Exclusive: Netflix renews Stand By Me’s ‘DI4RIES’ as Italian prodco expands kids & YA output


Netflix is returning Italian teen dramedy series DI4RIES for a second season, set to debut later this year, TBI has learned.

The series, produced by Asacha Media-backed Italian firm Stand By Me, has been handed a 14-episode sophomore pickup, with the first seven instalments to debut in September, while the second half of the season will land in March 2024.

DI4RIES season one debuted on Netflix in Italy in May 2022, before launching globally on the streamer in July, and ranking as one of its Top 10 shows in eight territories for several weeks. The series is set in an Italian middle school and follows the stories of classmates through the eyes of a different protagonist in each episode, addressing themes ranging from family breakups, to dyslexia, to coming out.

Teasing what is coming up in season two, Stand By Me founder and CEO Simona Ercolani, who serves as showrunner on DI4RIES, told TBI: “In the second series the protagonists are slightly older – aged 13 and 14. The issues and challenges they face are typical of their age group, but we explore some new themes as well – bullying, anxiety and insecurity at that age, and lots more.

“One of our main points of focus is the relationship between individualism and group belonging: in the second series we take the point of view of more than one character per episode as a way of emphasizing the differences in perceptions among characters.”

Simona Ercolani

Kids content expansion

The DI4RIES renewal comes as Stand By Me has made a huge push into kids and teens content in the last year, more than quadrupling its number of produced episodes from 12 in 2021 to 56 in 2022.

As part of this expansion, Stand By Me is also working on Giò, a new tween drama, which tells the story of a young girl, a talented volleyball player, who is forced to move out of the city, to a small town, after her parents die in an accident.

In January, the firm also launched the short film A Postcard From Elena (aka La Cartolina Di Elena) on Italian networks Rai3 and Rai Gulp. Combining live action and 2D animation, the film, which is now streaming on Raiplay, reveals the true story of Elena Colombo, a young Jewish girl deported to Auschwitz at the height of World War Two, the only documented case in Italy involving an unaccompanied minor.

Ercolani told TBI that young audiences are often more accepting of engaging with difficult topics such as with the short or the issues brought up in DI4RIES: “Children and young teens are perfectly able to understand the importance and seriousness of topics like the holocaust. And, unlike adults, they are not scared of asking serious or difficult questions, or of appearing controversial.”

Also currently on Stand By Me’s kids & teens slate are new episodes of Crush for RAI Kids, with one instalment set to be turned into a TV movie for the pubcaster.

Past projects include Halloweird for Italy’s RAI Kids; JAMS for Rai Kids, HBO in Lat Am and TVE in Spain; Knights Of Castel Corvo for Disney+ and Sara And Marti for Disney, Sky, RAI Kids and EUROPA+.

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