US TV's new season and Turkish sports writing
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Superheroes are continuing to swoop onto the small screen, joined by a network of white-collar criminals and doctors in the forthcoming US television season. The major broadcasters – ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and the CW – have commissioned more than 40 shows to air in the US from September and then be rolled out to the rest of the world.
This batch of new programmes includes remakes of a Belgian plague thriller and a dark Turkish legal drama, the first time that shows from either country have been adapted for the US market.
The main trend is the number of shows based on existing properties or well-known franchises. There are three superhero series based on DC comics characters: Supergirl, Lucifer and The Flash spin-off Legends of Tomorrow. There will be four shows based on hit feature films: the sci-fi Minority Report, futuristic drug thriller Limitless, buddy-cop movie Rush Hour and family comedy Uncle Buck. The small screen itself is not immune to makeover: Heroes Reborn, an X-Files refresh and a Modern Family-style update of The Muppets also lead the line of television reboots.
This said, there are a number of original projects in the pipeline; Billions, written by New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, is a crime drama based around the last economic crisis that stars Sideways’ Paul Giamatti as a politically savvy but sexually deviant US attorney and Damian Lewis as a beastly hedge-fund manager.
Meanwhile, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a Glee-meets-Monty Python-style musical comedy that stars Rachel Bloom, known for internet videos such as Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury. And Wesley Snipes is back: recently released from a spell in prison for not paying his taxes, he stars in Vegas crime thriller The Player.
Containment: Remake of Belgian quarantine drama Cordon, created by Carl Joos for Flemish station VTM. Antwerp is swapped for Atlanta and The Vampire Diaries’ Julie Plec will produce the plague procedural.
Game of Silence: Based on Turkish drama Suskunlar and created by Pinar Bulut for Show TV, Game of Silence is a legal thriller produced by CSI’s Carol Mendelsohn.
The Catch:Six Feet Under’s Peter Krause and The Killing’s Mireille Enos star in this white-collar crime drama, produced by Scandal’s Shonda Rhimes. It sees Enos play a fraud investigator who finds herself defrauded by her own fiancé.
Code Black: Set in one of the most overcrowded hospitals in the US, Code Black, starring Damages actress Marcia Gay Harden, is a fast-paced medical drama based on a documentary by Ryan McGarry.
Socrates is a monthly magazine that catches the new wave of curiosity in Turkey for sports beyond football. Headed up by senior editor Onur Erdem and editor Inan Ozdemir, Socrates’ features range from women’s wrestling in Mexico to the historical evolution of chess or boxing in literature, alongside Turkish translations of Jorge Luis Borges’ writing about the beautiful game.
How is ‘Socrates’ rethinking sports magazines?
Since 2009, the Tour de France, Wimbledon and snooker have become hugely popular in Turkey. Unfortunately, mainstream media has had no interest and focuses almost entirely on football. Socrates is very much influenced by this new interest. The magazine is named after Sócrates, the Brazilian footballer who, for us, represented a different kind of sportsman: he had courage and bold ideas about democracy and we want to channel that spirit.
Do readers in Turkey want their sports served to them high-brow?
We don’t know but we’re trying. The pick-up so far has been very strong and there’s an appreciation that we’re doing something different. In our first issue we ran a Turkish translation of an article by Gabriel García Márquez about cycling. [Noble Prize-winning Turkish novelist] Orhan Pamuk has promised he will write for us at some point. We want to go back to a 1960s idea of sports journalism when the Turkish media was more curious about the sports that the rest of the world was playing.
What’s a perfect ‘Socrates’ feature?
In Istanbul’s Fatih district, the immigrants from Africa who live and work there formed a tournament – a kind of mini African Cup of Nations – comprising workers from Gabon, Kenya, Congo and other countries on the continent. One of our writers went down to cover the tournament and speak to the players. The story, in the end, is not just about football: it’s also about the life of an African immigrant in Istanbul.
From Berlin-based editors Paul Scraton and Julia Stone comes Elsewhere, “a journal of place” that sets its compass wide and far: Loch Fyne in Scotland, Bankstown in Australia and the socialist-realist city of Nowa Huta in Poland (a “gift” from the USSR in 1949) among others. The sense of joy in discovery that the writing exudes ensures Elsewhere (issued in a travel-friendly A5-ish format) will be read from cover to cover.