In Netflix’s See What’s Next showcase, CEO Reed Hastings gave his opening remarks about his company’s history and where it is heading in the future. Obviously, in this interconnected age, it would make sense for the online streaming giant to invest into talent all around the world. Citing India’s Sacred Games and Korea’s Busted! as examples, it goes to show that a show by any other language, as long as it carries with it a good story, can cross borders and appeal viewers halfway around the globe.
Along with its announcement of 17 new original shows from Asia, the showcase also boasts appearances by Robin Wright, star of House of Cards; Diego Luna and Michael Peña from Narcos: Mexico and Andy Serkis from Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, among others. Here are some of the highlights.
More Asian productions
Netflix is casting its lot into creating original content in Asia. With shows like Kingdom (think zombies during the Joseon period) and Leila (based on a novel by Prayaag Akbar) in production, we might see something Singaporean in the pipeline.
Among its upcoming anime releases, Taito Okiura, Director of International Originals, in the Anime division, reveals two of them—Pacific Rim and Altered Carbon—will expand on the universes of the original live versions. An anime-version of Pacific Rim should be old hat, given the topic in Japan’s animation history (KAIJUS! DESTROYED CITIES! GIANT ROBOTS!)
Heat has a hand in Narcos: Mexico
In a panel discussion with actors Diego Luna, Michael Peña and producer, Eric Newman, moderator Adrian Pang mentioned that with Luna and Peña’s characters being such polar opposites, their interaction reminds him of the restaurant scene in Heat. Newman chimed in, saying that Heat was one of the inspiration.
Fun fact: a woman next to me actually swooned audibly when the camera cut to Diego Luna’s mug.
Netflix knows you as well as you know yourself
Vice-President of Product, Todd Yellin, explains about how Netflix caters itself to make it more personable to the user. With enticing stills and recommendations derived from algorithms, Yellin reveals the some of the tricks of the trade to personalise the experiences for members.
Robin Wright putting aside acting for directing.
The final season of House of Cards might be the last you’ll see of Robin Wright’s acting chops. After the abrupt egress of her co-star, Kevin Spacey, Wright carried the latest season and bringing it to its destined end. Wright directed the final episode of season six and revealed the challenges like no using the colour red in the scene, one of the many visual directions laid out by executive producer and director David Fincher.
The Umbrella Academy is as weird as the comic books
Adapted from Gerard Way’s (yes, that Gerard Way) comic books of the same name, the series follows the reunion of the Hargreeves children after their father died. Add in two contract killers in cartoon animal masks, chips on shoulders and the prevention of the end of the world that will happen in eight days and you have a superhero series that you’ve never seen before.
The music-less Jungle Book
Does the lack of music numbers dissuade you from watching a Kipling classic? If so, that’s a shame because in this adaptation by Andy Serkis, who directed and acted in it, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle demonstrates a humanness to the animals thanks to the motion-capture performance. This is a darker and more realistic take of The Jungle Book, where it addresses colonialism and the intrusion of man.