Netflix previewed looks at its first German, Spanish and Italian original series at an event in Berlin on Wednesday, unveiling the flagship productions behind what the streaming giant hopes will be a major expansion across the continent.
The three series —the German thriller Dark, the Italian mafia drama Suburra and period romancer Cable Girls from Spain —mark the first Netflix original series made in their respective territories.
The series have little in common other than their impressive pedigrees. Dark comes from acclaimed Swiss director Baran bo Odar (Sleepless, Who Am I?) and the producers of Oscar winner The Lives of Others. Suburra is being produced by Italian group Cattleya, which produced Sky Italia’s hit Gomorrah. Cable Girls is the latest from Spain’s Bambu, which delivered hit Spanish melodramas Velvet and Gran Hotel.
The producers and directors of all three series praised the creative freedom they felt with Netflix, compared with most European series.
“We had absolute creative freedom,” said Bo Odar. “We could cast whoever we wanted, the actors who fit best for the role. Netflix gave us a budget and a couple of notes and let us do it.”
Watch the first teaser trailer of Dark (in Germany) below.
“The characters that we play are more credible as human beings,” said Filippo Nigro, one of the stars of Suburra. “My character in Suburra is tougher than would have normally been possible in Italian TV.”
Suburra, a prequel to the hit Italian film from 2015, which looks at the ties between mafia crime families, Italian politicians and the all-powerful Catholic Church, is being produced together with Italian public broadcaster RAI. The Italian network will carry the show after it goes out on Netflix worldwide.
“RAI has embraced this new type of storytelling they have been very enthusiastic partners,” said Suburra producer Gina Gardini.
But for Netflix, Cable Girls is probably the biggest jump. The period melodrama, set in Madrid circa 1928, follows four very different young woman who get work as “cable girls,” for the national telephone company, the only place that represents progress and modernity for women at the time.
“What I think we can offer Netflix is a story that is mainly directed at woman,” said Cable Girls producer and showrunner Teresa Fernandez-Valdes. “Although it isn’t just the female audience we are targetting, but women, strong women, are the protagonists of the series.”
The first 16-episode season of Cable Girls will be released in two batches of eight episodes each, starting April 28, on Netflix worldwide.