Now King is returning to the airwaves with Haven, a series based on his novella The Colorado Kid. The premise is about a small town in Maine (as usual) where cursed people live in exile. A female FBI agent named Audrey Parker arrives to solve a mystery and fight supernatural forces.
Is it me or does this sound a lot like the episode of The X-Files that King wrote? In that episode, Scully is in Maine and Mulder only appeared on screen from his office for counsel.
King has been known to recycle ideas. We'll see how this one turns out.
Mike Harrison (who wrote and directed the Sci Fi Channel's Dune miniseries) is working on a four-hour miniseries of the horror novel Cell for the Weinstein Company. Harrison has worked with King's material before on the movies Creepshow and Tales from the Darkside: the Movie.
Having never read Cell, it's difficult to have an opinion over whether this will evolve into a quality miniseries. There is some talent behind the show, so that's encouraging.
Then the network caused a global groan so loud that it shifted the tectonic plates when they announced that Nelson had to cancel and they would replace him with Larry the Cable Guy.
It's such an obvious and safe choice that might be a good recipe for ratings, but it's a sure fire recipe for boring. Here are the iconic stars who would have made much better kindling for a white hot comedy roast.
As we all know, the Stephen King / Peter Straub novel The Talisman is being made into a six-part miniseries for TNT for the 2008 season.
Now TNT has told advertisers that the Stephen Spielberg-produced miniseries could also become a regular series in 2009.
The original novel, the first collaboration between King and Straub, focused on a young boy named Jack Sawyer who flips back and forth between two worlds: our world and a mystical but malevolent world known as the Territories as he attempts to secure the titular talisman that may save his dying mother. A sequel, Black House, followed many years later. Both stories also tie into King's larger Dark Tower series, which may also be developed for television.
The creators of Lost will be doing even more moonlighting in the coming months. Answering earlier rumors, author Stephen King has confirmed that J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof will adapt his Dark Tower series into a film. King opted not to hand the project over to director Frank Darabont, the force behind King film adaptations like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Darabont is currently developing the author's works The Mist and The Monkey.
King cited Lindelof's admiration of the Dark Tower series as one of his reasons for signing the rights over to the pair. According to King, the option for the Dark Tower films cost Lindelof and Abrams a whopping nineteen dollars. Lost's creative minds have kept themselves busy with other projects in the past. J.J. Abrams recently directed Mission: Impossible III, starring Tom Cruise, and is set to direct Star Trek XI. Damon Lindelof is set to co-produce the Star Trek film as well.
The deal was announced at the New York Comic-Con on Saturday, February 24.
Various sources are reporting that Stephen King's seven-volume opus The Dark Tower could be making it to the screen. The question is: will it be the TV screen or the movie screen? As an unapologetic fan of King's work, and especially his Dark Tower series (a narrative that expands into his other books as well) I really don't care how they do it, as long as they don't screw it up. The Dark Tower, the tale of a gunslinger named Roland who seeks out the titular tower that is the center of all existence, is an engaging, if sometimes overwrought amalgam of fantasy, sci-fi, horror and a bit of King's own existentialism tossed in for good measure: he himself becomes a character in the latter part of the series. Much like Lord of the Rings, the series begs to be developed in a visual medium, but one hopes whoever tackles this project can do it justice.
Right now, J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias) is the name attached to the rumored project, and the belief seems to be that it will be developed as a miniseries, given the length of time needed to tell the whole story. My only suggestion would be to shorten the part of the story told in The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass; I loved The Dark Tower as a whole, but Wizard and Glass bored me to tears -- too much romance, not enough action.
Rumors about Steven Spielberg helming an adaptation of The Talisman, the novel by Stephen King and Peter Straub, have been circulating for almost as long as the book itself has been in print, almost three decades. Last year reports began to pop up again that a film adaptation was in the works, but still nothing. Now, however, it's official: Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy will be executive producing the six-hour adaptation for DreamWorks Television, set to air on TNT in the summer of 2008. Ehren Krueger (Arlington Road, The Ring, The Brothers Grimm) is penning the script.
The novel focuses on Jack Sawyer, a young boy who sets out on a quest to find the titular talisman, a magic artifact that may save his mother, who is dying of cancer. Jack flips back and forth between parallel worlds, his own reality and another called "the Territories." This novel, along with its sequel, 2001's Black House, also ties into King's seven-part Dark Tower series, as does a large portion of his other works.
(S01E06) I've never been a big fan of gritty crime drama, which is why "The Fifth Quarter" has never been my favorite short story of Stephen King's. It's a very bare bones tale of a man whose friend is killed over a buried stash of millions of dollars and his subsequent quest to retrieve four pieces of a map, each belonging to a different "bad guy." It's not really typically "King" and even he acknowledgers in the Notes of Nightmares and Dreamscapes that the story is more like something that would have come from Richard Bachman (his occasional nom de plume) or even Richard Stark, the malevolent writer from his novel The Dark Half.
