Michelle and Barack Obama

Despite occasional criticisms from cable cutters and industry insiders alike, Netflix some manages to always stay on top. Netflix was one of the first big names in streaming video (remember when they mailed DVDs to your house?), giving it the advantage of being able to innovate without having to play catch up. Say what you want to about the streaming king, but there can be no denying one thing: Netflix knows how to draw top talent and big names. Case in point: Netflix has just announced its first lineup of original shows produced by Higher Ground, the media company launched by Michelle and Barack Obama.

In a press release issued this week, Netflix announced the first round of Higher Ground titles. The productions span a wide range of fiction and non-fiction formats including scripted and unscripted series, documentaries, and full-length feature films, all of which tell stories of both heroic and everyday Americans who are often left out of history books. “We created Higher Ground to harness the power of storytelling. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited about these projects,” President Obama said in the press release.

Some of the upcoming Netflix and Higher Ground productions include:

  • American Factory: a documentary exploring the economic culture clash that happens in a depressed Ohio town after a Chinese billionaire opens a factory in an abandoned GM plant
  • Bloom: a Downton Abbey-style “upstairs/downstairs” drama exploring the lives of women and people of color in post-WWII New York City
  • Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents: a humorous preschool series exploring the role food plays in the lives of young people worldwide
  • Crip Camp: a feature-length documentary which examines the disability rights movement
  • Fifth Risk: a documentary series portraying the importance of often uncredited work done by everyday heroes in our government and armed forces
  • Overlooked: a scripted anthology series examining the stories of remarkable people overlooked by history
  • Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom: a film highlighting the incredible life of abolitionist Frederick Douglass

“President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and the Higher Ground team are building a company focused on storytelling that exemplifies their core values,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. “The breadth of their initial slate across series, film, documentary and family programming shows their commitment to diverse creators and unique voices that will resonate with our members around the world.”

Netflix does not yet have concrete release dates for these projects but says all of these Higher Ground productions will be released “over the next several years.”

Brett Tingley

Author Brett Tingley

Brett lives at the foot of the ancient Appalachian mountains in Asheville, North Carolina and writes about technology, science, and culture. Disclosure: Streaming Observer is supported by readers. Articles may contain referral links. For more information, see the disclosure at the bottom of the page.

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