If there’s been one major problem with television this year, it’s that there are far too many excellent shows on and finding enough hours in the day to watch them all can be exhausting. Luckily there’s a little more room to breathe right now, with Breaking Bad having concluded its fifth and final season, and shows like Hannibal, Orphan Black and Game of Thrones all currently between seasons.
The latter show is a titan amongst current historical fantasy dramas, with 5.4 million viewers tuning in to watch the season 3 finale and no doubt more fans being acquired through DVD sales and reruns in the lead-up to season 4. Perhaps influenced by Games of Thrones‘ success, cable channel Syfy now has plans to throw its own new contender into the historical fantasy niche.
THR reports that SyFy has tapped screenwriter Matt Greenberg (1408) to adapt the classic Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf into a TV series. The show is being produced for SyFy by Universal Cable Productions, the company behind Warehouse 13, and Omnifilm Entertainment.
The original poem tells the story of a Scandinavian hero who aids a Danish king by slaying a local monster called Grendel and then, for good measure, slays Grendel’s mother as well. The last screen version was Robert Zemeckis’ 2007 animated film, which starred Ray Winstone as the hero, Crispin Glover as Grendel and Angelina Jolie as Grendel’s mother.
This tale of Nordic warriors and slobbery monsters is a rich tapestry that could offer plenty of mileage if adapted into an episodic format; Grendel and his mother are essentially hand-picked season-arching Big Bads. However, Greenberg might not be the best choice to helm this particular venture. His biggest claims to fame aside from 1408 are a co-writing credit on Halloween H20 and another on the fairly dismal 2002 dragon movie Reign of Fire.
It is worth noting that 1408, the most recently released film that Greenberg worked on, is probably also the best. Until we know more about Beowulf – and other upcoming Syfy projects like Dominion and Alien Hunter, it’s best to stick to a policy of keeping everything crossed and hoping that they’re worth watching. Then again, it might be kinder to our TV-viewing schedules if they’re not.