Netflix Takes German Series 'Babylon Berlin' for U.S.

Babylon Berlin
Tom Tykwer

Tom Tykwer's hotly anticipated period drama, set in 1920s Berlin, premieres later this year.

Netflix has snapped up German period drama Babylon Berlin, one of Europe's most hotly anticipated new TV series, securing U.S. rights for the show from Run Lola Run and Cloud Atlas director Tom Tykwer.

Based on a series of novels by German writer Volker Kutscher, the Raymond Chandler-esque crime story follows German detective Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch), who is sent to Berlin to investigate a porn ring run by the Russian mafia. The period epic — with a reported budget of $45 million, Babylon Berlin is the most expensive German-language TV series in history — is set against the social and political upheaval of Germany in 1929, when the world’s most modern and progressive society is threatened by rising right-wing extremism and a world economy teetering on the brink.

The sale to Netflix was first reported Friday by the German trade publication

German public broadcaster ARD, pay-TV group Sky Deutschland and producer/sales agent Beta Film gave a two-season, 16-episode order for the show, which Tykwer, together with directors Achim von Borries and Henk Handloegten, co-wrote and co-directed.

Sky Deutschland and sister channels Sky U.K. and Sky Italia will premiere the series in Germany, Austria, Italy, the U.K. and Ireland on Oct. 13. Netflix is expected to release Babylon Berlin in the U.S. close to its German debut. ARD will wait a year before airing it on German free TV.

Beta Film, which is selling the series worldwide, declined to comment. Netflix has not yet responded to The Hollywood Reporter's request for comment.

While Babylon Berlin will likely be branded a “Netflix Original” in the U.S., it will air on multiple networks in Europe, including Scandinavian public broadcasters SVT, DR and NVT, Spain's pay-TV platform Moviestar+/Telefonica and Belgium's Telenet.