The 7 Best New Shows on Netflix in July 2024

Seven years ago, when Reed Hastings was still the CEO of Netflix, he made a rather cold comment on an earnings call that soon became an infamous anecdote of company lore.

“You know, think about it,” Hastings said. “When you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. We’re competing with sleep, on the margin.”

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At the time, Hastings was trying to make the point that Netflix wasn’t worried about what supposed competitors were doing. HBO, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix could all be successful because there was so much demand for streaming originals. Sure, subscribers may choose to watch a program on HBO when they get home from work on a Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean that’s all they’ll watch. There’s not only Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and the entire weekend left for Netflix shows, but there’s also Tuesday night, after the HBO show is over. Maybe the viewer should shut down their screens and read a book instead but come on. Who’s going to do that? People have TVs in their bedrooms! They have phones they can prop up next to their pillows! They can watch Netflix as they fall asleep and then flip it back on the second they wake up!

Sleep is the enemy, not other networks.

Of course, Hastings caught a bit of flack for the remark. Arguing that your product is so addictive it could — and should! — rob its customers of a good night’s sleep isn’t exactly good and decent behavior. People need to sleep. It keeps them healthy. People don’t need Netflix and, in this framing, it actively makes them unhealthy. (And that’s without considering the quality of whatever shows and movies they’re staying awake to finish.) But what’s really being talked about here isn’t sleep. It’s time. Netflix wanted then – and, I would argue, still wants now – to control your time. It wants you to sit there and watch whatever the almighty algorithm shoves in front of your face, and it wants you to do so for every waking hour you’re alive (or for every waking hour you can spare, so long as you’re still working enough to cover the cost of your monthly subscription).

If you’re a programming executive, that means you need to be thinking about how your service can continue gaining control of people’s time, which means considering what else controls people’s time. Sleep? Sure, so let’s make some shows about sleep. Eating? Yup, that’s a basic human necessity, we’ll have lots of shows about food. But on a more practical level, there are popular pieces of entertainment that people watch every year, no matter what, and they’re not controlled by Netflix. But even if those programs distract viewers from watching Netflix for a few hours, there’s still a way for Netflix to reclaim some of that control by creating its own original programming directly or indirectly linked to these popular programs.

Which brings us to July 2024. What are the big things happening this July that Netflix may want to consider when planning its slate? First and foremost, of course, is the Olympics. Now, Netflix doesn’t have distribution rights for the 2024 Olympic Games – those will be streaming on Peacock – but it does have a documentary series on the biggest star of the 2024 Olympic Games, Simone Biles. Part 1 of “Simone Biles Rising” will premiere on Netflix nine days before the Opening Ceremonies, and while Part 2’s release date hasn’t been set yet, it sure would make sense to drop the last two episodes close to Biles’ gymnastics’ finals in early August, right when everyone’s interest in the once-in-a-lifetime talent is peaking.

Netflix actually made three docuseries in conjunction with the International Olympics Committee: “Simone Biles Rising,” an untitled series about Olympic basketball, and “Sprint,” a six-episode series about track-and-field stars, which premieres July 2! Netflix going all in on the Olympics isn’t surprising, or even a shift in strategy, but one of their bigger reforms is highlighted in another piece of July programming: “Receiver” is the sequel to “Quarterback,” the eight-episode documentary series following NFL quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Kirk Cousins that premiered last year. “Receiver,” obviously, will follow wide receivers instead, but what makes the franchise so much more interesting is that Netflix is now in bed with the NFL for live games. The streamer made a massive deal for rights to the Christmas Day NFL games, which makes “Quarterback” and “Receiver” more than just a way for Netflix to glob on to that giant NFL audience, but a de facto advertisement for future Netflix coverage of the NFL.

What’s it all mean for subscribers this July? Not much. There’s still big-ticket acquisitions like “Lost,” I.P. adaptations like the “Exploding Kittens” animated series, and original comedies like “The Decameron” (new series alert) and “Cobra Kai” (final season alert). But in case you forget about these less-than-blockbuster offerings, Netflix is making sure you won’t forget about Netflix, thanks to its tie-ins with the Olympics and the NFL. Time, it seems, is very much on the side of streaming.

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