The Steven Spielberg media empire is set to add another jewel to its treasure room thanks to the news that TNT has decided to place an order for Amblin TV's Lumen, a fantasy series that almost sounds a little bit like an updated version of Land of the Lost.
The addition of Lumen adds to Amblin's solid but perhaps unspectacular stable of performers that presently includes TNT's Falling Skies (which will enter into its 5th and final season next year), FX's The Americans and CBS summer series' Under the Dome and the in-limbo Extant. Amblin also has a series for Halo and a series for Minority Report on the way.
With Lumen, it's easy to assume that at lest one of the three developing projects will stand-out as a hit for Spielberg, who has failed to make the same impact on television as a producer as he has in film as a producer and director. Though, to be fair, climbing that buttery mountain of accomplishment seems like an impossibly slippery endeavor when you consider the legendary impact that the man has had on film.
Joining Spielberg and the Amblin team in their effort to make something spectacular out of Lumen is Joe Johnston, an old ally who will direct the pilot episode. Johnson, of course, came up while working on visual effects for the original Star Wars trilogy and on Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark with both George Lucas and Spielberg. Johnston also directed The Rocketeer, the Spielberg produced Jurassic Park 3 and Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger.
Chris Black, a one-time producer on Mad Men with multiple writing and producing credits in television will script the pilot. Amusingly, Black's first credit in TV was as a writer for an episode of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Disney TV series. Johnston, of course, directed the theatrical film that preceded that. I can't find an actual link to them working together on the TV version, though, so that's probably nothing more than a bit of neat trivia.
Here's a look at the synopsis for Lumen, as it stands right now.
Lumen centers on the famous author of a best-selling series of fantasy books who suddenly disappears, and a family of four finds themselves transported to the mystical alternate world that inspired her work. Once there, they are plunged into the middle of a war raging between rival magical forces, of light and darkness. Facing peril at every turn, the family must unravel a complicated mystery and uncover some astonishing secrets as they struggle to find their way home.
Sounds quite grand, no? That's one thing that we can almost always expect from Spielberg, his projects rarely lack ambition. The magical war between the forces of light and dark sounds truly epic, but of course it could be an albatross as well if it's bungled on the technical side.
Johnston's addition is a hugely reassuring move on that front, but we won't know till we get eyes on what this looks like. It's also worth noting that, with the family aspect, this sounds like it could be something that might skew more to the family crowd. I'm not saying that TNT is challenging the Disney Channel for viewers, just saying it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if there was an epic TV show with a sense of wonder and not as much darkness and cynicism. If that's the play then, once again, Johnston's name and his experience come in handy here.
As of right now, there is no word on when or if Lumen will actually make it to air.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for future updates on Lumen.