As we look ahead to what awaits us on the small screen this year, one thing becomes clear: we can’t leave the past alone. Producers are taking old plots, tropes and characters out for a new spin. Perhaps, as The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson reflected in 2021, we are just running out of stories.
But first, following in the footsteps of Snow Angels, Riding in Darkness and A Nearly Normal Family, the new year will treat us to another offering from the Nordic noir genre in the form of Deliver Me. Based on Malin Persson Giolito’s bestselling novel, its five episodes focus on one poignant question; when children commit horrible crimes, who bears responsibility? While it is a fictional tale, it promises to serve as a reminder that when violence grips a community, no one is left untouched.
Meanwhile, Griselda takes us back to the 1970s. The upcoming Spanish/English series, which comes from the same creative minds that brought us Narcos and Painkiller, is inspired by the life of Griselda Blanco (played by Sofía Vergara), a Colombian businesswoman-turned-drug lord who became queenpin of the criminal underworld of 1970s Miami. Innovator, mother, killer, if the fast-paced trailer is anything to go by, this will be Vergara as we’ve never seen her before.
Moving north, Ireland’s well-documented cultural renaissance (Sally Rooney, Paul Lynch, Bad Sisters…) continues into the new year. Created and directed by Chris O’Dowd, Small Town, Big Story imagines what happens when a Hollywood production team rolls into the fictional rural Irish town of Drumbán and shines a light on the secrets its residents have been trying to keep in the dark.
The signs are that it’s The Regime that will be the must-see of next year. Starring Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone), the political satire shows the unravelling of a modern European regime from the inside. Created by the executive producers of Succession, those who are still mourning the Roys need look no further.
Then we come to the season of adaptations. Based on Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Sympathiser explores the plight of a half-French half-Vietnamese communist spy during the concluding days of the Vietnam war, and his ensuing exile in the United States. Starring Hoa Xuande, Fred Nguyen Khan, Sandra Oh and Robert Downey Jr, it’s been pegged as an exercise in cross-cultural satire to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the war’s end.
David Nicholls’s worldwide bestseller One Day also arrives on our small screens this year. Netflix will be competing with Lone Scherfig’s 2011 iconic dramatisation starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess – it will take a lot to sway me from the Hathaway-Sturgess camp.
And then there’s the adaptation of Heather Morris’s bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz. The book itself is inspired by the real-life story of Lale and Gita Sokolov and became a global bestseller in 2017 with over 12m copies sold worldwide. When Lale (played by Jonah Hauer-King) arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942, he was promptly made one of the camp’s tätowierer (tattooists), charged with etching identification numbers on to new inmates’ arms. Anything Heather Morris writes, I’ll read. I have everything crossed that her words and the Sokolovs’ story translate on to the small screen.