Neil Gaiman is set to produce a reboot of Jim Henson’s iconic '80s anthology series, The Storyteller. It is the latest Gaiman television project in the last few years. Fox premiered Lucifer, adapted from the character created in Gaiman’s Vertigo comics series The Sandman, in 2015. Additionally, Starz is set to debut Season 2 of American Gods at the end of March and Amazon will premiere Good Omens on May 31. The Storyteller will find the famed author and TV writer-producer taking on the world of Jim Henson.
Created by Henson, The Storyteller originally aired in 1987 and utilized both puppets and actors to tell stories of strange and obscure folk tales. Running for only nine episodes, with a 4-episode "Greek Myths" spinoff, The Storyteller went on to win an Emmy and BAFTA. Henson himself directed multiple episodes, which were all written by Oscar-winning filmmaker Anthony Minghella of The English Patient and The Talented Mr. Ripley fame. The late, great John Hurt voiced the narrator who was an elfin storyteller of mysterious origins and the show featured an incredible amount of puppet designs from the legendary Jim Henson's Creature Company.
According to Deadline, this new version will create its own mystical world that combines different fairy tales and myths. Gaiman will write and executive produce this reimagining of Jim Henson's original vision, expanding on European folklore with a wide range of stories and myths from around the world. Gaiman expressed his excitement for the project in a statement:
“The original The Storyteller was a brilliantly written, directed, and told set of stories. It’s a terrifying and inspiring task to reinvent what Jim Henson did for the golden age of television we are in right now. I’m honored that The Jim Henson Company would entrust me with the task of bringing back the storyteller and his magical stories, and sending him out into the world for a whole new round of tales.”
Produced by The Jim Henson Company in association with FremantleMedia, this new version of The Storyteller will have Jim's daughter Lisa Henson serving as executive producer and Blanca Lista as co-executive producer. Jim Henson was said to have been inspired by Lisa's university studies in folklore and mythology. FremantleMedia already has a working relationship with Gaiman, who is said to be developing an adaption of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghat novels as a TV series, as well.
Gaiman is no stranger to adapting folklore and myths from a variety of cultures. Two of the author's books, American Gods and Anansi Boys, have drawn from this well, while the recent Norse Mythology book brought a more authentic telling of classic myths to the printed page. Gaiman's storied career speaks for itself when it comes to updating and modernizing such stories. Giving this wonderful writer the added flourish of creature puppetry from the Henson Creature Company is sure to bring something special to the screen, no matter where the series ends up.
No network or service is attached to showcase The Storyteller as of yet, but the producers are looking to reach "the broadest audience possible." The Jim Henson Company is also working on the prequel series for The Dark Crystal, which is set to come out sometime this year on Netflix. The streaming service could end up being the most obvious choice for this new version of The Storyteller.