Get ready to experience the outer limits of shock, there’s a Scanners television series in development. The classic science fiction property from David Cronenberg was optioned in an intense bidding war with multiple studios, from Lionsgate to Paramount and Skydance films vying for the rights.
The original Scanners film follows the story of “scanners”, a group of telekinetic individuals with explosive mental abilities who live on the fringes of society and are hunted down in a futuristic landscape. It’s prime fare for a world where classical science fiction is making a comeback, with properties like Blade Runner on film and Judge Dredd being adapted for the smaller screen now.
According to Deadline, Scanners is being adapted for TV by Media Res Studios and Bron Studios, which plan to enlist a high-end filmmaker and showrunner before sending it to streaming services. Media Res is headed by former HBO executive Micheal Ellenberg – who, among other credits, is responsible for developing Westworld, Big Little Lies, and True Detective. Bron Studios is a Vancouver-based production company responsible for developing such films as The Birth of a Nation and the Oscar-nominated Fences. The group began their partnership in June and are looking to expand into television.
The rights to Scanners were held by the Weinstein Company, which also tried to re-develop the science fiction classic as a television series. Ellenberg will produce along with one of the original producers of the film, Pierre David. They’re joined by Rene Malo and Fanny Laura Malo, who represent the rights holders, Canada’s Laurem Productions. This marks the first of many projects currently in development by Media Res and the former head of drama for HBO.
The original film starred Jennifer O’Neill, Steven Lack, and Patrick McGoohan. It chronicles the story of a society where a drug administered during pregnancy causes the subsequent children to develop intense psychic abilities. Marked by the iconic image of exploding heads since the Scanners can literally kill with their thoughts, it’s garnered a massive cult following and has been subtly referenced many times in pop culture since then.
While the prospect of a Scanners television show might seem fascinating to an audience who is seeing many of their favorite sci-fi properties return to the big and small screen, it’s another show that’s going to have to work hard to earn over many fans of the original movie. Scanners and its themes have clearly influenced hit series like Stranger Things, among many other genre TV shows.
The difference, however, is the darkness that’s explored in Cronenberg’s film. The movie is grisly and delves deep into the body horror that Cronenberg is famous for. Given the talent involved so far, however, there’s fair reason to be hopeful about the Scanners TV series – assuming that it ultimately makes its way into production.
We’ll keep you posted on the status of the Scanners TV series.
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