Remember when watching a foreign film or series meant scouring all the nooks and crannies of the internet for a working link with both subtitles and HD quality?
Back then, watching something as simple as anime or a Japanese shoujo film was a painstaking cycle of waiting. You’d have to wait a couple of months for the DVD to be released, and then wait another three to four months for volunteers to subtitle and upload on KissAsian. Or if you were lucky, you’d get to find and download a torrent.
These days we barely even give a second thought to where to find our international entertainment. Streaming services like Netflix have made things way easier for audiences, shifting the dilemma from where to watch to what to watch. Surely we’ve come a long way from risking our laptop’s security just to catch an episode of a new K-Drama on the same day it’s released in Korea.
Family photo: Top billing stars attended Netflix’s See What’s Next Asia event in Singapore last week. Back row (from left) Lee Na Jeong, Kim Seong-hun, Simran Sethi, Erika North, Chang Hyuk Jae, Rob Roy, Minyoung Kim. Middle row (from left) Ji Soo, Jinyoung, David Castañeda, Ju Ji-hoon, Taito Okiura, Michael Peña, Robert Sheehan, Ryu Seung Yong, Eric Newman, Kim Eun Hee. Front row (from left) Andy Serkis, Robin Wright, Reed Hastings, Kim Sohyun, Park Min Young, Ted Sarandos, Diego Luna, Jung Chaeyeon
At Netflix’s “See What’s Next Asia” event in Singapore last week, I learned how streaming culture has contributed to the globalization of media through a series of panels about the streaming service’s latest offerings. With Netflix available on demand all over the world, it allows for a wider distribution for everything, giving international titles as much exposure as the regular Hollywood ones.
And what an experience it was, being in a room of press from all over Asia, knowing that we had access to content made for, by, and representative of ourselves and our home countries. Authenticity might be something that Netflix needs to work on (insert the manga/anime/Netflix adaptation meme here), but it’s on its way.
At the event, we were also given exclusive access to Netflix’s upcoming original content from around the world (let it be known that there was a collective gasp from Philippine media when Trese was announced). Here are some of the titles we’re looking forward to seeing in the coming months.
Rogue one: Narcos: Mexico star Diego Luna is thankful that he got to work with the dream team of Mexican actors.
Dazed and confused: Narcos: Mexico follows the story of drug lord Felix Gallardo, played by Diego Luna.
Narcos: Mexico, the spinoff to the first Narcos series, tackles the origins of Mexico’s drug war following drug lord Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna) and DEA agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Peña). Fun fact: producers really figured in authenticity, so more than half of the dialogue is in Spanish and many of the actors are some of Mexico’s best.
When we sat down with Diego, Michael and director Eric Newman, we got real about the drug war and the systems of corruption that allow it to continue (sound familiar?). Diego also mentioned how complicated an issue like this can be, noting that they’re “not telling the story of good and bad people. This story lives in the gray area.”
Narcos: Mexico is currently streaming.
We know Netflix has a questionable history with live-action, but hear us out: Altered Carbon, though set in the same universe as its Netflix live-action counterpart, is written by Dai Sato of Cowboy Bebop fame. It’s also set to explore new elements of the story mythology.
Release date has yet to be announced.
Judging from the sheer number of Indian originals announced last week, we can safely say that you’ll be seeing more of your Bollywood faves soon. Selection Day is a coming-of-age tale about brothers raised by their father to be star cricket players in India. We’re mostly anticipating the whole “breaking free from what your strict family expects from you” arc.
Selection Day premieres Dec. 28.
Thriller night: Joon Ji Hoon plays a prince in historical zombie K-Drama Kingdom.
Kingdom is six episodes of epic Korean historical drama, except with zombies. Written by Kim Eun Hee (Signal, Ghost) and starring Joon Ji-hoon and Bae Doona, Kingdom is set in the Joseon dynasty of Korea plagued by famine and political unrest, and focuses on the central theme of hunger. We don’t want to spoil too much, but we can tell you this: the zombies run, and they run fast.
Kingdom premieres Jan. 26, 2019.
Some of the best horror films come from Thailand, so we’re especially excited for this new Netflix Original series from Shutter director Sophon Sakdaphisit. The Stranded follows a group of high school students from an elite private high school who survive a tsunami. As mysterious events start happening on the island, it quickly becomes clear that no one is coming to rescue them.
Release date has yet to be announced.
For more information, visit netflix.com.