Rapid Insights: Full Circle, a Steven Soderbergh Kidnapping Conspiracy Thriller

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh returns once again to episodic TV with next week’s debut of his new limited series on Max. The mysterious crime thriller boasts a stacked ensemble cast led by Claire Danes along with Timothy Olyphant and Dennis Quaid, and tells the story of a botched kidnapping that unearths long-held secrets and connects groups of strangers across New York City’s socioeconomic divide.

Here’s what you need to know about Full Circle:

Vault AI uses index scores to describe the impact a given story/theme/element will have on specific KPIs: 
≤79 Disappointing  80-89 Challenging  90-109 Average  110-119 Promising  120+ Outstanding

Who will be tuning in for next week’s premiere? 
We’re predicting a gender-balanced audience (51% female / 49% male) that skews heavily older (80% aged 30+). This viewership is markedly less female than dark crime thrillers tend to attract; similar shows like The SinnerBroadchurch, The Undoing, Happy Valley, and Mare of Easttown leaned at least moderately toward women (55%+). Instead, Full Circle looks more in line with Soderbergh’s CInemax period drama The Knick.

Why will viewers want to watch?
For the suspense. The central kidnapping, with Ransom (140) demands that put the teenaged victim’s Life in Danger (119), will keep audiences on the edge of their seat and relishing the show’s uneasy moments of Apprehension (117) and Vigilance (117).

What about the story’s deeper layers?
They’ll contribute to its ratings. Swirling around the core crime is a messy Conspiracy & Cover-Up (127), with Scheming (129) done by all of the major players: the teen’s family, the cops, the kidnappers. This tangled knot will pull in viewers excited to witness a multi-dimensional cat-and-mouse game that exposes tantalizing hidden secrets.

What will make the series bingeworthy?
Emotional family drama. Though hiding skeletons in their closet, the teen victim’s mom and dad are still heavily sympathetic as panicked, Protective Parents (117) terrified for their son’s life who are forced to make some very Tough Decisions (133). Meanwhile, the kidnappers and their tight-knit family must confront some uncomfortable truths of their own.

Does the setting matter?
Most definitely. The cultural and socioeconomic diversity encompassed within the show’s NYC Setting (139) will be one of its top viewership drivers. In foregrounding the city, Full Circle will join an eclectic list of recent series that have creatively leveraged The Big Apple to draw in viewers, including The Horror of Dolores Roach, The Walking Dead: Dead City, Bupkis, How I Met Your Father, Long Island Medium, and The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

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*Publicly released trailers for series are evaluated using Vault AI’s algorithms – utilizing our proprietary 120K+ story element database alongside ratings performance and other datasets – to identify unique combinations of stories, themes, characters, and genre elements that will drive success.

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