The Sundance Channel has been featuring original programming from the more recent Iconoclasts to the veteran Anatomy of a Scene for more than a decade. However, it was only in 2010 that the Sundance Channel incorporated scripted programming into the network via Carlos. Slowly but surely, more scripted programming has become a staple on the network, and now the channel wants to spend more time focusing on drama projects. Five dramas are currently in development for the 2013-2014 season.
The only tie seemingly binding these projects is that they will all have a dramatic edge. Otherwise, the projects all feature very different plotlines and characters, producers and writers, and source material. Robert Redford, Sarah Condon, Stanley Tucci, Steve Buscemi, and Ira Glass are all around producing one series or another—but we’ll have to wait and see whether Valentines, Behind the Sun, The Descendants, T, or Death in the Modern Age have an easier time of finding an audience.
Until then, fans of the Sundance Channel can get a taste of Sundance’s original programming via Restless, a miniseries on the network starring Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery, Never Let Me Go’s Charlotte Rampling, and Captain America’s Hayley Atwell. Restless will air on December 7 and December 14 at 9 p.m. ET. Additionally, the Sundance channel has two other series slated for midseason, Rectify and Top of the Lake are set to appear. If none of that suits your fancy, you can check out more about the network’s upcoming fodder, below.
Based on the novel by Olaf Olafsson, Valentines is a white-knuckled emotional journey, capturing the most candid of moments between lovers when unspoken truths and long buried secrets surge to the surface and everything changes in an instant. The story follows Herman Peterson - a high-powered New York attorney, and his three attractive daughters - Cathryn, Margaret, and Soley - as we delve into their upscale homes, cosmopolitan social circles, and volatile personal relationships to discover that not all is what it seems.
Writer: Olaf Olafsson (novels including, “The Journey Home” and “Absolution”)
Producers: Sundance Productions (Robert Redford & Laura Michalchyshyn), Fred Berner
Behind the Sun
A wildly distinct coming-of-age tale set in the surfer paradise of Malibu, Calif., during the mid-1980s that follows the growing pains of the Georges – a determined, single child family whose lives begin to unravel after teenage son Farron learns he has an incredibly rare allergy to the sun. The series explores the shifting notions of parenting, and how the delayed adolescence and personal ambitions of the adults within this world are throwing their children into psychological and physical jeopardy.
Writer: Dylan Gary (Tell Me You Love Me)
Producers: Olive Productions (Stanley Tucci, Steve Buscemi, Wren Arthur)
A hard-hitting drama that revolves around a sheriff struggling to keep his family together while simultaneously policing two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up and the neighboring Ramapo Mountains, home of the Ramapo Mountain Indians. After a terrible tragedy and coverup occurs involving the sheriff's wife, an unholy alliance is forged between the sheriff and a dangerous member of the tribe that will come back to haunt all involved.
Writer: Aaron Guzikowksi (Contraband, Prisoners)
Producer: Sarah Condon (Bored to Death)
A deeply personal look at Terrence, a transgender male who has recently undergone gender reassignment surgery and is beginning to live life as a man. Series cuts between Terrence’s emotional struggle in the present and his past as Thora – a lesbian, student activist at Mt. Holyoke College circa 2005 struggling to find her true self.
Writer: Anya Epstein (In Treatment) and Dan Futterman (In Treatment, Capote)
Producers: Ira Glass & Alissa Shipp (This American Life)
Death in the Modern Age
After his personal and professional lives implode in spectacular fashion, a down-on-his-luck suburbanite who has always played by the rules decides to radically reinvent himself by plotting to fake his own death in order to start life anew. In today’s age of DNA testing, digital footprints, and lack of individual anonymity, his escape and ultimate transformation prove to be much easier said than done.
Writers: Josh Shaffer & Eli Kooris
Producers: Landscape Entertainment (Bob Cooper, JJ Jamieson), Michel Fuchs