Did You Hear? is a weekly examination of headlines in the entertainment industry and a take on what they could mean for the future of the industry and (often), the little geeky bubble that we occupy.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Returning
The Fremantle production company announced earlier this week that they had partnered with Jim Henson Company to resurrect the classic The Storyteller tv show. Said Dante Di Loreto (President of Scripted Entertainment, Fremantle, North America) in their official press release:
There is currently nothing like The Storyteller in the television landscape and the themes these stories will explore are even more critically important today. We are honored to be working with Lisa Henson and her illustrious company to bring their esteemed property back to television, and to be yet again partnering with Neil on another project that will further showcase his brilliant narrative power.
Added Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company:
The Storyteller has been a longtime favorite for our fans who appreciate the beautiful artistry and faithful visualizing of these classic tales. It has always been a special project for me as well, having worked so closely with my dad on the original concept.
It was also announced in the same press release that comic book writer extraordinaire Neil Gaiman would be serving as Executive Producer and Writer:
Neil Gaiman is an expert in traditional folklore and mythology, in addition to himself being the modern ‘storyteller’ for our times.” Lisa Henson went on to say, “It is especially exciting to have Neil’s reimagining of the series brought to life by our Creature Shop, allowing us to share these classic stories with a whole new audience all around the world.
Gaiman has a current working relationship with Fremantle and is currently in post production with the company on the second season of STARZ’s American Gods and will also be serving as EP on their upcoming Gormenghast adaptation.
The Storyteller was a 1980s anthology show that has lived on in the decades since it went off the air in comic book form. With Gaiman’s prolific comic book career the immediate question that comes to mind for me is: is this new series going to be taking inspiration and storylines from the comics?
Gaiman did not speak to that in his official statement:
Jim Henson was always ahead of his time. He found ways to retell folk and fairy tales for a televisual generation. 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, and 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.
With the The Dark Crystal reboot debuting on Netflix July 23rd of this year I’m honestly shocked this announcement didn’t come to us from the streaming giant themselves. It will be interesting to see where The Storyteller winds up and how it serves in direct competition to Jordan Peele’s upcoming Twilight Zone series which feels like it is likely to occupy the same zeitgeist.
Luke Cage Gets Evil
Earlier this week Variety announced that Marvel’s Luke Cage star Mike Colter will be leading a network show now. He is set to star in Evil developed for CBS by Robert and Michelle King (In Justice, The Good Wife).
Evil” focuses on a skeptical female forensic psychologist (Herbers) who joins a priest-in-training (Colter) and a blue-collar contractor as they investigate supposed miracles, demonic possessions, and other extraordinary occurrences to see if there’s a scientific explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work
While streaming occupies a respectable place in the media landscape, Colter making the jump to a network show is a huge move for him. Fans fell in love with his performance in Jessica Jones and it will be interesting to see how much of that audience follows him over onto Evil. There seem to be hints at genre possibilities in the show’s description, so I think there’s a chance.
Colter will be playing David DaCosta, who is training to be a Catholic Priest only to be subsequently asked by his superiors to investigate supernatural occurrences. Where Luke Cage was praised for being down-to-Earth and street level his role in Evil feels like Colter will be playing a mix between Matt Murdock and a Ghostbuster!
Jessica Jones & The Punisher Get the Axe
In a move that surprised nobody, Netflix confirmed that their only remaining Marvel shows – Jessica Jones and The Punisher – had been cancelled.
Read Netflix official statement:
Marvel’s ‘The Punisher’ will not return for a third season on Netflix. Showrunner Steve Lightfoot, the terrific crew, and exceptional cast including star Jon Bernthal, delivered an acclaimed and compelling series for fans, and we are proud to showcase their work on Netflix for years to come. In addition, in reviewing our Marvel programming, we have decided that the upcoming third season will also be the final season for Marvel’s ‘Jessica Jones.’ We are grateful to showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, star Krysten Ritter and the entire cast and crew, for three incredible seasons of this groundbreaking series, which was recognized by the Peabody Awards among many others. We are grateful to Marvel for five years of our fruitful partnership and thank the passionate fans who have followed these series from the beginning.
I’ve written about Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Daredevil being cancelled for this column already and I’m not sure if there’s much more to be explored about it. In the meantime we are left to cross our fingers in the hopes of our favourite shows and characters being ported over onto either Hulu or Disney+.
Wizard World Announces Ghostbusters Fan Fest
In a press release Wizard World (known for their comic book conventions across the United States), announced that they had partnered with Ghost Corps, Ivan Reitman (director), and Dan Aykroyd (Dr. Raymond Stantz), to produce the first ever “Ghostbusters Fan Fest” in celebration of the original movie’s 35th anniversary.
Per the press release:
Ghostbusters Fan Fest presented by Wizard World will be the ultimate celebration of the franchise. For the 35th anniversary of the legendary film (and the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters II), fans will participate in exclusive panels with the stars and original crew members, meet the Ghostbusters creators, talent and crew and experience Ghostbusters augmented reality gaming. Other planned Ghostbusters-themed activities include a screening of the original film, a special musical performance by Parker, costume contests, meet-ups, documentary screenings, laser tag, interactive photo booths, exhibitor booths, and much more.
Reitman and Aykroyd will be joined as guests by: Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore), Ray Parker Jr. (theme song composer), Maurice LaMarche (The Real Ghostbusters’ Dr. Egon Spengler), Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters’ Dr. Raymond Stantz), and Dave Coulier (The Real Ghostbusters’ Dr. Peter Vankman).
Ghostbusters Fan Fest will take place on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, California on June 7 & 8. Full event details can be found on Wizard World’s website.
Tickets can be purchased here right now and include a number of packages with the priciest option topping out at $1,499.
This is not the first time a single property has carved out a convention space for itself. Star Wars does their Celebrations every year and Star Trek hosts STLV in Las Vegas every year. This is a real proving ground for the viability of the Ghostbusters franchise in the current genre bubble and with the recent announcement of Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters film relaunch still fresh in our minds I’m certain there will be a lot more announcements coming out of Fan Fast than we can presently imagine.
Leo to Star in Devil in the White City for Hulu
Variety is reporting that Leonard DiCaprio would be starring in The Devil in the White City by: Erik Larsen for Hulu. He will be serving as Executive Producer alongside his long term collaborator Martin Scorsese.
The Devil in the White City” tells true story of two men, an architect and a serial killer, whose fates were forever linked by The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893: Daniel H. Burnham, a brilliant and fastidious architect racing to mark his mark on the world and Henry H. Holmes, a handsome and cunning doctor who fashioned his own pharmaceutical “Murder Castle” on the fair grounds.
The Devil in the White City is, arguably, one of the most popular true crime books of all time. On the current wave of true crime it’s a project with the potential to make a real splash. When you consider the success DiCaprio has had with period pieces in the past it is certain to garner the viewership Hulu is hoping for.