Netflix commissions its first Chinese Original series

Alex Kidman 15 August 2017 NEWS

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No Netflix China just yet, but the streaming service is working with Chinese partners on a new supernatural series.

When Netflix surprised the world by announcing the "global availability" of its service back at CES 2016, its view of the globe was, well, missing a few locations.

Some regions were missing for straight up conflict zone reasons, but the largest gap in Netflix's reach of world domination was China. At the time, Netflix officially stated that it was negotiating with Chinese officials with the hope that it would launch in China "soon".

Many months later and Netflix is still noticeably absent from the Chinese media streaming scene, but that doesn't mean it's not actively working out ways to make its content available in China, and to make new content that appeals to Chinese audiences.

Netflix has announced that its first Chinese-language Original series will be Bardo (擺渡身), which is being produced in partnership with iQiyi, one of China's most popular online TV and movie portals. Netflix has previously licensed some of its content to iQiyi, so the deal to co-produce is just a continuation of that relationship.

The series is described as a supernatural jailbreak thriller "with a karmic dimension". It will comprise of eight episodes. The official synopsis reads as follows:

Bardo (擺渡身) follows the journey of Ah Quan, a good man who has descended into crime and now waits in prison for execution. An encounter with a mysterious inmate causes him to experience events from alternative timelines. Learning that his son is in danger, Ah Quan escapes to protect his family only to discover that he is a pawn in a much larger game. Blending Taiwanese aboriginal mysticism and karmic destiny, Bardo (擺渡身) – which describes the state of existence between life and death – is Ah Quan’s search for redemption.

Netflix will work with IFA Media and director Sam Quah on the series. It hasn't revealed when the series will debut, but it did reveal that it will be released internationally when it does so.

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