While his LOST partner Damon Lindelof hit the ground-running upon ending the series, penning the screenplays for PROMETHEUS, COWBOYS & ALIENS, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS and selling an ambitious sci-fi pitch to Disney, Carlton Cuse opted for the quiet life and went travelling with the fam'. Given the grief Lindelof gets on a daily basis from folk who feel slighted by the LOST finale (and now ditto PROMETHEUS), Cuse’s approach might have been wisest. But now it seems the writer/producer is back with a vengeance, following up his showrunning gig on A&E’s upcoming PSYCHO prequel show BATES MOTEL with yet another high-profile producing gig. Together with acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, Cuse will bring the director’s vampire novel trilogy THE STRAIN to screens, with FX outbidding other networks to air the series.
I’d be lying if I said I’d read the books personally (or even the 24-issue Dark Horse comic book adaptation... for shame!), so let’s hand it over to a plot synopsis pilfered from Amazon to fill us in on what to expect from the epic tale…
'A plane lands at JFK and mysteriously 'goes dark', stopping in the middle of the runway for no apparent reason, all lights off, all doors sealed. The pilots cannot be raised. When the hatch above the wing finally clicks open, it soon becomes clear that everyone on board is dead -- although there is no sign of any trauma or struggle. Ephraim Goodweather and his team from the Center for Disease Control must work quickly to establish the cause of this strange occurrence before panic spreads. The first thing they discover is that four of the victims are actually still alive. But that's the only good news. And when all two hundred corpses disappear from various morgues around the city on the same night, things very rapidly get worse. Soon Eph and a small band of helpers will find themselves battling to protect not only their own loved ones, but the whole city, against an ancient threat to humanity.'
Yep. We’re in. And if that sounds like a perfect concept for a TV show, it isn’t coincidence – Del Toro originally pitched it as one, only to be turned down. Adapting it into a book, co-written by Chuck Logan, the duo were soon inundated by studios… wanting to turn it into a TV show. Sigh. But Del Toro has taken his time getting it off the ground, choosing to concentrate on the book series itself. Now the final book has been published (THE NIGHT ETERNAL was released this June) it’s finally go-time.
FX has only ordered a pilot at this stage, but we can’t see this NOT going to series. Del Toro already envisions this as a three to five series run, each comprising of 13 episodes, meaning a capped ending point and no treading water. Fingers crossed the networks listen to the man. (And fingers crossed Del Toro's FX budget is higher than BLADE II's so we don't get vampires that look like they've been ported over from a Playstation 2 game.)
We’ll have more on this project as it develops…
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