STREAMING UPDATES: Alice In Borderland, Takeshi’s Castle, Five Blind Dates

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MARCH 30: Netflix wraps shoot of Alice In Borderland Season 2

Netflix has announced wrap of production for the second season of Japanese series Alice In Borderland, directed by Shinsuke Sato and featuring returning cast members Kento Yamazaki, Tao Tsuchiya and Nijiro Murakami, among others, which is scheduled to stream from December. Based on a popular manga, the show has a similar concept to Squid Game in that a group of people compete in a series of games with the losers facing death, although they are motivated by a desire to return home rather than paying off debts. As ten cast members are returning for season two, we can assume they’re quite good at playing the game. Squid Game’s creator has also said he was influenced by Japanese manga.

MARCH 30: Amazon unveils six Japan originals, including Takeshi’s Castle reboot

It’s been a big week for streaming news from Japan, with Amazon Prime Video also announcing six Japanese originals, including a reboot of Takeshi Kitano’s iconic game show, Takeshi’s Castle; a Japanese version of Modern Love, with episodes directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Wife Of A Spy), Naoko Ogigami (Close-Knit), Ryuichi Hiroki (Ride Or Die), Nobuhiro Yamashita (Linda Linda Linda) and Atsuko Hirayanagi (Oh Lucy!); YA romcom My Lovely Yokai Girlfriend, created by Yalun Tu (NCIS: Hawaii) and Zach Hines (Grace); original film Angel Flight, scripted by Ryota Kosawasawa and Takafumi Kosaka, which is about a group of professionals who repatriate dead people; and second seasons of hit shows The Masked Singer and The Bachelorette Japan.

MARCH 29: Amazon orders first Australian feature, Five Blind Dates

Amazon Prime Video also announced it has commissioned its first Australian original feature, romantic comedy Five Blind Dates, created by US comedian Nathan Ramos-Park and China-born Australian actor Shuang Hu, with Australia’s Shawn Seet (The Code, Storm Boy) set to direct. The story follows a woman who is told by a fortune teller that she will meet her soulmate on one of the next five dates she goes on. Produced by Goalpost Pictures Australia, the series starts shooting next month in Sydney and Queensland. The announcement was made by Amazon’s head of originals for Asia Pacific, Erika North, at Screen Producers Australia’s annual conference.

MARCH 28: Netflix unveils highlights from upcoming anime slate

Netflix showcased highlights from 40 new exclusive anime titles at AnimeJapan 2022, including series Thermae Romae, Novae Kotaro Lives Alone and Rilakkuma’s Theme Park Adventure, along with films such as Bubble, which recently premiered in the Generation 14plus section of Berlin Film Festival. Thermae Romae Novae, which launches March 28, is the first project from Netflix’s previously announced partnership with six anime creators. Bubble will be available on Netflix from April 28. The streamer also revealed sneak peeks of upcoming titles such as The Seven Deadly Sins: Grudge Of Edinburgh and the second season of Ghost In The Shell: SAC_2045 Season 2. See more details of the line-up here.


MARCH 28: Disney+ Hotstar, All3Media team on Indian adaptation of Blood

Disney+ Hotstar is working with All3Media International on an Indian adaptation of Irish psychological thriller Blood. Produced by Reliance Entertainment-owned Dreamers & Doers Co, the Indian version of the series will be directed by Mihir Desai with Gurmmeet Singh as the showrunner. Created by Sophie Petzal, Blood was produced by Channel 5 and Virgin Media and starred Adrian Dunbar and Carolina Main. It ran for two seasons which aired in 2018 and 2020.

MARCH 24: Stan expands Australian originals slate with Lionsgate

Australian streamer Stan, owned by Nine Entertainment, announced a large slate of local originals, including the first three projects through a deal with US studio Lionsgate to co-develop series. Stan and Lionsgate will work together on megachurch family drama series Prosper; psychological thriller The Geography Of Friendship; and outback comedy crime series Population: 11. Lionsgate will distribute the series outside Australia. 

MARCH 17: iQiyi adds Taiwanese dramas to slate

Chinese streamer iQiyi has announced two additional Chinese-language originals from Taiwan – Lesson In Love, starring Edward Chen (Your Name Engraved Herein), and fantasy comedy Oh No! Here Comes Trouble, starring Tseng Jing-hua, Vivian Sung and Peng Cian. The streamer’s first Thai original, KinnPorsche The Series La Forte, launches on its global platform on April 2. iQiyi also recently announced that it had started streaming Korean drama Something In The Rain on March 3, marking the end of a six-year ban on Korean content in China. iQiyi said the series, which was broadcast by Korea’s JTBC four years ago, “quickly entered” its Top 5 Hot TV Series and a Chinese remake, The Way Love Should Be, starring Angelababy, is in the works. 

