10 Movie-To-TV Projects We’re Excited About

The latest on S.H.I.E.L.D., Fargo and co.

by James White |
Published on

If movie-to-TV serialisations brings back edgy memories of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the next few years could set that record straight. Hollywood has gone gaga for small-screen adaptations and is promising - or in one or two cases, threatening - to repackage some of our favourite movies in TV-shaped bites. Read on for all the full low-down on an intriguing development slate...

***Stage: ***Pilot

How would it work? Think Northern Exposure mixed with something a little more twisted.

What to say about it: Joel and Ethan Coen are spearheading a new attempt to bring the adventures of quirksome sheriff Marge Gunderson to the small screen via FX. Noah Hawley will carry the day-to-day show-running load if it makes it beyond the development process. We *say *new attempt, because one was already tried in 2003 with Sopranos star Edie Falco taking over Frances McDormand’s Oscar-winning mantle. Though a pilot was produced, it was never aired except on US cable channel Trio’s Brilliant But Cancelled run.

Possible casting: Falco’s not available as she’s still busy on Nurse Jackie, so how about Amy Ryan?

Possible tagline: "You betcha!"

Stage: Pilot script

How would it work? Agent Coulson: The series. Except without Phil, because he’s (probably, though we live in hope) an ex-Agent after Loki speared him like so much cubed barbecue meat.

What to say about it: As part of Joss Whedon’s deal to oversee Marvel’s Phase Two output (and make The Avengers sequel), he’ll co-write and possibly direct the pilot for ABC with regular collaborators Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen and Jeffrey Bell, with Marvel’s Jeph Loeb also involved.

Not likely to be featured? The Hulk, who is getting his own show in development under the aegis of Guillermo del Toro.

Possible casting: Item 47 star and Thor / Avengers SHIELD man Agent Sitwell, played by Maximiliano Hernández could be a prime candidate.

Possible tagline: “Saving the world. On a budget.”

Stage: Pilot script

How would it work? Little is known at the moment, but it could be a stabby case stretched across each season or possibly more of a horror anthology format.

What to say about it: MTV, which has had success turning Teen Wolf into teen drama, ordered former executives Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley to find the likely scribes who can make it work. There’s no word yet on whether writer Kevin Williamson (a telly veteran who's already running at least two shows across the pond) or director Wes Craven would be involved. And the show is already the subject of protests, with a petition on Facebook to get it stopped before it even starts. Ghostface might be looking at trouble.

Possible casting: Given how early the discussions are, it’s not really worth speculating. Though we’d throw in an idea that the show could recruit famous TV faces to be celebrity kills a la Drew Barrymore et al. Sliced Jon Hamm, anyone?

Possible tagline: “Do you like scary TV shows?”

Stage: In production to air 2013

How would it work? Bates Motel will follow the twisted formative youth of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his relationship with his previously unseen brother Dylan (Max Thieriot) and infamous mother (Vera Farmiga).

What to say about it: US network A&E was originally pitched this as a miniseries by Lost show-runner Carlton Cuse. But the executives saw the potential and ordered a full (well, ten episodes) season. So convinced were the team that the show will hit the air without even going through pilot stage.

Possible casting: None needed, as it’s already being progressing nicely. Nicola Peltz (The Last Airbender) will be Bradley Krammer, a girl that Norm takes a fancy to at school. Bet that flirtation ends well...

Possible tagline: “Oh God, mother! First blood!”

Stage: In development

How would it work? Henry Hill’s story gets even more scope in this adaptation of the Scorsese classic. Nothing official has been announced, but it would be mad to cover the same ground.

What to say about it: Though we’re pretty certain no TV show can compete with the triumph of the original film (and mobsters have already been tackled with aplomb on the small screen via The Sopranos), the participation of original book writer and film script man Nicholas Pileggi gives some hope. He’s been developing the show with Jorge Zamacona (Oz, Homicide: Life On The Street), and while Pileggi has also been busy launching crime drama Vegas, AMC will be hoping he can also run Goodfellas.

