Home Entertainment MipTV, Canneseries 2024: 20+ Shows You Don’t Want to Miss

MipTV, Canneseries 2024: 20+ Shows You Don’t Want to Miss

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Cannes TV trade fair MipTV may be its most boutique in recent years, but shows are coming onto the market – or screened at the parallel Canneseries TV festival which begins Friday –  that will whet buyers’ appetites. Some roll of buzz from the London TV Screenings or Series Mania. Others are completely fresh, or pretty much off the radar. 

To help you cut through the slates, here’s Variety’s picks of 20-plus shows: 

“The Americas,” (NBCU, BBC Studios)

Narrated by Tom Hanks, his first unscripted narrator gig, and billed as an epic natural history series from “Planet Earth” producer BBC Studios Natural History Unit in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio. Scored by two-time Oscar winner Hans Zimmer and using groundbreaking technology to reveal the continent’s natural wonders. Previewed at MipTV, just how that worked will be unveiled at a fireside chat with NBCU’s Toby Gorman, president of Universal Television Alternative Studio and BBC Studios Natural History Unit’s Mike Gunton and Holly Spearing. JH

“Becoming Karl Lagerfeld,” (Disney+)

White ponytail, black sunglasses, fingerless gloves and a cat named Choupette – this iconic German designer – and Chanel’s creative director until his death in 2019 – needs no introduction. Still, we already got to know “Coco Before Chanel.” Now, it’s time for Karl before Lagerfeld. And for Daniel Brühl (“The Alienist”) to deliver the chicest performance of his entire career as he dives right into the 1970s: when Karl, still unknown, romances Jacques de Bascher and clashes with Yves Saint Laurent. Written by Isaure Pisani-Ferry, Dominique Baumard, Jennifer Have and Nathalie Hertzberg, it’s adapted from best-selling biography by Raphaëlle Bacqué, detailing the life of a man who believed that “sweatpants are a sign of defeat.” French major studio Gaumont produces for Disney+. One of Canneseries’ big out-of-competition titles. MB

“Bloody Game,” (Banijay)

 There is no need to worry, even despite that violent title – in a new Korean format from MBC, one person will walk away with a grand cash prize. To win, however, they must first beat their competitors, who live together in a secret house, and face a series of challenges with no contact from the outside world. At all. To avoid elimination, the contestants use tactics, form unlikely alliances and engage in player-to-player conspiracies. When evicted, they are sent to a secret room where they have to stay for the remainder of the game. That is, unless they manage to return upstairs for the “Bloody Game” to continue. The show, which debuted on TV2 Norway earlier this year, has already been granted a second season. MB

Bloody Game
Courtesy of Banijay

“Couple Palace,” (CJ ENM) 

I pronounce you husband and wife… Not so fast. In a new dating show – with a survival-style twist – hopeful singles need to go through a few hurdles first. Developed by Sun Young Lee, creator of “I Can See Your Voice,” and boasting a record-breaking number of participants in a dating show, it will see 50 men and 50 women hopping onto “Speed Train” and – if successful after a quick series of dates – getting to spend a “Palace Week” together. Before the “Final Proposal,” they have to figure out what they are willing to ignore in a potential partner: financial status, or maybe physical appearance? The stakes are high. As promised by its makers, “Couple Palace” “is not a place to date. It’s a place exclusively for marriage.” MB   

“Ctrl+Alt+Desire,” (Paramount+)

Bowing April 16 on Paramount+, a three-part docuseries  exposing the case of Grant Amato, 29, accused of murdering his own family execution style at their Florida home after falling in love with Silvie, an online cam-model world. Directed by Colin Archdeacon, after years of investigation. “I chose this story because I wanted to make a project that explores the way technology and loneliness are reshaping society,” Archdeacon told Variety. “What fascinated me about Grant’s case is that he reached a point-of-no-return, where his digital identity became more fulfilling — more real  — than his actual life,” he added. JH

“Destination X,” (BBC-NBC)

