Tag: tnt

Snowpiercer (TNT/Netflix) pilot preview: Welcome aboard, voyagers!

SERIES TITLE: Snowpiercer, “All That Remains
NETWORK: TNT/Netflix
GENRE: Futuristic Thriller Drama

LOGLINE: Seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland, the remnants of humanity inhabit a gigantic, perpetually moving train that circles the globe. The show questions class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival…

Pilot Cast: Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Susan Park, Mickey Sumner, Iddo Goldberg, Timothy V. Murphy, Sasha Frolova, Katie McGuinness, Alison Wright, Annalise Basso, Sam Otto, Sheila Vand…
Series Creators: Josh Friedman (The Sarah Connor Chronicles, War of the Worlds, Emerald City, Avatar 2).
Pilot Director: Scott Derrickson (Doctor StrangeThe Day The Earth Stood Still), reshoots by James Hawes (The Alienist, Black Mirror).
Producers: Josh Friedman, Marty Adelstein, Becky Clements, Bong Joon-ho, Park Chan-wook, Lee Tae-hun & Dooho Choi.
Studios: Tomorrow Studios, ITV Studios, Studio T. &  CJ Entertainment

Ever wonder how TV executives wade through the dozens of pilot scripts they’re pitched each year? They have staff script readers, who provide what’s called “Script Coverage,” an executive summary and a recommendation for each script. Now you too can preview some of the season’s most buzzed about pilots and find out whether we’d recommend them for pickup. Note that all opinions are our own, and all plot, casting and other creative details described here are subject to change.

 

   

 

WRITTEN BY: Josh Friedman

PAGECOUNT: 72 pages

DRAFT: 7/7/16

BACKGROUND: Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette (which was previously adapted by Bong Joon-ho for his acclaimed 2013 movie starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton & Octavia Spencer), Snowpiercer the TV series has a bit of a tortured history. Having been in development for almost four years, the show has faced a number of delays arising from creative differences between the series’ creative teams and the network. Not a good sign if you see the glass half-empty, but you could also see it half-full: it may just mean they’re taking great care with the property.

About that tortured history: Original writer and showrunner Josh Friedman was fired in January 2018, and replaced a month later by Graeme Manson (Orphan Black). Reshoots of the pilot were ordered, but the original director Scott Derrickson refused to proceed, saying: “The 72-page Snowpiercer TV pilot script by [Josh Friedman] is the best I’ve ever read. The feature-length pilot I made from that script may be my best work. The new showrunner has a radically different vision for the show. I am forgoing my option to direct the extreme reshoots.” James Hawes joined the series in July 2018 as an executive producer and a director to oversee the reshoots. A few days later, Netflix picked up the rights to stream the series outside of the United States and China. The show is currently slated to start airing on TNT in the summer 2019.

Please note that this review is based on the original version of the pilot script, before the rewriting and the reshoots. I don’t know what’s been changed, although I do have my ideas.

SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: We open on the image of a snowstorm and text on the screen explaining what happened on planet earth before it became frozen. We quickly see the massive snowpiercer train, which is leaving a frozen city in the midst of the storm. Then we look into the eye of a cow, which has the number 18 written on its forehead. She’s with a dozen of other cows. Welcome now to the tail section of the train, a place of starvation and hopelessness. We follow a little boy named Fergus, who’s playing with rats, and a man named Layton, who may or may not be his father. A woman’s voice is heard over the loudspeaker, wishing the passengers good morning on behalf of Wilford Industries and Transport.

We’re introduced to five workers who are stripping off their filthy work clothes under the supervision of security guards known as “The Brakemen.” Their skin is covered with industrial waste. They enter the tail section, where they’re reunited with their families. Fergus hugs one of them: it’s his father, Ian. We then meet the Anderson family: Jack, Lilah and their teenage daughter LJ. They’re eating breakfast peacefully, in a pod that looks nicer than the tail section. Once he’s done eating, Jack joins the agricultural supply car, through a railed transportation tunnel. Turns out he’s a farm worker, soon to feed our cow number 18. Meanwhile, Lilah goes to her job at a high-end nail salon. A client is waiting for her, and it’s Melanie Cavill, the voice of the train announcements. She’s a member of the train’s First Class and she’s fascinated with the other half.

