Roughly a year ago, former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama signed a “multi-year” deal with Netflix to produce original content under their new Obama-owned production company “Higher Ground Productions”. A year later, we finally have a sense of what some of that content will actually look like. Oh, and there’s a lot.
When people heard the Obamas teamed up with Netflix, many anticipated a lot of screen time for Barack and Michelle. It turns out the complete opposite is true, at least when it comes to this initial lineup of programming. The Obamas seem to have Higher Ground Productions running like an actual production studio, making a wide variety of politically aware content, rather than a studio focused on Obama-centric content.
The initial lineup from the Obama Netflix deal includes three original shows, a fourth show aimed at preschoolers, two documentary films, and a historical drama. Seemingly none of the content will feature the Obamas themselves.
Obama Netflix Shows:
The 5th Risk
Based off the bestselling book of the same name, The 5th Risk: Undoing Democracy depicts life in an incompetent White House the same way the book The Martian depicts spaceflight to Mars. With unprecedented detail and accuracy. The story is fictional but sounds familiar to many, as it depicts how dicey things can get when the departments that run the US aren’t really interested in doing their jobs.
A post-WW2 drama set in New York that looks at the trials faced by women and people of color, along with the progress that was being achieved. (Produced by Thelma & Louise writer Callie Khouri)
In 2018, the NY Times began adding a number of obituaries to a new section and feature it called Overlooked, a place where the paper could publish obituaries for incredible individuals its editors thought had been ‘overlooked’ by papers like the Times upon their actual death, often due to racial or gender bias. The Obama funded show will be a scripted anthology series, with episodes showcasing the lives of individuals from the Overlooked list.
Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents
A 30-min show aimed at preschoolers, Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents “will take young children and their families around the globe on an adventure that tells us the story of our food.”
Obama Netflix Films:
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom
A historical drama based on the pulitzer winning biography, enter the life of one of early-America’s most influential and accomplished people of color, Frederick Douglass.
Obama Netflix Documentaries:
This film follows a Chinese billionaire’s move to buy a shuttered large GM factory in Dayton, Ohio and bring 2000 jobs back to the town by converting it into a new company and factory that manufactures windshields and auto-glass. It actually premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early this year and was met with much praise, so expect to see this one hit Netflix in no time.
All we know is that it’s a documentary film on the origins of the disabled rights movement…
The Obamas have said they want to use their film studio to elevate the stories of people they think deserve to be heard. Netflix stated one of the reasons it signed a long-term deal with Higher Ground Productions was because of the Obamas’ gifted ability to tell stories.
Higher Ground Productions has also said it wants to focus on positive messages, rather than ones that attack an opposing position, hence the “Higher Ground” moniker.
So far there are no release dates for any of the shows or films, although Netflix has been known to publish content out of nowhere in the past. We’ll be sure to keep you posted, and let you know if they’re worth watching once streamable.