With movies on seemingly indefinite hiatus—pour one out for the oft-delayed Tenet—until we collectively get our act together, streaming platforms are picking up the slack, pumping out original films and new series to keep us entertained while we’re all social distancing. Netflix just dropped the trailer for its latest foreign offering: the German sci-fi thriller Biohackers, about an ambitious young medical student seeking revenge on her mentor for the scientific sins of the past.
There isn’t much background information available yet on the series (not even on IMDb), other than the identity of the showrunner, Christian Ditter, and the main cast members. The German-born Ditter is best known in the United States for directing the 2016 rom-com How to Be Single and for his work on the 2017 Netflix comedy Girlboss, based on the autobiography of Sophia Amoruso, who founded the company Nasty Gal. (Girlboss received mixed reviews and was cancelled after one season.) Biohackers looks like a significant departure for him and an especially promising one, given the success of the German sci-fi series Dark, which just wrapped a mind-bending third and final season on Netflix.
Jessica Schwarz, best known stateside for her performance in the 2006 thriller Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (based on the 1985 novel by Patrick Susskind), stars as Professor Tanja Lorenz. Swiss actress Luna Wedler plays Mia, a young medical student who gets drawn into the world of underground biohacking and illegal genetic-engineering experiments. “Stories in which ordinary people have to face exceptional circumstances have always fascinated me,” Ditter told Biohackinfo last fall after shooting wrapped. “Working with Netflix has allowed us to tell a gripping story that focuses on multi-layered and believable characters.”
Per the official premise:
From THC chips to genetic enhancements, welcome to the world of Biohacking. When Mia (Luna Wedler) begins her medical degree, she seems like any other student. But when she gains the trust of the brilliant Professor Lorenz (Jessica Schwarz), it becomes apparent that she’s hiding a secret so big it could change the fate of humanity. From the director of Girlboss (Christian Ditter) comes a thriller that will make you question the makeup of life itself.
The trailer opens with Professor Lorenz lecturing her incoming class. “Let’s talk about the future,” she says. “Synthetic biology has turned us from creatures to creators. It’s not only the future of medicine, but of humankind. It is our responsibility to create the world of the future. You are the creators of tomorrow.” Then we see Mia arriving for med school and meeting her new roommates: a woman who answers the door starkers, an adorably geeky-looking young man, and another young woman who proudly shows off her science project—a plant-based bio-piano.
The roommates soon meet a couple of cute science-minded guys, Jasper and Niklas, one of whom invites Mia to his place to check out his home biohacking lab. Granted, it’s the science-nerd equivalent of inviting someone up to see one’s etchings, but Jasper has managed to inject a mouse with green fluorescent protein so it glows green, which is tailor-made to charm.
It isn’t long before Jasper helps land the ambitious Mia a job at Professor Lorenz’s biotech company. And that’s when the trouble starts. Mia might have ulterior motives for wanting to join Lorenz’s research group, asking questions about exactly what kind of research is being done. “Things you can’t do at the university,” a cryptic Jasper tells her. Mia’s curiosity arouses Lorenz’s suspicions. And Mia does have a secret, it seems, relating to childhood memories of her younger brother. Maybe they were both part of one of Lorenz’s early experiments, which ended badly. Mia vows to ruin Lorenz in revenge. But will she end up putting her new friends in danger in the process?
Biohackers drops on Netflix on August 20, 2020. In German with English subtitles.
Listing image by Netflix