Netflix Boosts German Output With 5 New Series

Dark Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix's new German shows cut across genres, including a pair of contemporary crime drama, a sci-fi dystopia set in a post-apocalyptic Europe, a period epic from 9 A.D. and a family miniseries about Christmas.

Netflix is upping its output of German-language series, ordering five new German shows for its global streaming service.

Currently, Netflix has a single in-house German drama, the hit mystery series Dark, which is entering its second season. On Dec. 7 the streamer will bow Dogs of Berlin, a cop series from showrunner Christian Alvart. Earlier this year, Netflix announced its third German project, The Wave, a drama based on the hit German film from 2008. The streaming giant also carries several high-profile German series on its service outside German-speaking territories, including the 1920s period drama Babylon Berlin and the upcoming crime drama Parfume, inspired by the best-selling book and 2006 film.

But at the Munich Media Days industry event on Thursday, Kelly Luegenbiehl, Netflix's vp for original series, announced a handful of new German series, ranging in genres from epic period tales to dystopian science fiction.

They include Tribes of Europe, a sci-fi saga from Philip Koch produced by Wiedemann & Berg Television (4 Blocks); The Barbarians, a period epic tracing the battle between the Roman Empire and Germanic warriors in the first century A.D., created by Arne Nolting, Jan-Martin Scharf and Andreas Heckmann and produced by Gaumount (Narcos); Skylines, a drama set in Frankfurst, where the worlds of high-finance, organized crime and German hip-hop collide, created by Dennis Schanz and produced by Komplizen Film (Toni Erdmann) and StickUp Films (Fado); Don’t try this at home, created by Philipp Kassbohrer, Sebastian Colley and Stefan Titze and produced by Kassbohrer and Matthias Murmann (Kroymann), in which two teens launch Europe's largest online drug business from their bedrooms; and an untitled miniseries set during the Christmas holidays and revolving around four generations of a single family, created by Katharina Eyssen and produced by Eyssen and Sommerhaus Film (In the Aisles).

“At Netflix, we want to tell local stories with global appeal,” said Luegenbiehl. “We are excited to have found this in these five projects, which — each in their unique way — are both undeniably German and at the same time tell stories that are relevant to viewers all over the world.”

Netflix scored a breakout hit with Dark, its first German-language series. The first season, which launched in 2017, scored an impressive 86 percent score among critics, and 92 percent among viewers, on Netflix signed Dark creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar to an exclusive multiple-year overall deal to create new series for them, the first such agreement in Europe.

With its new German projects, Netflix is again working with established German TV and film veterans. Wiedemann & Berg produce the hit gangster series 4 Blocks. Komplizen Film, who will be making their TV debut with Skylines, are best-known for award-worthy films like Toni Erdmann and A Fantastic Woman.

The drama boost comes as Netflix is ramping up production across Europe ahead of new quotas that will require all streaming companies operating in the region to devote at least 30 percent of their online catalogues to European films and TV shows. Netflix has criticized the quota but is now resigned to it and has increased production in Spain, France and now Germany in order to meet the 30 percent mark.