Viewpoint: Conspiracy Theory

I have a terrifying backlog of shows to catch up on. Other than the smattering of series that I have to watch live—or, at the very least, close to live—I have fallen tragically behind. And I blame the White House.

Really, how do you pull yourself away from the nightly coverage of subpoenas and sackings, trysts and tall tales? Porn stars and Russian spies? And of course, the battle between newsrooms for the latest scoop. It is addictive. I’m back and forth between MSNBC and CNN constantly, have subscriptions to The New York Times and The Washington Post, and Google News is my browser’s default address. So much drama! And drama is the key word here because I find myself, frequently, watching news coverage and wondering who is going to play X in the inevitable limited event series on HBO or Netflix or Amazon or [insert prestige drama platform] about the Trump presidency. I’d love to see what Ryan Murphy would make of all this palace intrigue. Or Shonda Rhimes. Maybe the Duffer Brothers, because it does all feel like Stranger Things’ The Upside Down sometimes, doesn’t it? [I’ll take SNL’s Kate McKinnon as Robert Mueller and Jeff Sessions any day.]

Political dramas are certainly of the moment, as we explore in the MIPTV issue of TV Drama, with a wealth emerging out of Europe in particular. They are tricky to pull off, but when done well can be ratings winners at home and abroad, giving audiences an insider’s look at the halls of power. The political- and espionage-themed dramas available on the market right now are largely contemporary, but audiences are as eager to be transported to the past. We also explore the enduring demand for period pieces and hear from leading distributors about the kinds of costume dramas that fare best globally. Biographical series are also making headlines, among them National Geographic’s Genius: Picasso, a follow-up to the channel’s series on Albert Einstein. Antonio Banderas tells TV Drama about how he embodied the iconic artist. We also feature Q&As with Stacy Rukeyser, showrunner of UnREAL, the Lifetime drama that tackles gender politics through the prism of a reality dating show; and Kerem Çatay, the CEO of Ay Yapim, one of Turkey’s most prolific production houses.