Co-commissioned by the BBC and NBCU as part of their international formats pact and designed as their weekly water cooler replacement for “The Traitors.” An event reality adventure show, it sees 10 contestants driven around different European destinations on a bus with blacked-out windows, and fed endless red-herrings and a few clues to guess their location. “‘The Traitors’ instilled confidence that big formats are back, and ‘Destination X’ is incredibly ambitious,” says NBCUniversal Television and Streaming’s Corie Henson. NBCU’s Ed Harvard and BBC’s Syeda Irtizaali present at MipTV. JH

“Dreams of Freedom,” (“Sueños de libertad,” Atresmedia TV)

One of the Spain’s big fiction swings of 2024 from the broadcaster behind “Money Heist,” “Locked Up” and “Velvet” made moreover along the growth axis of premium daily series. Set in 1958 Spain as Begoña Montes, trapped in a toxic marriage, yearns for freedom as the country begins its long modernisation. Produced by Banijay’s Diagonal TV, a specialist in long-running period soaps, such as Atresmedia’s “Amar para Siempre,” aired over 2013-2024. Taking into account “contemporary issues such as machista violence, psychological abuse, feminine fortitude and solidarity,” says Montse García, Atresmedia TV fiction director, “Dreams” bowed with a 14.1% primetime share, the best fiction premiere in Spain in the last two years, with a 14.3% share for Ep. 20. JH

Dreams of Freedom
Credit: Jose Alberto Puertas

“Dumbsday,” (NRK) 

We all know that zombies are dangerous, but what happens when they are also… not that smart? Creators Marit Støre Valeur, Erlend Westnes and Christopher Pahle apparently know the answer, showing a group of (not always that bright) strangers trying to save the planet from a virus that makes everyone stupid – so stupid, in fact, they die within hours. The problem is, they might not want the job that badly, instead wondering if they should call their enemies “zombidiots” or “dumbies.” And the virus is spreading fast. Full of dark humor, action and unlikely heroes in bucket hats, this Canneseries Competition entry is produced by Seefood TV. Sales by Primitives. MB

“The Extractors,” (Keshet International) 

Inspired by true events, this spy thriller tracks the activities of a covert Czech intelligence unit tasked with rescuing endangered citizens from abroad. Now, Leona and her team suspect two Czech women have been kidnapped when they disappear in Pakistan, triggering a high-stakes operation. Co-created by Lenka Szántó and Adam Dvorák, “The Extractors” was written by Jan Stehlík but, to ensure authenticity, the show’s creative team also included a former Czech spy and investigative journalist Jaroslav Kmenta. A VoYo Original, it was broadcast on Nova TV. Szántó said: “The real-life extractors are unknown Czech heroes, and this drama showcases all the tension, bravery, and dramatic moments that are their daily life.” MB

“Families Like Ours,” (Studiocanal)

If Oscar winner “Another Round” celebrated life, “Families Like Ours” asks what kind of life is worth living and delivers answers as Denmark is disappearing below the sea and evacuated. Vinterberg’s first series, a high-end seven-part saga shot across Europe, backed by Zentropa, Canal+ and Studiocanal, Convincingly realistic  – and in part unsettlingly familiar post-pandemic – in its portrait of catastrophe and how one a sprawling family is torn apart – but also an emotionally engrossing paean to young and family love and human resilience. Vinterberg gave his first interview on “Families Like Ours” to Variety in the run-up to MipTV, which sees the series fully launched. JH 

Families Like Ours
Credit: Sturla Brandth Grovlen

“Fallout,” (Prime Video)

Prime Video’s adaptation of the blockbuster video game franchise “Fallout” set 200 years after a nuclear apocalypse, starring Ella Purnell, Walton Goggins, Kyle MacLachlan, Xelia Mendes-Jones, and Aaron Moten. Premiered at Canneseries April 6, days before its April 12 Prime Video bow, with Purnell, MacLachlan and producer Jonathan Nolan in attendance, “Fallout” sees the descendant of survivors, Lucy, venture out in a post-nuclear wasteland, populated by weird and conspicuously violent monsters and cut-throat bandits. JH

“Franklin,” (Apple TV+)

