HBO’s pan-regional unit, HBO Asia, revealed three original shows that are set to air in 2018. They have also announced continuations of their Teenage Psychic series, as well as two more installments in their collection of Chinese-language martial arts TV movies.
The announcements came on Thursday, at Singapore’s Fullerton Hotel, across the bay from the Asia TV Forum and Singapore Media Festival events.
The newly announced shows are called Folklore, a 6-part anthology that takes place in multiple Asian territories; Grisse, an 8-hour drama series set in the 18th Century Dutch East Indies; and Miss Sherlock, an 8-part Japanese-language drama series, created with Hulu Japan.
Miss Sherlock, which is now in post-production, stars Yuko Takeguchi as the title role and is a modern interpretation of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories. Shihori Kanjiya plays Dr. Wato Tachibana, a reinterpretation of Holmes’s sidekick, Doctor Watson. The series will air in April 2018 on HBO’s streaming platform, HBO GO, HBO OnDemand, and simultaneously on Hulu in Japan.
Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia, stated:
“HBO has based much of its success on original shows, so it is great that we are doing something in our little way in Asia.”
The showrunner on Grisse is Singapore- and Indonesia-based producer Mike Wiluan, who has previously been involved in HBO Asia’s Dead Mine and Serangoon Road. While describing the show, Wiluan said:
“I’ve always admired the Western genre, especially Sergio Leone, who changed around all the tropes and made it much more exciting. Indonesia has such a rich history, including a colonial period, which has not fully been exploited on screen.”
The series will be shot in English. Wiluan is set to direct the first episode, with Australia’s Tony Tilse (Underbelly) directing most of the others.
Folklore involves well-known Singapore auteur Eric Khoo as showrunner. Episodes are created by Malaysia’s Ho Yuhang, Indonesia’s Joko Anwar (Season 1 of HBO Asia’s Halfworlds), Korea’s Lee Sang-woo, Japan’s Takumi Saitoh, and Thailand’s Pen-ek Ratanaruang.
Previously airing two of ten stories in the martial arts movie collection, HBO green-lighted Master of the Crane Fist: Wong Yan-Iam and Master of the Nine Dragon Fist: Wong Ching-Ho as the continuing third and fourth films. White Crane Fist is directed by Guo Jian-yong and Nine Dragon Fist is directed by Si Xiao-dong.
Teenage Psychic involves a woman born with the ability to see spirits and learning to use her powers to help others. It was awarded Best Mini-Series at the Golden Bell Awards. Season Two will see the return of actress Kuo Shu Yau and Taiwanese writer-director Chen Ho-yu.
The expanded roster of shows are the first new products unveiled since the appointment of Jessica Kam as head of original production. A former film and TV producer, Kam joined HBO some eight months ago. On her plan for the new shows, Kam shared:
“Our strategy is to expand into new genres and new countries of production, we don’t believe just in having writers sitting in Singapore. Instead, we can become more local and more authentic. We believe that different genres are better told in different places. For example, horror is very well told in South East Asia, China is very good at martial arts, Taiwan specializes in coming-of-age stories. Japan is pretty good at most things, especially suspense.”
How incredible does HBO Asia’s lineup look? Let us know your thoughts below!