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

  • Pete Davidson Sits Out Final 'Saturday

    Pete Davidson Sits Out Final 'Saturday Night Live' Sketches of 2018

    Just hours after “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson posted a message on social media that said he “really [didn’t] want to be on this Earth anymore,” he was absent from the final 2018 live sketches of the late-night sketch comedy show. But although Davidson did not take part in the sketches or appear [...]

  • Pete Davidson photographed by Peggy Sirota

    Pete Davidson Posts Unsettling Message, Deletes Instagram

    UPDATED: “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson posted a disturbing message Saturday morning stating he doesn’t “want to be on this earth anymore,” then deleted his Instagram account. In the post, Davidson wrote, “I’m doing my best to stay here for you but i actually don’t know how much longer i can last. all [...]

  • Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor

    Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor Arrested for Plotting Sex With Minor

    Disney Channel has severed ties with “Andi Mack” actor Stoney Westmoreland following his arrest for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old. “Stoney Westmoreland, an actor working on the series ‘Andi Mack,’ was arrested in Salt Lake City today,” a Disney Channel spokesperson said in a statement Friday. “Given the nature of [...]

  • Russian Doll

    TV News Roundup: Natasha Lyonne's 'Russian Doll' Sets Netflix Premiere Date

    On Friday’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for “Russian Doll” and Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Brexit” film has a premiere date on HBO FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released a new teaser for the upcoming comedy series, “Black Monday,” which will premiere Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars and is executive produced by Don [...]

  • Vanity Fair Review

    TV Review: 'Vanity Fair'

    There’s something comforting about the predictability of a period piece novel adaptation in the Masterpiece Theater tradition. Knowing the story, or even just the rhythms of the genre, there are rarely many surprises. The women will toss off witticisms and cry careful, pretty tears; the men will steel their jaws and declare their love, ideally [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content