HBO Europe Orders New Drama in Poland Amid Continuing Push Into Originals

The Hollywood Reporter

HBO Europe said Thursday that it has begun production on a new original drama series titled Blinded by the Lights as well as season two of acclaimed series Wataha, both for HBO Poland, as it continues its originals push.

Set in Warsaw, Blinded by the Lights will consist of six hourlong episodes. It takes place in the six days running up to Christmas as the Polish capital's biggest cocaine dealer plans a holiday in Argentina.

All that stands between him and his winter break is a few days working Warsaw's twilight world, trawling the nightclubs, going to office parties and dealing with hipster clients, corrupt cops, politicians and drug-loving celebrities. But the city has other plans for him when things start to go awry.

The new series is directed and co-written by Krzysztof Skonieczny (Hardkor Disco) from a novel by co-writer Jakub Zulczyk.

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Production has also started on Wataha, about a border guard unit based in a remote mountain range on the Polish-Ukrainian border. The first season drew the highest-rated premiere in HBO Poland's history. It was additionally available on Channel 4's Walter Presents digital service for foreign series in the U.K. 

Wataha, shot on location in the Bieszczady Mountains, follows the six-part, one-hour format and is directed by Kasia Adamik and Jan P. Matuszynski, with Piotr Szymanek as head writer. In the new season, the story has moved ahead three years and revolves around smuggling, the death of illegal immigrants and the rise of nationalism.

HBO Europe has focused more on locally produced original dramas since last July, launching Czech drama Pustina at the Karlovy Vary film festival.

Antony Root, executive vp original programming and production for HBO Europe, said: "Our continuing goal is to produce distinctive, high-quality drama for local audiences. We believe Blinded by the Lights, a story set in Warsaw's demimonde and showing off the city in a wholly new way, will not only appeal to Polish audiences but also to our subscribers all around the HBO Europe region. We are confident it will equally excite audiences internationally."

He added: "Wataha has already proved its appeal to viewers, having achieved huge ratings in Poland for its first season. It also played extremely successfully in the other HBO Europe territories and has sold in foreign markets. We are very excited by this new chapter and the way the writers explore some of the challenges now faced on Europe's longest border."

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