Netflix rolls out more made-in-Asia shows

Hollywood actress Robin Wright with Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.
(From left) American actor Michael Pena and Mexican actor Diego Luna speaking about their upcoming show, Narcos: Mexico, which looks at a drug war in Mexico. PHOTOS: NETFLIX

American streaming service giant Netflix unveiled its plans for 17 made-in-Asia programmes next year, while the likes of Hollywood actress Robin Wright and Mexican actor Diego Luna provided star power at its content showcase in Singapore.

See What's Next: Asia - the first such event in the region - was held at Marina Bay Sands yesterday, and continues today, as the company aims to strengthen its position outside of the United States and gain international subscribers.

Some of the upcoming Asian titles announced include Netflix's first foray into Thai-language programming with Shimmers and The Stranded.

Horror series Shimmers is about five teenagers who are haunted by the ghosts of their past in Chiang Mai, Thailand, while island mystery The Stranded will be directed by Sophon Sakdaphisit, the writer of acclaimed horror flick Shutter (2004).

Other titles to look out for include a slate of anime productions from Japan, including Pacific Rim, the anime series inspired by the hit 2003 Hollywood movie of the same name, as well as Altered Carbon, the anime adaptation of Netflix's live-action sci-fi cyberpunk series.

Taiwan will also offer a new Chinese-language programme with the romantic comedy series Triad Princess starring Eugenie Liu and Jasper Liu, while South Korea will release a period zombie series titled Kingdom.

The line-up of original content from India will be announced today.

Chief content officer Ted Sarandos said to a room of 300 journalists from around the region: "The beauty of Netflix is that we can take never seen before stories from South Korea, Thailand, Japan, India, Taiwan or elsewhere and easily connect them to people all over Asia and the world.

"More than half of Asian content hours viewed on Netflix this year are viewed outside the region, so we have confidence that our upcoming slate of Asian productions will find fans in their home countries and abroad."

Wright, 52, the star of Netflix's first original series House Of Cards (2013 to 2018), pointed out how the reverse is also true - viewers from all around the world are interested in her show even though it is specifically about American politics.

The actress, who plays scheming politician Claire Underwood in the series, said: "Every country I go to, I'm always shocked and surprised by how many people know House Of Cards in abundance.

"I guess it's because the show is really about the art of war, which is how politics works in every country.

"Yes, the show is Machiavellian and dramatic, but there's truth in it."

She did not mention her former co-star Kevin Spacey, who was abruptly fired from the show late last year in the wake of a string of sexual abuse allegations against him.

His character, President Francis Underwood, is killed off in the sixth and final season of House Of Cards, which was released on Netflix last week. Wright, who plays his wife, succeeds him as president.

She said: "I feel proud that we accomplished our goal... and concluded it the way we intended and close it out for the fans."

Now that the show has ended, Wright added: "I will miss her clothes and her shoes."

Later, Luna and American actor Michael Pena spoke about their upcoming show Narcos: Mexico, which looks at a drug war in Mexico. It was the first trip to Singapore for both of them and they were clearly excited.

Luna, 38, said: "This feels like a dream. I come from somewhere that is 14 hours behind, so this is the future for me.

"I called my kids and said, 'I'm in the future, guys.'"

Pena, 42, said of Marina Bay Sands: "I've been in only the hotel so far and it's as big as some cities. I might not even have to leave."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2018, with the headline Netflix rolls out more made-in-Asia shows. Subscribe