MIPTV Hot List: 10 TV Shows Set to Heat Up the Croisette

8:00 AM 4/1/2016

by Scott Roxborough

From Paris fashion in the 1950s ('The Collection') to a gory Australian horror story ('Wolf Creek'), these ten projects show why this year's market is more competitive than ever.

Courtesy of Zodiac Rights

MIPTV used to be a dry affair. The international television confab, which runs April 4-7 in Cannes, was "just meetings and panels, meetings and panels, every day," recalls one veteran attendee. But as the boom in TV drama has attracted film talent to the small screen, and raised the launch of a new show to the level of a global movie premiere, MIP has gotten its glam on. MIPTV's sister market MIPCOM in October hosted the world premiere of Fox's new X-Files reboot and this year MIPTV is following suit with the first-ever screening of History Channel's reimagining of Alex Haley's Roots. In a new, festival-style showcase, called MIPDrama Screenings, the market will premiere 12 of the hottest new series from around the world. A panel of international buyers will crown one the top new drama of the market.

"I think it's a brilliant idea," says Hakan Kousetta, COO of Television at See-Saw Films, the Brit production company behind Top of the Lake and Love, Nina. "The launch of a new TV series has become a real event, and it's great to have the glitz and glam to go along with it."

"It has a festival character but it also has a business purpose, by creating greater awareness for these series," says Laurine Garaude, director of the television division of MIPTV organizer Reed Midem. "There are more and more series being produced. We act as a quality filter for our buyers, picking the best of the best."

THR's MIPTV Hot List includes a few of the MIPDrama entries but also highlights the shows that, even without a red-carpet premiere, could be the breakout hits of this year's market.

  • The A Word

    Sales: Keshet International

    Courtesy of Keshet International

    A family living in England’s picturesque rural Lake District come to terms with their son’s autism in this emotional yet unexpectedly uplifting and honest six-part drama from Keshet’s U.K. arm, adapted from the Israeli outfit’s own homegrown show and picked up by SundanceTV for the U.S.

  • The Collection

    Sales: BBC Worldwide

    Nick Briggs

    The production team behind this year’s period hit War & Peace take their costumes from the Napoleonic battlefield to post-war Paris in this six-parter set within a fashion house during the rise of French haute culture. Created by Ugly Betty showrunner Oliver Goldstick, it was greenlighted by Amazon as the streamer’s first original British drama.

  • Embassy

    Sales: Beta Cinema

    After proving they can take on period drama with Spanish hit series Velvet and Grand Hotel, and sci-fi with The Refugees, for their latest show, the showrunner/producer team of Ramon Campos and Teresa Fernandez-Valdes turn their focus to politics. The series is set in the Spanish embassy in Thailand. A new ambassador arrives, determined to clean house and end endemic corruption. “We started thinking about corruption in Spain, which is a huge problem,” says Campos, but we decided to set it in Thailand, so we could talk just about Spain but about corruption in all places.” Francis Underwood would approve.

  • The Grinder

    Sales: 20th Century Fox Television Distribution

    Courtesy of FOX

    The international market is hungry for smart comedy series, and this new entry, featuring Rob Lowe and Fred Savage as two very different brothers who take over their family's law firm, has the makings of a crossover hit. Lowe plays an actor, famous as an onscreen attorney, who returns to his hometown of Boise, Idaho, determined to help out his real-life lawyer brother (Savage). For global networks, this mashup of legal drama with family sitcom might be just the right mix.

  • Ku’damm 56 – Rebel With a Cause

    Sales: ZDF Enterprises

    Courtesy of ZDF Enterprises

    Pitched as a German Mad Men with dancing, this high-gloss series is set at a Berlin dance school circa 1956, just as post-World War II austerity is giving way to an economic boom and stuffy conventions are being discarded in favor of rock 'n' roll. From the hit factory of UFA Fiction, who produced Deutschland 83 and Naked Among Wolves.

  • MacGyver

    Sales: CBS Studios International

    This re-imagining of one of the best-loved series from the 1980s should tick several boxes for international buyers, with its recognizable brand name, promise of easily translatable action and CBS' expertise with well-made, episodic television a la CSI and NCIS. “It's just what the market wants right now,” says one European buyer. “If they pull it off, it'll be huge.”

  • Roots

    Sales: A+E Networks

    Courtesy of A&E

    This new adaptation of Alex Haley's book about his ancestor Kunta Kinte, sold as a slave to America, and his decedents, hopes to follow in the footsteps of the original 1977 Roots, which became a global phenomenon, the first U.S. miniseries to sell and play, in primetime, on every major network worldwide. The timing of the new Roots is particularly serendipitous, given the Black Lives Matter movement and the heated debate about onscreen diversity. LeVar Burton, who portrayed Kunta Kinte in the original series, executive produced this new eight-hour adaptation. The all-star cast includes Anna Paquin, Forest Whitaker, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Tony winner Anika Noni Rose, British actor Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte and Laurence Fishburne as Alex Haley.

  • Section Zero

    Sales: StudioCanal

    Courtesy of Europacorp

    Olivier Marchal, ex-cop turned hard-boiled writer-director of noir-style police dramas, most notably critical hit Braquo, makes a jump into sci-fi for this series, set in a violent, bleak near-future where multinational companies rule Europe and the police have been replaced by private militias. “It's a natural extrapolation from the dark and desperate vision of the world he's had in his previous series,” says series producer Edouard de Vesinne. Brutal, violent and complex, Section Zero will be targeting premium cable and pay TV outlets who like a little bit of the rough stuff.

  • Top of the Lake 2

    Sales: BBC Worldwide

    Courtesy of BBC Worldwide

    Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie joins returning lead Elisabeth Moss in the second season of Jane Campion's hit mystery series, which moves from the wilds of the New Zealand countryside to the equally strange, urbanscape of Sydney, Australia. “There is no lake in Top of the Lake 2,” admits Hakan Kousetta, COO of Television at See-Saw Films, who produced the series. “But it is a very similar atmosphere. This isn't the Sydney you are used to seeing.” Expect specialty buyers who gorged on the the first season to be back for seconds.

  • Wolf Creek

    Sales: Zodiak Rights

    Courtesy of Zodiac Rights

    Thanks to The Walking Dead, Dexter and American Horror Story, psychological terror is big business on the small screen. Banijay Group's Zodiak Rights is looking to chill and thrill with this six-part drama, adapted from the cult Australian horror franchise about unwitting backpackers and a psycho from the outback. In the series, a Wolf Creek survivor vows vengeance on the killer and turns the predator into her prey.