As careful TV viewers will note, limited series have become all the rage. It’s a brilliantly crafted term that really means nothing, but sounds important. However, in the rare case of Guerrilla, I believe it actually is important. Showtime hasn’t dipped its toe much in the miniseries game, but it’s about to do so in a big way, bringing together the talents of John Ridley (American Crime, 12 Years a Slave) and Idris Elba for the new six-part series.
Ridley will executive produce Guerrilla alongside Elba who is, of course, starring. The project is obviously a labor of love for Ridley, who will not only write the majority of the episodes, but will also direct the first two. The one-hour drama will start production in London this summer
According to the press release,
Guerrilla is a love story set against the backdrop of one of the most politically explosive times in U.K. history. It tells the story of a politically active couple whose relationship and values are tested when they liberate a political prisoner and form a radical underground cell in 1970s London. Their ultimate target becomes the Black Power Desk, a true-life, secretive counter-intelligence unit within Special Branch dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism. Whilst the series is set against a background of social and political activism, at its heart Guerrilla is about a relationship under pressure, and the reality that for any couple there comes a point when the choices they make have real and lasting consequences.
Elba said of the project,
“It’s been a long time desire of mine to collaborate with Mr. Ridley and his work here is nothing short of a masterclass in character building and story-telling. TV is in for a treat.”
“I am both humbled by and impressed with Idris’s passion toward bringing this story to life. I share his commitment for populating the culture with driven and complicated people of color, and believe we have great partners on the producorial level, and with our broadcasters Sky Atlantic and Showtime.”
International co-productions like this one are becoming increasingly common, and Sky Atlantic recently struck a deal with Showtime’s parent company, CBS, to be the sole purveyor of their series in the U.K. And while the partnerships don’t have to equal prestige TV productions, they often do. Guerrilla certainly sounds like one of these, and with such a fantastic partnership at its core, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how it shapes up. I’m also hoping it’s not a intensely depressing as Ridley’s other projects but … I won’t hold my breath!