National Geographic Channel announced today the greenlight of a second season of the critically acclaimed global series BREAKTHROUGH, executive produced by Imagine Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment. Award-winning directors Brendan and Emmett Malloy join the executive producing team, as well as this season’s vanguard list of directors. Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Michael Rosenberg, Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch, Ryann Lauckner and Kurt Sayenga are also returning as executive producers. Production has begun on the new season, which is slated to air in spring 2017 in 440 million homes in 171 countries and in 45 languages, as well as on the Spanish language network Nat Geo Mundo.
The anthology series will once again shine a light on the world’s leading scientists and how their cutting-edge innovations and advancements will change our lives in the immediate future and beyond. The series brings to life the stories, people and technology behind these breakthroughs, and shows how they are changing our world. Season one was hailed by critics as “ambitious,” “innovative,” “inspiring” and “fascinating.” Season two will continue the tradition of tackling thought-provoking topics – including addiction, cyberterror, drones, cancer, big data and energy – with unique scientific perspective.
“Not only are we pleased to continue our ongoing partnership with Brian and Ron, but we are proud to line up a second wave of films with renowned visionaries in the indie world that will address the challenges facing us today and shines a spotlight on the trailblazing scientists and engineers around the globe who are pushing the frontiers of innovation and exploration,” said Tim Pastore, president, original programming and production, National Geographic Channel. “Their passion and commitment to make a difference will greatly increase our chances of changing the world for the better.”
Season two of BREAKTHROUGH will once again feature a diverse lineup of talented directors, who will turn their lenses toward the frontiers of science, technology and engineering to examine scientific discoveries and explore the courage, imagination, passion and self-sacrifice of the scientists bringing these innovations to life:
Iranian-American writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour (“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”) delves into breakthrough T-cell immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer.
Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Shane Carruth (“Primer,” “Upstream Color”) takes on advancements in big data and artificial intelligence.
Texas filmmaker David Lowery (“Pete’s Dragon,” “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”), another Sundance winner, explores the use of psychedelic drugs to treat addictions.
Eco-advocate filmmaker Shalini Kantayya (“Catching the Sun”), a top 10 finalist on Steven Spielberg’s “On the Lot,” uncovers innovative energy technology that will bring electricity to remote locations and help rewire America.
The Malloy brothers (“Under the Great White Northern Lights,” “Tribes of Palos Verdes”) examine the promise and threat posed by swarms of small commercial drones.
Critically acclaimed music video and promo spots director A.G. Rojas (“Run the Jewels,” “Close Your Eyes”) investigates the principles, tactics, technologies and consequences behind the high-stakes world of cyberterrorism.
“With Breakthrough, we loved the idea of capturing the reality of the human drama behind scientific discovery as it unfolds,” said the Malloy brothers. “We’re excited to work with such cutting-edge directors who will add their own stylized and visual take to these stories of scientific champions who are passionate about their work and who are making transformative changes in the way we live our everyday lives.”
“Breakthrough is about taking the science, these hot-button issues, and looking at it from a storyteller’s eye,” said Howard. “It’s about finding the hope in it, finding the heroism. And I have no doubt that this new season’s visionary filmmakers will add their own style of storytelling to show the power of the intersection between science and human drama, making it relatable for audiences.”
Added Grazer, “We’re thrilled to continue our creative partnership with National Geographic, and look forward to working with the Malloy brothers and this season’s groundbreaking directors. We hope that these new stories will continue to use science to explain severe challenges to humanity, but also to offer optimism, possibly uncovering solutions to those problems.”
Recently, Academy Award winner Adrien Brody earned a 2016 Emmy award nomination for Outstanding Narrator for his work on last season’s Breakthrough episode, “Decoding the Brain,” which was directed by Brett Ratner.
Season two of Breakthrough will be produced by Imagine Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment for National Geographic Channel. For Imagine Entertainment, executive producers are Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Michael Rosenberg. For Asylum Entertainment, executive producers are Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch, Ryann Lauckner and Kurt Sayenga. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Kevin Tao Mohs, and Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production.