Possible casting: He probably wouldn’t do it, but Sopranos’ Michael Imperioli could easily inherit Liotta’s mantle.

Possible tagline: “Damn it feels good to be a gangster”

Stage: Pilot script

How would it work? The potential series would chart William Thatcher’s rise from commoner to Knight, facing class warfare along the way. With modern music à la Brian Helgeland’s film.

What to say about it: It’s going to be difficult to match the warmth and wit brought to the lead role by the late Heath Ledger. In fact, given the fine support he received from Paul Bettany, Mark Addy and Alan Tudyk, we wonder whether the concept will need to be changed to avoid awkward comparisons. Good luck, ABC! Still, though Ron Moore is yet to get a series properly on the air since Battlestar Galactica, he does know how to write compelling TV. And it’ll be fun to see him let his hair down and let real humour in.

Possible casting: BSG’s James Callis could take the Bettany role. As for the lead, a charismatic unknown still feels like the best bet.

Possible tagline: “We will rock you weekly.”

Stage: In development

How would it work? No Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) for obvious, spoilery reasons. Instead, three former federal agents are recruited to techno-jump into the consciousness of people involved in tragic events in the hope of stopping them.

What to say about it: This one is still at an embryonic stage, with the film’s producer Mark Gordon pitching the idea to the CBS network and hiring Steve Madea to write the pilot. Given the network, we figure this will turn into a weekly sci-fi procedural. And given that he’s busy with his film career, Code’s Duncan Jones won’t be involved, which is a shame.

Possible casting: Buffy / Angel’s Alexis Denisof deserves a steady gig, so he could be the team’s superior.

Possible tagline: “In time. Just not every time.”

Stage: Pilot

How would it work? Axel Foley’s son is the focus of the show, with Axel himself now police chief of Detroit.

What to say about it: Rumours popped up for a while, usually tied to the ongoing efforts to develop a new film based on the character. Then in October 2011 Eddie Murphy announced he was switching his attention totally to the small screen and recruited The Shield’s Shawn Ryan to develop a pilot for Sony Pictures TV. CBS has picked up the idea, which has been pitched as a blend of buddy cop and crime procedural. Hopefully heavier on the former.

Possible casting: Anyone else think Community’s Donald Glover is a good call? Even if we don’t want to lose the Greendale gang. And Eddie will, of course, pop up from time to time.

Possible tagline: “The heat is back on!”

Stage: In production

How would it work? Before he’s tagged as someone who really puts the psycho in psychotherapist, Dr Hannibal Lecter’s days of working with the FBI (and specifically Agent Will Graham) form the basis of the storyline. This one has been in the works for a while now. It was created by prolific producer Bryan Fuller (who is also rebooting The Munsters as an hour-long comedy drama show) from Thomas Harris’ work, and will air on NBC in the US. David Slade directed the pilot.

Possible casting: Hugh Dancy is already on as Graham, while Mads Mikkelsen passed on Thor: The Dark World to play Lecter. And Laurence Fishburne is making another stab at TV as Agent Jack Crawford.

Possible tagline: “They’re a killer team!”

Stage: Pilot script

How would it work? Single camera sitcom takes the basic concept of freewheeling bachelor-meets-weird kid and sets it in suburban America as a neighbours story.

What to say about it: Jason Katims, a man who has successfully brought movies like Friday Night Lights and Parenthood to the small screen (the latter despite an earlier, short-lived attempt which included the writing power of one Joss Whedon), is in charge here. Though he’s usually worked in drama (or comedy drama), he’s been wanting to create a sitcom. The melding of the original Nick Hornby concept with a sitcom could certainly work in his hands.

Possible casting: Though you may have last seen him in Yogi Bear (shudder), we reckon Tom Cavanagh is a good call for this.

Possible tagline: "He’s growing up. At last."

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