HBO Max orders the pilot for a Practical Magic prequel TV show titled Rules of Magic from showrunner Melissa Rosenberg (Jessica Jones). While the streamer has made headlines for the fact that it will soon be the new streaming service home to Friends, as well as reportedly considering a huge deal for the rights to long-running hits like The Big Bang Theory, it is making sure to carve out some space for original programming.
Based on the book of the same name by Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic was released in 1998. Starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, already well-known actresses at the time, it told the story of two sisters who are very close in spite of their differing personalities. Sally (Bullock) and Gillian (Kidman) are witches who suffer from a family curse that has severely limited their lives: any man they fall in love with ends up ruined. Directed by Griffin Dunne, the movie explored how the sisters reacted to these circumstances and how it has affected them. Met with negative reviews initially, the film has since garnered a bit of a cult following, with audiences and critics arguing in favor of the story’s feminist elements.
Now, according to Variety, a prequel is in the works for HBO Max. Headed by Melissa Rosenberg, notable for her work as the showrunner for Jessica Jones as well as being the screenwriter for the Twilight movie franchise, the prequel will be titled Rules of Magic. Also based on a book by Hoffman, the story is set in the 1960s and it follows three siblings. Each with their own troubles, Franny, Jet and Vincent discover that they come from a long line of witches. Franny and Jet appeared in the film adaption of Practical Magic as the aunts of Sally and Gillian. They were played by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest, respectively.
HBO Max additionally ordered two other TV show pilots: the half-hour dramedy Generation that will follow a group of high school students as they delve into an exploration of modern sexuality, and Red Bird Lane, which is described as a psychological horror. It’s centered around eight strangers that arrive at a secluded home, quickly realizing they’re in store for something extremely unsettling. These three offerings join other original HBO Max shows, including a spin-off of Dune and a romcom anthology headlined by Anna Kendrick.
It’s likely a smart strategy on multiple fronts. Netflix proved itself as a force to be reckoned with, in part due to Emmy-award winning dramas such as House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. It is yet unknown how many people will flock to a new platform based on classic comedies and nostalgia alone. HBO Max, and other streaming services, are covering their bases with new content like the upcoming Practical Magic prequel, Rules of Magic.