Last week, Shonda Rhimes announced that she’s officially moving her production company, Shondaland, from ABC to Netflix. While her already-established shows (like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) will stay on ABC, all of her new original content will be developed specifically for Netflix. It’s a huge move, proving once again that streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu are powerhouse content creators who more than rival the established networks.
We’re excited about this news for two reasons. One, it means that Rhimes’s juicy brand of storytelling will now have a home on a more progressive platform (we’re expecting lots of, well, scandalous scenes). And two, in addition to being one of our favorite show producers, Rhimes is also one of our favorite authors. Her 2015 memoir, Year of Yes, was honest and inspirational, encouraging thousands of readers to embrace change and the power of acceptance.
Rhimes isn’t the only author who’s producing for Netflix these days. There are a handful of others who are both creating shows and penning books, proving that multitasking is most definitely possible. Here are our favorite Netflix creators/authors, and the shows and books they made us fall in love with:
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Tina Fey
When it was first released, we were a little skeptical about the bizarre comedy that focused on a young woman who spent most of her adolescence kidnapped in a bunker. But we should have trusted more, because Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is one of the funniest shows on TV. It makes sense, as it’s co-created by Tina Fey, one of our favorite comedians and showrunners (please, can we bring back 30 Rock??). In addition to being an actress and a producer, Fey is also an author – she wrote the 2011 memoir, Bossy Pants. The book dives deep into Fey’s life beyond the screen, including her childhood, marriage, motherhood, and her path to success. It’s both touching and hilarious. If you love to laugh, then you can’t go wrong with either Bossy Pants OR Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Bonus: the Netflix show was renewed for a fourth season, which should air sometime next year.
Master of None: Aziz Ansari
There seems to be a theme in much of Ansari’s work: navigating life as a young, single, modern man. His show, Master of None (which he co-created with Alan Yang) explores these themes, delivering thoughtful, funny, and smart takes on race, dating, gender roles and so much more. The second season came out in May, and we’re still talking about some of the episodes – like “First Date,” where Ansari’s character, Dev, goes on multiple Tinder dates that start to blend together. Ansari’s 2015 book, Modern Romance, gives us an even more in-depth take on what it means to date in our modern world. Combining research and anecdotal evidence, Ansari and collaborator Eric Klinenberg break down romance, from attraction to dating to love. The result is a laugh-out-loud book that’s as unique as it is informative. It might be a while before we can get our hands on Season 3 of Master of None, but you can bet that we will be glued to our couches as soon as it airs.
Love: Judd Apatow
Writer, director and producer Apatow has become a household name at this point, with hits like The 40-Year-Old-Virgin and Knocked Up under his belt. He’s also behind a lot of TV shows that we all know and love, like Freaks and Geeks, Girls, and the Netflix show Love, about an opposites-attract love story set in LA. But that’s not all – Apatow is also an author. He’s written two books, and his most recent, Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy came out in 2015. The nonfiction book is a collection of interviews that Apatow did on a radio show with his comedy idols when he was only 16-years-old. But even then he was interviewing legends like Jerry Seinfeld. The book also contains interviews with newer stars, including friends and colleagues that Apatow has worked with through the years. His love of comedy clearly shines through on every page. There’s no news yet on when Love’s 3rd season will be released on Netflix, though it is definitely in the works.
Sense8: The Wachowskis
Sense8 is one of those oddly compelling shows that’s almost impossible to describe to your friends. Basically, eight people who were all born at the same time are sensates who share a sort-of hive mind and they’re fighting bad guys who are after them and also some of them fall in love? Just trust us that this is a show you should be watching. Not only is it addictive, but it’s globally aware and representative of all lifestyles, showing a wide range of cultures, sexualities, genders, classes, and perspectives. It’s no surprise that the Wachowskis are behind such a forward-thinking and visually stunning show. In addition to creating iconic movies like The Matrix, they’re both also comic book authors. Their series, Doc Frankenstein, was originally created by Geof Darrow and rebooted by Steve Skroce, with the Wachowskis writing and Skroce illustrating. The first issue came out in 2004, and is still ongoing (there have been 6 issues to date). Doc Frankenstein imagines a world where Frankenstein’s monster never died, and instead became a liberal, educated warrior who has been involved in many major historical events. Creative and imaginative? Sounds like the Wachowskis. Sadly, Sense8 was canceled this year, following its second season. But after fans vocally protested the decision, Netflix decided to give the show a 2-hour series finale that will tie up the cliffhanger ending.