These Netflix Shows Have A Diversity Problem

Several HBO series also fare among the worst for gender diversity in directors

Aug 26, 2015 at 12:44 PM ET

Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black and House Of Cards are praised for their depiction of strong female characters, but the streaming service has failed to hire as many women behind the scenes.

Four of the platform’s newest series, including Marco Polo, Bloodline, Marvel’s Daredevil and Hemlock Grove had some of the worst records for hiring female or ethnic minority male and female directors during the 2014/2015 season.

No females or minorities directed a single episode of Marco Polo, the Netflix series based on the famed explorer’s adventures in Kublai Khan’s court in 13th century China, which premiered in December. Just eight percent of thriller-drama Bloodline and Marvel’s Daredevil directors were female or minorities, while horror Hemlock Grove, the only one of the four shows with a female leadfared slightly better, with 11 percent.

Netflix was considerably better at hiring female and minority directors than HBO. The progressive cable network behind Sex And The City and Girls aired six series which fared worst, including four which had no female or minority directors last year at all: Boardwalk Empire, The Comeback, The Brink and Banshee. But even HBO did better than networks such as Warner Bros. and Fox.

The report from the Directors Guild Of America found that the director chair is becoming more diverse, albeit slowly: Of the 3,900 primetime episodes produced across broadcast, basic cable, premium cable and on-demand this year, women directed 16 percent, up two percent on the 2013/2014 season. Minorities are lagging, down one point, to 18 percent, on the previous year.