Not a Blog

Good Stuff to Watch

December 5, 2018 at 8:45 pm
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This really is the Golden Age of Television.   So many great shows, more than anyone can possibly keep track of… especially anyone as busy as I am these days.   But I love TV (and movies, and books), and when I find something I really enjoy I like to spread the word (“boost signal,” I think they call it nowadays on this interweb thing).  Word of mouth is still the best advertising there is, and with so many choices out there, every word helps.

Regular readers of my Not A Blog will know that I’m a huge Bernard Cornwell fan.   His Sharpe series was classic (and the television version was the first place I ever encountered the talents of Sean Bean), and more recently I have been loving his Saxon novels, set during the days of the Danelaw and Alfred the Great and featuring another unforgettable Cornwell hero, Uhtred son of Uhtred (who also had an older brother named Uhtred and a couple of sons, one of whom was named Uhtred and the other… uh… Uhtred.   It’s complicated).  I’ve also enjoyed the hell out of THE LAST KINGDOM, the television series based on the Uhtred books, the third season of which recently appeared on my television.   Loved that one too.   The show has a great look to it, all mud and blood and dark age squalor.  The writing and acting are both first rate.   So are the action scenes, though the battles could use a bigger budget.   The characters are vivid and memorable and… importantly, to my mind… very true to the novels and the time, not 21st century people dressed up in chain mail and boiled leather.   Love that.  I am already jonesing for season four.

I am also a big fan of Elmore Leonard, so when I recently stumbled on a series based on his novel GET SHORTY, about a Mafia hitman who goes to Hollywood and becomes a movie producer, I had to check it out.   There was a film version of the Leonard novel a few years ago, featuring John Travolta and Danny DeVito, and that was entertaining enough, so…  This new television series has almost nothing to do with either the film or the novel it was based on.  It does not even include Chili Palmer, the hero of the novel (there is a nod to him when a “Mr. Palmer” drives through a studio gate), and the only “Shorty” in sight is a teenaged girl rather than the famous-but-short film star of the original.   In fact, GET SHORTY takes almost nothing from the novel and the movie beyond the basic premise.  Normally, I would HATE that, but this show surprised the hell out of me.   Truth be told — hold your breath, this is something you will almost NEVER hear me say — in this case the television show is BETTER than the book.   It’s darkly funny, brutal, suspenseful, full of twists and turns, and its cast of characters are way more interesting and fully realized than the rather one-dimensional Chili Palmer.   Chris O’Dowd and Ray Romano star, and they are both terrific, as is the supporting cast.

Looking at IMDB, I see that this show was actually released in 2017.   I had never even HEARD of it until I stumbled onto it by accident a few weeks ago, which just proves the truth of what I said: there are so many good shows out there, you cannot keep track of them all.   (It also goes to prove that I am very busy and somewhat out of touch, but never mind that).  I have only seen the first season of GET SHORTY, but I hear there is a second season out there already, which I will need to track down (that may not be easy, since season two is on a streaming service I have never heard of).   I hope it’s as good as season one.   In any case, kudos to writer Davey Holmes, who did the adaptation, and to Alan Arkin, who directed a lot of the episodes.   Nice work.

Oh… and I should also mention NIGHTFLYERS, which I hope some of you are watching as it rolls out on SyFy.   But I’ve posted a lot about that one already.  See below.  I hope you are all enjoying it.

These are great times for television viewers.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Wild Cards Comes to Hulu

November 15, 2018 at 1:02 pm
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By now most of you… well, those of you who visit other areas of the internet beyond my Not A Blog… will already have heard the news: Wild Cards is coming to Hulu.   And not just with a single show, either.   We are developing two pilots to start with, but the eventual dream is to have three, four, five, six… many… series out there streaming.  As long time fans know, Wild Cards is not just a series story, but rather a world, a whole universe, with a half century of history, hundreds of stories, thousands of characters.

I am late to the party as far as announcing this, I know.  (What can I say?  I’m busy).  So let me link to just a few of the news stories that broke yesterday when Hulu and UCP went public.

https://deadline.com/2018/11/wild-cards-2-tv-series-george-r-r-martin-books-hulu-andrew-martin-1202501424/

 https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/wild-cards-george-rr-martin-hulu-series-1203027787/

  https://io9.gizmodo.com/george-r-r-martins-superhero-franchise-wild-cards-is-c-1830422891

 

Andrew Miller will be scripting the pilot(s) for Hulu, and will serve as showrunner for the series.   A huge fan of comic books and supers in general, and Wild Cards in particular, Andrew has been living and breathing Wild Cards for the past few months, and devouring the books one after another.

Melinda M. Snodgrass, a founding member of the Wild Cards Consortium and my assistant editor on the series since the very beginning, will also be an executive producer and part of the writing staff that is being assembled even now.  Melinda, of course, is no stranger to television, having been a writer/ producer on THE PROFILER, REASONABLE DOUBTS, and (of course) STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, where she wrote the classic episode “Measure of the Man.”   In the Wild Cards universe, she is best known as the creator of Dr. Tachyon, Noel Matthews the Double Helix, Franny Black, and Dr. Finn.

