Thursday, November 12, 2015

Brave New World

Yes, nerdism has taken over the formerly almost-sacrosanct environments of non-cartoon TV and movies. With the dramatic success of Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, all things Marvel, and the impending Star Warsapalooza, there's no shortage of projects that may be springing from prose to screen (Yes, Star Wars first hit big on the screen, but in terms of actual solid storytelling, many of the comics and novels beat the films from the word 'May'.) Someone on the board linked Tor's massive list of potentials and almost-realities (ahem) here. So, let's review, top-to-bottom:

Good Omens: I heard Neil Gaiman tell a hilarious story more than once about the initial attempt to write a screenplay from this book. Whether it can ever beat that story is up for debate.

Altered Carbon: The possessing-someone-else's-body experience has been done, many times, and has still never been improved upon since All of Me. This was a great book. Film? Eh.

Ancillary Justice: This, OTOH, would be, as Leckie says: "tremendously cool"! How to translate it successfully to a TV audience? There's a question.

Bone Street Rumba: Never read it, but the premise sounds way too much like the "villain of the week" serial that they attempted to make of Hellblazer this year and which, of course, died a totally deserved and hopefully agonizing death.

Brave New World: Spielberg? Nope. Syfy? Nope. If it was being done by AMC or HBO or Gilliam, I'd have hope.

Gateway: This, OTOH, may be right up Syfy's alley, in that it can be easily converted to a Star Trek-like "problem to be solved by the 4th commercial break"-of-the-week delivery, even if a lot of the subtexts in the story may be lost. Beyond the black screen horizon...

Little Brother: Creative death, thy first name is "reality-based young adult" series. Seriously.

Lock In: I hate Scalzi's stuff. That is to say I love Scalzi's stuff because he's so much better than I am. This, however, was not one of my favorites and recommending Legendary by referencing Colony does not do it any favors.

Luna: New Moon: Haven't read it. Have heard good things about it. CBS? Ugh. Kill it! Kill it with fire!

Redshirts: This, OTOH, was one of Scalzi's best. FX adaptation for a limited (key word) series? Oh, hell, yes.

Robopocalypse: Haven't read it. If it truly is trying to compete with The Walking Dead, but with robots, I'm not particularly interested unless it's carrying some kind of philosophical bent akin to The Matrix.

Six Months, Three Days: Creative death, thy second name is "light procedural" (read: cop show.) If they do want to turn this excellent story into a modern version of Moonlighting, that only reaffirms my contempt for NBC (see: Hellblazer.)

Spin: Haven't read it. Not a real Wilson fan. Sounds ideal for Syfy...

The House with a Clock in its Walls: As you may have guessed by now, I'm not a huge fan of kids' fantasy,either, and haven't been since I was one. (Exception made for Skeksis.)

The Last Policeman: Haven't read it. Sounds kind of intriguing on a very personal perspective level. But, alas: CBS.

100 Bullets: I really like Azzarello's work. I think he has a good sense of pace and a great understanding of his characters. That said, I think Bullets is one of the more sorely overrated series of the past 20 years and attempting to make a film of it, rather than a TV series, doesn't strike me as wise.

Fortunately, the Milk: Haven't read it. Again, not too excited about kids' stuff, except to say that Gaiman's light, yet layered, touch would probably interest me more than others.

And, no, I didn't put in another pic just because it's Scalzi. I'm trying to break up the wordage.

Ghost Brigades: Doing the whole Old Man's War story would be amazing. Doing it by Syfy would be less so, especially given their inability to normally sign actors that could truly bring Scalzi's stuff to life (young or old.) Still, I'd watch.

His Dark Materials: Eh. This sounds like a slightly younger version of the BBC's recent Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which I watched one episode of and fell asleep halfway through. Twice. I have the other five on the DVR. No telling if I'll come back to it.

Horrorstör: "Hey, you know what'd be cool? If we do a more focused version of Office Space, but with ghosts in a warehouse!" No.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties: Haven't read it and, y'know, Neil is reliable and all, but I keep thinking of Jeff Goldblum in Earth Girls Are Easy and just... nah.

Hyperion: Would be killer. Even on Syfy, I'd be glued to this.

MaddAddam: Margaret Atwood. Darren Aronofsky. HBO. What else needs be said?

