Show of the Week: The Friedmanns

The Friedmanns

This moving eight-part drama starts off where some shows might end, resulting in a unique, authentic and emotional series that explores how a family recovers after suffering tragedy and grief.

The Friedmanns, from Redseven Entertainment, tracks what happens when Mischko Friedmann loses Emma, the love of his life and the mother of his three children, Maya, Tilda and Carla.

Left without his soulmate, Mischko attempts to navigate his kids through their grief and the daily challenges of growing up. Somehow, life must go on, and so it does. Tilda falls in love with ‘bad boy’ Rokko, oblivious to his involvement with criminals; 11-year-old Carla reveals that she identifies as a boy; and rebellious teenager Maya threatens to go off the rails.

“For all three children, Emma’s death changes the course of their lives,” says Berit Walch, who wrote and created the show for RTL and RTL+. Tilda is inspired by her mother’s last words to her – to be strong and brave like Pippi Longstocking – while eldest daughter Maya, who had been copying her friends’ work at school, is beset by guilt and focuses solely on graduating from school, for herself and for her mum.

“The youngest Friedmann child, Carla, goes through the biggest transformation after Emma’s death,” Walch says. “Carl finally outs himself to the family and explains that he feels he is a girl. Carl’s journey to find himself symbolises most clearly the fundamental premise of the show: in every end there is also a beginning.”

The latter storyline required careful treatment to ensure it reflected an authentic experience and Walch admits it was a “mammoth task”.

“After a long search we found Amadeo-Leo Arndt, a non-binary child who also possesses immense acting talents. I had countless conversations with Amadeo. Some of the key scenes were developed jointly with him, and many of the things Amadeo experienced in his real life (like the bullying scene) found their way into the series.

“This insight into the anxiety, fears and hopes of a child who can identify so well with Carl’s journey was crucial for an authentic narrative.”

The result of this sensitive approach is a show that is “about a family and for the family”, says Tim Gerhartz, president & MD of Red Arrow Studios International, who adds it will appeal to “a broad family audience”, potentially with a slight female skew.

“It is a very fresh, modern take on a family drama,” Gerhartz adds. “It reflects life as it is and doesn’t shy away from tackling controversial themes – like gender issues or the death of a parent, but it manages to do so in a positive and aspirational way.”

Producer: Redseven Entertainment
Broadcaster: RTL and RTL+
Distributor: Red Arrow Studios International
Logline: A moving and inspirational drama about a family beset by tragedy but determined to rebuild their lives

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