One of Spain’s best-known TV showrunners, Javier Olivares has kicked-off a new stage in his professional career, inking an exclusive deal with TV giant Mediapro’s production house Globomedia to develop new TV fiction projects.
Olivares was the showrunner on pubcaster RTVE’s La 1 TV drama “Isabel,” one of the biggest Spanish fiction hits in recent times, in terms of both local TV audiences and international sales, and co-created with his late brother Pablo “The Department of Time,” a cult sci-fi series produced for RTVE, whose third season was co-financed by Netflix.
At the Mediapro Group, Olivares is joining a creative team which has been strongly reinforced, encompassing “Homeland”-creator Ran Telem as head of international development and Burman Office’s Daniel Burman, the creator, among other, of “Edha,” Netflix’s first Argentine original TV drama.
“Both my brother Pablo [who died in 2014] and I have worked on very popular series, think ‘The Serranos and ‘Paco’s Men,’ but we have always tended to do auteur series. Creating ‘Infidels’ for Catalan pubcaster TV3 or ‘Isabel’ and ‘The Department of Time’ for RTVE, we tried to make a kind of public TV that reminded us of the BBC,” Olivares said.
“There is a division between free-to-air TV and pay TV dramas, but BBC makes a midway product, which would be considered as pay TV in the U.S., but in the U.K., as the Nordic Noir in the Danish and Swedish TV, it is perceived as free-to-air TV product. This marks a model to follow,” he said.
Olivares added: “My obligation is to comply with my way of doing series, following the creative line of the series that I’ve made. I try to make series as entertaining as possible, targeting an intelligent TV audience. For example, BBC dramas talk about societal problems but at the same time they entertain to the fullest.”
However, fiction has different features in every country. “In the case of Spain ,we can not forget our cinema and TV roots: In film, the movies from Luis García Berlanga and the films of the ’50s; on TV, the golden age of TVE fiction, with series like ‘Historias para no dormir,’ ‘Curro Jiménez’ and ‘Los gozos y las sombras,’ …mystery, adventure, drama… we have models and it’s time to remember our origins with pride when competing with what is produced outside.”
Olivares returns to a TV production house he knows well, having worked there for years as writer. The bar has been put high: Globomedia is responsible for recent or current primetime hits at top Spanish free-to-air TV broadcasters, including Atresmedia’s “Locked Up”, RTVE’s “I Am Alive” and Mediaset España’s “The Accident.”
In terms of Spanish TV fiction trends, Olivares enthuses about the potential for observes for fantastic genre and thinks that Spain has still to treat issues not addressed to date, such as political stories. He also believes there’s a large potential for comedies.
“Comedy is a genre which is undervalued. I really want to do comedy. In that sense, ‘The Department of Time’ had many episodes of pure comedy. Actually if it weren’t bittersweet, comedy would not be modern right now. All today’s comedies need an acid touch in order to succeed.”
Holding a degree in History and a Master’s degree in Art Theory and also a novelist, Olivares has often channelled his academic background into TV fiction creation. Before Globomedia, he previously worked at Cliffhanger, “The Department of Time” production house.