MARCH 15: Kareena Kapoor Khan to star in Netflix adaptation of The Devotion Of Suspect X

Kareena Kapoor Khan is making her streaming debut in Netflix’s Indian adaptation of Japanese author Higashino Keigo’s bestselling 2005 novel The Devotion Of Suspect X. Directed by Sujoy Ghosh (Kahaani), the film is produced by 12th Street Entertainment and Northern Lights Films in association with Boundscript and Kross Pictures. The cast also includes Jaideep Ahlawat (Paatal Lok) and Vijay Varma (Gully Boy). 

MARCH 10: Japan’s NTV enters strategic collaboration with Disney

Japanese broadcaster Nippon TV (NTV) announced a strategic collaboration with Disney to co-produce local-language content, including drama series, manga and variety shows, which will stream on Disney+ in Japan and overseas. The two companies will also share content on their respective platforms. The first series under the deal is The Files Of Young Kindaichi, scheduled to air on NTV from April 24 and stream on Disney+ shortly after. 

MARCH 4: Netflix unveils shows from Australia, Taiwan, Japan

Netflix announced three new originals from around the Asia Pacific region: 

Boy Swallows Universe (Australia) – an eight-part adaptation of Trent Dalton’s coming-of-age novel, produced by Brouhaha Entertainment Australia and written by John Collee (Master And Commander). Executive producers on the series include Troy Lum, Andrew Mason, Sophie Gardiner, Kerry Roberts and Joel Edgerton. 

Copycat Killer (Taiwan) – an adaptation of Japanese writer Miyabe Miyuki’s crime novel Mohohan, produced by Greener Grass Production (The Victims’ Game). Chang Jung-chi and Chang Heng-ju are directing the series, which is set to star Wu Kang-ren, Alice Ko and Ruby Lin. 

Let’s Get Divorced (Japan) – a live-action family sitcom starring Tori Matsuzaka and Riisa Naka and written by Kankuro Kudo (Ikebukuro West Gate Park) and Shizuka Oishi. TBS Sparkle is producing the series, which has Fuminori Kaneko, Ryosuke Fukuda, Takuya Sakaue on board as directors. 

MARCH 4: India’s Balaji, Sikhya start shooting Kathal for Netflix 

Principal photography has started on Netflix original drama comedy film, Kathal (Jackfruit), produced by Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms and Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment. Sanya Malhotra (Dangal) and Anant Joshi (Cobalt Blue) head the cast of the film about a young female police officer investigating the case of a politician’s missing jackfruit. The film is the feature debut of Yashowardhan Mishra, who also co-scripted with Ashok Mishra (Welcome To Sajjanpur).

MARCH 3: Disney+ announces four Korean dramas

Disney+ has unveiled details of four additional Korean dramas for its 2022 slate, three of which are originals and one acquisition. The three originals are: 

Big Mouth, a thriller written by Haram, in collaboration with creator Jang Young-chul and Jung Kyung-soon, and directed by Oh Choong-hwan (Hotel Del Luna). Lee Jong-suk (Pinocchio) and Lim Yoon-a (Miracle) head the cast. Synopsis: a third-rate lawyer is forced to take on a murder case in an attempt to turn his life around and ends up getting tangled in a complex conspiracy.

Soundtrack #1, a music-themed romantic drama directed by Kim Hee-won (Vincenzo) and starring Han Sohee (The World Of Married) and Park Hyungsik (Happiness). Synopsis: Songwriter Eunsoo asks her best friend to stay with her for two weeks to help her write lyrics for a song about unrequited love. 

The Zone: Survival Mission, a survival gameshow produced by Cho Hyo Jin (Running Man) in which three celebrities (Beloved emcee Yoo Jae Suk, actor Lee Kwang Soo & Yuri from Girls’ Generation) are challenged to break out of escape rooms. 

Disney+ has also picked up romantic drama Crazy Love, produced by Arc Media and starring Kim Jae Uck (Her Private Life) and Krystal Jung (Prison Playbook), which begins airing on Korean broadcaster KBS on March 7. Synopsis: When a mathematical genius begins to receive death threats from an unknown person, he hatches an elaborate plan to track them down and finds an unlikely ally in an introverted, hard-working secretary.

Soundtrack #1