productions, like Bright, The Defenders, and Stranger Things 2. Netflix, like HBO, Starz, and Showtime, has long-realized that the future of their business is tied to unique and original concepts, rather than relying upon increasingly expensive, short-term licensing deals for existing movies and TV shows.
Yesterday, Netflix doubled-down and scored potentially the biggest news of the week by signing the legendary Coen Brothers (Fargo, True Grit) to create an anthology series set in the Old West. According to the press release, Joel and Ethan will write and direct The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which will feature six tales about the American frontier, starring Coen alum, Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Incredible Hulk) and other unannounced actors. The Coens will also be the series’ showrunners, in partnership with Annapurna Television productions.
It’s unclear whether this is just an experiment for the Coens or the beginning of a longer-term relationship. However, for fans of the Western genre, it’s absolutely amazing news. Much like Quentin Tarantino, the Coens love to explore different topics and genres; their work does not fit neatly into any single category. However, many of their projects borrow from Westerns (or are Westerns in disguise). In particular, their adaptation of Charles Portis’ True Grit novel, starring Jeff Bridges, is one of the most stylish, edgy, funny, and satisfying Westerns ever made. Given the creative freedom offered by Netflix, this should be one of next year’s biggest TV events.
The Coens released a terse statement, expressing their excitement and optimisn in a manner that’s, well, Coen-ish:
“We are streaming motherf—ers!”
Well, there’s really nothing more that I can add, they nailed it.
How do you feel about the Coen Brothers partnering with Netflix to create a Western anthology series? Let us know in the comments down below!
The Balland of Buster Scruggs hits Netflix in 2018 (TBD).
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