The Fresh TV sessions have become among the most eagerly anticipated at MIPTV and MIPCOM, as Virginia Mouseler of The WIT presents the latest new shows from around the world. The Grand Auditorium was thus unsurprisingly packed for this afternoon’s Fresh TV Fiction session.
Here’s our blow-by-blow account of the dramas that were shown off, starting with some dramas focusing on missing children – “The Broadchurch syndrome,” as Mouseler put it.
Under Suspicion (Spain/BetaFilm)
The story of a young girl who goes missing on the day of her first communion in a small village, with the police only sure of one thing: the person who took her was at the party. Judging from the teaser, pretty much every adult has something to hide.
Jordskott (Sweden/ITV SGE)
This sees a child disappearing in a small Swedish town – the same town the female investigator’s own daughter disappeared in seven years ago, so she returns convinced it’s the same perpetrator. Broadchurch meets supernatural themes, and very creepy with it.
Next theme: drugs, politics and corruption. “Of course, this is a topic that has been developed in Latin America, and that has made Colombian telenovellas international,” said Mouseler, noting that the latest wave of “super-series” are more action-packed, shorter – 50-60 episodes rather than the familiar 100+ – and more male-oriented.
Shot of Grace (USA, Colombia/Caracol, Televisa)
A very complex story that develops over 56 episodes about an obscure actor asked to play the role of a powerful drug lord who pretends to turn himself in to the authorities – while his young daughter requires surgery for a brain tumour.
Masters of Paradise (USA, Chile/Telemundo Intl)
Another 60-episode super-series about Anastasia, the widow of a well-known Mexican drug lord, who moves to Miami. She teams up with two local cocaine traffickers in a story based on real-life events in the 1980s.
1992 (Italy, UK, Germany, Austria/BetaFilm)
This is described as “The Italian House of Cards”, telling the tale of six individuals involved in a political corruption investigation nicknamed ‘Tangentopoli’ in Milan in 1992. Each episode covers one month in that year.
The next trend was “books to TV”. “It’s a traditional source for a TV series… in 2014, 5% of the new series launched around the world were based on a scripted format, whereas 9% of the new drama series were based on books,” said Mouseler. Melodramas, dark crime novels and historical novels are all to the fore.
Wolf Hall (UK/BBC Worldwide)
Based on Hilary Mantel’s pair of novels telling the story of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power, this was a big hit on BBC 2 in the UK earlier this year. Its historical machinations (and the odd burning or beheading) kept viewers rapt.
Poldark (UK/ITV SGE)
Another costume drama about a British man returning to Cornwall after the American revolutionary war, encountering love, conflict and a nation of viewers eager to see him with his shirt off.
The Enfield Haunting (UK/eOne Television)
Based on a book that was itself based on a true story: in 1977, an 11 year-old girl is terrorised by paranormal activity in every room in the house. “Based on a sequence of actual recorded events,” as the trailer points out.
On to some dramas that are crossing international boundaries with “country agnosticism” – the idea that “good stories have no homeland” according to Mouseler.
Deutschland 83 (Germany/FremantleMedia Intl)
A young spy from East Germany is sent to the west to discover NATO’s military plans, living a new life undercover: “Every friend is a potential enemy; every enemy a possible asset,” over eight episodes.
The Bureau (France/Federation Entertainment)
Dubbed “the French Homeland” as an intelligence agent comes back from Syria after a clandestine mission, and has to fit back into normal life – with all the tension that Homeland has taught us that this entails.
Spotless (France/Studio Canal)
This drama was shot in English with French actors by a German producer, with a London location. It’s about a man who runs a small crime-scene cleaning business. Key snatch of dialogue: “What is that, cement?” “Brain matter”.
Rabia (Spain/Mediaset Espana)
Illegally cloned vital organs are being secretly used for transplants in this series with a new virus causing behaviour disorders in some recipients, who are ejected from society and hunted down, while they desperately try to cure themselves. There’s a lot of shooting, stabbing and neck-wrenching, judging from the trailer.
The Department of Time (Spain/Onza Distribution)
A “time protection” ministry created in the Middle Ages forms the setting for this show: they are able to travel forwards in time to the present day – and, indeed, to the time of the Nazis in Germany, in the trailer.
The Only One (Portugal/Onza Distribution)
Shot in Africa, this is a drama about a young mixed-race woman from Angola and a Caucasian man who fall in love, but then face numerous obstacles to their relationship – including their families. “Nothing is impossible, until it happens,” as the voiceover put it.
Acquitted (Norway/FremantleMedia Intl.)
This psychological thriller has been a huge success on TV2 in Norway: the story of a man who left his native town after being cleared of a murder, then comes back 20 years later – and causes quite the kerfuffle among all the people who haven’t forgotten.
Occupied (Norway/Zodiak Rights)
Labelled as a sci-fi thriller, this mixes Nordic noir and near-future science fiction, when Russia stages a “silk-glove” occupation of Norway over oil production – and its role in the climate crisis.
Replacements (Finland/Federal Entertainment)
This is a Finnish drama about genetics and cloning, challenging audiences to think about how far they’d go to save someone’s life – and the ethical issues around cloning human beings.
A drama about five young people chasing a thief who follow him to Chernobyl, where “everything becomes stranger and stranger” as what starts as a road movie becomes a mystical thriller – and then a disaster movie.