×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MIPTV 2018: Peak TV Hits Germany

Germany is experiencing a golden era of television, with an increasing number of internationally acclaimed shows ranging from historical dramas and crime skeins to supernatural thrillers. And there’s plenty more on the horizon.
The arrival of Amazon and Netflix, both eager for original content, and the recent embrace by Sky Deutschland of similarly ambitious scripted fare, has provided a major boost to the local industry, mobilized top cinematic talent and recast television as a vehicle for a new kind of serialized storytelling that has captured the imaginations of local viewers and international audiences alike.

Producer Quirin Berg of Munich-based Wiedemann & Berg Television, producer of Sky Deutschland’s upcoming crime drama “Der Pass” (Pagan’s Peak), attributes Germany’s TV renaissance in large part to the proliferation of streaming outlets and changing viewing habits.

“We are living in a really wonderful era. Digitization, the streaming possibilities and their accessibility have generated a lot of energy over the past few years and made great new dimensions in programming possible,” he says.

That energy is driving serialized storytelling as never before, Berg adds. “There is a lot of power behind this kind of storytelling and also great hunger for it.”

“Pagan’s Peak,” Sky Deutschland’s fifth original German-language series, was inspired by the hit Scandinavian crime series “The Bridge.” Set along the German and Austrian Alps, the story follows a killer whose ritualistic murders appear to be inspired by the Alpine region’s dark and ancient folklore, including the winter demon known as Krampus.

Among Sky’s other German TV productions are the historical crime drama “Babylon Berlin,” which premiered last year; the forthcoming “Das Boot,” a sequel to the 1981 World War II classic; apocalyptic drama “Acht Tage” (Eight Days) and the recently announced haunted building thriller “Hausen.”

“We understand that series are really creating a momentum,” says Sky Deutschland CEO Carsten Schmidt. “With our first investment in ‘Babylon Berlin’ we took a bet on our capability to be seen as a creative part of the German production industry.”

The gamble proved a winner. The award-winning €40 million ($49.3 million) production overseen by acclaimed filmmaker Tom Tykwer has become the most-watched German series on Sky Deutschland. “This was the best outcome we could have imagined,” Schmidt says.

Sky is continuing its commitment to new series. “We will not stop. We really want to be number one in Germany. This is a sustainable investment in the future of our company,” Schmidt says.

Germany’s crop of premium series also include ZDF and Arte’s “Bad Banks,” from director Christian Schwochow; Marvin Kren’s TNT crime drama “4 Blocks”; Baran bo Odar’s Netflix hit “Dark”; and Amazon’s cyber thriller “You Are Wanted,” from multi-hyphenate Matthias Schweighoefer.

“The selection of these projects is based on the concrete ideas that are on the table,” says “Dark” producer Berg.

The genres illustrate the fact “that both creators and viewers share an excitement for crime dramas and thrillers.”

“With ‘Dark’ we really developed it further and did something with time-travel that had never been done before in Germany. I don’t think ‘Dark’ would have been successful five years ago,” Berg continues.

Berg says today’s viewers are clamoring for such series as “Dark” because “they’ve become accustomed to other standards, developed different viewing habits and a desire for something new.”

The shows are not only attracting local viewers, but also global audiences.

“We are seeing that it’s possible to do it in Germany, that it’s not something that only works in America or just locally,” Berg says. “This is a global phenomenon. We are in a position now in Germany to do anything. We proved it with ‘Dark,’ which has been incredibly successful internationally — 90% of its viewers are not in Germany.”

While current shows may reflect the zeitgeist and widespread fascination with darker genres, greater variety is coming, according to Berg, whose credits also include “4 Blocks.”

“I absolutely believe we’ll see series that are much more light-hearted, less complex and somber, and that’s just as much fun for me — that diversity,” says Berg.

Schmidt echoes the sentiment, adding that Sky would not rule out original sitcoms if they offered a real potential for commercial success.

More TV

  • Westworld Season 3 Trailer

    'Westworld' Season 3 Trailer Focuses on New Cast Member Aaron Paul

    Ahead of the final episode of “Game of Thrones,” HBO released the first trailer for the new season of another flagship show: “Westworld.” The first look at the third season of the sci-fi show puts the focus on new series regular Aaron Paul, best known for his run on “Breaking Bad.” The trailer doesn’t reveal [...]

  • Adam Lambert Libertine show, Front Row,

    Adam Lambert Does Double Performing Duty on 'Idol' as New Winner is Crowned

    A new “American Idol” winner was crowned Sunday night, but not before Adam Lambert returned to the stage for the season finale for a pair of performances that included his new single and a duet with eliminated contestant Dimitrius Graham Sunday. The show concluded with Louisiana teen Laine Hardy showered in confetti as he was [...]

  • Beyonce Emilia Clarke

    Emilia Clarke Worried Beyonce Would Hate Daenerys After 'Game of Thrones'' Final Season

    After eight seasons as the Mother of Dragons, “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke has a lot of celebrity fans. But the most impressive? Probably Queen Bey. In a New Yorker interview posted after Sunday night’s series finale, Clarke revealed that she met Beyonce at an Oscars after-party hosted by the musician and her husband, [...]

  • Game of Thrones Finale

    Why the 'Game of Thrones' Finale Couldn't Have Satisfied Everyone

    The “Game of Thrones” finale may have achieved a strange feat: Aiming for fan service while being constrained, by its very nature, to the reality that it would end up pleasing only very few. The episode was larded with character touches designed for devotees — from a title, at long last, for fan favorite Bronn, [...]

  • Game of Thrones Finale

    'Game of Thrones': Celebrity Fans Have Mixed Reaction to Series Finale

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not keep reading if you have not seen the series finale of “Game of Thrones,” titled “The Iron Throne.”  Whether you loved it or hated it, the series finale of “Game of Thrones” was one for the history books. After the final episode aired Sunday night, fans across the globe took to [...]

  • ‘Game of Thrones’: 8 Shocking Moments

    ‘Game of Thrones’: 8 Shocking Moments From the Finale

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not keep reading if you have not seen the finale of “Game of Thrones.” Well, that’s it. After the “Game of Thrones” finale, many of us will likely emulate Jon Snow and just retire North of the Wall. It was billed as one of the biggest events in TV history, and showrunners [...]

  • Front row: CBS THIS MORNING co-hosts

    CBS Hurls New Anchor Team Into TV's Morning-News Wars

    News Team: Assemble. CBS News plans to hurl a new anchor squad into TV’s morning-news wars Monday when a different trio – Gayle King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil –  takes the helm at “CBS This Morning.” The A.M. effort that has won critical plaudits by focusing on harder news topics, like international affairs and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content