Russian based, Sputnik Vostok showrunner, Alex Kessel, who created Russia’s first Netflix Original series, Better Than Us joins Greater China-based producers Steve Chicorel and Gao Qun to independently develop and produce season 2 for the critically acclaimed sci-fi program, currently streaming worldwide on Netflix.


Better Than Us, which received glowing international reviews on IMDB and other review sites, is about a one-of-a-kind, AI family robot, with the ability to defend itself, goes missing and is sought by Moscow homicide detectives and the ruthless corporation who acquired it. The sci-fi series earned an 82% audience score and 100% TV critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Upon discovering the show on Netflix Taiwan with Chinese subtitles and seeing all the positive feedback, Organic Media Group’s Chicorel and WD Pictures’ Gao jumped on the opportunity to partner with Kessel who also created Russia’s first Amazon Prime series Londongrad among other successful series in Russia from his Sputnik Vostok banner. Now, Kessel may soon claim to have the first Russian series, streaming on a major Chinese platform.

Kessel explains, “we didn’t plan to go to China in season two, but the show lends itself perfectly to be told in Mandarin and be based in China because in season one we reveal it’s the Chinese who designed Arisa, the AI robot with “free will” against three Azimov’s rules. And now that Cronos corp has messed things up, Chinese creators want what’s left of their incredible creation, not without purpose…”

Gao and Chicorel, have maintained an official China government coproduction agreement for a long-standing science fiction opus of theirs. The two producing partners are very aware that the Chinese government has recently made a call for more science fiction content to be introduced to China’s motion picture market, so for Gao and Chicorel, Better Than Us made sense in more ways than one. “Attuned to the sci-fi market for all these years, when GQ and I watched this series we knew this sort of story would be a match in terms of market and government censorship, and thanks to the brilliance of Alex Kessel we now are in discussion with numerous China streamers to acquire the ongoing series”, says Chicorel.

The China, US, Russian producing trio, has started developing 10 new 1-hour episodes and hope to close a China streamer deal in short order to start production in Beijing and Moscow at the beginning of Q3 2021, along with Justin Jones, Thriller Films producing partner who brought the groups together and will also serve as Executive Producer for the China production.