Midnight, Texas: Haven't read it. Actually sounds kind of intriguing. But NBC? Any broadcast network that uses the words "humorous, sexy, and downright scary" is going to produce something like Wicked City. Seriously, does anyone that isn't trying to sell middle America another piece of shit use the word "downright" anymore?

Ready Player One: So, so geeked (ahem) for this.

Red Mars: Epic books. I have little background with Spike TV, so I've no idea if they'll throw decent weight behind something as cerebral as this, but Straczynski is a selling point, even if I only saw a few episodes of Babylon 5.

Skin Trade: Decent story. Almost ideal for Skinemax. Maybe.

The Dark Tower: Read the first one. Didn't like it. Not inspired, but remain to be convinced. I'd be far more enthused about a cartoon of Dork Tower.

The Forever War: Would be teh awesome. I'm a little cagey about Tatum, but he was quite good in Foxcatcher.

The Kingkiller Chronicle: Haven't read it, but have had it recommended to me by a couple friends. Anytime someone signs up in as large a way as Lions Gate has, it always strikes me that they're leaning on marketing (and, typically, copying someone else's success as an aspect of that marketing; GoT anyone?)

Time Salvager: Reading the description makes me think 12 Monkeys has already done it and then I see who the director is... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No.

Uprooted: Reading the description makes me think Dragonslayer has already done it.but at least Ellen Degeneres has more credibility than Michael Bay.

Y: The Last Man: I would kill for this. Hopefully, I won't have to.

American Gods: This would be amazing. The Starz label makes me hesitate somewhat, but expanding things actually sounds viable for once and they're clearly engaging the fanbase, so...

Neil Gaiman's Likely Stories: I've read most of them. They're good. Sky TV isn't easily available in the US, so I'm muted on this (in more ways than one.)

She Who Brings Gifts: I'm sorry. No more zombies. Do Not Want. Yes, perhaps humorous, innovative take. Doesn't matter.

Story of Your Life: Never read it, so I'm blank on this one. Can't really go wrong with Adams and Renner... except what am I saying? Of course you can go wrong. But, again, I have no idea. The premise doesn't sound exceptionally different from many similar stories (like one we'll see below.)

The Sandman: Not a chance in hell. The whole series in one film? I don't care if Gaiman and other notables like Goyer and Gordon-Leavitt are involved. It's not feasible. I mean, good luck to'em and all, but to be honest, I was never that huge a fan when comparing it to other things that Vertigo was doing at the time.

Childhood's End: This is what Story of Your Life could aspire to. I'm eager to see how they make this work, especially since I always arched an eyebrow at the appearance of the aliens, since it seemed like too obvious a message. And it is Syfy, but this book may be something they can excel with.

Hunters: Never read them, so I'm blank on this one, too, but the phrase "heavy procedural" just entered my mind. Edit: Having now watched the trailer, it looks bad.

Lucifer: Hrm. I never liked this idea and wasn't particularly enthralled with the story the first time. Now it's going to be a series? Hellblazer, here we come (Ironical!) Edit: Having now watched the trailer, it looks bloody awful.

Preacher: The sole saving grace (heh) of this one is that it's AMC. The comic series, while initially excellent, faded over time and I'm not entirely certain that even AMC will be able to sell some of the excesses of Ennis' imagination to a non-pay-cable (i.e. HBO) audience and, if not, why bother?

The Expanse: Never read it. Sounds pedestrian (MASSIVE conspiracy!) and, of course, Syfy. But it's at least open-ended enough to give a look-see on the pilot and see if they've escaped the clutches of the Sharknado.

The Magicians: Harry Potter as a college student! Awesome! Not really. Edit: Having now watched the trailer... just, no.

The Man in the High Castle: Often Dick's most highly-regarded work, I'll certainly watch it, but I'll begin by questioning whether anyone can capture the twists of his particular insight. Ridley Scott did it once. Edit: Having now watched the trailer, it looks promising.

The Shannara Chronicles: In essence, they're adapting the only worthwhile book of the Shannara series (Elfstones of Shannara) but I have doubts about how well that will come across in the lower budget of TV and, of course, MTV, which doesn't have a track record of releasing anything of cultural impact and/or merit since circa 1983. Edit: Having now seen the trailer: production values are high; acting maybe not so high. Worth a look.

So, a few highlights, some more possibilities, and then the usual amount of fool's errands. We'll see.

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