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Netflix Bulks Up Southeast Asia Originals, Chinese-Language Production Slate

Global streaming giant Netflix has made a significant ongoing commitment to production of original content from Southeast Asia and in the Chinese language.

For 2024, Netflix has unveiled a slate of four Chinese-language series, all hailing from Taiwan. From Thailand, it detailed seven series and one film. From Indonesia, it has committed to five films and a series co-written and directed by the consistently successful Joko Anwar, marking his first partnership with the streamer.

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Additionally, Netflix has confirmed the appointment of Maya Huang as its head of Chinese-language content.

The moves stand in sharp contrast to the mid-January happenings at rival global streamer Prime Video, which is cutting staff in the region and ending its brief experiment with Southeast Asian originals.

In Indonesia, Netflix says it is broadening its storytelling with a range of genres including comedy, action, fantasy, and sci-fi thrillers.

“Nightmares and Daydreams,” Anwar’s debut project for the company, is a supernatural science fiction series. It involves ordinary people encountering strange phenomena that could unlock answers about the origin of the world and the imminent threat it will soon face. “Characters and plots will intertwine like pieces of a puzzle and the big picture will be awe-inspiring,” the logline reads. A sparkling cast includes Ario Bayu, Lukman Sardi, Marissa Anita, Nirina Zubir, Sita Nursanti, Fachri Albar and Asmara Abigail.

The Indonesian film slate includes: “Monster,” a dialog-free thriller starring Marsha Timothy, Alex Abbad and Antalya Kirana; Borneo-set crime thriller “Borderless Fog,” with a female detective protagonist, from prize-winning director Edwin; and “The Shadow Strays,” an action film by Timo Tjahjanto (Netflix’s “The Big 4”) with rising young actors Aurora Ribero in her first action film outing, alongside Kristo Immanuel, and Ali Fikry.

The lineup also includes acquired crime thriller “24 Hours With Gaspar,” which played at multiple Asian festivals last year and will debut on the platform in March.

Among the Chinese-language content, it begins showing sex comedy drama “Let’s talk About CHU,” from Friday. Directed by Remii Huang and jointly written by Huang and River Wu, the show charts the contrasting attitudes to love and sex of two adult daughters (portrayed by Chan Tzu-hsuan and Kimi Hsia) who both have strained relations with their parents. The cast also includes Taiwan star Kai Ko.

The company has green-lighted a second season of detective thriller “The Victims’ Game” for airing later in the year. The original cast — Joseph Chang, Hsu Wei-ning, Jason Wang and Moon Lee are supplemented by new additions like Japan’s Dean Fujioka, Hong Kong star Terrance Lau and Taiwanese singer Tarcy Su.

“GG Precinct” is a series spun off from the 2023 comedy feature “Marry My Dead Body,” which was Taiwan’s Oscar contender. The show is written by Chou Man-you and co-directors Cheng Wei-hao and Yin Cheng-hao with Hsu Kuang-han attached to star.

New series “Born for the Spotlight, stars Hsieh Ying-hsuan, Cheryl Yang and Hsueh Shih-ling in a tale of stardom and the unraveling of a friendship between two top actresses.

After tasting success with Thai film “Hunger” and series “Delete” last year, the Thailand slate for 2024 spans science fiction, horror, rom-com and upscale drama.

The feature-length element is “Bangkok Breaking: Heaven and Hell,” a crime thriller written and directed by Kongkiat Komesiri, with a story about a rescue worker trying to extricate a mogul’s daughter from the clutches of rival gangs.

The seven series include: “Ready, Set, Love,” a rom-com set in a parallel universe in which females increasingly outnumber males, which airs from Feb. 15; “The Believers,” a drama series in which religious beliefs are up for sale, directed by Wattana pong Wongwan and hailing from Joy Luck Club Film House and Deluxe Production, airing from March 27; and the Ekachai Uekrongtham-directed “Doctor Climax,” a 1970s-set comedy-drama about a skin doctor moonlighting as a sex columnist, set for playout in May.

The Thai shows without release dates are: “Tuesday Terror: Extreme,” from ATIME and BrandThink Cinema, haunting stories adapted for the screen from a radio show; Kantana Motion Pictures’ soap opera adaptation “Master of the House,” in which heirs and a beloved maid battle over a diamond tycoon’s fortune; Hub Ho Hin Bangkok’s chiller “Don’t Come Home”; “Tomorrow and I,” an anthology series exploring the intersection of modern technology and traditionally conservative Thai traditions.

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