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While Syfy can’t be completely forgiven for diving into a black hole of B-movie creature features, the network is thankfully reverting back to the genre that spawned its original name. They're headed into the future (and also the past, and possibly the present) for their latest and most baffling slice of genre fiction, as they have granted their 12 Monkeys remake a full season order, with a tentative premiere date set for January 2015. And how many episodes will there be? 13, which doesn’t tie into the title in a fun way at all.
This iteration of 12 Monkeys has come together surprisingly quickly for such a questionable project. Universal Cable Productions and Atlas Entertainment (who produced Terry Gilliam’s 1995 film) were given a pilot order back in August, and the episode has apparently pleased enough Syfy execs that they figured another twelve episodes would really infect the world.
All parties involved are still keeping quiet about the specifics of how the series will stretch out the events in the film, but we do know that Aaron Stanford (Nikita<) will be taking on the Bruce Willis role of a prisoner in the future who enters into a government-sponsored time travel program to try and find the source of a deadly virus that wipes out most of the planet’s population. Amanda Schull (Suits) is presumably playing the Madeline Stowe character, who becomes something of a partner and strangely romantic foil for the lead. The series also stars Noah Bean (Nikita) and Kirk Acevedo (Fringe) in unknown roles.
Below is the first look at Stanford’s character, via THR, though I’m not quite sure how recent it is. Maybe someone took it a couple of months from now and sent it back to show us what it will look like. Or maybe Syfy released it when the pilot was completed.
Natalie Chaidez (In Plain Sight) will serve as the showrunner and executive producer. The pilot was directed by Jeffrey Reiner (Friday Night Lights) and written by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett (Nikita, but no other directors or writers have been given a call just yet. We’re pretty sure Gilliam wants nothing to do with this.
Part of my confidence in 12 Monkeys is inspired by new network president Dave Howe, the man responsible for bringing the sci-fi back. He recently renewed Helix for a second season and is developing Wil Wheaton’s genre news show, the space opera miniseries Ascension and the not-past-the-pilot-stage space drama High Moon from Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller.
Will 12 Monkeys live up to the film’s reputation? As a diehard fan, I’d have to think not, but it isn’t crazy to think that it may stand alone as solid genre TV. Semmelweis, now there’s a guy who’s crazy. Relive the plague of madness with the trailer below.