The Four Types of Netflix Originals

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Since the very first release of the Netflix Original House of Cards, Netflix has continued to expand its library exponentially. Now almost 6 years later, Netflix is expected to hit the 1000 mark for original content in their US library within the next few months. But has Netflix ever defined what they mean by “Original” content? Here’s our guide to what to expect when you see the term “Netflix Original.”

Netflix Originals have always had a mixed reception from audiences from around the world. While some content has been turned into memes due to their poor quality, on the opposite end of the spectrum you have highly critically acclaimed shows such as The Crown and Stranger Things. There is a massive disparity between the most critically acclaimed shows and the worst shows under the “Original” banner.

John Lithgow as Winston Churchill in ‘The Crown.’ The show has won multiple awards including a Golden Globe for Best Television Series. (Image: Robert Viglasky/Netflix)

What is a Netflix Original?

A “Netflix Original” is defined by the status Netflix gives to the show. This may be defined by the following:

  • Netflix commissioned and produced the show
  • Netflix has exclusive international streaming rights to the show
  • Netflix has co-produced the show with another Network
  • It is a continuation of a previously canceled show

In most cases, a show is defined as a “Netflix Original” if you can only watch it on Netflix in your respective country.

What is a true Netflix Original?

A true “Netflix Original” is any show that was commissioned and produced by Netflix. By this, we mean the show or film has not been made to appear on any network other than Netflix. (Some films have debuted at festivals and purchased prior to Netflix release.) Examples of this are the following:

TitleOriginal Release DateFilm/TV ShowIMDB Rating
House of Cards02 January 2013TV Show8.9
Orange is the New Black11 July 2013TV Show8.1
The Fundamentals of Caring24 June 2016Film7.3
Stranger Things15 July 2016TV Show8.9
The Crown04 November 2016TV Show8.7
Ozark21 July 2017TV Show8.4
Gerald’s Game29 September 2017Film6.6
The Babysitter13 October 2017Film6.3
Apostle12 October 2018Film6.4

As seen in the table above some of the most popular titles in Netflix history are true Netflix Originals. All of the above will be streamed internationally to every territory where Netflix is available.

Internationally Exclusive Originals

An “internationally exclusive Original” is defined by whether or not the particular show or film is available outside of Netflix. Additionally, Netflix would have not been the network that commisioned the show. The best examples are the following:

TitleNetworkOriginal RegionNetflix Exclusive Region
The Good PlaceNBCUnited StatesAustralia, Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom etc.
BodyguardBBC OneUnited KingdomAll other regions except Ireland
Peaky BlindersBBC OneUnited KingdomUnited States, Italy, Portugal, and the Czech Republic
Black LightningThe CWUnited StatesAll other regions

Films that Netflix has exclusive rights to are presented as “Netflix Original Films” instead of an “Original.” The best examples are the following:

TitleGenreNetflix Exclusive Region
David Brent: Life on the RoadComedyWorldwide except for United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand
The ForeignerAction/ThrillerUnited Kingdom
The Hitman’s BodyguardAction/ComedyJapan
Operation FinaleDramaWorldwide except for the U.S.A


Co-Produced Netflix Originals

A “co-produced Netflix Original” is when Netflix partners with a network in a particular country to exclusively distribute to other regions outside of the parent country. The best examples of this are the following:

TitlePartner/CountryNetflix Exclusive Region
FrontierDiscovery/CanadaAll other markets
Troy: Fall of a CityBBC One/United KingdomAll other markets except Ireland
Mob PsychoTV Tokyo/JapanWorldwide


Continuation Netflix Originals

A “continuation Netflix Original” is when Netflix picks up a series that a network has previously canceled, thus picking up the production and distribution of the show. The best examples of these are the following:

TitlePrevious NetworkCanceled at Season?What seasons did Netflix produce?Netflix Exclusive Region
Arrested DevelopmentFOX34 & 5Unites States, Canada, Latin America, Western Europe
Star Wars: The Clone WarsCartoon Network56Worldwide
Black MirrorChannel 423 & 4Worldwide
LuciferFOX34 (2019 Release)Worldwide
Designated Survivor (2019)ABC23 (2019 Release)Worldwide
Slasher (2018)Super Channel23 (2018 Release)Worldwide
The KillingAMC34Australia and New Zealand

Has this helped you understand how Netflix defines their content? Let us know in the comments below!