Saturday, July 28, 2018

Amazon Gives Series Orders to Drama 'The Expatriates,' Anthology 'Them' and Comedy 'Upload'; Announces Russo Brothers Project

During its presentation at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, Amazon handed out four new series orders - the original drama The Expatriates, the season-long anthology Them, the original comedy Upload and an untitled global event series from The Russo Brothers.

Based on Janice Y.K. Lee's book, The Expatriates is set against the backdrop of "The Vertical City" of Hong Kong. It explores the lives of a close-knit expatriate community: where affluence is celebrated, friendships are intense but knowingly temporary, and personal lives, deaths and marriages are played out publicly - then retold with glee. There's Margaret, a world-renowned American architect struggling with the unwavering suspicion that something could be wrong with her latest project - an ambitious skyscraper already gracing the Hong Kong skyline - until an unexpected even upends her life; Mercy, a Korean-American college graduate with a questionable past seeking a new life, who quickly finds herself embroiled in an unforgivable scandal; Hilary, a British expat who years for a child despite her uncertain marriage, then dabbles in local customs and make-believe identities in a deliberate attempt to change her fate; Tammy, a high-flying alpha-expat who is blindsided when her husband's Chinese second family appears on her doorstep; Barbara, whose decadent lifestyle belies a ticking clock; Franny, an Australian expat loyal to anyone she's having lunch with, who faces an existential crisis; and Olivia, a Chinese local socialite who experiences a humiliating loss of status. This is a delicious world of unusual alliances, heartfelt truths and mystifying superstitions; a place where fortunes are made and lost, families sundered and brought together, identities made and then remade in pursuit of an extraordinary life.

Alice Bell is writing the adaptation. She will executive produce with Nicole Kidman, Per Saari and Theresa Park. Lee will serve as a consulting producer. Amazon Studios, Blossom Films and POW Productions will produce.

The pickup for season-long anthology Them today is actually a two-season straight-to-series pickup. The first season will be entitled Them: Covenant.

Set in 1952, the season revolves around Alfred and Lucky Emory who decide to move their family from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood. The family's home on a tree-lined, seemingly idyllic street becomes ground zero where malevolent forces both real and supernatural threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.

Little Marvin created the series. He executive produces with Lena Waithe, Roy Lee, Miri Yoon and Michael Connelly. Sony Pictures Television and Vertigo Entertainment will produce.

Comedy Upload takes place in the near future, where people who are near death can be "uploaded" into a virtual afterlife of their choice. Set in 2033, the secretly romantic Brooklyn-born Nora works customer service for a luxurious virtual reality environment. When handsome L.A. party boy Nathan's self-driving car crashes, his high-maintenance girlfriend uploads him permanently into Nora's VR world.

The comedy stars Robbie Amell and Andy Allo.

Greg Daniels wrote and directed the pilot. He executive produces with Howard Klein. Amazon Studios produces.

The streaming service has partnered with brothers Joe and Anthony Russo (The Avengers: Infinity War) to develop a large-scope, multi-layered international event series. Under the deal, the brothers will have the creative freedom to oversee an ambitious concept.

Details about the series are being kept under wraps. However, the series is designed to function as a fire-starter to ignite the creation of multiple original local language and local production series. All of the local series are designed to enhance the entire entertainment experience of what is being described as an imagined and layered world.