When Netflix made the switch from mailing DVDs to streaming, there were many naysayers that thought it would never succeed. In a few years, in turn, it has become a global phenomenon available in all but a handful of countries, with tens of millions of paying customers, and countless original movies and series that have become the talk of the trade. Of course, others were quick to follow suit: in the last couple of years, we’ve seen the number of streaming services explode. And with them, we’ve also seen an explosion of original content.
Today, every single streaming service has the exclusivity for a few major works. Apple has The Foundation, Peacock has Brave New World, and HBO Max has several great pieces of content of its own, like Westworld and the recently launched Raised by Wolves. And more of them are coming. Many of them are pretty standard – sitcoms, dramas, romcoms, and their likes. Some of them, in turn, stand out of the crowd because of the source material or the ideas they adapt.
Code 8 (Quibi)
Quibi, one of the youngest streaming services out there, has chosen a screen that most other providers ignore. Its content is built to fit the smartphones’ screen, and the smartphone users’ attention span: its episodes are 10 minutes long. This doesn’t make their series any less enjoyable, of course.
One of their most interesting projects is a series based on the 2016 short film released by Robbie and Stephen Amell (of Arrow fame) called Code 8 – or rather the feature film that was born as its result.
In an alternate reality, people with superpowers are not heroes – they are marginalized, second-class citizens on the outskirts of society. Connor (Robbie Amell), a desperate young man trying to raise money for his mother’s treatment gets involved in a world of crime thanks to Garrett (Stephen Amell), involved in the trade of a dangerous and addictive drug called Psyke, made from the spinal fluid of people with superhuman abilities.
The yet-untitled spinoff series based on the movie, starring the Amell brothers, is headed to Quibi. Chris Pare will write, and Jeff Chan will direct.
Time Bandits (Apple TV+)
Terry Gilliam has given us many high-profile stories to follow, first as part of the legendary Monty Python team, and later as an acclaimed director who has signed titles ranging from Brazil to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. One of his oft-ignored movies is the fantasy adventure Time Bandits released in 1981 – seemingly a children’s movie with an all-star cast including Sean Connery, John Cleese, Ian Holm, and many others. And now it will be revived as a streaming series thanks to Apple TV+.
Time Bandits tells the story of Kevin, a kid fascinated by history with a vivid imagination who gets mixed up in a gang of dwarves committing petty crime across time and space. He joins them on their quest, meeting personalities like King Agamemnon of Greece, Napoleon, Robin Hood, various mythical creatures, and even ending up on a brief visit onboard the HMS Titanic.
The Time Bandits will return in the near future with Terry Gilliam in a non-writing production role, and Taika Waititi in the director’s chair – for the pilot episode, that is.
Jade City (Peacock)
American streaming service Peacock – by NBCUniversal – already has a few interesting titles to keep an eye on, including the drama spinoff of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the reboot of the reboot of the Battlestar Galactica series, and the true-crime series Dr Death, to name just a few. But by far one of its most interesting upcoming titles is the fantasy series “Jade City”.
Jade City, written by Canadian-American author Fonda Lee, has been described as “The Godfather with magic and kung fu”. It takes place in a fantasy world in conflict, with numerous clans – crime families – fighting to control Jade, a mineral that gives its wearer special abilities.
Jade City won the 2018 World Fantasy Award, the Aurora Award, and was a finalist for a Nebula and a Locus. It was inspired by wuxia and gangster films – it’s certainly a great combination that we can’t wait to see on the screen.
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