March is a big premiere month for streaming media series - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

March is a big premiere month for streaming media series

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 It’s the first time sitting the president and first lady have separated while in office. It’s the War of the Underwoods, and there promises to be casualties. While in New York, when a blind lawyer is at his wit’s end in a violent neighborhood, he turns to the only person he can who can help enforce justice.

America’s big streaming program providers have new series and new seasons of old favorites set to premiere. Can you believe House of Cards is going into its fourth season already?

Amazon, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle, these network names may be unfamiliar to many, but to those familiar with online streaming services, they are just as familiar as AMC, NBC or HBO. With most shows, viewers are able to binge-watch an entire season of a show at once, allowing them to watch at their leisure, stretching the shows out the way they want, or to watch an entire season of 10-to-13 episodes in one weekend.

A word of warning – there will be spoilers here for those who have not seen the prior seasons of some of these streaming shows. For those who haven’t, you have a few short weeks to prepare by getting to your nearest computer or streaming device and watching the earlier seasons of your favorite shows.

King of the pack for many viewers is the Kevin Spacey blockbuster series House of Cards from Netflix. The series follows Spacey through his Machiavellian ascent in American politics as Frank Underwood, a US Congressman from Gaffney, South Carolina, and his meteoric rise from the halls of Congress to the halls of the White House.

Season Four of House of Cards kicks off on March 4, shortly after where we left off at the end of Season Three, with President Underwood both figuratively and literally at the throat of his wife Claire (Robin Wright) – and Claire walking out on Frank.

Michael Kelly, Mahershala Ali, Jayne Atkinson, Nathan Darrow, Elizabeth Marvel and Molly Parker return this season. They will be joined by Neve Campbell, Ellen Burstyn and Cicely Tyson.

With other players in the game, Hulu started working to stream original content, breaking ground with the short-lived revivals of ABC soaps All My Children and One Life to Live, and moving forward with continuations of the BBC’s The Thick Of It and Fox’s The Mindy Project, as well as their own originally produced teen drama East Los High.

On February 15, Hulu premiered 11.22.63, based on Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63, and starring James Franco. In the series, Franco plays teacher Jake Epping, who has a chance to travel through time to 1960 to try and prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Unlike most other streaming series, however, 11.22.63 releases one episode per week.

Award-winning mystery author Michael Connelly partnered with Amazon Studios to bring his hard-bitten veteran Los Angeles detective Harry Bosch to television two years ago. Veteran actor Titus Welliver portrays Bosch’s world-weary demeanor and carries it off perfectly. Jamie Hector (“The Wire”), Amy Aquino (“ER”, “Being Human”), Lance Reddick (“Fringe”, “The Wire”) and Sarah Clarke (“Covert Affairs”, “24”) return to the cast this season, while Jeri Ryan (“Star Trek Voyager”, “Body of Proof”) joins this year.

Under Amazon’s model a single television pilot episode was produced and presented to viewers. If viewers enjoy – and vote for – the episode, the studio goes forward with production of a series.

Bosch went into production, and all 10 episodes went live for Amazon Prime subscribers in February 2015. The 10-episode first season was inspired by three of Connelly’s novels, City of Bones, Echo Park and The Concrete Blonde.

Connelly says the upcoming 10-episode second season, which premieres on March 11, is based on his novels Trunk Music, The Drop and The Last Coyote.

Marvel continues its string of comic book blockbusters on Netflix with season two of Daredevil, premiering on March 18.

In this season, Charlie Cox returns as blind Hell’s Kitchen attorney-by-day Matt Murdock who dons a blood-red costume to meet out blood justice by night as Daredevil. While he is, indeed, blind, an accident as a child has left him with his other senses superhumanly enhanced – including an almost bat-like radar sense that allows him to determine exactly where things are around him.

Even though Daredevil has rid the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Kingpin Wilson Fisk, a new threat emerges, when an even more violent enforcement of punishment comes to lower Manhattan. Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson and Rosario Dawson return to the series; they’re joined by Jon Bernthal and Elodie Yung this year.

And that's just for starters. Later this year, Amazon promises to bring back new seasons of Transparent and Man in the High Castle, while Netflix has already announced an April 15 premiere date for Season Two of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. June will bring Season Four of Orange is the New Black, while Netflix has already announced renewals for seasons 5, 6 and 7 of the award-winning prison comedy-drama, keeping it on the service through at least 2019. The green light is on for Season 5 of House of Cards in 2017 also. 

Marvel's joint venture with Netflix continues to look ahead, with a 13-episode season of Luke Cage due later this year, along with a second season of Jessica Jones. Early production is underway on Marvel's Iron Fist, and rumors are now swirling about a Punisher series, which would spin out of Daredevil. Plans continue to move forward toward an eventual meeting of all of Marvel's "street-level" heroes in a mini-series titled The Defenders, possibly in 2018.

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