There’s a trend at the moment whereby big-screen movies are downgraded (or upgraded, depending on how you view things) into TV series, with recent films-turned shows including Scream, Rush Hour, Fargo, and Hannibal. Granted, said adaptations have come off the back of successful, popular movies and there are numerous other projects in the pipeline that include shows based on Taken, Tremors, and Underworld. It appears that TV network executives cannot get enough of developing existing films with an established audience into a lengthier duration over several episodes.
FOX didn’t have much luck with its own movie-turned TV show adaptation, Minority Report. However, that hasn’t stopped the network from trying to recreate the success of two famous big screen properties – a horror classic as well as one of the 1980s greatest buddy cop movies – on the small screen.
Case in point: FOX has now ordered a television series based on the 1973 film The Exorcist that originally starred Linda Blair as the terrifyingly possessed Regan and Max von Sydow as Father Merrin, the priest challenged with performing said exorcism.
According to Deadline, the William Friedkin film will translate into a series written by Jeremy Slater (who also co-penned the critically derided Fantastic Four reboot) and directed by Rupert Wyatt (in contrast, commended for helming The Escapist and Rise of the Planet of the Apes). It’s a tall order for a series based on arguably one of the scariest horror movies ever made to succeed on its own (let alone live up to the original), though similar TV series like Bates Motel have succeeded before it. The Exorcist TV show cast will include Geena Davis, Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels, and Hannah Kasulka – and like the film before it, was partly inspired by William Blatty’s 1971 Exorcist novel.
Lethal Weapon is the other big title to get the go ahead, written by Matt Miller and directed by Joseph McGinty Nichol (known widely as McG). Again, it’s another TV adaptation that has a lot to live up to, with the original Mel Gibson and Danny Glover team-up forging a bonafide classic pairing. Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans are already cast as Riggs and Murtaugh on the TV show, and details imply the set-up will stick close to the movie, as former Navy SEAL Riggs relocates to LA after losing his wife and baby.
Both Lethal Weapon and The Exorcist had follow-up to their original outings – the former managed to top out at four sequels, whereas the latter completed a somewhat wobbly trilogy. Either way, both will have a large fan base already established, with the hope of attracting newer, younger audiences to the mix.
While some readers will no doubt be extremely skeptical – especially with McG at the helm – but there are many reasons to think positively. The biggest being that, with more Hollywood actors opting for small screen shows, such as True Detective, it means stories can develop over eight to twelve hours, rather than within the constraints of around two hours in the cinema.
There’s currently no official air date for either The Exorcist or Lethal Weapon. We’ll let you know when that changes.