Ahead of its time in predicting reality TV (while cranking the concept up to a fantastical, satirical level at the same time), 1998’s The Truman Show posited a world where a series could be built around one unsuspecting person, whose entire existence was a fabrication and whose life was watched by millions. Paramount thinks the concept might work as a show itself and has the idea in development.
Peter Weir’s film, which starred Jim Carrey as living subject Truman Burbank, featured screenwriter Andrew Niccol on sharp form as the story explored what would happen if Truman suddenly found out that his life was a lie.
It was a compelling concept for a film, but it was also such a well-contained and well-executed story that you do wonder what angle a series could take. No details have been released about the potential telly version, though there is scope for a longer arc about a man slowly finding out the truth about his world and the paranoia that might provoke. Alternatively, the show could explore what happens if and when such a famous person escapes his artificial world and heads into the great unknown. The big question will be whether it can live up to the movie’s impact.
Paramount is investing heavily into its TV division, hiring executives away from successful channels and companies and plundering its back catalogue for other titles including a planned attempt to bring the Terminator universe back to the small screen tied in with its return to cinemas. Let's hope this one kicks off that fresh start with a bang.