Tuesday, December 10, 2013

NBC to remake 'Rosemary's Baby' as a four-hour miniseries

Clearly trying to capitalize on the success of FX's American Horror Story franchise, NBC will remake Rosemary's Baby, the classic 1968 horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, as a four-hour miniseries.

You can understand why. NBC has found something of a niche with horror shows. Grimm, in its third season, remains solid in the ratings while Dracula, the freshman drama starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the famed bloodsucker, has been a modest Friday night hit. Then there's AHS: Coven, the wonderfully decadent cult hit that's enjoying its best season ever on FX. Creepy horror is where it's at.

In case you've never seen the original Rosemary's Baby starring Mia Farrow, it's about a young married couple who move into an old New York apartment building where they're surrounded by weird neighbors who aren't exactly bible study members. When the wife gets pregnant, she begins to fear for her unborn child -- and with good reason.

The remake will take place in Paris instead of New York. James Wong (American Horror Story, The X-Files) and Scott Abbott (Introducing Dorothy Dandridge) will write the screenplay. Good to see that Wong is involved. He did, after all, write some of The X-Files' best episodes, including "Home," about the freakishly deformed family who loved their mother a bit too much.

Although the new Rosemary's Baby will be set in Paris, NBC in a statement said the story will remain faithful to Ira Levin's best-selling novel.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

NBC wisely picks up 'The Blacklist' for a second season

NBC did a good thing on Tuesday by giving The Blacklist a second season, 22-episode order. I'm not watching many of the new fall shows, but The Blacklist, a deliciously twisty drama starring James Spader as a clever mastermind working with the U.S. government to catch international bad guys, is one of them.

The reason?

Well, Spader, of course. No one plays creepy-cool better than Spader, a veteran actor who could make Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star sound menacing. As Raymond "Red" Reddington, a nattily-dressed terrorist who was one of  the FBI's most wanted fugitives, Spader is Emmy-worthy superb. Whether he's warning rookie FBI agent Liz Keene (Megan Boone) about her shady husband or simply enjoying a fine wine, Red steals every scene, grabbing viewers by the lapels and daring them to take their eyes off him. And, they can't.

The beauty of Red is that he always knows more than he's telling. And, as a criminal himself, you never quite know when Red is fibbing or telling the truth. Every line is spoken like a double entendre. He's the Chairman of Cryptic-speak. Plus, Red wears a fedora, a suit and Italian leather shoes like no one's business.

The Blacklist employs many of the same elements that made 24 such a hit -- rock 'em, sock 'em, action, duplicitous characters who speak with foreign accents and a charismatic star in the lead role. But, unlike Jack Bauer, Red never shouts. He's too cool for that. Besides, really powerful men don't need to raise their voice. Just an eyebrow.

For NBC, renewing The Blacklist was a no-brainer. The series, after all, has been the network's most watched new drama. “The success of ‘The Blacklist’ demonstrates that inspired storytelling is alive and well in broadcast television, and I’m impressed on a daily basis by this creative team’s imagination and the extent to which they will go to capture this grand vision on film,” Bob Greenblatt, the network's chairman of entertainment, said in a statement.

So far, The Blacklist continues to stay on my must watch list.