Apple continues to make moves into the arena of scripted television with news that the company plans to turn Terry Gilliam’s 1981 fantasy-adventure film Time Bandits into a TV series. The technology company reportedly has acquired the rights to the film, making it another potential offering in Apple’s soon-to-be available original content, along with projects from Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, Ron D. Moore, Damien Chazelle, and M. Night Shyamalan. And that’s in addition to the proposed Amazing Stories reboot that Bryan Fuller recently dropped out of, as well as Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s Little America.
At this point in the development of Apple’s original content game, a Time Bandits television show could be seen as the closest thing it may have to a surefire hit, something that will make a statement and attract viewers in search of the next big genre series. A potential adaptation would not only give the tech company something to put them in contention with the likes of HBO’s Game of Thrones franchise and Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series, but as a property that’s beloved by fans of a certain age and one that’s gone on to become a cult classic, it delivers in terms of hitting what may be considered a pre-existing IP sweet spot.
Moreover, despite having earned a spot as a “beloved” film of many people’s childhoods, its fan base may be less to cry foul at the prospect of turning it into a television series, one that, given Apple’s billion-dollar intentions for its upcoming slate of original programming, stands a good chance at having a budget that will eclipse that of Gilliam’s original feature film. While throwing money at a series won’t necessarily guarantee its commercial or critical success, it may be what a high-concept fantasy-adventure series about a boy joining a group of time traveling dwarves needs in order to get as many eyeballs on it as possible.
As for Gilliam, the report by Deadline stated that he will participate in an executive producer capacity on the series. Beyond that there is no word yet on the direction the series intends to take or how much it plans to diverge from the original film in creating a presumably ongoing series for today’s audiences. And given that Monty Python members such as John Cleese and Michael Palin were in the original, along with Sean Connery and Ian Holm, one wonders whether they will be asked to participate, even if just to provide a brief cameo.
At any rate, Time Bandits sounds like it could soon be the most anticipated of Apple's planned television series. The level of anticipation could change as news of a showrunner and potential cast is announced, so stay tuned.