“Franklin” reveals a little-known slice of history: how inventor Benjamin Franklin succeeded in bringing France into the American War of Independence, and thereby saving the U.S. before it had even come into existence. The show is a lively deep dive into Franklin’s life in France – showing how he sought to “seduce” one imperial power to defeat another. Led by a standout performance by Michael Douglas, the stellar cast ensures the show is never dry, and at times verges on being a light-hearted romp. However, at heart it is a thriller, full of intrigue and dark manoeuvring. LB

“The Gathering,” (ITV Studios)

World Productions is behind this six-episode show, broadcast on Channel 4, which tries to figure out what it really means to be today’s teenager – and a parent – ending up with a “twisting whodunnit.” Its protagonist, Kelly, inhabits two very different worlds. As an accomplished gymnast, she is often at odds with her teammates and their ambitious parents in the controlled environment of competitive sport. But she also likes to hang out with a reckless, free-spirited group of urban free runners. When Kelly is attacked during an outdoor rave, both groups of teens, along with their parents, give equal cause for suspicion. Written by Helen Walsh, it stars newcomer Eva Morgan and “Saltburn’s” Sadie Soverall. MB

“Hidden,” (The Other Room)

2007. The U.S. and Israel launches a devastating computer virus attack on Iran’s nuclear plant, shutting down its program. “The digital bomb would herald a new era where the difference between war and peace is no longer visible,” says a voiceover early in “Hidden.” Ep. 1 goes on to track Huib Modderkolk, a journalist at Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, who attempts to find out what happened to the Dutch secret agent who carried out the attack. Created and written by Mea Dols de Jong, a Variety 10 Euros to Watch alum, Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan, a four-part geo-political thriller doc series enrolling classic genres – detective/ thriller/neo-noir, says de Jong – to plum a new covert world of espionage, sabotage and disinformation. One of the buzz titles at Canneseries doc series competition. JH

“The Listeners,” (Fremantle) 

Cover your ears: Starring Rebecca Hall, this “enigmatic, provocative and haunting” psychological thriller introduces Claire, tormented by a sound no-one else can hear – including her doctors. Soon, her life becomes unbearable. Increasingly isolated from her family, she forms a bond with one of her students and is drawn towards a strange community, led by a charismatic couple, who can also hear “The Hum.” And who believe it’s actually a gift, not a terrible curse. Produced by Element Pictures, it’s set to broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, exploring “the seduction of the wild and unknowable, the human search for the transcendent, the rise of conspiracy culture in the West, and the desire for community and connection in our increasingly polarized times.” MB

“Living On a Razor’s Edge,” (“Betinho: No Fio da Navalha,” José Junior, Brazil)   

Created by Jose Junior (“Arcanjo Renegado”), a tender and some warts bio set under and after Brazil’s 1965-84 military dictatorship of Herbert de Souza, who emerged as one of Brazil’s leading AIDs and anti-poverty activists. Chosen for Berlinale Market Selects and now Canneseries competition, the Globoplay Original also marks the first full series directorial outing of actor Julio Andrade, famed for his lead role in “Under Pressure,” who here also plays de Souza. Andrade helms with panache and a broad gamut of styles, the tragedy-laced life of a man who, a victim of haemophilia and tuberculosis, just thinks he’s lucky to live. JH

Living On A Razor’s Edge
“Living On A Razor’s Edge” (Credit: Loiro Cunha)

“Lovers and Liars,” (All3Media International)

All3Media group company North One Productions has joined forces with Japan’s TBS on a brand new studio entertainment format. In each episode, a celebrity panel will try to identify the real married couple from the ones who are flat-out lying – and, in fact, have just met for the very first time on that same day. The pilot series – set to be showcased at the upcoming MipFormats – premiered in Japan on March 23. Shunsuke Fukaya, head of format development, commented: “Two companies with totally different TV cultures have collaborated without compromising on the content until we reached a consensus of ‘This sounds fun!’ Can the global audience spot true love?” MB

“Máxima,” (Beta Film) 

