Darren Star, the creator of “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Melrose Place” and “Sex and the City” who was celebrated at Mipcom on Monday and named patron of the upcoming Canneseries festival, said the iconic TV series he created struck a chord throughout the world because of their relatable characters and cultural grounding.
“I never thought of the international audience when I created those shows. You can’t consciously do that. But it shows you that there’s a universal taste when characters can translate to other cultures,” Star told Variety. “I think there’s something about these characters, they had a lot of heart and people honestly related to them.”
He also said there was “something cultural about these shows… ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ was about high school, ‘Sex and the City’ was about women’s sexuality and a frank, honest look at relationships,” said Star.
Speaking of his latest creation, the much-anticipated “Emily in Paris” which has been shooting in the French capital since July, Star said, “People could relate to the idea of being an expatriate somewhere and the experience of leaving home and starting life in a strange place because we’re more and more leaving home to be somewhere.”
Set to premiere next year on Paramount Network, “Emily in Paris” stars Lily Collins as an ambitious twenty-something woman from Chicago who moves to Paris to work for a French marketing firm and is tasked to bring an American point of view.
Star said the series also plays with the “romantic fantasy” that people around the world have about Paris. “The show embraces (that fantasy) it but also punctures it at the same time.”
He said the character of Emily is “not fully embraced by some of the French — she’s an American girl who comes to France and doesn’t speak any French, she has opinions about how to do things, but finds out ‘the American way is the best’ doesn’t always hold true and she makes a lot of faux pas,” said Star.
Ultimately, “Emily learns from that experience, and it changes her idea of what success is,” said the creator.
Star said “Emily in Paris” will have a more cinematic look than any show he’s ever done.
“‘Sex and the City’ looked beautiful, but this show is just gorgeous. It’s very cinematic. Television is much more like cinema now and filming in Paris was important, so we really made all the shots look big. It’s shot more like a film than a TV series.”
He added that Paris plays an even bigger role in “Emily in Paris” than New York City did in “Sex and the City.”
Addressing his future role as patron of the next Canneseries TV festival, Star said it was “beyond time that television series got the same kind of recognition that films do especially in Cannes, which I think everyone associates with Cannes film festival for movies.”
“Television has taken such an important place, it has huge cultural importance and i think that the audience are more passionate about television before, i think the level of production has just grown to be on parity with cinema,” said Star, who who was interviewed by Jill Offman, the executive VP of Paramount Network International and Comedy Central International for his keynote on Monday.
Star also said he was not interested in any type of reboots and prefers to create brand-new shows. “I’d rather put my energy into something new and I’m always excited about a whole new show,” said Star, referring to “Emily in Paris” and his hit series “Younger.”