I will be an executive producer on the show(s) as well, though my on-going exclusive deal with HBO and the various book deadlines will preclude me from having any sort of day-to-day involvement.  But with Andrew and Melinda on board (and possibly more Wild Carders as well), Hulu will a great team.

Our dream is to bring you the best “supers” show (not really superheroes per se, Wild Cards fans know that our characters are not much inclined to dress up in spandex to fight crime) in the history of television.

(You have to dream big, or what’s the point?)

These are early days, so there’s still a lot to be done, but watch this space and we’ll keep you informed.   It ought to be a wild ride.

 

Long Night Casting

October 30, 2018 at 4:31 pm
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Casting is now underway for THE LONG NIGHT, the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor series to ordered to film.

HBO has just announced the first cast member: NAOMI WATTS is coming on board as one of our stars.

For more details, check out https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/game-of-thrones-prequel-pilot-naomi-watts-hbo-1202977630/

I could not be more excited.   Welcome to Westeros, Naomi.

Jane Goldman scripted the LONG NIGHT pilot and will be running the show.   She and her team are busy in London right now, neck deep in casting, and I expect some more names will be announced soon.

Meanwhile, there are still a couple of other possible prequels in active development.   I can’t tell you the subject matter of those projects, no, sorry, wish I could.   The readers among you might want to grab a copy of FIRE & BLOOD when it is released on November 20, though.

And speaking of FIRE & BLOOD, tickets are going fast for our big launch at Loew’s Jersey on Journal Square on November 19.   If you’d like to join us, snag one soon and come join me and John Hodgman for an evening of talk about Westeros, in a classic old movie palace.

 

Current Mood: excited excited

NIGHTFLYERS Coming Your Way

October 26, 2018 at 4:24 pm
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NIGHTFLYERS, the new SyFy series based on my 1980 novella of the same name, is heading for your home screens soon.

SyFy has just announced that they will be rolling out the show on DECEMBER 2, on all platforms.   Netflix will follow.

A new trailer has also been unveiled.

I saw the first episode on my recent visit to LA, after the Emmy Awards (for anyone who wasn’t watching — we WON).   Yes, there are significant differences from my novella.   I always knew that would be the case; there was no way the novella, which has a very definite ending, could translate to a multi-season series.   On its own terms, though, the show is very well made; the sets and effects look gorgeous, and there’s a terrific, talented cast, and a story that even I cannot predict.  And of course, as I have said before, it was a thrill for me to finally see Melantha Jhirl portrayed  the way I wrote her.

The show is pretty scary too.  Make no mistake, this is as much horror as it is science fiction.  By design.

Anyway… check it out on Netflix or SyFy and make up your own minds.   (You’ll do that anyway, I know.   My readers are like that).

For all the details of the rollout plan, go to https://finance.yahoo.com/news/nightflyers-syfy-sets-multi-platform-170016282.html — or  your favorite TV news sources on the internet.

(And for those who want to check out my original story, signed copies are available from the bookstore at the Jean Cocteau Cinema).

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

The Creators

October 18, 2018 at 6:06 am
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Funko Pop has just rolled out a new boxed set for collectors of GAME OF THRONES figures.

Not the characters this time.   The writers.   Me, David Benioff, and D.B. Weiss.

They’re calling it The Creators.

 

I suspect that this is the only time I will ever be as tall as David Benioff.

Current Mood: amused amused

HBO Greenlights Goldman Pilot

June 11, 2018 at 9:02 am
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There’s a lot happening these days, so much that some days it feels as if I cannot even keep up with my own life.   So let me beg your indulgence for being late to the party with this news — but, yes, it is true, after more than a year of development, HBO has greenlit the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor shows that we’ve been working on, scripted by the amazing Jane Goldman.

Everybody else has already broken the news, so there’s no sense in me just rehashing.  You can read all about here:

https://www.newsarama.com/40289-hbo-greenlights-game-of-thrones-prequel-series-report.html

or here

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/hbo-moves-forward-pilot-order-untitled-game-thrones-prequel-thr-news-1118608

or in half a hundred other places.   Pick the news outlet you like best,

To clarify, what we have here is a pilot order, not as yet a series order.   Though of course we are all hoping that will follow.

Yes, this is a prequel, not a sequel.   None of the characters or actors from GAME OF THRONES will appear in the new show.   All of the successor shows we’ve been developing have been prequels, as I have mentioned before.   This one really puts the PRE in prequel, since it is set not ninety years before GAME OF THRONES (like Dunk & Egg), or a few hundred years, but rather ten thousand years (well, assuming the oral histories of the First Men are accurate, but there are maesters at the Citadel who insist it has only been half that long).   We’re very early in the process, of course, with the pilot order just in, so we don’t have a director yet, or a cast, or a location, or even a title.   (My vote would be THE LONG NIGHT, which says it all, but I’d be surprised if that’s where we end up.  More likely HBO will want to work the phrase “game of thrones” in there somewhere.  We’ll know sooner or later).