Of course, I can't really blame King for wanting to try something a little different once in awhile, but in a lot of ways the story works much better in a visual medium. The problem is, one hour isn't enough for a story that is this involved. Screenwriter Alan Sharp fleshes the story out by giving the protagonist (Jeremy Sisto) a wife and kid, and everyone in this episode plays their parts well, trying to convey a lot of backstory in a short time so we can get to the blood and guns. If anything, the episode suffers from trying to cram way too much drama into a short amount of time. I think this would have worked much better as a feature film, following Wilie (Sisto) as he hunts down the men who killed his friend and begins to piece together the map that will lead he and his family to a better life. That could still happen, I suppose, it's not like they haven't done multiple adaptations of King's work before.
(S01E05) "The Road Virus Heads North," from Stephen King's collection Everything's Eventual, is a pretty straightforward horror tale, especially for King. That doesn't mean it's a bad story, but it seems like the kind of spooky campfire tale that would come easily to him, and this TV adaptation moves along rather quickly, just like the story itself. The living painting that chronicles the journey of the madman within it is based on an actual painting owned by King.
Tom Berenger plays a horror novelist named Richard Kinnell who lives in Derry, Maine (the same fictional town where King's novels IT and Insomnia take place). King uses part of his story to poke fun at people who ask him the same two questions over and over: Where do you get your ideas? And do you ever scare yourself? Kinnell encounters those questions when he attends a book signing where rabid fans cheer and crowd around him as if he's a rock star rather than just a writer. He has other things on his mind however, because he just received his first colonoscopy and it's possible he has cancer. On his drive back home he stops off at a yard sale and purchases a painting of a crazy-looking driver with scraggly hair driving a car across a bridge. The painting is titled "The Road Virus Heads North" (natch) and the woman who sells it to him explains that the kid who painted it was a depressed coke-addled genius who painted several other paintings much more horrific than this one, but burned them all on the front lawn before hanging himself with a chain in the garage.
(S01E04) "The End of the Whole Mess" is one of my favorite Stephen King short stories for two reasons. One, it's written by a protagonist who is slowly losing his mind as the story progresses, much like an earlier short story of his titled "Survivor Type" (from the Skeleton Crew collection). The other reason I like it so much is that it's very unstereotypically King. It's a very touching and very human story about misplaced good intentions, those same intentions that pave the road to Hell, as the cliche goes.
In the story, the teller is Howie Fornoy, a freelance writer. In the TV version he's a documentary filmmaker and he tapes his final moments on Earth rather than writing about them, which makes sense, this being a television episode after all. Howard is played by Ron Livingston, and his younger brother, Bobby, is played by Henry Thomas. The two brothers are intelligent kids with intelligent parents, but Bobby is especially so. Howie describes him as a kind of wandering genius, someone like Da Vinci or Einstein flittering from one interest to the next like a compass trying to find True North. Bobby finally finds his True North when he and a team of researchers discover a town in Texas called La Planta where the water contains proteins not found anywhere else, including one only found in the human brain. It turns out the water acts as a kind of "calmative" that renders the entire town and its people completely passive and nonviolent.
1 star to corbett: "After the office Christmas party, I didn't know how to say... 'I'm sorry I gave you gonorrhea.'"
2 stars to Toby OB: "Coming soon in a DVD boxed set for 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show': the "lost" episode, in which Mary Richards declares her true feelings for Ted Baxter....."
3 stars to orimental: "Sir, these were sent by your children to be put on your grave. Where would you like me to place them?"
This week, a scene from the first episode of Nightmares & Dreamscapes:
- At 8, CBS has a new episode of Rock Star: Supernova.
- NBC has a new, two hour America's Got Talent at 8.
- The WB has a new Blue Collar TV at 8.
- At 9, FOX has a new So You Think You Can Dance.
- Dan Rather talks to Larry King at 9 on CNN.
- A&E has a new Inked at 9.
- Bravo has a new season of Project Runway at 9.
- TV Land has a good Andy Griffith Show repeat, "Barney Gets His Man" at 9.
- Also at 9: TNT has the premiere of Stephen King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes, followed by another new episode.
- At 10, Spike has a new episode of Blade (repeated at 11).
- MTV has a new episode of The Hills at 10.
- There's a new Hustle on AMC at 10.
It hasn't even aired on television yet (it starts on Wednesday on TNT), but Warner will release the DVD set for the Stephen King miniseries Nightmares & Dreamscapes on October 24.
In addition to episodes starring Steven Weber, William Hurt, Kim Delaney, and Tom Berenger, the set will include an extended episode starring William H. Macy that won't air on the TV version of the miniseries. The set will also have commentaries and documentaries.
Take a look at Keith's preview of the show here.
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