7 Hot Shows at MIPCOM
Murder and mystery are best bets for sparking buyer frenzy this year, whether it's Sherlock Holmes solving crimes in New York or Gillian Anderson hunting a killer in Belfast.
Whether it's Sherlock Holmes solving crimes in New York, Gillian Anderson hunting a killer in Belfast or Elisabeth Moss digging for clues in New Zealand, international broadcasters' appetite for murder and mystery shows no sign of abating. Here's THR's look at the hottest new series and shows that are set to spark buyer frenzy at MIPCOM this year.
CBS Studios International (USA)
The Pitch: CBS Studios' modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes, set in New York and featuring a female Dr. Watson (played by Lucy Liu), is arguably the only sure-fire hit among the studios' crop of new fall dramas. Why Buyers Will Go For It: Elementary ticks all the right boxes for international buyers: It's a crime procedural (the world's best-selling genre), is based on a tested franchise with a built-in fan base and features in Liu an internationally recognizable star. The Open Question: Will Brit actor Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock make die-hard fans forget Robert Downey Jr.?
Red Arrow International (Germany)
The Pitch: A Parisian Law & Order, starring French film star Jean Reno and Crossing Jordan's Jill Hennessy. He's the titular Jo St-Clair, a veteran Parisian murder detective working for the elite Criminal Brigade and tasked with the city's most challenging cases. Why Buyers Will Go For It: Procedurals are a no-brainer for most international channels, and Reno and Hennessy are bankable names. The Open Question: The European setting and Franco accents won't bother continental viewers, but will Jo prove too foreign for American audiences?
20th Century Fox Int'l Television (USA)
The Pitch: The Cold War gets hot in this high-end drama from FX, which, set in the 1980s, centers on Russian sleeper agents operating in the United States. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star. Why Buyers Will Go For It: The series offers international buyers the nail-biting political suspense of Homeland but without the messy post-9/11 sensibility. After all, in the '80s, even France loved America. The Open Question: The recent bust of real-life Russian sleeper spies two years ago gives The Americans a ripped-from-the-headlines feel. But is suburban espionage sufficient to hold the plot for a full season?
ITV Global Entertainment (U.K.)
The Pitch: This year's Breaking Bad. The dark drama series created by actor Ray McKinnon (Sons of Anarchy) follows the life of Daniel Holden (Canadian actor Aden Young), an inmate who served 19 years on death row for the brutal rape and murder of a teenage girl but suddenly has to adjust to normal life after new DNA evidence leads to his release. Why Buyers Will Go For It: Dexter and Breaking Bad have proved there is an audience out there willing to root for the bad guy. The Open Question: Will Rectify come across as too dark or too niche for more conservative international channels?
Disney Media Distribution (USA)
The Pitch: Four sexy, sassy girlfriends struggle with their careers, sex, romance and urban living in this one-hour ABC drama starring Alyssa Milano, Jes Macallan, Rochelle Aytes and Yunjin Kim. Adapted from the British format by Gossip Girl producer K.J. Steinberg. Why Buyers Will Go For It: Mistresses is custom-designed to fit into the slot freed up by the end of Desperate Housewives' run. Channels looking for a femme-friendly dramedy will jump at it. The Open Question: U.S. adaptations of British series have a spotty history -- will Mistresses be this year's The Office or a much-hyped midseason flop like NBC's Brit-based Coupling?
Top of the Lake
BBC Worldwide (U.K.)
The Pitch: The small-screen debut of Oscar winner Jane Campion (The Piano), this six-part mystery drama stars Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss and Academy Award winner Holly Hunter in a plot involving a pregnant 12-year-old girl, a gutsy but inexperienced detective (Moss) and the jaw-dropping natural beauty of Campion's native New Zealand. Why Buyers Will Go For It: The pedigree of Top of the Lake screams quality viewing, from the supporting talents of Peter Mullan (War Horse) and David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings) to executive producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning (The King's Speech). The Open Question: Will Campion prove too highbrow for the couch-potato crowd?
ZDF Enterprises/Content Media Corporation (Germany/U.K.)
The Pitch: This five-part (one hour each) limited series stars Gillian Anderson as an obsessed homicide detective on the trail of a serial killer (Jamie Dornan) who is terrorizing the women of Belfast, Ireland. Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) also stars. Why Buyers Will Go For It: The prospect of Anderson in her first role as an investigator since The X-Files should have buyers hunting down The Fall. The Open Question: With Criminal Minds and Dexter, will viewers feel this is one serial killer too many?