We do have a showrunner: Jane Goldman, who penned the pilot script.

All of the news stories about the pilot being greenlit are slapping my own picture up there next to Jane’s, which is very flattering but also a little misleading Remember, they also slapped my picture up on the news stories about the TV development of Nnedi Okarafor’s WHO FEARS DEATH, when they should have been using Nnedi’s picture. I’ve consulted with all of the writers on all of the successor shows, and several of them have visited me in Santa Fe for long days of discussion, and we’ve gone back and forth in email, text, and telephone, so I have definitely been involved… but really, the accolades here should go to Jane.   She has been an absolute thrill to work with… and my god, what a talent.

Those of you who are fans of not just GAME OF THRONES, but of television, film, and sf and fantasy in the broader sense are already well familiar with her work, whether you know it or not.   She’s wrote the KINGSMEN movies, scripted one X-MEN film and did the story for another, did the screenplay for the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s STARDUST, and for the superhero satire KICKASS as well.   Among lots of other credits.  Oh, and she’s written the script for Disney’s forthcoming live action version of THE LITTLE MERMAID too.   Can’t wait for that one.

I will try to keep you all informed as work progresses on the new show (whatever we end up calling it)… though, given the amount of stuff I am trying to juggle right now, news will probably break on a dozen other places before I get around to it, as happened here.

As for the other successor shows… if you have been following along, you know that we started with four, and eventually went to five.   One of those has been shelved, I am given to understand, and of course Jane’s pilot is now moving to film.   But that does not mean the others are dead.   Three more GAME OF THRONES prequels, set in different periods and featuring different characters and storylines, remain in active development.   Everything I am told indicates that we could film at least one more pilot, and maybe more than one, in the years to come.   We do have an entire world and tens of thousands of years of history to play with, after all.   But this is television, so nothing is certain.

(Oh, and WHO FEARS DEATH is moving along well too, and I am very excited about that one as well.  Selwyn Seyfu Hinds did a terrific job with his first draft of the pilot, based on Nnedi’s novel).

(And yes, before you ask, work on WINDS OF WINTER continues, and remains my top priority.   It is ridiculous to think otherwise.   If I wasn’t busy with WINDS, don’t you think I’d be scripting one or more of these pilots myself?  It’s not as if I’ve never written for TV… )

So cross your fingers and your toes, fantasy fans.   Some good stuff is coming.   And let’s have a round of applause for Jane Goldman.

 

 

Current Mood: excited excited

Yowza

March 26, 2018 at 5:49 pm
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Hiya, kids, hiya, hiya.

Never mind The Count. Here’s counting the Gremlin’s Way.

OFF WE GO!

Even better!

Ooops, ouch, ouch ouch ouch.

Bing bang boom!

One for all and all for one.

The dragon has three heads.

Plunk your magic twangers.

I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

Current Mood: amused amused

NIGHTFLYERS Trailer Debuts

March 21, 2018 at 12:34 pm
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SyFy has rolled out the first trailer for the NIGHTFLYERS tv series, scheduled to debut this fall.

Check it out:

I am amused to see my own appearances in the promo. SyFy sent a film crew to Santa Fe last month, and we spent most of an afternoon taping a long interview about “Nightflyers,” its inspiration and publication history, my Thousand Worlds, horror v SF v hyrbids, and so on. I hope at some point they will use some of that material, beyond the two sentences that made it into the trailer.

Very cool to see the show coming together.

Current Mood: curious curious

An Evening with Joe

March 2, 2018 at 10:56 am
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We had a great fun evening last night at the JCC with Joe R. Lansdale and the premiere episode of season 3 of HAP & LEONARD. Joe brought along writer director Jim Mickle and actor Douglas M. Griffin, and a terrific time was had by all.

The first two seasons of HAP & LEONARD were very entertaining, but if the opening episode is any indication, this third season is really going to kick ass. It’s based on Joe’s novel TWO BEAR MAMBO, for those of you who’ve read the books.

And speaking of the books, we have lots of AUTOGRAPHED Joe Lansdale title available at the JCC Bookstore. Check it out at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/author/i-l/lansdale-joe-r/

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Hap & Leonard Are Coming…

February 23, 2018 at 6:39 pm
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Hap & Leonard are coming back to the Jean Cocteau Cinema, and they’re bringing Joe Lansdale with them.

Put it in your calendars. Thursday, March 1, 7:00 pm at the JCC. We’ll have a special screening of the premiere episode of HAP & LEONARD, season 3.

Joe Lansdale His Own Self will be joining us once again, to shoot some sh*t with me, answer your questions, and sign a bunch of his books.

Joe is always a hoot and a half, and we’re thrilled to have him back in Santa Fe. Come join the fun.

Current Mood: excited excited