TNT’s upcoming television adaptation of Snowpiercer has found a new showrunner in Orphan Black co-creator Graeme Manson. The new comes just a few weeks after former showrunner Josh Friedman exited shortly after the network ordered the show to series. Friedman’s departure certainly came at an inopportune time for the series, and was reported to have been due to “creative differences” between him and the network. Where exactly Friedman and TNT differed on the direction of the series will likely be a question that goes unanswered, but now the focus can shift to Manson and the way in which his sensibilities will work with what sounds like a fairly ambitious project.
As far as big screen genre projects ripe for becoming a television series go, Snowpiercer might not be at the top of everyone’s list. Set in a post-apocalyptic world trapped in perpetual winter, the entirety of the human race occupies a single train running in a perpetual global loop. The film’s central metaphor takes societal inequality to the extreme, with the disadvantaged passengers finally rising up against the more well-off occupants in a bloody revolt. Needless to day, the story seems tailor made for a two-hour film, and far more challenging as a weekly television series.
Nevertheless, whatever the show is intended to be, it’s already attracted a strong list of talent with Jennifer Connelly and David Diggs in the lead roles, while Doctor Strange director Scott Derrikson helmed the pilot episode. Now, as reported by Deadline the show has brought in someone with plenty of experience shepherding a high concept sci-fi story to TV. The report also mentioned that Sarah Aubrey, Executive Vice President of original programming at TNT had this to say about Manson stepping in to run the show:
“Graeme’s extensive background in the sci-fi genre coupled with his brilliant work behind Orphan Black made him the perfect choice for this series. He is the best conductor to navigate the thought provoking and delicate themes of the series while bringing this frozen, futuristic world to life.”
Manson’s work on Orphan Black is perhaps what he’s best known for, but he’s also served as a writer on the Canadian police drama Flashpoint and wrote the screenplay for the 1997 sci-fi film Cube, meaning he knows a thing or two about wringing drama out of claustrophobic situations. That and his experience turning a story with what is essentially an unsustainable plot into five seasons of television suggests he’s a solid choice to help realize TNT’s Snowpiercer.