Edgar Allan Poe seems to be a bit of a popular character these days – fictionally speaking, of course. With the recent acquisition by ABC of Poe and the upcoming John Cusack film The Raven, one would think the fabled writer had been born of a screenwriter’s mind.
The concept of Poe, a “crime procedural following Edgar Allan Poe as the world’s very first detective, using unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston,” may have many people scratching their heads, but if the idea of being taken to a dark place by the inventor of detective fiction sounds thrilling, then Poe could be one of the more enticing programs to watch out for on ABC.
Besides, a crime drama without the aid of DNA, security camera footage that can be enhanced to the nth degree, or a title sequence to any song by The Who sounds like a much-needed breath of fresh air. And with the aforementioned Cusack thriller, a sequel to the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes, and Sherlock—a Holmes UK update already on the air —Poe may prove to be the perfectly-timed American acquisition to make before 19th century detectives become the next popular trend over-saturating the airwaves.
For people who loved the rich atmosphere of Sleepy Hollow or even From Hell, ABC’s Poe should be right up their alley. Getting a chance to visit a bygone era on a weekly series isn’t something television is often about, and with the exception of Supernatural the horror and suspense genre has been woefully underrepresented as well. With any luck, Poe will prove capable of delivering one of the most unique viewing experiences on television.
While there is no word on casting, the title role will easily make or break the potential series. The linchpin of making Poe work will be in the execution of characters that exist in a very convincing Boston circa 1840. If the series expects to be taken seriously, slapping a mustache on any hot, young actor who is hungry to brood isn’t going to cut it here. Dark, moody undercurrents are the order of the day, so Warner Bros. and ABC need to plan accordingly, as the potential for this series is almost as high as its risk of failure.
Certainly, writer-producer of the pilot, Chris Hollier of Kyle XY and executive producer Dan Lin of Lin pictures feel Poe is interesting and successful enough to be greenlit to series come the 2011-12 season. For the rest of us, well, there’s no doubt it is interesting. Successful? We’ll just have to wait and see.