Big news for TV fans: As Variety reports, USA Network is moving forward with Shooter, a series based on the 2007 Mark Wahlberg film of the same title. Though they picked up the rights to the film in 2014, the project was relegated to television purgatory till Ryan Phillippe joined to produce and play the lead role as Bob Lee Swagger. (What a name!) Wahlberg will co-produce, according to Deadline, though Phillippe will take over the role he played in the film. Phillippe has just completed a run on the mystery anthology series Secrets and Lies (like True Detective and American Horror Story, the characters and actors rotate each season) and a leading role in the final season of Damages, so it's high time he tackled a new television role.
His character Bob Lee Swagger has an appropriately convoluted back story to go with his epic name. He plays a former Marine sniper who has gone dark, but is "coaxed into action to thwart the killing of the President," Deadline explains. He's eventually betrayed and framed for the failed attempt, and undertakes a mission to find the real shooter (who, in the film, instead accidentally slays the Archbishop of Ethiopia) and prove his innocence. It's the latest addition to the trend of reanimating films as character series for television, as Den of Geek chronicled — and it's also the most recent pilot USA has picked up in a string of five new additions.
So, that in mind, here's a closer look at what else is on tap for the network in the near future and what it means for its vision.
1. Brooklyn Animal Control
Brooklyn Animal Control is a comic book about a super-secret branch of the NYPD — a sort of "social services" for the werewolf denizens of the borough, according to Variety. It's also about to become a pilot for a drama on USA, likely to be quite faithful to its source because the comic's creator JT Petty has been brought on board as a writer. He joins other supernatural veterans including David S. Goyer of Batman vs. Superman and David Alpert of The Walking Dead on the production team. But Brooklyn Animal Control will be more than just a fun adaptation — it will explore local politics and the private and public lives of werewolves and the NYPD officers alike.
2. Poor Richard's Almanack
USA's new offerings keep moving further and further from Psych, White Collar, and the other lighthearted procedural dramedies the network has become known for. Poor Richard's Almanack, a new series executive-produced by Orange Is the New Black's Jim Danger Gray, takes its title from the Benjamin Franklin farmer's almanac. It's reportedly about a group of nouveau-Founding Fathers who take up the mantle of the men of Ben Franklin's era when the United States reaches a point of near-destruction. (Mysterious!)
3. Falling Water
Early descriptions of Falling Water sound quite a lot like Sense8 — three individuals slowly learn they dream part of the same dream, according to the Hollywood Reporter, though they're on the hunt for different things that can only be found within the dreamscape. It will star Lizzie Brocheré and David Ajala as two of the three dreamers, according to Deadline. IMDb currently lists it as a horror, so it looks like USA is really expanding its range with this season's pilot options.
4. Paradise Pictures
So there's horror, comic-book drama, action thriller, and now period piece — Paradise Pictures takes place in 1940s Hollywood at the dawn of the television era. The production team includes Rick Muirragui and Aaron Korsh of Suits, according to Deadline, so hopefully they can bring that fun and lively aesthetic to a whole new time frame with Paradise Pictures. It will also star Denyse Tontz and Duane Henry as talented up-and-coming actors. USA Senior Vice President of Original Series Alex Sepiol told Deadline that this is an era that hasn't yet been presented on television — and it's one of the first forays into period pieces for the network, so there's a lot of new territory to explore.
There's a lot more drama going down at USA than we've seen before — the drama genre, that is. On the heels of the massive success of Mr. Robot, the network seems to have caught on that there's a place for it, too, in the craze of critically acclaimed dramas that have been seen as the purview of cable networks like HBO. These five series are just in pilot production, but if the incredible minds behind them are any indicator, at least a few are sure to succeed.