Amazon’s takeover of MGM closed in the spring of 2022, but the effects are only starting to be felt beyond the complete migration of all James Bond titles to Prime Video. As part of the deal, Amazon inherited Epix, the streaming service MGM owned as part of Epix Entertainment LLC, which is also responsible for the premium cable channel of the same name. Since the merger, the streaming service has announced it will be rebranding as MGM+, renewed Belgravia for Season 2 after it lay dormant for two and a half years, and picked up A Spy Among Friends. Now it adds Rogue Heroes and Domina to the list of shows getting renewed and refreshed.
Domina is a series Epix/MGM+ produces in conjunction with Sky, a period piece drama set in ancient Rome, which initially streamed in mid-2021. Like I, Claudius and Rome before it, the series chronicles Gaius/Emperor Augustus Caesar’s (Matthew McNulty) rise from the perspective of his famously murderous third wife, Livia Drusilla (Kasia Smutniak). It was initially handed a second series order for eight more episodes in March 2022, one of the last actions by Epix’s old regime. Since then, there’s been little movement due to the merger, which forced everything into a holding pattern.
But with the new casting announcement, it looks like the show is also getting a bit of an overhaul with three new cast members, including Benjamin Isaac (Holmes & Watson), who will take over the role of Livia’s son Tiberius from the departing Enzo Cilenti. The series also adds David Avery (The Night Manager) and Joelle (Dune) in prominent antagonist roles for the new season. The returning cast includes Ben Batt (Jamestown), Claire Forlani (Departure), Darrell D’Silva (Van der Valk), Christine Bottomley (The Nest), and Colette Dalal Tchantcho (Dangerous Liaisons).
Meanwhile, MGM+'s other British series, Rogue Heroes (called SAS: Rogue Heroes in the U.K.), is a co-production with the BBC. Unlike Domina, which waited almost a year to get a second season, and then several more before getting production underway, this World War II period piece only just aired/streamed on either side of the pond. The series, which hails from the very prolific Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders), has a bit of a showstopper cast, with Dominic West (The Crown), Connor Swindells (Sex Education), Jack O'Connell (Lady Chatterley's Lover), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), and Sofia Boutella (the Kingsman movies).
Based on Ben Macintyre's non-fiction book of the same name, the series chronicles the creation of the British Army Special Air Service (SAS) during World War II's worst period for the allied forces. It was a massive hit for the beleaguered broadcaster, debuting in the Top Five shows of the year. By the finale, the series had overtaken all comers in viewership both in linear and streaming, punching the BBC's ticket to claim the most-watched program of 2022, with nearly 10 million viewing the first episode since launch. The BBC's unsurprising renewal announcement came literal minutes after the finale aired in the U.K. with a "To Be Continued" chyron on the screen.
MGM+ is the third streaming service Amazon owns, along with its original Prime Video service and the former IMDbTV, which was rebranded Amazon Freevee earlier this year. While it still has quite a bit of American programming, this sudden focus on British shows suggests Amazon is positioning it as an Acorn/Sundance Now and BritBox competitor, aiming for more niche high-end movies and shows with a focus on British fare.
Neither Domina nor Rogue Heroes have premiere dates, though neither is expected to be near ready until late 2023 at the earliest.