JMS Teams with Raimi, DeKnight and Smith on 2 New TV Series

- 07-12-12TV Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

J. Michael Straczynski has had his ups (Babylon 5, Clint Eastwood’s The Changeling) and downs (Captain Power and all post B5 spin-offs) in Hollywood, but it looks like JMS is on an upswing again with not one, but two TV projects in the works with some of Hollywood’s top-tier talent.

First off, Straczynski is teaming up with the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, as well as Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment partner James Lassiter, to create a series called Epidemic, which, from the sounds of it, is about some kind of viral outbreak. Maybe Joe hasn’t gotten Crusade out of his system and is looking to tell another character-driven drama about trying to cure a deadly plague.

But the most compelling project on the plate is called Vlad Dracula. Guess what it’s about! If you said a historical-horror blending of the literary Count Dracula created by Bram Stoker and his real-life inspiration, medieval monarch Vlad the Impaler, then you’d be correct.

If you’re not hooked yet, Straczynski will be doing the series for Starz and working with the Spartacus team of Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Steven S. DeKnight. Roy Lee (The Ring, The Woman in Black) will also be involved in the production.

Here’s what DeKnight says of the project:

“The project is a unique spin of the classic tale, blending the historical facts of the 15th century Prince of Wallachia, with the fictional Dracula whose story is known around the world and continues to fascinate audiences.  “Vlad Dracula” traces his evolution from a revered ruler to the world’s most feared vampire, and his slow downfall as he struggles desperately to hang on to his humanity, his wife and his kingdom.”

Speaking of DeKnight, he seems to be doing his best to put Spartacus in the rearview after the recently announced cancellation of the sex and swords series. DeKnight is also at work on an epic space war drama called Incursion, which the writer describes thusly:

“Incursion, an epic science fiction action-thriller that follows a squad of soldiers caught in a war against a hostile alien race.  Each season the battle will be fought on a new, exotic planet as humanity punches deeper into enemy territory. Grittily realistic combat, darkly complex characters and intrigue on a cosmic scale will permeate the tale of fighting men and women facing the pressures of war and an enemy unlike any ever seen.”

Sounds interesting. We all know TV is bereft of a good space drama so maybe DeKnight can fill the void. As for Vlad, I think we can all agree that a vampire series that has more in common with Spartacus than Twilight can be nothing but a good thing.

Sources: Blastr and Cinema Blend

 

 

 

‘Spartacus’ Cancelled, Creator DeKnight Explains Why

- 06-04-12TV Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

It seems that the epic of Spartacus is coming to an end after the forthcoming third season according to none other than series’ creator Steven S. DeKnight. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, DeKnight explained that it wasn’t costs, ratings, or even the untimely death of the series’ leading man that’s bringing the show to a close, it’s just simply time to wrap the story up:

“It’s a bit unheard of to end a show when it’s doing better than ever. It’s a bold move and we talked about it with Starz. How long do you run a show? Do you run it until you can squeeze every last bit of revenue out of it or do you end it on a high note? That was part of the decision to wrap up the show. The idea of ending the show when you’re on top and the audience still wants more instead of dragging it out until it starts to wane and you kind of limp to the finish line. I’ve always thought that five seasons was the perfect number; you’ve got enough time to tell a great story but there’s not so much real estate that you start to get a little flabby in the middle. This is ending a season early. Spartacus is a bit of an unusual duck. We’ve always had an ending—it’s written in history—so we knew where we were shooting for.

“My original thought was that this show could go five to seven seasons but we realized the actual history is very scattershot: the rebels went north, south, east, west, then back north, then broke apart, came back together. We thought, instead of repeating ourselves with one wave of Roman senators after another going after Spartacus, getting defeated, going after Spartacus, getting defeated, why not really condense the story. … It’s like The Princess Bride: cut out all the boring bits and just make the best, most rip-roaring-est tale we can to wrap up the series.”

The next season of Spartacus, “War of the Damned,” will premiere in January on Starz.

Source: Blastr

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