Thursday, October 8, 2009


Back in 2007, before one of the stupidest re-brandings in all of television history, the appropriately-named Sci Fi Channel aired Tin Man, a 6-hour miniseries directed by Nick Willing. The first night of the dark, modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz starring Zooey Deschanel and Alan Cumming became the most-watched telecast in the network’s history, and overall the show was the top rated cable miniseries for the year. Now, the ridiculously renamed Syfy has announced that Willing’s “re-imagined spin” on Alice in Wonderland will premiere December 6th, just three short months before Tim Burton’s version hits movie theaters. The 4-hour Alice will air over two nights and star Caterina Scorsone as Alice, Kathy Bates as the Queen of Hearts, Tim Curry as Dodo, and Matt Frewer as the White Knight. Syfy’s press release describes the plot as “…the modern-day story of Alice Hamilton, a fiercely independent twenty-something who suddenly finds herself on the other side of a looking glass. She is a stranger in an outlandish city of twisted towers and casinos built out of playing cards, all under the rule of a deliciously devilish Queen who's not very happy about Alice's arrival.”

I quite enjoyed Tin Man, though that had more to do with my undying love for Zooey Deschanel and Alan Cumming than anything else. I also think I enjoyed the idea of it more than the actual execution – the plot was a rather ingenious retelling of the Dorothy/Oz mythos, but it seemed to get a little too big for itself and started to fall apart about halfway through. Hopefully, the shorter running time of Alice will help avoid that. Additionally, Willing is serving as both writer and director this time, whereas he only directed Tin Man and the writing duties were split between three different people. But check out this promo and see for yourself whether your appetite is whetted:

Yeah… I’m pretty sure I’ll be tuning in to this one – because if anything, it looks like Kathy Bates is bringing a little of Misery’s Annie Wilkes to the table, and who wouldn’t love to see that?

Coincidentally, this isn’t Willing’s first go at Lewis Carroll’s world – he also directed the 1999 made-for-TV version starring Whoopi Goldberg, Miranda Richardson, and Martin Short.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Universal Networks International and independent studio E1 Entertainment have signed a deal to produce Haven, a 13-part TV series based on the Stephen King novella The Colorado Kid. The pilot was written by Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn, who will also serve as executive producers and who worked on a few episodes of another King TV series, The Dead Zone.

But the most interesting thing about this article from The Hollywood Reporter is the summary of the supposed plot: “The drama will portray a small Maine town where the cursed attempt to lead normal lives as FBI agent Audrey Parker investigates supernatural forces that threaten to unravel the many mysteries of Haven.”

It’s interesting because I’ve read The Colorado Kid, and that is no where near the plot of The Colorado Kid.

King wrote the book for Hard Case Crime, a publishing imprint that every month produces either a reprint of a classic pulp fiction noir novel or a new book by a current author writing in the pulp fiction noir style. King was probably brought on solely for name recognition, as the novel really doesn’t adhere to typical noir style. Its story is told by two old newspaper editors who are testing a young intern’s deductive mettle by recounting the case of an unidentified man found dead, slumped against a garbage can. But rather than attempting to solve the mystery, the narrative becomes a meditation on the nature of mystery itself, and the book never reaches any real conclusion. While King definitely knows how to tell a story, to me the whole thing felt more than a little masturbatory – as if he was saying, “Let me tell you my thoughts on crime fiction” rather than actually, you know, writing some crime fiction.

Frankly, I would have rather read about FBI agents investigating supernatural forces.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Mitchell Hurwitz and James Vallely, the creator and co-executive producer of Arrested Development, are said to finally be working on the screenplay for the much-anticipated movie version of their short-lived but critically-praised sitcom. Hurwitz is also attached to direct and all of the main actors have at least promised to commit, though scheduling will still need to be sorted out.

I know Development fans have been holding their breath for this movie for almost four years now and this bit of news may give them hope that this film could actually, finally be made. I’ve been slowly making my way through the show for a while now (having missed the boat during its original run), and while I do think it’s one of the best comedies to have ever aired on network TV, part of me still wonders… is a movie absolutely necessary? Maybe a made-for-TV event would be nice, but a feature-length big-screen film? Does the Bluth family really deserve that treatment, or are fans just eager to get any version of them back that they can? Everyone involved – writers, producers, actors, fans – seems genuinely interested in only doing a movie if it can be done right… but has anyone seriously considered that it may just not need to be done at all? Or is that just blasphemy?