It’s naptime in the Brakemen’s car, but two of them, Bess Till and John Osweiler, are awake. They’re partners and they seem close. They move toward the prison car where Pixi Aariak has lived for 3 years. She’s screaming, agitated. Till and Osweiler help her on her way out. After a much-needed shower, Pixi is sent to the Nightcar where’s she welcomed by Miss Audrey with warmth and kindness. A few minutes later, the passengers are warned to brace for impact. A large iceslide is blocking the track, and the train will have to smash its way through.

COMMENTS: So does Snowpiercer live up to the hype? Is it in fact the best pilot script I’ve ever read? While I wouldn’t go that far, one can’t help but marvel at this new world and each section of the train as its revealed. The wide shots of the ice-covered landscape should be magnificient, and I can’t wait to see what the Aquarium Car looks like (complete with a sushi bar!). It’s a rich universe, and writer Josh Friedman makes the best of it at a good pace. You get enough time to enjoy the different atmospheres you’re brought into — to really feel them — but it’s never boring. There’s a good balance between the every day life of the train and the extraordinary events that occur. Spoiler alert: at one point, someone is murdered and one of the first ongoing stories will be about the investigation that ensues. That may not sound particularly original, but in this context, with these characters, it’s interesting.

The characters themselves are also introduced in a compelling way, with enough time given that we learn in a nutshell who they are, and what their role is in this giant puzzle. Some of them are instantly appealing, while others will need a little a more time, but they all have something going for them, whether they’re coming from the tail section or first class. A few of them are mysterious and others are not who you think they are. Like the movie, Snowpiercer the TV series is about conflicting human impulses, social organization, disparities and power. It’s not a highly political show at the outset, but it’s poised to become one.

You can tell a lot of effort has been made to honor the source material. The series format gives more time to explore areas that were only hinted at in the movie, and it’s pretty captivating. It also answers a few questions, like: how do they make love in the tail section? Can they? (Answer: they do it quietly in a dark corner.) The show clearly wants to be smart entertainment, but it’s also dark, and at times very adult. I suspect that’s the part TNT tried to soften, to ensure it can reach a wider audience. At one point we’re introduced to a group called “the hand”, which is a “family” of adults engaged in one big polyamourous relationship. We meet them in a scene that’s described as “pastoral, like Monet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe“. How great does that sound? But unless those characters are supposed to stay in the background, I wouldn’t get too attached to them. I can’t find their names in the list of the regular characters, so they may not have made the cut.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: Ambitious, smart and at times dark, Snowpiercer is the type of show that runs the risk of being lost in the endless shuffle of Peak TV. And if it were only TNT airing it, I’d be genuinely worried, but with Netflix in the loop, there’s a good chance it will reach the wide audience it deserves. The pilot script is everything you want from a futuristic, post-apocalyptic thriller. Is it in the right hands? Will this train go in the right direction? Only time will tell, but here’s hoping it’s not just the pilot… and that the budget is as ambitious as the storytelling!

 

OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:

[  ] PASS
  ] CONSIDER
X ] RECOMMEND

SCOOP: “Teen Wolf” creator adapts “Let The Right One In” swedish horror movie for TNT

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The “Let The Right One In” series adaptation landed first at A&E back in 2015 after a bidding war with Showtime. It’s now in the running with other horror projects at TNT alongside the Tales From the Crypt series, dramedy Claws and anthology Time of Death

Based on the best-selling Swedish book by John Ajvide Lindqvist that was subsequently adapted into the critically acclaimed 2008 movie directed by Tomas Alfredson (also adapted in 2010 in English language), Let The Right One In is about Henry, a shy and lonely 16-year old kid who lives with his single mother in an apartment building in Vermont. Badly bulied by the bigger, meaner locals, he gets a new friend when Eli moves next door. She’s friendly, aloof, protective, wary and… she’s a vampire. She lives in secrecy with her mysterious guardian. When a series of strange murders pops up in the small town, it attracts the attention of a federal marshal with a mysterious past of his own…

Criminal Minds & Teen Wolf creator Jeff Davis penned the pilot script. Marty Eldestein & Becky Clements from Tomorrow Studios serve as executive producers. A+E Networks is the studio. Shooting is expected to start mid-october in Vancouver.

