Reporting from Hong Kong
HBO Asiaâ€™s upcoming science fiction series, Dream Raider, is about a group of scientists and police trying to hunt down criminals who have developed a technology that allows them to enter peopleâ€™s dreams.
The TV network revealed the plot of Dream RaiderÂ atÂ a press conference in Hong Kong on Monday (18 March), where it also announced that an anthology food drama series,Â Food Lore, helmed by Singaporean director Eric Khoo, will be among its line-up of original Asian productions for 2019.
Two other upcoming HBO Asia original series are Taiwanese crime drama The World Between Us, which premieres on 24 March, as well as the second season of The Teenage Psychic, for which no premiere date was announced yet.
Dream Raider,Â HBO Asiaâ€™s first sci-fi series, is an eight-episode hour-long Mandarin-language series starring Taiwanese actors Vivian Hsu, David Wang, Jason Wang, Weber Yang and Ellen Wu. The China-Taiwan co-production just finished filming and is set to premiere some time this year, but a premiere date was not announced.
The series is executive produced by Hong Kong filmmaker Cheang Pou-soi, who was brought in for his visual effects expertise â€“ he was the director of a blockbuster series of Monkey King films, including The Monkey King: The Legend Begins, The Monkey King II: The White-boned Demon and The Monkey King: Kingdom of Women.
HBO Asia described the show as such: â€œSet in the near future, Dream RaiderÂ features a misfit team of scientists and cops that are trying to get to the bottom of a criminal conspiracy that exploits human consciousness. The series opens with a criminal police officer that is investigating a case of missing girls and uncovers a mysterious cutting-edge technology that enables them to enter the dreamscapes of others to find the truth.â€
Sounds a bit like Inception? Yup, thatâ€™s what we thought too.
Cast members Vivian Hsu and David Wang were at the press conference to promote Dream Raider, and the chemistry between them was palpable â€“ which is just as well, because they play a husband-and-wife scientist duo in the show.
Wang, who turns out to be quite a jokester,Â said he accepted the role of the â€œcrazyâ€ genius scientist Mo Qi Feng immediately when he found out Hsu was the lead actress. â€œVivian has been my idol since I was young and I grew up listening to her songs (Hsu is also a singer),â€ he quipped. He was probably half-joking as both actors are basically the same age â€“ Hsu turns 44 tomorrow, while Wang will be 44 in June. So Wang had to be trolling Hsu on this one.
Hsu plays Lillian, a researcher who spends 10 years in a coma-dream state after a scientific experiment goes awry. She couldnâ€™t resist hitting back at Wang. â€œIf I had to describe Wangâ€™s character in Dream Raider as an animal, Iâ€™d say I was married to a hippopotamus,â€ she said to laughs from the room. â€œHe seems very honest and decent, but donâ€™t provoke him or he will go wild and crazyâ€¦ he loves Lillian very much, but itâ€™s a controlling, possessive and cruel form of love.â€
HBO Asia, an offshoot of its parent network HBO, has been producing original content for Asian audiences by collaborating with regional storytellers and filmmakers. Previous series made by HBO Asia include The Teenage Psychic, Miss Sherlock, Halfworlds and Serangoon Road.
This story was the result of a trip paid for by HBO Asia.