'12 Monkeys' TV Show Vs. The Movie: Will Syfy's Version Be a Faithful Movie Adaptation?

What's with all of my favorite mid-'90s movies returning as TV shows? First, there was Fargo, and, now, Syfy is reviving 12 Monkeys the movie as a TV series, debuting on Jan. 16. But is it going to follow in the Fargo mold, and stay true to the spirit of the movie while telling an entirely different story? Or is it going to be more like the Terry Gilliam movie spread across 12 episodes?

Right now, it's hard to say exactly how the television series of 12 Monkeys will compare to the movie, but it looks like it's going to be a closer adaptation — it has all of the same characters, for example — with some big differences. IGN reports that, at the Television Critics Association press tour for the film, co-executive producer Terry Matalas called it, "a complete sort of reimagining." What does that mean? "We were all very, very big fans of the original film and had a deep love and respect for that material," Matalas said. "[But] when we came together with [EP] Richard [Suckle] and talked about this, we didn’t want to just re-do what the movie does."

So, how will the movie compare to the film? Here are some huge departures to look out for.

Time Is Not Necessarily a Flat Circle 

In that same IGN article, Matalas points out the biggest different between the film and the series: "We changed the rules in the movie. [In the movie] you can’t actually change time, and here you can. So everything from the top down changed." Well, that's one way to distinguish yourself from the outset. It pretty much makes everything up for grabs. It also means that time travel is definitely a thing, full stop. The movie is a little more ambiguous about whether or not the whole shebang is a delusion.

Hello, 2043

The future for Bruce Willis' James Cole was closed-in. He only interacted with a few people, and only in lab-like rooms. We barely get a sense of what the world was like — except that it was bad. Aaron Stanford's Cole gets to wallow in that badness a little more. "The series really opens up that post-apocalyptic world, which was only glimpsed during the movie," showrunner Natalie Chaidez told Entertainment Weekly. I consider myself an optimistic person in general, but I really can't get enough grim visions of our future. Bring on another dystopia!

Jeffrey to Jennifer

Remember how scene-stealing Brad Pitt was as Jeffrey Goines, the lunatic animal-rights activist seeking to get revenge on his math-genius father? Now, an actress gets to follow in his footsteps — yes, actress. And not only does Emily Hampshire get to be the crazy person, but she also gets to be the brilliant mathematician; they're now one character. Then again, maybe she's not really looking to fill Pitt's shoes — she's got her own ideas about the character. "I didn't watch the movie," the Canadian actress told ET Canada regarding her audition prep. "I just decided to focus on reading the script." I want her to make the part her own and all, but I wouldn't mind if she did that crazy thing with her head when she turns around. (I mean, what is that?) Or maybe she can eat a spider.

Images: Jeff Riedel/Syfy; Giphy (3)

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