It’s been just over six months since Deadline launched our fortnightly Global Breakouts strand, in which we shine a spotlight on the TV shows and films killing it in their local territories. We therefore thought it high time that we remind you of some of the prospective hits we’ve profiled over the past half-year. From a Sopranos-esque Israeli drama to a buzzy French action movie to the next big Dutch format, scroll on for the best of the 2023 Breakouts.
Our first Scandi drama of what we are sure will be many came from Denmark, where young filmmaker Kasper Møller Rask had followed the Coen Brothers’ lead by forging a crime series, with just a hint of irreverence, for local network DR. “I wanted to make a young person’s crime show for my 15-year-old self,” Rask told Deadline, before spotlighting how his show was anything but the next Stranger Things.
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Last King of the Cross (Australia)
Neighbours may have felt like the only Australian TV drama worth reading about last year but we wanted to go a bit higher end with our first series from the land of Oz. In stepped Last King of the Cross for Paramount+ Australia, a Godfather-esque crime thriller that has since sold to a wealth of territories and been recommissioned. “This was a real swing for the fences,” said EP Mark Fennessy of the Tim Roth-starrer. “It was never supposed to be ‘just another Australian drama’ and the intent was there from the beginning.”
Don’t Stop the Music (The Netherlands)
We visited The Netherlands, home of The Traitors and countless other hit unscripted shows, for our first format, Don’t Stop the Music. Inspired by hit FX comedy Dave, the show taps into buyers’ growing penchant for nostalgia formats, cleverly manipulating the sub-genre to both take advantage of one generation’s nostalgic memories while creating them for a younger one. “For me the eye-opening bit is just how tense the actual creative process is,” said Newen Connect’s Andrew Sime, who sold the show. Read about the process here.
East Side (Israel)
Over in Israel, we heard about East Side, a series set in one of the most contentious places on Earth, East Jerusalem. The area is arguably the most famous symbol of the Israel-Palestine conflict and a religious site for Jews, Muslims and Christians. However, creator Yael Rubinstein-Nitsan pulled off the remarkable task of creating a drama series that uses the volatile backdrop as a palette, not a propeller for a story about a conflicted father working as a go-between in the ‘Holy Basin’s ethically local real estate market to provide for his autistic teenage daughter. Rubinstein-Nitsan described the setting as as “[a]n amazing world — ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse, set on top of a political gunpowder barrel.” The Abot Hamieri-produced series will return for a second season, and Netflix Israel now offers the first following a deal with commissioning network Kan 11.
Taaza Khabar (India)
Taaza Khabar provided Disney+ Hotstar with an early year hit when it launched on January 6. The drama series, flecked with comedy by creators Bhuvan Bam and Rohit Raj, had shades of The Invention of Lying and Slumdog Millionaire as the story of a down-and-out sanitation worker who realises he can predict the future, and uses it to turn his around. Needless to say, the effects aren’t always expected. Coming from a creative team who cut their teeth making YouTube shows, music, color and dark humor are packed into the series, which straddles the drama-comedy border. Creator and star Bhuvan, while in character, even asks the question: “Is this a rain of good fortune or is fate taking a piss on me?” Read on and find out.
Last but not least we featured Xavier Gens’ Thailand-set fight-fest Farang, which showed indie French action movies can still hold their own. The feature blended the stylings of director Gens with UK action designer Jude Poyer, who first met on the set of Sky Atlantic and AMC crime thriller series Gangs of London. It follows Sam, former kickbox champion Nassim Lyes, a prisoner forced on the run when his past violently catches up with him while on day-release. Five years later, in an idyllic safe haven in Thailand, Sam runs into trouble when he encounters a local crime boss, leading to a revenge plot and spectacular action scenes. One critic described Sam as the “French John Wick”, while another proclaimed the film “an excellent French-style The Raid.”
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