Series from Bavaria – Success with Local Productions

By Benedikt Frank

Those who still remember the children’s television series "Meister Eder und sein Pumuckl" or "Kir Royal" know that Bavarian TV shows have a long tradition. However, thirty years have passed since these titles were broadcasted. Where do Bavarian series stand nowadays in the age of streaming?

Our local productions are well-received by the international audience. Just recently, Netflix secured the streaming rights for the show "Hindafing." The second season of this satire on local Bavarian politics will premiere at the end of November. The first season takes place between Ingolstadt and the Czech border and was primarily filmed in Olching. Today, a US-based television channel is working on an American remake of successful series from Munich-based production company Neuesuper.

The series "8 Days" is also a Neuesuper production. For dramatic reasons, and to best demonstrate the political operations that take place in the capital in the event of a disaster (in the TV show a comet races towards Europe), the series is primarily set in Berlin. But it is, at its core, a Bavarian production: the channel Sky is located in Unterföhring, about half an hour's drive from Sendling (Munich), where the production company Neuesuper’s offices are based.

End-time scenarios in the “8 days” series, photo: Sky / Neuesuper Produktions GmbH, Stephan Rabold

Pay-TV and streaming platforms are a must if you want to watch international series in Germany right after their premiere. In Germany, many HBO series such as "Westworld" can be seen on Sky Atlantic. Furthermore, "Game of Thrones" was originally streamed by TNT Series, and the BBC production "Doctor Who" is broadcasted by FOX Channel. Additionally, the award-winning Hulu series "The Handmaid's Tale" airs on the standard broadcast channel Tele 5. All these TV stations are based in Bavaria. However, great series are not just imported—the Bavarian production landscape plays a major role in making German series, too.

From Premium Series to Daily Soaps: The Portfolio is Large

"Das Boot", "Babylon Berlin", "Chernobyl" and the alpine thriller "Der Pass" are great German series that were co-produced by Sky. "Das Boot" is a series from the time-honored production company Bavaria Film and is based on Wolfgang Petersen's classic film from 1981. The claustrophobic original scenery can be seen in Bavaria Filmstadt in Grünwald. Series with such high production costs are only a part of the varied Bavarian production landscape. Popular series for standard broadcast channels such as the telenovela "Sturm der Liebe" and "Die Rosenheim Cops" are also part of the program. Regional production companies additionally get involved when it comes to daily soaps. "Um Himmels Willen" (a series about nuns) and "Die Bergretter" (a series about mountain rescuers) are produced by the company Neue Deutsche Filmgesellschaft from Unterföhring. Perhaps the most Bavarian of all current series, "Dahoam is Dahoam", is produced by Constantin Television from Munich. It can be seen on the local channel Bayerischer Rundfunk in the early evenings.

All these shows benefit from the landscape of the Bavarian region. The Munich studios are located near areas that are both versatile and picturesque, which is a major advantage for Bavarian series productions.

Streaming Providers Purchase Bavarian Series

When the big Pay-TV broadcasters and streaming services search for content, they don’t simply rely on our Bavarian mountain charm, but also on our know-how. We are experts on producing complex series and attracting the audience with gripping and sometimes radical stories. Munich production companies have set a new standard by providing international video-on-demand services with German shows. The first German Amazon series "You Are Wanted", starring hacker-chasing Matthias Schweighöfer, is a co-production of Pantaleon Films. The first German Netflix series "Dark", a mystery time-travel thriller, was produced by Wiedemann & Berg. The company has also been working on the new series "Tribes of Europe" for the streaming giant since September. "4 Blocks" (TNT) and "Der Pass" (Sky) were also created by Quirin Berg and Max Wiedemann’s production company. Just like Simon Amberger, Korbinian Dufter, and Rafael Parente, the founders of Neuesuper, the two are graduates of the Munich University of Television and Film. Since 2017, the author and producer Tac Romey has been teaching Serial Narration at this university. As a result, Bavaria’s TV show production won’t be suffering from a shortage of young recruits anytime soon.