Bryan Cranston, Kyle MacLachlan Shows Among the Top Titles to Watch at MIPCOM

5:00 AM 10/12/2020

by Scott Roxborough

COVID production stops mean little U.S. fare will be at the market this year and may lead to changing international TV tastes, but several diverse and challenging dramas make The Hollywood Reporter's hot list.

'Atlantic Crossing,' 'Your Honor'
Courtesy of MIPCOM; Skip Bolen/SHOWTIME

'Atlantic Crossing,' 'Your Honor'

With much of the 2020 U.S. fall TV season postponed amid COVID-19 production delays, international television channels and streaming platforms are looking elsewhere for their small-screen fix. Going into this year’s international TV market MIPCOM — which will be an online-only affair because of the pandemic — European and Canadian series look ready to fill the gap.

"It will be interesting to see if tastes change as [international channels] lose their dependence on American content," notes Stephen Mowbray, head of acquisitions for Swedish public broadcaster SVT, which has only one new American series on its fall schedule (USA Network’s The Sinner) and has seen impressive results with European shows, including the BBC’s Normal People, which drew more than 500,000 viewers to SVT’s online streaming platform. "I’m not sure things will bounce back [after COVID- 19]," he adds.

What has changed, likely for good, is a heightened international preference for diverse and challenging dramas. Cookiecutter procedurals dominated past MIPCOMs, but THR’s hot list of shows to watch for digital MIPCOM 2020 includes everything from a supernatural thriller inspired by the indigenous cosmology of native tribes on Canada’s west coast to an Italian coming-of-age drama set in a youth prison and an action-comedy about heroic werewolves and wizards.

Says Monica Levy of Paris-based Federation Entertainment: "Everyone is looking for shows that can be binge-watched, that stand out from the rest."

  • 'All Creatures Great and Small'

    The Channel 5/PBS reboot of the feel-good 1970s series, about a country veterinarian practice in 1930s Yorkshire (the BBC original ran on PBS and A&E in the U.S.) is certain to find a home on older-skewing public broadcasters and Brit-friendly cable networks.

  • 'Atlantic Crossing'

    The combination of history and star power should make this limited series a hit with mainstream networks, particularly in Europe. Twin Peaks star Kyle MacLachlan plays U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in this show about Roosevelt’s true-life friendship with Norwegian Crown Princess Martha (The Bridge star Sofia Helin), who lobbied the president to intervene after the Nazis invaded Norway.

  • 'Losing Alice'

    The latest must-see series from Israel is a twisty thriller that follows an ambitious female film director who becomes obsessed with a younger femme-fatale screenwriter and is willing to surrender her moral integrity to achieve power and success.

  • 'Red Light'

    Carice van Houten, the Red Priestess Melisandre on Game of Thrones, plays a prostitute and brothel madam in this highoctane thriller set in Antwerp’s red light district, which Federation hopes will pull in both mainstream broadcasters and niche streamers of the likes of Walter Presents or Viaplay.

  • 'The Sea Beyond'

    Gomorrah meets Orange Is the New Black in this YA-focused drama about young mafiosi in the making, both male and female, who are imprisoned in a notorious juvenile detention center on the Gulf of Naples.

  • 'Trickster'

    Small-screen indigenous stories are few and far between, but that could change with this ambitious supernatural thriller, adapted from Eden Robinson’s best-selling trilogy, which combines contemporary pop culture with the cosmology of the author’s Haisla heritage in British Columbia and ends, according to commissioning broadcaster the CBC, in "an epic clash of magic, monsters and mayhem." 

  • 'The Watch'

    Streaming services can’t get enough fantasy to feed their hungry subscribers, and this BBC series, inspired by characters from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, aims right at the sweet spot between comedy and action in a story of a group of unlikely heroes — including trolls, werewolves and wizards — who band together to foil an evil, world-destroying plot.

  • 'Your Honor'

    As one of the few high-profile U.S. titles at MIPCOM this year, Showtime’s adaptation of the acclaimed Israeli drama from 2017 is sure to draw bids from prestige pay TV networks and streamers worldwide. The U.S. version, adapted by The Night Of writer Peter Moffat, stars Bryan Cranston as a New Orleans judge forced to choose between the law and his family after his son (Hunter Doohan) is involved in a hit-and-run.

    This story first appeared in the Oct. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.