EXCLUSIVE: What started out as a Polish university project about two LGBTQ+ women in a country ranked first by Rainbow Europe in its human rights abuse list will soon be available around the world on Discovery+.
Deadline can reveal that season two of 22-year-old Natasza Parzymies’ Control will drop on the global streaming platform next year after a short run on Poland’s Discovery Player. The move follows the YouTube success of the first run, which was also picked up by Player.
Telling the story of young lesbian lovers Natalia and Majka, Parzymies created the seven-episode web series as a Warsaw Film School project, never intending it for broadcast, but the show became an overnight success when uploaded to YouTube.
The first series has been viewed on YouTube more than 50M times, with high engagement in areas that can be repressive for LGBTQ+ people such as China and Parzymies’ native Poland.
Series two follows the same characters and is set around Christmas time, with Parzymies, who was inspired by HBO’s Euphoria and BBC3’s Normal People, telling Deadline she was determined for it to retain the debut season’s authenticity.
“I’m 22-years-old so don’t have much experience but what I do have is authenticity,” she said. “So the best part of Discovery Player’s involvement is that the show has retained its soul but with added professionalism. It’s great that we’ve come to a place where we feel we can do what we like but have the support of a big and important platform like Player.”
Parzymies stressed she never imagined a “two-minute school assignment” would have gained such acclaim and popularity and described the local reception as “surprisingly good” for a country that is ranked first by Rainbow Europe for “gross violations of human rights and discrimination.”
“I tried to make the story so universal that it could really be about anyone,” she added. “I always say that love has nothing to do with politics and that is what we are trying to show here.”
The decision to shift the show to Discovery+ next year will tap into its YouTube popularity in a wealth of territories, according to Discovery Player Director Maciej Gozdowski, who said the network examines the local market almost daily for authentic shows such as Control that it can potentially bring on board.
By the end of the second minute of the first series, Gozdowski was convinced Control would work for Discovery.
“I said to my colleagues ‘We need to have it and there is no better place than Poland to show it,'” he added. “It was not easy at first to win Natasza’s trust but has been a great success so far.”