In the realm of television, there is no obvious and almighty king. Those days when HBO broadcast The Sopranos or The Wire and they were making history of the medium, transforming TV shows into something deeper, are over. HBO was the king but, nowadays, as the Hound once said: fuck the king!
AMC has Mad Men and Halt and Catch Fire, FX has Fargo and American Horror Story, Netflix has House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, and even Amazon joined the television game and it is developing some great new shows (Transparent). In this competitive battlefield there is a young channel (eighteen years alive and with only four TV shows on its back), Sundance TV, is making one of the most original and outstanding (and sadly unknown shows) out there. So, let’s take a look at them:
Sundance TV has only produced, until this point, three original miniseries (Restless, Top of the Lake and The Honourable Woman), two original series (Rectify, The Red Road), the broadcasting rights of different dramas (Breaking Bad, Les Revenants), and three webseries leaded by Isabella Rossellini (please, check this out). Moreover, it also produces documentaries, non-scripted series, films and talk shows, such as The Writer’s Room hosted by Community actor and Academy-award winner, Jim Rash.
We are not the only ones in love with Sundance TV, it has followers all over the world: Top of the Lake was a collaboration between them and the BBC Two and the Australian and New Zealander BBC UKTV; while The Honourable Woman and Restless were also made in collaboration with the British public television.
But what makes Sundance TV special is not their cosmopolitan politics or that Top of the Lake was the first series scheduled in Sundance Film Festival. Their main virtue is the way they make us feel the stories. You won’t find here something as frenetic as Halt and Catch Fire, instead you’ll watch shows with an intimate, deep and slow pace that focus in the psyche of the characters and their, somehow, complicated relationship with their land.
Gaza, Israel and Palestine in The Honourable Woman, the town of Paulie in Rectify, the fictional Walpole in The Red Road, and Laketop in Top of the Lake. Spaces and characters connected in a vital level. War, discrimination, killings, but also faith, love, and loyalty. Sundance TV is showing us these subjects in a way no one is doing nowadays. Our duty as serial addicts is to follow whatever it makes.
Yesterday it was HBO but, perhaps, tomorrow it will be Sundance TV.
The Homecoming Queen.