Quibi just launched in April, but it’s already setting its sights on the 2020 Emmy Awards. Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman‘s streaming service produces mobile content designed to be consumed in “quick bites,” so it will be competing strictly in the short form races at the Emmys. One such show hoping to break through for Quibi is “The Stranger.” This 13-episode cat-and-mouse thriller stars Maika Monroe as Clare, a driver for a ridesharing company who comes face to face with a cold-blooded murderer (Dane DeHaan). Watch the first episode above. The show’s creator/producer/writer/director is Veena Sud, someone who’s not at all a stranger with TV academy members.
Sud received an Emmy nomination for writing AMC’s whodunit drama “The Killing” (2011) and she later wrote and produced Netflix’s “Seven Seconds” (2018), the limited series about racial injustice that won Regina King her lead actress Emmy. She tells our sister site Deadline that Quibi is a “new sandbox” for creators play in, likening “The Stranger” to her “new toy.” “The Stranger” competes as Best Short Form Comedy or Drama Series at the Emmys.
“[Quibi is] the perfect hybrid of film and a TV show, with longform story telling meeting the need to move things along propulsively,” Sud explains. Katzenberg gave her “all kinds of freedom” to tell the story she wanted, which takes place over 13 consecutive hours. The only guidelines she had to follow were that “no segment would be over 10 minutes.” In fact, many clock in shorter than that, adhering to the Quibi format of producing tasty morsels as opposed to full-fledged episodes.
As it turns out, Sud’s biggest challenge was to create content that fit a vertical device. “The challenge is to make sure that vertical space feels like more, without cheating on the information. I baked it into the story of ‘The Stranger,’ as the characters move through interesting physical spaces. That’s why he’s always chasing her,” Sud confessed.