Michael Chabon, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and his novelist/essayist wife Ayelet Waldman have ventured into scripted television to develop a World War II-set series for HBO called Hobgoblin.
The project’s description has all the trappings of a great HBO series, along with the kind of fantastic literary musings of Chabon’s novels. In Hobgoblin, a group of con men and magicians take slight-of-hand and duplicity to an all-time high by utilizing their unique skill-set to wage war with one of history’s most malevolent figures: Hitler.
Details beyond this brief synopsis are scarce, but to be honest, the phrase ‘hook, line and sinker’ may have never been more appropriate. The criminal genre has as much appeal as ever on television; what with the recent premier of Breakout Kings and other hit shows like Leverage taking up a fair chunk of the television viewing audience. Chabon, meanwhile, has already shown a real knack for delivering compelling stories set during this time, and the magician concept does hark back to certain aspects of the aforementioned Pulitzer-winning novel of his.
For the last several years, Chabon has been utilizing the bulk of his time to work on the screenwriting end of things, with some heavy lifting on Spider-Man 2, the upcoming John Carter of Mars and the new adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Meanwhile, Waldman has seen her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits adapted for the big screen into The Other Woman starring Natalie Portman. Naturally, with that fine pedigree between them, the couple will serve as co-writers, as well as executive producers on Hobgoblin.
Because the conceit of the show brings to mind Quentin Tarrantino’s Inglorious Basterds, certain unfair comparisons may also come – if they haven’t already. However, whereas Inglorious Basterds was history according to Quentin, Hobgoblin will likely be the more sensible of the two; a striking composition inspired by the nuanced tapestry of war-ravaged Europe, and the characters that edged out meager satisfaction by scamming (rather than scalping) the Fürher’s men.
Furthermore, the timing seems right for this kind of story to be told on HBO. The network has recently garnered much attention for producing dramas of high-end spectacle like Boardwalk Empire, the upcoming Game of Thrones, and let us not forget, the vampires-by-way-of-Tennessee-Williams hit that is True Blood.
Expect more news on Hobgoblin to emerge as development on the proposed series progresses.