HBO Asia Unveils Five New Originals

HBO Asia CEO Jonathan Spink - Getty H 2016
Courtesy of Getty Images

The company also confirmed that two of its earlier Asian originals — action series 'Half Worlds' and fantasy drama 'The Teenage Psychic' — will be made available on HBO in the U.S. this month.

HBO is ramping up its original content output in Asia.

The Time Warner unit's regional subsidiary, HBO Asia, on Thursday unveiled two new original films and three original series in Singapore, while also announcing a second season for The Teenage Psychic, its Taiwanese fantasy drama series about a high-school girl who can see ghosts.

HBO Asia CEO Jonathan Spink also confirmed that Teenage Psychic and Halfworlds, a dark fantasy action series set in Bangkok, are being picked up by HBO's U.S. flagship channel for North America later this month after HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler had said in October that the company would be bringing the best of its global series to American viewers. 

“With its richness in culture and histories, Asia is a great source of stories, which make for appealing content locally as well as globally," Spink said. "We are excited that as a start, two of our HBO Asian originals will be available to audiences in the U.S."

HBO Asia is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner's HBO and reaches 23 territories across Asia with six 24-hour subscription movie channels, as well as an internet streaming video platform and SVOD service.

Among the most high-profile of the new Asian originals unveiled Thursday is Folklore, a six-episode hourlong horror anthology series that takes place across multiple Asian countries including Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Each episode will be based on the given country's local superstitions and myths. Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo is the show's creator and showrunner, and he will direct the Singapore installment. Other top regional directors will helm the episodes for their home country. They include: Joko Anwar (Indonesia), Ho Yuhang (Malaysia), Lee Sang-Woo (Korea), Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Thailand) and Takumi Saitoh (Japan).

HBO Asia also has partnered with Hulu Japan to produce Miss Sherlock, its first Japanese-language drama, which will be an eight-part, hourlong series. Set to premiere across 20 Asian countries in April, the show pays homage to the classic by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, but with bold interpretations of the key characters as Japanese women. See the first trailer here

The third new series is Grisse, an eight-part, hourlong period-drama series set in the mid-1800s within the colonial period of the Dutch East Indies. With showrunner Mike Wiluan in charge, the series follows a group of unlikely individuals who lead a rebellion against a brutal governor and suddenly find themselves in control of a Dutch garrison town called Grisse.

The two films announced are the next installments in HBO Asia's running martial-arts movie series partnership with China's CCTV6. Each telepic in the series features a saga about a different legendary Chinese martial arts master. The two new movies are Master of the White Crane Fist: Wong Yan-Lam and Master of the Nine Dragon Fist: Wong Ching-Ho, with the former directed by Guo Jian-yong and the later helmed by Si Xiao-dong.

Added Spink: "By harnessing the full potential of talent and production infrastructure [Asia] has to offer, we are well-positioned to create premium, authentic and relevant content for our audiences in the region, many of which have been recognized for various creative and performance awards.”