The flowering of serialized television on basic cable has led to a good deal of experiementation – whether to push the boundaries of the medium or to cash in on the public’s interest in cable series. This has led to both great successes (such as the horror-drama hybrid of The Walking Dead) and curious misfires (see Rubicon).
FX has proven to be one of the more successful purveyors of cable entertainment, running a variety of smartly written, critically beloved comedies and dramas. Seeking to expand their already formidable roster, FX has begun development on a number of new miniseries properties – one of which is a new adaptation of the classic novel The Last of the Mohicans.
THR shares the scoop that The Last of the Mohicans is currently being developed as a miniseries to be aired as a television event for FX. Christopher Crowe – who helped write the screenplay for the 1992 film adaptation of Mohicans directed by Michael Mann – will pen the new script with Kerry McCluggage (the original Miami Vice) and Steve Beck (Doc). They will apparently lean more heavily on the direct source material of James Fenimore Cooper’s book than the 1992 film.
Taking place during the height of the French and Indian War, Cooper’s novel follows the adventures of Natty “Hawkeye” Bumppo, a frontiersman closely allied with the remnants of the Mohawk tribe. Amidst the chaos of the border war, Hawkeye attempts to protect a British general’s daughter and fight off the forces of Magua, a bloodthirsty Huron chief out for revenge against the English.
With a novel as old and culturally beloved as The Last of the Mohicans, it can be difficult to discern whether or not a new adaptation is welcome – let alone necessary. While considered a flawed work by purists, Mann’s version of Mohicans was received well both critically and commercially. The film remains the definitive version of the story to the generation that grew up around its release. As such, will this new television series be able to generate enough interest (and separate itself enough from the 1992 entry) to justify FX’s efforts?
Fortunately, it appears that not only are Crowe and crew delving more heavily into Cooper’s novel, they are also using it as a springboard into an examination of the roots of American history. If they do indeed use The Last of the Mohicans as an entryway into a drama about life in the mid-18th century – rather than just another version of Cooper’s pulp adventure – FX’s upcoming miniseries could be worth more than just a casual glance.
The Last of the Mohicans does not yet have a definitive air date. While it’s likely to appear in 2014, keep an eye on Screen Rant as more solid details emerge.