Zero, a new Italian young adult sci-fi series, has joined the ever-growing roster of internationally produced Netflix originals, as reported by Variety. The series reportedly breaks new ground as the first television series to be centered around Black Italian teenagers in the contemporary era, according to WWD. It is based on the 2018 novel Non Ho Mai Avuto La Mia Età [I Was Never My Age] by Angolan-Italian author Antonio Dikele Distefano (Chi Sta Male Non Lo Dice), WWD reports.
Zero uses the time-tested science fiction premise of extraordinary abilities being bestowed on someone who believes themselves to be merely ordinary: “A shy delivery rider named Omar A.K.A. Zero (rising star Giuseppe Dave Seke)… [discovers he] can become invisible and uses his superpowers to help Milan’s Barrio suburb overcome its problems,” via Wanted in Milan. You can watch the official trailer with English subtitles below:
Distefano authors the program alongside Stefano Voltaggio (Titanic: Blood and Steel) and comic book artist Roberto Marchionni A.K.A. Menotti (They Call Me Jeeg). The other key members of Zero‘s development team are Carolina Cavalli (They Spat Me Out in the Milkshake), Lisandro Monaco (7 Lives) and Massimo Vassavori (Sick Sock Monsters from Outer Space).
Zero is the latest Netflix original series with Afro-European characters at its center. The international streaming giant scored big in the first part of 2021 with their French thriller series Lupin, which stars Omar Sy (Chocolat) and has a second season slated for a summer release. Lupin is allegedly one of the most-watched series in Netflix history: “76 million member accounts worldwide watched at least a couple minutes of the series over its first four weeks of release,” via The Hollywood Reporter. Bridgerton, another series set in a European country that addresses the African diaspora, is reportedly the only Netflix series thus far whose view count exceeds that of Lupin, according to The Hollywood Reporter. With the streamer’s recent announcement that they intend to spend 17 billion dollars on original content in 2021, even more shows starring Afro-Europeans like Zero that contain similarities to proven success Lupin may be in the works, Deadline reports.
In a recent interview, Distefano admitted that he is unsure about how Zero will be received now that it is available to a global audience. “We are living in a very polarizing era. People never say ‘I didn’t like this thing, but I liked this other,’ but it’s always ‘beautiful’ or ‘it sucks,’ so I don’t know what to expect… I have learned that the best audience is the silent one, the people who don’t tell you what they think, but who watch your work. And in any case, when there is criticism, it’s always okay because it means that something has been elicited,” he explained, via WWD.
All eight episodes of Zero season one are available to stream via Netflix.