The Danish TV channel Kanal 5 is currently airing Heartless, a new supernatural teen drama that has been met with international interest.
Two years ago, Kanal 5 devised a new drama series that jumped on the vampire bandwagon, as True Blood and Twilight were the hottest franchises in mainstream horror. It seemed natural to want to exploit that trend, even if homegrown horror in Denmark is far from a natural thing. Heartless premiered on April 28th, with the first season offering 5 episodes.
The supernatural drama is set to a Danish boarding school, but the teen twins Sofie and Sebastian are not ordinary students. They were born with a curse and carry a dark and fatal secret; in order to live, they need to suck the energy out of other people. If they don’t stop their sucking in time, their victims will burn. Sofie and Sebastian tries to find out why they are what they are, but their new life at the school does not make it easier for them, especially since they realize they have other, more normal teen emotions as well. However, the siblings are not the only ones with secrets – a mystery that dates back to the year 1666 emerges, with elements of sin, life, death and mysterious powers.
Julie Zangenberg and Sebastian Jessen plays the twins, supported by Frederikke Dahl Hansen, Gustav Giese, Thomas Ernst, Allan Hyde (who actually played in True Blood), Julie Christiansen, Thomas Ernst, Marie Boda and others. Julie Zangenberg said this to dagens.dk about her part, as the series started filming in August 2013: -I am so looking forward to this project. I always find it more interesting to do the projects that are different, challenging and innovative, [although] the most important thing is that the story is good. Heartless has all these characteristics, and I look forward to [work with all the great people] that are attached to the series.
Heartless may be a rare occurence in Danish television, but production values are still high for this exceptional series, which is the first original drama series to be produced for Kanal 5. Perhaps that contributed to the show having already been sold to more than 40 countries, as much as the univeral theme of family bonds and believing in love. Helene Aurø, in charge of selling the series to foreign distributors, suggests that the international boost that Danish genre drama is currently enjoying with series like Borgen and The Killing helped: -There has been a great interest from international customers. [Beyond the 40+ countries that bought the series] there are more than 65 customers that want to take a look at it […] There is no doubt that the general success of Danish drama the last few years have paved the way for [this new series] abroad, she says. In Scandinavia, cable channel C More and Norwegian public broadcaster NRK has bought the series.
The series is directed by Natasha Arthy, who has an extensive experience in making youth films (such as the award-winning Fighter). She has directed two episodes of The Killing (2012) and Lulu & Leon. The story, written by Nikolaj Scherfig (The Bridge) with Morten Dragsted as episodic writer, is based on an original idea by producer Ronnie Fridthjof and Thomas Glud. –Heartless is a mix of pure Scandinavian drama and US fantasy/adventure. It’s True Blood meets The Killing. We want to take Danish drama a step further with a series that is mainly played by a new generation of talented actors and allows for more daring elements that we usually find in US series, says Ronnie Fridthjof. Kanal 5 is owned by SBS Discovery Media, whose CEO for Denmark, Christian Kemp adds: –Heartless is our first major drama series and we have great expectations. The series has the potential to draw a wide audience although it is aimed primarily at the younger target group.
Heartless airs Mondays on Kanal 5 at 9 pm in Denmark.