‘Chronicle’ Writer & ‘Homeland’ Showrunner Team for ‘Superhero’ Series ‘Vigilant’

Published 3 years ago by

homeland howard gordon vigilant Chronicle Writer & Homeland Showrunner Team for Superhero Series Vigilant

Howard Gordon has achieved mixed success since his days as a co-showrunner on 24, what with his award-winning Showtime series Homeland readying to begin its second season a few months after NBC decided to cancel Awake (which Gordon also served as a co-showrunner on). However, this TV development season has been good for him, as several of his show pitches have been purchased – including, most recently, the crime drama series Vigilant.

Claire Danes as CIA agent Carrie Mathison on Homeland constantly walks the oh-so-fine line between obeying protocol and working outside the established system. Vigilant, which Fox has picked up, likewise revolves around a female protagonist; though, the latter elects to operate completely beyond the law when she creates a fictional vigilante persona.

Gordon was not responsible for creating the idea behind Vigilant; that honor goes to Max Landis, the breakout writer behind this year’s found-footage super-powered teen film Chronicle. THR reports Landis’ premise is described as “a ‘superhero’ origin story” for the lead character: an intelligent but socially-awkward 20-year-old woman whose detective father is “brutally coerced” into working for a corrupt head of Internal Affairs, inspiring her to battle street crime and institutional corruption through an alter ego.

Vigilant, in a sense, does have the makings of a “superhero” origin story that is fully grounded in the real world. However, it seems to bear a stronger resemblance to CBS’ Person of Interest rather than a series about a legit superhero, such as CW’s Arrow television show (or the developing Wonder Woman origin series, Amazon). It is also worth noting that Vigilant does not appear to openly embrace the “realistic” sci-fi elements of Person, though.

Landis, for his part, was quick to begin playing down the superhero analogy shortly after the report broke, Tweeting that Vigilant is “not a ‘superhero’ show in ANY traditional sense.” The show, as he en-visions it, will have more in common with a gritty crime-drama like HBO’s The Wire or BBC’s Luther, as opposed to the short-lived The Cape (much less, Smallville). He half-joked that lumping Vigilant in with the superhero genre is like “calling Taxi Driver a pre-cursor to Spider-Man 3.”

Chronicle Found Footage Movie Chronicle Writer & Homeland Showrunner Team for Superhero Series Vigilant

The super-power ‘heroes’ in ‘Chronicle’

Gordon’s recent televisions shows have been praised for their captivating mystery storylines and thoughtful examination of violence and crime issues, which is something Mandy Patinkin has openly agreed was instrumental in his decision to drop Criminal Minds in favor of Homeland. Moreover, good will generated by Awake raises expectations further for Gordon’s return to network TV with Vigilant.

Landis showed a knack for telling stories about ordinary young people who end up in extraordinary circumstances with Chronicle, so that should likewise heighten anticipation for Vigilant. The “superhero” comparisons probably won’t be dropped so readily as Landis hopes; on the other hand, that could allow his show to draw in a broader audience than if it were sold solely as a tweaked crime-drama series (thus, increasing its chances of survival).

More on Vigilant as the story develops.


Source: THR, Max Landis

TAGS: Vigilant
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  1. Claire Danes is a good actress. Though I’ve never seen her in an “action” role…… this could be an intriguing direction for her.

    • She was in T3

  2. Though, of course, the level of quality in the creative and production staff (at least, in terms of Gordon and Landis) seems far superior in THIS show (so far) compared to many of these others, the basic premise of a covertly operating, outside/above-the-law vigilante type has been done many times, especially in the ’80s…”Stingray”, “Cobra”, “Knight Rider”, “StreetHawk”, “Airwolf”, “The Equalizer”,…and that’s not even including the shows that had very obvious fantastical and/or science-fictional elements…”Manimal”, “M.A.N.T.I.S.”, “AutoMan”, “The Phoenix”, “Man from Atlantis”, “Six Million Dollar Man”, “The Bionic Woman”, “Starman”, “The Incredible Hulk” (yes, the Bixby/Ferrigno show that had a similar case-of-the-week structure).

    I enjoyed all of these shows growing up, so I’m curious to see how this one does.

    BTW, there was, of course, no reason for me to list ALL of these shows…I was simply feeling nostalgic :)

    • You forgot Viper!

      • Yes, yes I did. I knew there would be one.

  3. Sounds interesting. Hopefully it will be unique enough to stand apart from shows like Melissa George’s Hunted yet still be a strong endeavor for female-led series–like Ms. Danes has done with Homeland.

  4. Bah, we already have plenty of shows with a “grounded vigilantes” like the ones listed. Though not many star female MCs. I was looking forward to something like that Arrow show. Costumes, gadgets, powers the works but with the typical gritty Nolan-esque vibe.

  5. This show sounds interesting :)

  6. You had me interested at “superhero” but then lost me again at the tweet trying to downplay the “super” part. If it was normal person going on a personal crusade I always have Batman, Person of Interest and a host of other shows doing similar things and don’t need yet one more. Make it unique or don’t do it please, the comic book genre doesn’t need any more generic flops.

    I am also weary that all these new superhero shows are going to cause fatigue with the general population which will cause all these planned Marvel/DC projects (movie and TV) to collapse. I would be very sad if that happened.

    • What harm is there in watching the pilot? It sounds interesting. Super-hero has connotations of the costume and mythic powers so I can understand why Landis wants to downplay it.

      I’ll be checking it out. Chronicle was good. Very Stephen King ;)

    • Didn’t say there was any harm in watching it, only that if it’s done poorly it could have negative ramifications for the genre.