 

SEE OTHER TNT PROJECTS

SCOOP: TNT about to order dark workplace dramedy-noir pilot “Claws”

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Alongside the new version of Tales from the Crypt, already ordered to series with M. Night Shyamalan producing, TNT goes deeper in its exploration of the horror genre with an order for “Claws”, a series described as “a midnight-dark workplace dramedy-noir”…

Produced by Rashida Jones & her partner Will McCormack through their Warner Bros. TV-based Le Train Train shingle, the project was first sold to HBO in 2013 but was passed on recently. It is now redeveloped at TNT, no longer as a half-hour but as a one-hour drama. Written by Eliot Laurence (The Big Gay Sketch Show), Claws is about a nail salon in Florida and the strange, dangerous women who work there. Sounds like a pitch Ryan Murphy could have come up with! 

 

SEE ALL TNT PROJECTS ORDERED

Animal Kingdom (TNT) pilot preview: Sexy shirtless men doing very bad things shamelessly

Animal Kingdom

Created by Jonathan Lisco (SoutLAnd, Halt and Catch Fire, Jack & Bobby). Based on the australian movie Animal Kingdom. Directed by John Wells (ER, Shameless US, The West Wing, Third Watch, August: Osage County). Produced by John Wells, Liz Watts, David Michôd (Animal Kingdom, The Rover), Andrew Stearn & Jonathan Lisco. For Warner Horizon Television & John Wells Productions. 58 pages.

Description: When 17-year-old Josh moves in with his wild, free-wheeling relatives in their Southern California beach town after his mother ODs, he is pulled into their life of indulgence and excess. But after Josh discovers that it’s all being funded by criminal activities, it suddenly becomes clear to him that joining the Cody family comes with more danger and excitement than he might be ready to handle…

With Ellen Barkin (The New Normal, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, This Boy’s Life, Sea of Love), Scott Speedman (Felicity, The Last Resort, Underworld), Finn Cole (Peaky Blinders), Shawn Hatosy (SouthLAnd, Fear the Walking Dead), Devon Sawa (Nikita), Jack Weary (Pretty Little Liars, It Follows), Daniella Alonso (One Three Hill, Friday Night Lights, The Night Shift), Ben Robson (Vikings), Ryan Dorsey (Justified), Anna Belknap (CSI: New York)…

STARTS JUNE 7th ON TNT

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With Animal Kingdom, TNT is definitely trying to move on and leave their glorious past behind. Forget bad popcorn series like Falling Skies or worse : The Last Ship (even if technically, this one’s still on the air). Forget the Dallas reboot misstep, which was creatively a winner but lost too many viewers in a very short period of time to become anything else but a loser. Forget uninteresting copshows like Perception. Forget Legends & Agent X. Oh, maybe you never heard of them in the first place… And you can already start to say goodbye to Rizzoli & Isles, which is ending at the end of season 7. Major Crimes shouldn’t stay long either if TNT finds what they’re looking for with their new shows: the larger crowd possible with finer products. It’s a big challenge for the most network-y of all the cable channels. They want to be AMC. They want to be FX. Except they broadcast all day long Bones, Castle, Grimm, Charmed, Hawaii 5-0, Law & Order repeats. The transition’s gonna be hard. Is Animal Kingdom, likely coming next summer, is their Mad Men, the show that will change the face of TNT forever?

Undoubtedly, Animal Kingdom is edgier than what they are used to broadcast. It’s packed with antiheroes doing bad things like you know… swearing, stealing, fighting, selling drugs… and probably killing at some point if they need to. They’re not afraid of it, or of anything quite frankly.They’re bad asses you don’t wanna mess with. Everybody know them in town. They’re “respected” because they are so much feared. Even the police is careful with them. They’d love to put them all in prisons, they’re watching them as much as they can but the Codys also happen to be very clever, at least most of them, so trying to catch them is more like wasting time and energy. But as much as they are dangerous, they’re also filled with humor, joy, coolness, sexy ways -they love to throw parties around the pool and forget to put shirts and/or pants on- and they have a certain sense of family values. They’re always hitting each others but it’s clear they love living together. The ciment of the whole family is the mother, nicknamed Smurf. She’s cheery, colorful, funny, she cooks a lot, but let’s not be fooled: she’s even more dangerous than her children! She’s the mastermind and she never rests. Whether she’s a good person in the inside has yet to be proven. But she might be. And watching Ellen Barkin in this role will be delightful, that’s for sure.

