Apple is set to reboot 1980s anthology series Amazing Stories, with Steven Spielberg and Bryan Fuller both on-board. Arguably the golden era for the genre, the 80s played host to lots of well-remembered anthology programming, including Tales from the Darkside, The Ray Bradbury Theater, and CBS’ first attempt at rebooting The Twilight Zone. One of the most critically acclaimed anthology series to come out of the decade was Amazing Stories, created by Spielberg.
Premiering on NBC in September 1985, Amazing Stories ran for only two seasons, producing 45 total episodes. Despite being nominated for 12 Emmy Awards – and winning 5 – Amazing Stories failed to perform well enough in the ratings to justify its high production cost. In the years since, Amazing Stories has developed a cult following via cable reruns and home video. Long before the TV on DVD craze took hold, Amazing Stories was a VHS rental staple, combining sets of episodes into movie-length tapes. Oddly enough though, season 2 never received a DVD release.
According to WSJ, Apple is currently in the process of finalizing a deal to reboot Amazing Stories, with Spielberg and prolific TV creator Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, American Gods) both attached to the project. Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Universal Television are producing. A Fuller-led reboot of Amazing Stories was originally set up at NBC in 2015, but development stalled, and the show never got off the ground. Apple has agreed to finance the series itself, setting a $5 million budget for each episode.
This big move serves as the kickoff to Apple’s previously announced plan to spend $1 billion on creating original content in 2018. It has yet to be specified whether Fuller’s Amazing Stories will retain the 30-minute anthology format of the original series, or take things in a new direction. Unlike most anthology programs, Amazing Stories was well-known for a willingness to showcase different genres of story, dabbling in horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and even comedy. It’ll be interesting to see if the reboot continues that tradition.
Also unspecified as of this writing is just how Apple plans to distribute Amazing Stories. One logical strategy would be to make use of the exisitng iTunes platform, but even if that happens, one wonders how access to the series will be controlled. Will Apple offer episodes for free, but with ads? Will they create their own subscription streaming service? That’s all up in the air for now.
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