American viewers who love TV from all over the world will have another option when six HBO international originals begin streaming in the U.S.
Beginning in December, two series from each of its international regions will arrive on the U.S. streaming services HBO GO and HBO NOW, as well as HBO On Demand.
The network has been producing and airing series in Europe, Latin America and Asia in local languages. It is only now emulating streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Acorn TV, who already air their international originals in the U.S.
“Working with talented local writers, directors and producers, our international networks are creating programming that live up to the high quality storytelling that is expected of the HBO brand,” HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler said Monday at Mipcom in Cannes. “This programming regularly outperforms even ‘Game of Thrones’ … in their respective markets. I am tremendously proud to bring such a selection of programs to our U.S. audience.”
The descriptions of the series scheduled to air in the U.S. so far below.
HBO International Originals
Czech Republic; seasons 1 & 2, 8 episodes each
Set in the scarred landscape of northern Bohemia in the Czech Republic, “Pustina,” as it was titled in Europe, blends social realism, intense psychological drama and a gripping mystery when a life-changing event impacts the members of a close-knit, multi-generational village community. Hana Sikorova, mayor of the village of Pustina, is fighting against a foreign mining company that wants to access the huge coal reserves beneath the village. At the peak of her struggle, her 14-year-old daughter Míŝa goes missing. As long-standing family relationships begin to disintegrate, Hana starts to doubt the integrity of every member of her community. Initially helpful in the desperate search for the missing Míŝa, the citizens of Pustina soon begin to reveal their true colors.
Ivan Zachariáŝ and Alice Nellis directed and Zuzana Stivínová stars.
Winner of the Czech Lion for Best Drama Series 2016, it had special screenings at Karlovy Vary and Toronto International film festivals.
Poland; seasons 1 & 2, 6 episodes each
A conspiracy thriller set in contemporary Warsaw, “Pakt” looks in to the life of investigative journalist Piotr Grodecki. In Season 1, he uncovers major corporate fraud and in Season 2 finds further layers of government secrets. The action takes place in a world where politics, media and business overlap, blurring the lines between what’s true and false. Piotr painfully discovers that he will need to make a choice—seek the truth, or sacrifice the ones he loves.
Marek Lechki directed Season 1 and Leszek Dawid directed Season 2. Marcin Dorociński stars in both seasons.
HBO Latin America
HBO Latin America’s content is also available to U.S. subscribers on the HBO Latino multiplex channel
La Vida Secreta de las Parejas
Brazil; 12 episodes; “A Vida Secreta Dos Casais” in Portuguese
“The Secret Life of Couples” explores the life of sexologist and therapist Sofia Prado, who runs an alternative therapies center where she helps couples work through their difficulties while dealing with her own hidden emotional turmoil. As she helps her patients discover their intimate truths, Sofia’s secrets begin to come to light. She gets caught up in the investigation of a complex web of corruption operated by Edgar Eleno Andreazza, a powerful banker and businessman with a great deal of influence on government officials.
Carlos Alberto Riccelli and Kim Riccelli directed. Bruna Lombardi stars.
Brazil; seasons 1 & 2, 8 episodes each; “O Hipnotizador” in Portuguese
Based on an Argentinian graphic novel, “O Hipnotizador” follows the life of Natalio Arenas, a hypnotist who uses his gift to reveal people’s lost memories. Arenas finds it easier to solve his client’s problems than his own. He lives in a hotel, immersed in painful memories and subjected to an eternal insomnia in which he hides a deep secret. In order to be cured from this disorder, he—along with his accomplices—will have to face Darek, the hypnotist who cursed him.
Alex Gabassi and José Eduardo Belmonte directed Season 1. Marco Dutra, Aly Muritiba and Pablo Machline directed Season 2. Leonardo Sbaraglia stars.
The Teenage Psychic
Taiwan, 6 episodes
“The Teenage Psychic” explores the life of a girl who just wants to lead a typical teenage life. Born with the ability to see beyond the surface and in to the spiritual sphere, she must learn to juggle the pressures of teenage life—first love, academic success and peer pressure—with the additional demands of the spiritual world. “The Teenage Psychic” is HBO Asia’s first production in Taiwan, set and filmed fully on location. The series, which debuted in early 2017, was jointly developed with Taiwanese broadcaster Public Television Service (PTS) and award-winning Singaporean production company InFocus Asia (IFA).
Chen Ho-Yu directs. Kuo Shu-Yao, Kent Tsai and Akio Chen star.
Winner of Best Miniseries and Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film at the 52nd Golden Bell Awards in September 2017.
Indonesia and Thailand; seasons 1 & 2, 8 episodes each
“Halfworlds” delves into the underworld of mythological demons that inhabit the back alleys of Jakarta (Season 1) and the neon lights of Bangkok (Season 2). Season 2 follows a tenacious researcher named Juliet who is trying to uncover the secret world of demons that live in Bangkok, while looking for an ancient artifact of great power. An ensemble cast of actors from Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan star.
Joko Anwar directed Season 1 with Arifin Putra and Reza Rahadian starring. Ekachai Uekrongtham directed Season 2. Arifin Putra and Peem Jaiyan star.
Season 1 was awarded the Best Editing award at the Asian Television Awards in 2016.