Starz has a busy first half of 2018 ahead, with four original drama series debuting between January and May. At TCA in Pasadena today, the premium cabler set premiere dates for three of them, along with new photos.
Joining the already-announced January 21 bow of the J.K. Simmons-led spy tale Counterpart are the limited-series adaptation of the literary classic Howards End (launching April 8); Vida, which follows Mexican-American sisters in East L.A. (May 6); and Sweetbitter, an NYC-set coming-of-age tale based on Stephanie Danler’s 2016 bestseller (also May 6). The latter two are half-hours.
Here are descriptions and cast/crew info on the new shows, provided by Starz, along with some of the first-look photos and/or key art:
Often considered E.M. Forster’s masterpiece, Howards End is the story of Margaret (Hayley Atwell) and Helen Schlegel (Philippa Coulthard), two independent and unconventional sisters seeking love and meaning as they navigate an ever-changing world. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea, Gangs of New York) brings a fresh take to this adaptation directed by BAFTA winner Hettie Macdonald (White Girl, Fortitude). Matthew Macfadyen, Julia Ormond and Tracey Ullman also star in the limited series adapted for television which consists of four hour-long episodes. Howards End is a Playground production in association with City Entertainment and KippSter Entertainment.
Vida is a half-hour drama series focusing on two Mexican-American sisters, Emma (Mishel Prada) and Lyn (Melissa Barrera), from the Eastside of Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other. Circumstances force them to return to their old neighborhood, where they are confronted by the past and surprising truth about their mother’s identity.
Tanya Saracho (How to Get Away With Murder, Looking, Girls) serves as showrunner and executive producer. Alonso Ruizpalacios (Gueros, Verde) directs the series premiere episode. Big Beach TV’s Robin Schwartz, Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub executive produce with Stephanie Langhoff (Togetherness, The Bronze, The Skeleton Twins). Emmy-winning Chrisann Verges (Girlboss, Getting On, Warm Springs) produces.
Sweetbitter tells the story of Tess (Ella Purnell), a 22-year-old who arrives in New York City ready to pursue a new life. When she finds herself interviewing for a position at one of the best restaurants in the city, she thinks she’s found a steady income and a safe place to wait. But Tess is quickly intoxicated by the chaotic, adrenalized world behind-the-scenes, tasting expensive wine, exploring dive bars, and learning who she can trust.
Sweetbitter illuminates the sensory journey of developing a palate. How the sweet, sour, salt, bitter, and umami threaten, complement and ultimately need each other so that we can learn to taste. Sweetbitter is a show about the life that happens to you while you’re waiting.
Sweetbitter is adapted from the best–selling novel of the same name by series creator Stephanie Danler who serves as executive producer and writer on the series. She is joined as an executive producer by Stu Zicherman (The Americans, The Affair, Six Degrees) who also serves as showrunner and director of the finale episode and Richard Shepard (The Matador, Dom Hemingway, Girls, Criminal Minds, Ugly Betty) who directed the series premiere episode. Plan B Entertainment’s Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Sarah Esberg also executive produce the series.