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Yuko Takeuchi and Shihori Kanjiya of Miss Sherlock.

Taiwanese actress Kuo Shu-yau plays a temple medium who can see ghosts in dramedy mini-series The Teenage Psychic.

More original content from HBO Asia in the pipeline

Dec 1, 2017 5:50 AM

COUCH potatoes have even more reason to stay in: HBO Asia unveiled six new projects that will ramp up the regional network's line-up of original productions as it celebrates 25 years of broadcasting.

The announcement was made on Thursday with a panel of 10 directors, showrunners and cast members from four of the upcoming shows attending the press event.

Filming will take place in various countries across Asia - China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand - and the programs will be available exclusively on HBO Asia's network of channels including its online streaming platform HBO GO, and on-demand service HBO On Demand.

Since 2012, HBO Asia has produced 10 Asian Originals, including dark action fantasy drama series Halfworlds, English sitcom Sent, and dramedy mini-series The Teenage Psychic.

The latter is slated for a second season, with actress Kuo Shu-yau returning to reprise her titular role.

Among the big names involved in the new projects are local filmmaker Eric Khoo, Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang and Korean actor Lee Sang-Woo, who will be working on Folklore, a six-episode, hour-long, horror anthology series. Created by Khoo, each installment will be helmed by different directors like Ratanaruang.

Also new is Grisse, an eight-part, hour-long, period drama set in the mid-1800s during the colonial period of Dutch East Indies. Its showrunner is Mike Wiluan, chairman of the Singapore International Film Festival and chief executive of Infinite Studios.

The series chronicles the story of a group of unlikely individuals who lead a rebellion against a brutal governor and suddenly find themselves in control of the titular Dutch garrison town.

HBO Asia also announced its very first Japanese language, eight-part, hour-long, drama series Miss Sherlock. Produced in collaboration with Hulu in Japan, it will premiere across 20 countries in April 2018.

The show pays tribute to the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic and is set in modern day Tokyo, with the two leads re-imagined as women. The characters Sara Shelly Futaba (Yuko Takeuchi) and Dr Wato Tachibana (Shihori Kanjiya) are both inspired by Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, respectively.

Two Chinese language martial arts movies - Master Of The White Crane Fist: Wong Yan-Lam and Master Of The Nine Dragon Fist: Wong Ching Ho - were also announced. They will be the third and fourth installments of the anthology series that previously featured Master Of The Drunken Fist: Beggar So and Master Of The Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying in 2016.

On the slate of new productions, Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia, said: "By harnessing the full potential of talent and production infrastructure the region has to offer, we are well-positioned to create premium, authentic and relevant content for our audiences in the region, many of which have been recognised for various creative and performance awards.

"With its richness in culture and histories, Asia is a great source of stories which make for appealing content locally as well as globally.

"We are excited that as a start, two of our HBO Asian Originals - The Teenage Psychic and both seasons of Halfworlds - will be available to audiences in the US on the HBO US service from next month."