From 'Beowulf' to 'The X-Files,' MIPCOM Titles Highlight TV's Golden Age
High-end dramas at the conference are as broad — and as good — as they've ever been. These 10 new series are set to turn buyers' heads.
A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
As networks, producers and TV talent descend on Cannes for MIPCOM 2015 — the world's largest television market — the global demand for small-screen drama appears insatiable. Broadcasters and online platforms worldwide are plowing their programming budgets into fiction, driving a never-before-seen boom in scripted series. From Westerns to crime procedurals, auteur experimentation to YA Fantasy, the offerings at MIP are as varied as they've ever been. Spoiled for choice, The Hollywood Reporter struggled to pick just 10 new series that will likely generate buyer interest at this year's market.
ITV is making an ambitious move into Game of Thrones territory with this reimagining of the Dark Ages myth, starring Kieran Bew (Da Vinci's Demons) as the mercenary hero hunting down the monster Grendl. William Hurt, Joanne Whalley and Ed Speleers co-star. Sales: ITV Studios
Not to be confused with AMC's Revolutionary War drama, this Israeli spy thriller, from Homeland shingle Keshet, was inspired by the real-life assassination of a Hamas leader by Mossad agents in 2010. In this fictional take, ordinary Israeli citizens wake up to find their names and faces plastered all over the news as suspects in a kidnapping. Keshet has already inked a deal with Fox International Channels for a U.S. remake. Sales: Keshet International
The Frankenstein Chronicles
Sean Bean trades his Ned Stark furs for a London trench coat in this reimagining of Mary Shelley's classic. Bean plays John Marlott, an investigator for the Thames River Police, on the trail of a crazed killer who appears to be assembling humans from mutilated body parts. Sales: Endemol Shine Group
The Girlfriend Experience
Steven Soderbergh, Starz and co-writer/directors Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz will test the global audience appetite for directorial-driven TV with this experimental series, inspired by Soderbergh's 2009 film of the same name, which stars Riley Keough as a law student at the University of Chicago who slips into the world of high-end sex work. Sales: Starz
The Last Panthers
The latest from German drama house Tandem Productions (Pillars of the Earth, Crossing Lines), this diamond-heist drama comes from the mind of French crime journalist Jerome Pierrat, based on his reporting about the notorious Pink Panther gang. The cast — Samantha Morton, John Hurt, France's Tahar Rahim — is sparkling, and with polish from co-creator/writer Jack Thorne (Skins) and director Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), Panthers looks like a gem. Sales: StudioCanal and SkyVision
International networks love a good procedural, and this small-screen sequel to the 2011 thriller of the same name ticks all the boxes: a high- concept premise (a man becomes a supergenius by swallowing a miracle drug); episodic, easily re-runnable storylines within a series-long plot arc; and the star power of Bradley Cooper, who reprises his film character Eddie Morra in a recurring role in the series, which Cooper also executive produced. Sales: CBS Studios International
Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments
Constantin Feature Film's adaptation of The Mortal Instruments didn't deliver to its blockbuster expectations, but ABC Family has jumped on this TV retool of Cassandra Clare's best-selling YA franchise about a teenage girl who discovers she is actually a bred-in-the-bone demon hunter. Constantin's Robert Kulzer executive produced the series with director McG and TV veteran Ed Decter (In Plain Sight, Unforgettable). Sales: Constantin Film
War & Peace
With viewers binged-out on their latest serials, the miniseries — short, compact and completable — is back in fashion. Of the wave of new minis hitting MIP, this retelling of Leo Tolstoy's Russian classic is one of the best. Adapted by Sense and Sensibility screenwriter Andrew Davies and produced by the BBC and The Weinstein Co., the six-parter features a jaw-dropping cast including Paul Dano, Gillian Anderson, Lily James, James Norton, Jim Broadbent and Stephen Rea. Sales: BBC Worldwide/The Weinstein Co.
A reboot of a different kind, this series of three 90-minute TV movies is inspired by the Winnetou Euro Westerns of the 1960s and '70s, cult hits across the continent. German giant RTL is backing the return of Apache chief Winnetou and his white blood brother Old Shatterhand with an A-list of German cinema talent behind the camera, including The Physician director Phillip Stoelzl and Suck Me Shakespeer producer Christian Becker. Sales: Beta Film
With The Muppets, Heroes Reborn and David Lynch's revived Twin Peaks, all that is old TV is new again. But Fox's X-Files arguably is the reboot generating the most excitement among fans and networks worldwide — with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson returning for a six-episode, single-story arc as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Sales: 20th Century Fox Television Distribution