'Robin Hood' TV Show Is In Development Now, Because Everyone Wants To Be The Next 'Game Of Thrones'
I'm having a major case of déjà vu, you guys. Just Wednesday, we learned that Warner Brothers is working on a Robin Hood adaptation. That brought the total number of movies based on the classic tale to five, with competing projects in development at DreamWorks, Sony, Disney, and Lionsgate. One day later, though, on Thursday... and the total number of Robin Hood projects is now up to six, with a twist: this time, Robin Hood is being turned into a TV show.
According to Deadline, The production company FreemantleMedia North America has acquired the rights to The Outlaw Chronicles, a series of books by the awesomely-named Angus Donald. There are currently six entries in the series, with a seventh due out later this year.
Described as a "re-imagined take on the legend of Robin Hood set during the reigns of Richard the Lionheart and King John," the TV show will be written by Michael Konyves, the screenwriter who brought us the forgettable Clive Owen/Morgan Freeman action-adventure film Last Knights. (Seriously, do you even remember that movie? It came out earlier this month. I'm not kidding.) No word yet on which networks FreemantleMedia will be shopping the project to.
Of course, all of this is on the heels of the recent news that six adaptations of The Wizard Of Oz are currently in the works. Oh, and Disney is developing a new Jack And The Beanstalk movie, only two years after the last big screen adaptation of that fairy tale bombed majorly with critics and audiences alike. (At this rate, we can expect another five Beanstalk adaptations to be announced in the next couple of months.)
What's with Hollywood's sudden obsession with multiple iterations of the same tired fairy tales? Of course, Hollywood execs are no strangers to taking a good idea and running it into the ground — we are getting a fifth Pirates Of The Caribbean film, after all — but one Robin Hood adaptation wasn't even a good idea in the first place... much less six of them. Heck, it's not even an original idea: Robin Hood has been adapted to film and television literally dozens of times already. What's with the renewed interest?
One only has to look at the adjectives being used to describe these adaptations to get a sense of why this phenomenon is happening: "Revisionist," "edgy," "high-concept," "fantasy-action reimagining," "mystical land of competing kingdoms," are just some of the words and phrases that are being bandied about in reference to the myriad Hood and Oz projects under development. Gee, what other popular adaptation could all of those phrases be used to describe?
Game Of Thrones just reached record ratings with its Season 5 premiere — and a record number of illegal downloads at the same time, impressively. It's still the most pirated show on television, despite the fact that HBO is now offering a standalone streaming service and airing the show simultaneously around the globe for the first time ever. Of course studio executives want to capitalize on Thrones' success — they'd be stupid not to. But here's hoping they understand what makes the show so successful in the first place.
This sudden glut of similar projects reminds me greatly of the avalanche of copycats that followed Lost's incredible success. Shows like The Event, FlashForward, and Alcatraz all tried to mimic ABC's hit show, and while they got the sci-fi mystery aspect right, for the most part, they all missed what truly drew audiences to Lost in the first place: the compelling characters and their complex relationships. As a result, none of those shows I listed lasted longer than one season.
Take it as proof: All of these Hood and Oz (and Beanstalk) adaptations will have to look beyond the dragons and ice zombies if they hope to captivate the same audiences so enraptured by Thrones.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; Lionsgate; Little Brown; Giphy.com