It had me at ‘Mania.’ The title, which suggests an exploration of unthinkable psychiatric disorders – not exactly light Sunday morning viewing, I know – intrigued me, but it was the series’ high-quality production, sound design and brilliant CG (you know it’s good when it blends in rather than distracts) that really got me hooked.
One of the episodes in a three-part series on different sorts of mania, ‘Pyromania’ brims with images as dark and stylish as those in David Fincher’s Seven. The visuals were paired with a narrator with an ultra-smooth voice describing this sinister obsession, leaving me partially horrified, yet fully captivated.
Partners: Firecracker Films (London) for Channel 4 (UK), through RDF Rights (London)
Length: 3 x 50 minutes
Rights: Worldwide, except UK
Sometimes the way a story is told pulls me into a show even if I’m not interested in the topic itself. That’s why I was impressed by Short Takes, a three-part series that uses brief doc, animation and comedy segments to cover a different theme in each episode. So while I’m not one to gamble (not surprising since I consider it a risk to eat yogurt after its expiry date), I was still taken by the episode on gambling and its cheeky animated tour through the history of the hobby, hosted by a poker chip named – wait for it – ‘Chip.’ It’s also handy that the program’s ‘quick hits’ model lets you drop in halfway through and still be able to enjoy it.
Partners: produced by Zig Zag Productions (London), through Cable Ready (Connecticut)
Aired previously on: TLC (US), 2005
Length: 3 x 60 minutes
Rights: Worldwide, except US and Canada