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To little surprise, Apple has solidified the future of one of the year’s most critically praised dramas.
The tech giant/streamer has handed out a second-season renewal for Pachinko, the series based on Min Jin Lee’s best-selling novel of the same name. The pickup comes as season one of the series from creator Soo Hugh debuts its finale Friday.
Pachinko, which had a four-year process to the screen, currently has an impressive 98 percent rating among critics cand 95 percent score with viewers on Rotten Tomatoes. In his review, THR chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg called the series an “ambitious and emotionally epic family saga.”
For her part, showrunner Hugh has repeatedly stressed that she has a larger plan for four seasons of eight episodes each to tell the multigenerational story. Hugh told THR’s TV’s Top 5 podcast ahead of Pachinko’s March debut that each cycle would include “a departure every season that examines one crucial historical point in that story each season” and that each batch of eight episodes will reflect a season of the year, with the sophomore run expected to take place in the spring.
Author Lee, it’s worth noting, was originally attached to the Pachinko series as an exec producer but wasn’t creatively involved with the show.
Pachinko landed at Apple in late 2018 with a sizable script-to-series commitment following a massive bidding war. Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res won the rights to Lee’s book and with Hugh, pitched the show around town. As Hugh told TV’s Top 5, producers did “seven pitches in four days” and received bids from Netflix, HBO, FX, Amazon, Hulu and Showtime before landing at Apple thanks in large part to the connection the showrunner made with exec Michelle Lee. Exec producers include Hugh, Ellenberg and Media Res’ Lindsey Springer; Theresa Kang-Lowe for Blue Marble Pictures and Richard Middleton. Kogonada and Justin Chon directed four episodes each and exec produced.
“Words cannot express my joy in being able to continue telling the extraordinary story of this indomitable family,” Hugh said. “I’m grateful to the amazing team at Apple and Media Res studio for believing and supporting this show and to our passionate fans who have cheered us on. It’s an honor to be able to continue working with this amazing cast and crew.”
Yuh-Jung Youn, Lee Minho, Jin Ha, Minha Kim, Anna Sawai, Eunchae Jung, Inji Jeong, Jimmi Simpson, Junwoo Han, Kaho Minami, Steve Sanghyun Noh, Soji Arai and Yuna star in the series that is told in Korean, Japanese and English.
Hugh, meanwhile, also has Apple’s The White Darkness starring Tom Hiddleston set at Apple alongside former WME agent Kang-Lowe.
Pachinko is one of three series that Ellenberg’s Media Res produces for Apple, joining The Morning Show and anthology Extrapolations from Scott Z. Burns.
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