Mip TV is just around the corner and, as ever, the content will be king. Deadline takes you through 15 of the best dramas set to light up the Croisette as the market returns in-person for the first time in three years. Read on for the best-in-class scripted projects heading to France from April 4-6.
Reginald The Vampire
Distributor: Cineflix Rights
Episodes: 10 x 60
This 10-parter starring Spider Man: No Way Home’s Jacob Batalon (pictured) and inspired by Johnny Truant’s Fat Vampire novels turns traditional vampire tropes on their head while draining the blood from modern-day beauty standards. Reginald (Batalon) is the unlikely hero who crashes headlong into a world populated by beautiful, fit and vain vampires while navigating numerous obstacles in his new undead life: the girl he loves but can’t be with, a bullying manager at work and the vampire chieftain who wants him deal. Fortunately he discovers he has a few unrecognized powers of his own. Don’t be surprised if the show sink its fangs into the multiple global buyers at Mip, while Batalon will be on hand partaking in press junkets.
Distributor: Global Screen
Episodes: 6 x 45 / 3 x 90
Known locally as Der Palast, this six-parter is a lavish, highly entertaining period drama, richly shot at the world’s biggest theater stage located in Berlin: the Friedrichstadt-Palast. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Republic, a big birthday show is being rehearsed and in these exciting hours, young dancer Christine suddenly comes face-to-face with her doppelganger. In the audience sits Marlene, a businesswoman from West Germany, and the twin sister she knew nothing about. Chaos ensues as two worlds collide. With period drama having a bit of a renaissance and non-English-language content all the rage, expect The Palace to attract serious interest.
Distributor: DCD Rights
Network: Nine Network Australia
Episodes: 3 x 45 / 1 x 75 & 1 x 60
Vanishing Act tells the bizarre true story of the disappearance of high-roller Melissa Caddick (Kate Atkinson), an Australian businesswoman who allegedly swindled her own friends and family out of millions of dollars, spending it all on designer clothes, fast cars, ski holidays and expensive real estate. She disappeared when confronted by the authorities until, months later, Melissa’s running-shoe washed ashore on a deserted beach – with her disembodied foot inside. Australia has produced some high quality sellable drama of late and this appears no exception.
Distributor: ITV Studios
Episodes: 4 x 60
A timely drama here as David Tennant plays Alexander Litvinenko in a true-to-life piece from Lupin writer George Kay, telling the story of the former Russian spy, Kremlin critic and British citizen, who claimed to have been poisoned and pointed the finger directly at Vladimir Putin. When confirmation comes that he was poisoned with polonium-210 – the deadliest substance known to man – the gravity of the situation becomes clear and, facing an unprecedented chemical attack in the heart of London, the police race to seal off potentially contaminated sites, while detectives plunge into a high-stakes murder investigation. If the critical and ratings success of 2020’s The Salisbury Poisonings for the BBC is anything to go by then we’re in for a treat and, even though there will be no Russian presence at Mip, Litvinenko will likely catch attendees’ attention.
Distributor: CJ E&M
Episodes: 14 x 60
There is just too much exciting content coming out of South Korea to count at present. In this latest 14-parter, which recently debuted on local network tVn, three women compete in the mysterious and competitive world of TV home shopping to gain success and fame. Among them is Woo Hyun, who wants to become the top show host and, as she struggles to get the same limelight as star presenter Ok-sun, demonstrates she is ready to do whatever it takes to steal the top spot. With the charismatic vice-president Mo-ran joining her, will Hyun survive in this brutally competitive world? As buyers desperately seek the next Squid Game, preferably without a global SVoD attached that holds lengthy rights, Kill Heel will be way up the priority list.
Distributor: Paramount Global Content Distribution
Episodes: 10 x 60
From creator John Griffin (Crater) and showrunner Jeff Pinkner, From features an ensemble cast led by Lost’s Harold Perrineau, unravelling the mystery of a nightmarish town that traps all who enter. As the unwilling residents fight to keep a sense of normalcy and search for a way out, they must also survive the threats of the surrounding forest – including the terrifying creatures that come out when the sun goes down. The Russo Brothers are also involved with the 10-parter, which could prove a key U.S. draw for the market. Executive producer is Jack Bender.
Then You Run
Distributor: Banijay Rights
Episodes: 8 x 60
Adapted by Ben Chanan (The Capture), this drama from Taboo producer Kudos follows a close-knit group of rebellious London teenagers on a getaway in Rotterdam. After the estranged father of Tara (Normal People’s Leah McNamara) is discovered dead, they find themselves on the run across Europe with three kilos of heroin and a host of deadly criminals snapping at their heels. Leading the hunt against Tara and her childhood friends is Tara’s uncle Reagan, a notorious gangster haunted by his past who will stop at nothing to track down his missing cache of drugs. But Reagan isn’t the only person they should fear – because all the while a terrifying and mythical serial killer known only as ‘The Traveller’ draws closer, on a collision course with them all. The show has been anticipated for some time and has all the ingredients to travel, suiting global buyers’ penchant for young adult drama to a tee.
