MADRID — Movistar Plus and The Mediapro Studio have greenlit development on Season 2 of “Nasdrovia,” an upcoming comedy-drama tracking an ex-couple’s excruciating decent into hell, as they fall into the maws of the Russian mob.
Season 2 is being written by the show’s creators, Sergio Sarra, Miguel Esteban and Luismi Perez, and its showrunnner, Marc Vigil.
“One of the things which we can certainly do in these extraordinary circumstances is develop new shows,” Domingo Corral, Movistar Plus dictator of original fiction, said at an online presentation by Movistar Plus and The Mediapro Studio on Wednesday.
The Mediapro Studio Distribution handles international sales, with “Nasdrovia” being brought onto the international market via selection for MipTV’s online Drama Buyers Summit, held from late March, and now April 22’s presentation by Corral, showrunner Marc Vigil, and The Mediapro Studio Distribution head Marta Ezpeleta.
Sharply written with a clipped, rhythmic delivery of dialog – if a trailer shown at the online presentation was anything to go by – the half-hour show marks an early collaboration between two of the powerhouses of Spanish-language drama series revolution: Movistar Plus and The Mediapro Studio.
Directed by Marc Vigil, “Nasdrovia” also signals another female-led story at Movistar Plus, a near dominant trend now at the Telefonica pay-TV/SVOD operator, as Leonor Watling (“The Oxford Murders”) plays Edurne, “a strong woman in a universe of male testosterone,” said Vigil.
Erudite starts off the series as a wealthy high-flying lawyer with a pied-à-terre in Tuscany who specializes in ensuring the rich become richer, however illegally. Once married to Julián (Hugo Silva), she hits 40 and falls into mid-life crisis.
Aiming to slow down, they decide to quit their jobs and open a Russian restaurant. But when their chef has a drunken argument with two Russian mobsters and Edurne invites them to their restaurant opening to calm them down, Edurne and Julián’s chic eatery soon becomes a home from home for the Russian mob. Suddenly, Edurne and Julián are terrified, yes, but never bored again.
Based on the novel by Sergio Sarra, “El hombre que odiaba a Paulo Coelho,” “Nasdrovia” is created by Sarra, Miguel Esteban and Luismi Perez, all writers on “El Intermedio,” a cult Spanish satirical news show produced like “Nasdrovia,” by Globomedia, a banner company at The Mediapro Studio.
Like “La Casa de Papel’s” Alex Pina and “Velvet’s” Ramos Campos, Vigil worked for years on free-to-air drama series in Spain confronted by the perennial challenge of providing sustained entertainment over 70-minute prime-time episodes, delivering his most memorable work on TVE’s “The Department of Time” and, most recently, the gritty Malaga crime drama “Malaka.”
Vigil said at the presentation that the major challenge of “Nasdrovia” was combining comedy and a thriller element as the Spanish police, wise to the mob’s moves, pressure Edurne and Julián into becoming informants.
He didn’t research the Russian mafia since the show isn’t really about organized Russian crime, he added.
Certainly, Boris, the mob kingpin could be seen as, written large, an example of any social psychopath who is incapable of emotional empathy with the countless people he terrifies.
“We like to approach comedy as we approach drama, very seriously, doing comedies that are character-driven, not based on gags or stereotypes but setting well-developed characters in realistic circumstances,” said Corral, also an executive producer on the show.
Another source of comedy, he added, is the culture clash between two ineffably snobbish ex-lawyers and Russian mobster Boris who thinks nothing of using ghastly (but off screen) violence to persuade a supplier to deliver the restaurant the best sardines in town.
“I wish I were 39 again. At least I wouldn’t be a cliché,” Edurne quips to the audience in the trailer of a series that constantly breaks the fourth wall.
That prompted one reporter to ask if the series was inspired in any way by “Fleabag.” Corral denied any such influence but cited “Fleabag” as an example of a far more sophisticated kind of TV comedy which has allowed the genre to travel far more in recent years.
That now is an ambition for “Nasdrovia” which has completed episodes, Ezpeleta said, and will air on Movistar Plus late 2020.