Magazine article Variety

Risky Business

Magazine article Variety

Risky Business

Article excerpt

For years, primetime Spanish fiction TV was monopolized by rosetinted, four-quadrant visions of family, inner-city communities and liberal professionals. Now, they have been replaced by a groundswell of Mediterranean and Atlantic noir and fantasy.

Local ratings still count, but increasingly operators are looking for projects with international sales and remake potential.

"Thrillers are still a reliable asset on TV, but they're evolving from a police-inspired register to a more psychological one, with less characters," says Atresmedia fiction head Sonia Martinez.

Atresmedia's upcoming "Fargo"-esque black comedy-thriller "Matadero," produced by Diagonal TV, is set in a remote village where a slaughterhouse owner explores drug trafficking and blackmail.

Mediapro's Globomedia-produced supernatural cop thriller "I'm Alive" scored a standout 17% audience share and 2.5 million viewers, the best local TV fiction launch in two years at pubcaster TVE's channel Lal. The show follows a police inspector who was killed while pursuing a serial murderer. He returns to life five years later in another agent's body.

"As a TV genre, the thriller is still the king, but it's adding some disruptive elements," says Javier Méndez, Mediapro head of content. In "I'm Alive," for example, fantasy blends with day-to-day realism and comedic touches.

Continuing a trend of tapping fantasy for primetime TV drama, TVE and César Benitez's Plano a Plano ("El Príncipe") are preparing "Sabuesos," about a detective helped by a talking dog.

Well-received by audiences both at home and abroad, and often event series, historical TV dramas have consolidated backers. These include high-budget "The Cathedral of the Sea," partnering Diagonal TV, TVC and Netflix, and the Bambu-produced, Beta-sold "Morocco - Love in Times of War," both Atresmedia series. …

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