We have a new streaming service. The platform formerly known as Epix will now be called MGM+ and will no doubt be preparing to leverage MGM’s legendary back catalogue.
Stargate, all of Rocky, Legally Blonde, all of James Bond, The Silence Of The Lambs, and Robocop rub shoulders with Tomb Raider, The Hobbit and Poltergeist. This is before you get anywhere near the classics like Gone With The Wind, The Wizard Of Oz, Ben Hur, Dr Zhivago, and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
This, of course, is now all under the control of Amazon. Content has never been MGM’s problem. It was distribution, and now it has the might of Amazon behind it.
Under the guise of Epix, one of their biggest successes was Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight’s SAS Rogue Heroes. The show told the story of the creation of the world’s first, and considered by most to be the best (although the SBS would quietly disagree), special forces unit in the deserts of North Africa during World War II. As the opening statement of the show on-screen says:
“Based on a true story. Those events depicted, which seem most unbelievable… are mostly true.”
The show was based on Ben Macintyre’s historical, factual, book of the same name. Writer Knight claims he actually had to tone down some of the things that they really did for the show as audiences simply wouldn’t believe it.
Audiences certainly responded to the co-production with the BBC, as the unorthodox mix of modern presentation telling a historical tale got great reviews and strong viewing figures.
When the rebranded channel launches on January 15th, the first series of SAS Rogue Heroes will be present on the service. It will also returning for a second series in 2024 as another run has been ordered and production is due to start soon.
Also from the pen of Ben Macintyre, the Guy Pearce and Damian Lewis-led six-episode limited series A Spy Among Friends launches on the service on March 12th. Based on his novel A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal it will tell the story of the most notorious British defector and Soviet mole in history. Agent, double agent, traitor and enigma, he betrayed every secret of Allied operations to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War.