Sundance Now, AMC Networks’ direct-to-consumer SVOD service curated with high-quality dramas, comedies, and crime thrillers, and Shudder, the leading premium streaming service for thriller, suspense and horror, today announced at SDCC the joint acquisition of the Sky original production, A Discovery of Witches.
The eight-episode drama is produced by Bad Wolf -- the creative team behind The Night Of, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Da Vinci’s Demons, and the forthcoming adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches stars Emmy® nominated actor Matthew Goode (The Crown, Downton Abbey), Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge), Alex Kingston (ER, Doctor Who), Valarie Pettiford (Being Mary Jane) and Owen Teale (Game of Thrones).
The series will make its debut in the U.S. and Canada on a date to be confirmed, with all episodes available simultaneously on both Sundance Now and Shudder, marking the first partnership of this kind for the two SVOD services. SundanceTV has also acquired second window linear rights to the series.
Filmed in the UK at Wolf Studios Wales and on location in Oxford, A Discovery of Witches is a contemporary love story that begins against the backdrop of Oxford academic life, in a world where small numbers of witches, vampires and daemons live and work, unseen amongst humans, hiding in plain sight.
Teresa Palmer is the brilliant historian Diana Bishop, a reluctant witch denying her heritage.
The discovery of a bewitched manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library throws her into the heart of a dangerous mystery – and into the path of the enigmatic vampire and geneticist, Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode), who hides a dark family secret.
As Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the secrets of the ancient manuscript, their relationship develops, and events threaten to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between witches, vampires, daemons, and humans.
Alex Kingston plays Sarah Bishop – Diana’s aunt, Valarie Pettiford plays her partner Emily Mather, and Owen Teale plays Peter Knox, a member of the Congregation.
“This captivating story is filled with intrigue, romance, and magic and set in spectacular locations that underscore those very qualities,” said Jan Diedrichsen, General Manager, Sundance Now.
“We are thrilled to see Deborah Harkness’ books brought to life in such an inspired way with such a charismatic cast and talented crew. The result is binge-worthy television at its best, and we know that A Discovery of Witches will appeal to both the premium drama fans at Sundance Now and the genre fans at Shudder.”
“A Discovery of Witches is a big, bold series with witches, vampires, and daemons caught up in an all-too-human drama that’s enthralling from the opening minute.
"It’s unlike anything else on TV, and we’re excited to bring it to Shudder members as part of this unique partnership,” added Craig Engler, General Manager, Shudder.
Gillian Rose, Senior Vice President, US Sales, and Acquisitions, Sky Vision added, “We’re delighted that A Discovery of Witches, a Sky Original production, will make its debut in the U.S. and Canada on Sundance Now and Shudder.
"It’s a moving, modern-day love story, set in a world where a handful of witches, vampires, and daemons secretly live and work alongside humans, and I’m sure it will be a huge success for them.”
A Discovery of Witches was adapted for the screen by writer Kate Brooke (Mr. Selfridge). Co-founder of Bad Wolf, Jane Tranter is the executive producer, and Juan Carlos Medina (Painless) directs.
The series was commissioned by Sky’s Head of Drama, Anne Mensah, for transmission on Sky One and Now TV in the UK, where it will air from September 14th, 2018.
The series was co-funded by Sky’s distribution arm, Sky Vision, who control international rights, and the deal was negotiated by Endeavor Content and Aurelie de Troyer for Sundance Now and Shudder.
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.