EFM Drama Series Days: 6 Sure Things Including Tom Hiddleston, Helena Bonham Carter Shows

10:00 PM 2/14/2016

by Scott Roxborough

The second edition of the showcase offers buyers a look at new series featuring a John le Carre spy thriller, an Arab-Israeli writer and Down Under dystopia.

Better Call Saul Season 2
Ben Leuner/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

With its inaugural Drama Series Days last year, the European Film Market and the Berlinale proved to have the golden touch, as every one of the six shows picked for the Berlin galas became a critical darling and international sales success story.

Now Berlin is hoping to continue its hot streak with its sophomore session. While it has stacked the deck a bit this time around — it seems a given that the second season of Better Call Saul will dazzle — the 2016 selections suggest the curators haven’t lost their knack for picking winners. The six shows on display — which include an Aussie sci-fi actioner, a John le Carre spy thriller and an Arab-Israeli dramedy — speak to the dizzying breath and scope of small-screen drama worldwide.

  • 'Better Call Saul'

    The second season of the Golden Globe-nominated Breaking Bad prequel will screen for Berlin festival attendees within hours of its U.S. premiere on AMC (and before it goes global on Netflix outside the States). Fans already know what to expect, but who hasn’t been jonesing for another dose of Bob Odenkirk’s sleazeball attorney?

  • 'The Writer'

    For this self-lacerating comic drama, successful Arab-Israeli writer Sayed Kashua has drawn comparisons to Louis C.K. for his warts-and-all view of life as a successful Arab-Israeli writer suffering from a crisis of identity as his work is embraced by the Jewish elite but he finds himself estranged from his family.

  • 'Cleverman'

    One of the biggest shows ever to come out of Australia also is one of the most ambitious. Cleverman graphs Aboriginal origin myths onto a dystopian future version of Down Under, where an authoritarian government tries to scapegoat the Hairypeople, a super-humanoid species that emerged from the outback and lives uneasily next to white Australians in the country’s biggest city.

  • 'The Night Manager'

    This adaptation of the le Carre best-seller of the same name boasts above-the-line talent worthy of a Berlin festival entry or Oscar winner. Tom Hiddleston stars as an ex-British solider recruited by an intelligence operative (Olivia Colman) to infiltrate the network of a notorious arms dealer (Hugh Laurie). It’s the series debut of Susanne Bier, who directed the Oscar-winning foreign-language film In a Better World.

  • 'Splitting Up Together'

    Dogma meets sitcom in this Danish series, in which a couple decides to divorce only to realize they are so underwater on their mortgage that selling their house is impossible — so they decide to stay under the same roof. It’s directed by Hella Joof of local comedy hit All Inclusive.

  • 'Love, Nina'

    Shifting gears from Netflix’s feminist superhero series Jessica Jones, director S.J. Clarkson takes on 1980s Britain in this adaptation of the Nina Stibbe bestseller — adapted by Brooklyn Oscar nominee Nick Hornby — in which a young nanny from a provincial town struggles to find her feet in London. Helena Bonham Carter plays the woman she works for.