There is no escaping “The Crown,” although this time, it belongs to Dutch monarchs instead. Such as Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who falls for Argentine-born Máxima and asks her to marry him. Suddenly, she – and her father’s political past – are under the spotlight. Based on a story of a now current reigning queen, the show focuses on a woman who navigates strict rules of European court while trying to stay true to herself. Starring Delfina Chaves as Maxima, Martijn Lakemeier, Sebastian Koch and Elsie de Brauw, it’s produced by Millstreet Films, FBO and Beta Film. Written by Marnie Blok and Ilse Ott, it’s directed by Saskia Diesing, Joosje Duk and Iván López Núñez. MB

Maxima
Credit: Martjin van Gelder, Millstreet Films

“Money Shot,” (Federation Studios)

Sari is a porn star. Or rather, she used to be – she just got fired. Now in her 40s, she desperately needs to find a new job and… she succeeds, teaming up with wannabe director Linnea. Together, this unlikely pair quickly starts making their own porn – the kind other women would actually enjoy watching. “It’s a comedy about making feminist porn. It’s sweet and daring, and it makes you laugh. I’m not just saying that – I’m making a promise,” creator Jemina Jokisalo told Variety. Produced by Finland’s Solar Republic – and selected for Canneseries’ Short Form Competition – it features Pihla Viitala (“Deadwind,” “Arctic Circle”) and Reetta Ylä-Rautio. MB

Money Shot

“Moresnet,” (Newen Connect) 

With Leonie Benesch, fresh off Oscar-nominated “The Teachers’ Lounge,” this Belgian high-concept series – world premiering in Canneseries competition – promises many twists and turns. It all starts innocently enough: a man returns to his hometown after the passing of his estranged father. He starts meeting his childhood friends and they decide to dig up a time capsule they buried 22 years ago – on the same night when a tragic event changed their lives. In the box, there is an old diary of his mentally disturbed brother and a list: with their names and the dates of their deaths. Directed by Frank Van Passel, “Moresent” was written by Jef Hoogmartens. Produced by Caviar and Flare Film for Streamz and ZDF Neo.

“So Long, Marianne,” (Cineflix Rights)

The latest from Norwegian pubcaster NRK’s seemingly inexhaustible well of standout titles, the story of Leonard Cohen and the love of his life, Marianne Ilhen, whom he met on the Greek island of Hydros, and Cohen’s romantic tragedy: I have sacrificed love on the altars of fame,” as he once put in. A series with multiple fans at Series Mania, distinguished by its central performances – Alex Wolff (“Oppenheimer,” “A Quiet Place: Day One”) as Cohen and Thea Sofie Loch Næss (“The Last Kingdom”) as Ilhen – and Øystein Karlsen’s percipient showrunning. JH 

“This Is Not Sweden,” (Creators: Aina Clotet, Sergi Cameron, RTVE, 3Cat, Spain)

First fruit of a mega-grant system for higher-end Catalan-language series of international ambition and a pacesetting northern-southern European public broadcaster alliance driven by co-creator and star Aina Clotet. Mariana and Samuel join other aspiring young professionals in a chic-back-to-the-woods village outside Barcelona, to give the best to their young children. Tragedy leads Mariana to question prior certainties about Northern European role models and indeed parenting, as the series, a distinctive family dramedy with an indie air, builds with sense of menace to an unpredictable ending.

“The Zweiflers,” (ZDF Studios, Germany)

In Canneseries main competition and destined to be billed as a Jewish “Succession” set in contemporary Germany, with all the baggage that can bring to the table. An insiders’ track from David Hadda on three generations, led by patriarch and Holocaust survivor  Symcha Zwiefler, owner of Zweiflers, the family’s delicatessen business, whose past in Frankfurt’s red light district comes back to haut him; and Samuel, his grandson, caught by modernity: a son by British Caribbean girlfriend Saba and a growing sense of family legacy as he is challenged with taking Zweiflers into modern times. Another take on identity in a fast-changing world, studded with knowing detail, produced by Turbokultur for ARD Degeto Film and Hessischer Rundfunk (HR). JH

The Zweiflers
Credit: Elliott Kreyenberg

Leo Barraclough contributed to this article.