So the thing with Animal Kingdom is that it’s dark and gritty, as many cable shows are, but lighter than let’s say… Mr Robot on USA Network. Or True Detective on HBO. Or Ray Donovan on Showtime. Or Sons of Anarchy on FX. Or Breaking Bad on AMC. You get the idea? And it’s not necessarily a bad thing, don’t get me wrong: making something very entertaining with a dark content is not that easy. I can think of only one show to compare Animal Kingdom with, in terms of rhythm, content and enjoyment: Shameless.  And it’s not a surprise: both are produced by John Wells. It also made me think of another show and don’t laugh please: The OC! If Ryan had arrived in the trash version of the Coen family! Because basically, Josh is like Ryan: an intelligent teenage boy that never got the chance to succeed in life because of his drug-addict of a mother. Except the Codys, unlike the Coen, won’t help him. They’re gonna drag him to the darkside until (very bad) shit happens. It’s predictable but it should be a hell of a ride for him to live and for us to witness.

Animal Kindgom‘s pilot script successfully balances the fun and the dark, the light and the twisty, the sexy and the gritty, and is definitely a show to look forward to. That being said, I don’t think it has what it takes to become a breakout hit and turn TNT upside down but it’s a first step towards the right direction. Many more are to be taken…

 

WATCH THE TRAILER BELOW:

“Blackbirds” (“Titans”) TNT pilot from DC Comics postponed…

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FOURTH UPDATE: TNT has decided to pull the plug on the project (01/07/16)

THIRD UPDATE: The “Blackbirds” pilot is a never-ending story… I just learned the project is still very much in the mix but the shooting is now postponed to october, still in Toronto. Another pilot for TNT, “Animal Kingdom”, adapted from the Australian movie of the same name, will start shooting before, in July (in Los Angeles) (06/26/15)

SECOND UPDATE: The show is now entitled “Blackbirds” and the shooting is expected to start in the summer, in Toronto. With the upfronts coming soon (TNT is on May 13th), more informations may come out. 

UPDATE: The pilot will be shot more precisely this spring! Cast announcements will happen shortly. 

Article initially published on December 14

A couple of months after the rumored pilot order by TNT -which has never been confirmed by the network so far- Geoff Johns , one of the writers of Titans, answered to a fan on Twitter that it will be shot in 2015.

The Warner Horizon project adapted from DC Comics’ famous Teen Titans series focuses on Dick Grayson, who emerges from the shadow of Batman to become Nightwing, the leader of a fearless band of new super heroes including Starfire, Raven and many others. Probably better suited for the CW, which has already found success in Arrow and The Flash, Titans is the clear proof that TNT is looking for younger viewers after the cancellations of Dallas, Franklin & Bash and some others that struggled to attract the demo. The channel ordered mostly supernatural drama pilots, since their last successes are genre shows Falling Skies & The Last Ship. The casting process on Titans has already started. The question is: will the superheroes stay teens in this version? Not so sure. The shorter title already looks like a clue…

EXCLUSIVE: TNT orders crime spree pilot “Robbers”

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UPDATE : According to Deadline, the singer has left the project

After a a role in Disney’s Tomorrowland, country singer Tim McGraw pursues a career in acting with a pilot for TNT he’ll star in, “Robbers”, adapted from Christopher Cook’s 2000 debut novel of the same name. 

Described as in the vein of Cormac McCarthy/Coen Brothers No Country For Old Men, Robbers tells the story of a cop and two “running buddies” on a crime spree across Texas, plus the girl who becomes the complication in a very unique love triangle. Everyone has a story. Everyone is a mystery. Mc Graw will play one of the two drifters, Ray Bob, described as being worst of the worst. Co-written and directed by Michael Dinner (Justified), the pilot is set to shoot this november in Austin, Texas. Sarah Timberman & Carl Beverly (Masters of Sex, Elementary) are producing for CBS Televison Studios. It’s the first time Tim McGraw agrees to star in a TV show after being pursued for years, especially for the lead of The Last Ship that he refused and ultimately went to Eric Dane.

The pilot order for Robbers comes on the heels of a big push from TNT in changing the brand for more edgier series, following orders for family crime drama Animal Kingdom, Michelle Dockery’s thriller Good Behavior, soapy thriller Home or psychological drama The Alienist. READ MORE ABOUT THOSE PROJECTS HERE.