Every year has its crazes and 2015 has been no different. Hot on the heels of 2014’s selfie explosion, this year we’ve had to endure VR headsets, Donald Trump and those insidious yellow Minion things. In TV land though, the trend is far more straightforward: TV shows spun off from movies.
This month will see TV versions of both Limitless and Minority Report, with a small screen adaptation of Rush Hour expected early next year.
Depending on how you look at it, this is either the next big thing or Hollywood finally revealing itself as an illuminati conspiracy bent on destroying all new ideas. The first of this sinister wave to hit will be Minority Report, set in the same continuity as the 2002 Tom Cruise vehicle about a bunch of kids who could predict crime before it happened.
So what’s it about? Why should we be watching? Here’s why it might be good, or not:
No Tom Cruise Early signs suggest the man with the scariest smile in America will not be part of the show. He’s too busy being a movie star and proving that people actually still care about the Mission Impossible series. This is good for two reasons: any show based on a movie needs to prove it can stand on its own feet as quickly as possible. Buffy the Vampire Slayer nailed this, but does anyone even remember the TV version of Ferris Bueller?
The other reason is that Cruise would run roughshod over something that’s just trying to be a fancy police procedural. In the Mission Impossible series, Cruise enjoys spades of creative control, even on occasion picking directors. While this isn’t true of all his projects the creators of this new series have been wise not to involve the actor heavily.
On the other hand, the Limitless TV show is getting a nice helping hand from original star Bradley Cooper as an occasional cast member. Would a similar arrangement with Cruise balance Minority Report’s need for ratings with its need to find its own rhythm?
But it’s still a sequel, not a reboot Even if Cruise isn’t in it, the new show is still in the same continuity as the movie. That means all the cool stuff that happened in the film is part of the show’s history. In fact, the show centres around one of the precognitive kids (Dash) from the film as an adult.
As a result, all the consequences to emerge from the movie will be present in the show. No more predicting crimes? Back to old regular police work, but this time Dash is trying to help, with his chaotic visions of the future. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see how each precog has changed since they were in that weird bathtub type thing predicting murders.
Is it futuristic enough? From the trailer, it really looks like the producers are going all out to make it feel like the future. There’s weird shaped cars, future gizmos and fashions and even energy guns. Lots of little touches make it feel like 2065.
People’s attitudes are also futuristic. One police officer laments the fact that she no longer knows who the killer is before a murder happens, as if the thought of doing actual police work as too much effort for her.
The show makers haven’t quite forked out the money for a freeway full of flying cars though. That’s probably a little over budget, and this is still TV after all. As TV goes though, it looks to join the likes of Fringe and Continuum in its rich portrayal of the near future
It’s a goofy police procedural My reference to Fringe a second ago wasn’t an accident. If you’ve seen Fringe, you’ll know how goofy yet endearing it could be. This is what Minority Report feels like from its trailer. Weird unexplained face tattoos? Check. Dash with wires strapped to his head making a face like he’s constipated? Check.
Police procedurals are a well=tested and consistently popular genre. Law and Order has been maintained by this popularity for decades. Nowadays though, there’s so many procedurals about that a new competitor needs to have a twist. Are you looking for a light hearted cop show? Try Castle. Want something sciency? Watch CSI.
If I had to guess I’d say Minority Report will follow in Fringe’s footsteps, being the police procedural with goofy future technology. This could be a good or bad choice, but it certainly doesn’t mean the show is doomed to fail. It might. It might not.
Being goofy isn’t always a crime in television.
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