The debut of SyFyís serial adaptation of Terry Gilliamís dystopian Sci-fi fare 12 Monkeys Ė based on Chris Markerís short La Jetee Ė is hitting the small screen in less that two weeks. Itís certainly a risky move on the part of the network; taking a cult favorite, and spreading it out into an ten-part episodic series. However, thatís not to say that it canít be done as we have already laid witness to this recently in the wonderful Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton starrer Fargo (based on the Coen Bros. cult favorite). Given that the SyFy channel seems to be in the process of synonymizing good original content with their name (Öafter the disastrous couple of years theyíve had) Ė itís possible that 12 Monkeys could very well work out as an off-beat episodic sci-fi horror/thriller.
SyFy have been kind enough to offer the opening first nine minutes of the pilot for anyone who is interested in giving the show a chance (risky? perhaps, but it will be sure to get folk talking about it on the internet). Basically the opening of the show is similar to Gilliamsís 1995 movie, but with an introduction to the new cast and their integration into the bleak time-travelling dystopia. The opening starts out with a vision of the future (2043), in which most of civilization has been wiped out, and this features an interaction between time-traveler James Cole (Aaron Stanford) and virologist Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull), which is set in 2013. Subsequently, this evolves round whether Railly is able to help Cole save mankind, and thus, the future of the world.
Inevitably, despite the similarities to Gilliamís movie, the opening hints that the show is veering off into a new territory, which seems suitable if they are after originality and ways to sustain the story-arc. If the show does establish its own identity from the groundings of Gilliamís movie instead of trying to imitate it (which would be an exercise in futility), then there is a lot of potential for 12 Monkeys, depending on the direction the producers want to take the story in.
Although we have some obligatory post-apocalyptic clichťs here; such as the visionary doctor and the esoteric drifter, the production values look good, the cast looks pretty solid, and they have managed to create a bleak, dystopian landscape that was a stronghold throughout Gilliamís movie.
Will you be watching based on what you have seen? Does the idea of a TV serial based on Terry Gilliamís revered 12 Monkeys seem appealing to you? Let us know folks.
'12 Monkeys' will air on 16 January at 9/8c on SyFy and a U.K. date has yet to be set.