You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Deutschland83’ Renewed for Season 2 on SundanceTV and Amazon

The Cold War will rage anew on SundanceTV now that the cabler and FremantleMedia International have set a deal for season two of period drama “Deutschland83.”

The German-language drama set in 1983 bowed last year on SundanceTV to generally rave reviews and a small but devoted audience. Creators Anna and Joerg Winger envision the political thriller running three seasons, taking viewers up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The series stars Jonas Nay as an earnest East German soldier who is reluctantly recruited to go undercover in West Berlin as a spy for the Stasi. “Deutschland86” will jump three years into 1986, when Nay’s Martin Rauch is sent off to Africa to fight in the last gasp of combat waged in the name of Communism, in Angola.

“Deutschland83,” which earned a Peabody Award, debuted with much fanfare last year on German broadcaster RTL. The show garnered generally strong reviews but the ratings were a disappointment. The second season has been picked up for Germany by Amazon as one of its first original German-language original series.

The shift of the show from RTL to Amazon was one of the factors that complicated the dealmaking for the second season. SundanceTV is a co-producer of the show with UFA Fiction, Amazon and FremantleMedia International. UFA, Fremantle and RTL are all corporate siblings under the Bertelsmann umbrella. But it still took some time to work out the details of a second season.

“Deutschland86” will lense in Africa and Germany next summer and air once again with subtitles on SundanceTV in 2018 — three years after the first season aired in the U.S. Season two may run as long as 10 episodes, although the specifics are still being worked out. Joerg Winger, Sebastian Werninger and Ulrike Leibfried are producers with Anna Winger serving as head writer.

The 1986 period was a fraught time in Europe with terrorist activity in France and Germany and the ever-present concern about nuclear threats. By the time the Soviet Union intiated its “Perestroika” policy, East Germany was in desperate economic straits and nervous that the Soviets would soon abandon them.

“By 1986 East Germany was doing anything that was necessary to stay afloat,” Anna Winger said. The show will have a bigger budget and wider scope in season two, introducing more West German characters and some Americans in addition to the African storyline.

Winger notes that Russian president Vladimir Putin was an ambitious young agent working in East Germany for the Stasi around 1986. She hinted a character like Putin could find his way into “Deutschland86.”

“We love to play with history as metaphor,” Winger said. “There are a lot of interesting things to explore in this time.”

Winger said she has spoken to many current and former diplomats and foreign service workers in Germany and elsewhere who have shared “amazing” stories of the atmosphere in Berlin as the Soviet Union slowly but began to unravel.

Like the first season, “Deutschland86” will focus on what that experience was like from the eastern side of the Berlin Wall, as East Germans gradually lose faith in the ideology they had been raised to revere. Maria Schneider and other key cast members will return for the second installment.

Joerg Winger said “Deutschland83” stirred conversations in Germany about “the secret history behind the official history” of the then-divided country. “It made people also think about what may be going on now that we don’t know of yet but we’ll know about in 20 or 30 years,” he said.

For UFA Fiction, “Deutschland83” was a breakthrough in demonstrating that German producers could deliver high-end dramas that travel around the world. The franchise has been picked up by Channel 4 in the U.K. and Canal Plus in France, among other territories.

“‘Deutschland83’ opened a lot of gates for us,” Joerg Winger said.

More TV

  • Robert Walker Jr.

    'Star Trek' Actor Robert Walker Jr. Dies at 79

    Robert Walker Jr., son of actors Robert Walker and Jennifer Jones, died Thursday, his family confirmed to the official website for the television show “Star Trek.” He was 79. Walker Jr. is best remembered for playing the titular Charlie Evans in the “Star Trek” episode “Charlie X” from the show’s first season in 1966. His [...]

  • Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, right,

    TV Ratings: Why Is the NBA Shooting Air Balls?

    The NBA’s TV ratings so far this season have been far from all-star level. Viewership across ESPN, TNT and NBA TV is down 17% year-to-year overall, according to Nielsen figures. TNT’s coverage is averaging 1.3 million viewers through 14 telecasts, down 21% versus last year’s comparable coverage, while on ESPN the picture isn’t much prettier. The [...]

  • Claire Danes, Homeland

    TV News Roundup: Showtime Releases 'Homeland' Final Season Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Showtime drops the trailer for the final season of “Homeland,” and National Geographic reveals the first look at Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin in “Genius: Aretha.” FIRST LOOKS Showtime released the trailer for the final season of “Homeland,“ premiering Feb. 9. The eighth and final season, starring Claire Danes and [...]

  • 700700 + Ted Turner Dedication. December

    Ted Turner Tributes Established With WarnerMedia Gift to University of Georgia

    WarnerMedia has established a scholarship, internship program and exhibition hall at the University of Georgia to be named after maverick media mogul Ted Turner. The company has gifted $550,000 to the university to create the Ted Turner Scholarship Fund, for students attending the school’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is also the [...]

  • Claudia Eller, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Variety and Peter

    Peter Chernin: 'There's No Reason Hulu Shouldn't Be Netflix Today'

    The Chernin Group head and former News Corp. exec Peter Chernin believes that Hulu, not Netflix, should’ve been the dominant streaming platform of the modern era, blaming Fox and NBC for diminishing the streaming service he helped launch in 2007 in a joint venture with then-NBCUniversal chief Jeff Zucker. “The day we both left [around [...]

  • Golden Globes nominations predictions

    Golden Globes 2020 Predictions: What Movies and TV Shows Might Nab Nominations?

    Awards season kicks into higher gear on Monday, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announces nominations for its 2020 Golden Globe Awards, which cover the 2019 calendar year. Noms will give certain films momentum heading into the Oscar race, while it’s the first opportunity for many TV series to earn awards acclaim before competing for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content