Distributor: Eccho Rights
Network: Channel 5
Episodes: 4 x 60
Currently in production and starring Sherlock’s Amanda Abbington, the latest Channel 5 original follows Rowan, whose life spirals when Finn is coerced into a botched drug deal by a local gang. With Finn’s life on the line and a violent gang leader encroaching on her life, Rowan is faced with recuperating the money that Finn lost. Desperate to save her son and having exhausted all options, Rowan commits to a dangerous heist at the bank she works in. Paramount-owned Channel 5 is experiencing a purple patch with some slick local thrillers and the cancellation of Neighbours looks set to usher in more originals akin to Desperate Measures, which Eccho Rights will be pushing hard.
Distributor: Abacus Media Rights
Network: CBC Canada
Episodes: 8 x 60
An explosive story about the civil rights movement on the railroads that cross the U.S., The Porter is a stirring, fast-paced exploration of Black empowerment and self-determination. Inspired by real events, the eight-parter takes viewers into the heart of the Black community of St. Antoine, Montreal – later known as Little Burgundy – in 1921. World War I brothers-in-arms Junior Massey and Zeke Garrett are held in high regard in the community as train porters – an often-demeaning job with long hours, low pay and gruelling conditions, but the best available to a Black man at the time. When one of their own, Henry, is killed on the job due to railway negligence, Junior and Zeke find themselves unlikely leaders on opposing paths to a better life. This powerful drama looks set to stand out in amongst the crowd and is part of a wealth of content that is building on the impact of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests on the global content market.
The Dreamer – Becoming Karen Blixen
Episodes: 6 x 50
One of the frontrunners in Canneseries’ Long Form Competition final, Becoming Karen Blixen from Lars von Trier’s Zentropa is the story of one woman’s struggle to find her place in life while freeing herself from the expectations of family and society. The series takes place in the 1930s and follows the protagonist’s return to Denmark after many years in East Africa. Penniless, sick, divorced and with her dreams in ruins, her journey goes from her lowest point to becoming a renowned writer. Scandi content is pushing the boundaries right now and is showing itself to be so much more than Noir (see Academy Award-nominated The Worst Person in the World). Karen Blixen should prove no exception.
Jeux D’influence, Les Combattantes
Distributor: Newen Connect
Episodes: 6 x 52
Another big-hitting Canneseries selection, Academy Award-winner Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s topical hit, which translates as Games of Influence, The Fighters, tells the story of a confrontation between politicians, lobbiyists, media and activists, with an anthological season centered on the relationship between lobbies and the food industry. The chillingly realistic six-parter is one of two Canneseries Competition finalists from Academy Award-winners and will no doubt shine when displayed to buyers.
This Sceptred Isle
Network: Sky Atlantic
Episodes: 6 x 50
Fresh off the back of his Belfast Oscar success, Kenneth Branagh is playing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in this five-parter from acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom. This Sceptred Isle is set in the darkest times of Covid, with Johnson having only been in the job six months and soon to find himself on a life support machine in hospital. Based on first hand testimony, the drama will trace the impact on Britain from this once in a generation pandemic and the response of scientists, nurses and doctors as they worked to contain and overcome the virus. With the star power of Branagh and Winterbottom combined with a subject that the world can’t get enough of, the show is one of the most hotly anticipated of the year.
The Birth of Daniel F Harris
Distributor: BBC Studios
Network: Channel 4
Episodes: 8 x 60
An audience favorite at last week’s Series Mania, the latest young adult series from End of the F***ing World producer Clerkenwell Films spotlights protagonist Danny, who has spent his childhood and teen years locked in a house by his father, too scared to expose his son to the outside world since his wife died in a car crash. After spending his childhood happily watching silent movies and listening to old records, Danny’s life is turned upside down when he’s 18 and sets out to find the real truth about what happened to his mum. Daniel F Harris is packed full of emotion and energy and, if it succeeds in following in the footsteps of End of the F***ing World, global success is just around the corner.
Network: Sky and Canal+
Episodes: 10 x 60
This high-concept reimagining of the classic Western stars Matthias Schoenaerts (A Bigger Splash – pictured) as the eponymous Django, along with award-winning actress Noomi Rapace, Top Boy’s Nicholas Pinnock and rising star Lisa Vicari. Set in the mid-nineteenth century, Sarah and John have founded New Babylon, a city of outcasts, full of men and women of all backgrounds, races and creeds that welcomes everyone with open arms. Meanwhile, haunted by the murder of his family eight years earlier, Django is still looking for his daughter, believing she may have survived. He is shocked to find her in New Babylon. Set to light up the Croisette with its stellar cast and high production values.
The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe
Distributor: All3 Media International
Network: ITV / Viaplay
Episodes: 4 x 60
From celebrated screenwriter Chris Lang, this extraordinary and compelling true tale is produced by Story Films (Deceit) and stars BAFTA-winner Monica Dolan and Eddie Marsan as Anne and John Darwin, the couple who deceived the world, their family and friends after John faked his own death to claim life insurance and avoid bankruptcy. The hard-to-believe story took place 20 years ago when the pair pretended John had died in a canoeing accident. Six years on, they were discovered, arrested and later sent to prison. The latest in a long line of real-life ITV dramas, this show is rather different from ITV’s other list-maker, Litvinenko, but the story is too intriguing to miss out on.
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