More Asian Originals for HBO

movie & TV December 06, 2017 18:40

By The Nation

HBO Asia marks its 25th Anniversary with a new line-up of Asian Originals projects that are scheduled to premiere soon.



The projects include six productions based in various countries across Asia including China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

HBO Asia has produced ten Asian originals since 2012 and is committed to expand its repertoire further for audiences in the region and globally. All upcoming HBO Asia Originals will be available exclusively on HBO Asia’s network of channels including HBO’s online streaming platform, HBO GO and the on-demand service, HBO On Demand.

This year, HBO Asia premiered four Asian Originals including the second season of “Halfworlds”, the dark action fantasy drama series set in Bangkok that premiered in January, award-winning “The Teenage Psychic”, HBO Asia’s first original Chinese series set that premiered with breakthrough ratings in April.

HBO Asia’s first comedy drama series “Sent” premiered in September and the “Talwars: Behind Closed Doors”, HBO Asia’s first original documentary series, launched last Sunday. 

“HBO has been known to produce high quality, premium Original productions. By harnessing the full potential of talent and production infrastructure the region has to offer, we are well-positioned to create premium, authentic, Asian content for our audiences in the region, many of which have been recognised for various creative and performance awards,” said Jonathan Spink, chief executive of HBO Asia.

“With its richness in culture and histories, Asia is a great source of stories which make for appealing content locally as well as globally. We are excited that as a start, two of our HBO Asian Originals, ‘The Teenage Psychic’ and both seasons of ‘Halfworlds’ will be available to audiences in the US on the HBO US service from next month.”

New series premiering on HBO Asia’s network of channels include a six-episode hour-long horror anthology series “Folklore” taking place across multiple Asian countries including Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Helmed by different directors from various countries in Asia, each episode will be based on each country’s deeply-rooted superstitions and myths and seek to modernise or update Asian horror, exploring societal dysfunctions in a manner that is specific to the country but possessing themes that will resonate across the continent. 

“Folklore’s” creator and show-runner is award-winning Singaporean film maker, Eric Khoo. Other directors involved are Joko Anwar (Indonesia), Ho Yu-Hang (Malaysia), Lee Sang-Woo (Korea), Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Thailand) and Takumi Saitoh (Japan).

Also coming is an eight-part, hour-long period drama series “Grisse” that’s set in the mid 1800’s within the colonial period of the Dutch East Indies. The series chronicles the story of a group of unlikely individuals who lead a rebellion against a brutal governor and suddenly find themselves in control of a Dutch garrison town called Grisse. 

The stories revolve around a number of unique characters, each from diverse backgrounds and creeds who unite for the chance to determine their own destiny from the yoke of tyranny. 

“The Master of the White Crane Fist: Wong Yan-Lam” and “The Master of the Nine Dragon Fist: Wong Ching-Ho” are the third and fourth instalments of the Chinese language martial arts anthology movie series first shown in 2016.

Directed by Guo Jian-yong, the “White Crane Fist: Wong Yan-Lam” is set in ancient China during the late Qing dynasty and tells about four constables escorting a criminal who cross paths with a theatre troupe and a mysterious priest, setting off events that lead to the murder of a constable. Amongst them is the legendary master, who will unravel the consequences of greed, revenge, betrayal and opium smuggling. 

Directed by Si Xiao-dong, the “Master of the Nine Dragon Fist: Wong Ching-Ho” is set in China in the early 19th century. A British businessman, Mr James, sells opium as a “longevity enhancement medicine” that sees many locals become addicted to opium. The head of Guangzhou’s martial arts alliance, Wong Ching-Ho, decides to take action and destroy Mr. James’ opium warehouses. To save his business, Mr. James employs kung fu master, Man Sing, to eliminate his enemy, leading Wong to develop his legendary Nine Dragon Fist.

“Miss Sherlock” is HBO Asia’s very first Japanese language eight-part, hour-long drama series, produced in collaboration with Hulu in Japan. The series, premiering across more than 20 countries in April, pays homage to the classic by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, with bold interpretations of the iconic characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson. 

The scenes are set in modern day Tokyo and both lead characters are Japanese women – Dr Wato Tachibana (played by Shihori Kanjiya), a surgeon recently returned from a volunteer doctors’ mission in Syria and Sara Shelly Futaba (played by Yuko Takeuchi), an investigation consultant to the police department who solves bizarre and difficult cases. Throughout the series, the pair solves mystery after mystery with Miss Sherlock’s extraordinary observation and reasoning skills.

“The Teenage Psychic” is slated to return with a second season with Kuo Shu Yau reprising her lead role as Xie Ya Zhen, a psychic born with the ability to see spirits who learns to use her abilities to help others. The second season of the series will once again be directed by rising Taiwanese writer-director Chen Ho-Yu.