Legendary Global, the TV production-financing house launched by Chris Albrecht and Anne Thomopoulos, has teamed with Madrid-based ESPotlight to acquire rights for a small screen adaptation of “Los Forasteros del Tiempo,” a family-targeting, illustrated time travel book series from Spain’s Roberto Santiago.
The first season makes over the first title in the saga, “La Aventura de los Balbuena en el Lejano Oeste,” said ESPotlight partner Anxo Rodríguez, director of Alter Ego Talent House.
Now in development, the live-action family adventure is the second title announced in a weighty production alliance unveiled this April between Legendary Global and ESPotlight, the content arm of Spanish talent agency Alter Ego Talent House.
The deal sees Legendary Global committing to develop and produce with ESPotlight 10-plus productions a year targeting streaming platforms, pay TV and commercial networks.
Showrun by Santiago, also a movie-TV scribe-helmer who recently directed “ANA. all in” for RTVE and ZDF, the series turns on a Spanish family from the working class Madrid district Moratalaz which is suddenly sucked by a black hole back to the Wild West, along with the spanking new push-bikes they’s just both at the local hyper-market and two neighbors.
A fast-paced tale – by page 10 of the first book, having been pursued by Sioux warriors, 11-year-old son Sebastián and friend María are near obliterated by a herd of bison – Season One will be a “highly realist immersion in the 1870 Wild West, drilling deep into daily village life,” Santiago promised.
The series’ core focus, he added, is “family relationships, affective bonds. The Balbuenas are wounded emotionally by the mother’s death. During time travel, they’ll learn to love and pardon one another and live out a very singular mourning process.”
Further books see the Balbuenas – the hunky father, a municipal policeman back in modern Spain, an older teen brother, and younger sister – swept back to the Middle Ages, a world of sea pirates, mobster Chicago, dinosaur age pre-history, Ancient Egypt and Greece and 1570 Japan.
The partners’ aim is to adapt one book per season. While the books are for early reading, the series will target family audiences, developing more the adult characters, said Rodríguez.
The first season will be in Spanish and English, exploring a generational gap as the children, not the adults, understand Wild West inhabitants.
“Los Forasteros del Tiempo” responds to a still underserved audience eager for family entertainment and the move towards established IPs.
“We continue to hear that the market place is looking for quality ‘four quadrant’ family shows,” said Chris Albrecht, managing director of Legendary Television. “The huge success of the Disney Plus rollout demonstrates that the consumer is hungry for entertainment that can be viewed and enjoyed by the entire family.”
“This is an original, high quality series of books that has sold phenomenally well in Spain, with over 600,000 copies sold,” continued Legendary’s Anne Thomopoulos. “We believe ‘Los forasteros del tiempo’ hits a bullseye when it comes to the desired target audience.”
“Despite the fact that we are original talent-based, the market, facing such as overwhelming amount of content, is moving ever more towards existing IPs,” said Rodríguez.
With “Los Forasteros del Tiempo,” the partners have the best of both worlds. The book series sold robustly for today’s market and Santiago will lead the adaptation of his own creation.