Is everybody ready to hear comic legend Alan Moore speak dismissively of another adaptation of his work? FX is getting ready to tackle one of the most factually dense graphic novels in the history of the medium as they’re starting development on a dramatic series version of From Hell, the Jack the Ripper-centered tale conceived and researched to death by Alan Moore and artist Eddie Campbell. Can this tale of violence and misdeeds be the show that replaces Sons of Anarchy as FX’s flagship series?

This small screen take is being backed by Don Murphy, who also produced the lackluster 2001 feature from Albert and Allen Hughes, which starred Johnny Depp as an absinthe downing detective. Murphy was apparently always interested in giving the material room to breathe in a series format, according to Deadline, and thought that the current television climate presented the perfect opportunity to revisit the graphic novel for a more in-depth adaptation. (Huge chunks of Moore and Campbell’s work was excised to wrap the story up into a feature film’s runtime.)

The Hughes brothers will have nothing to do with this small screen version in any capacity, and script-writing duties have been passed on to David Arata, one member of the Oscar-nominated team behind Children of Men. He also penned Brokedown Palace and Spy Game, and this will be his first TV venture. Arata’s got his work cut out for him, as I’m certain Moore isn’t going to be holding any storytelling workshops.

From Hell, first published in separate issues from 1989 to 1996 and brought together for a single collection in 1999, is a 572-page behemoth that puts its fictional-but-historically-based focus on the illegitimate child of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Annie Crook of London’s East End. It surmises that the entire Jack the Ripper persona was created as a means of silencing Annie’s friends who knew about the baby, and also delves into a whole host of character development of all kinds. It’s not a mystery, like the film was, so here’s hoping Arata avoids the “whodunit” approach entirely and just delivers hauntingly intense period drama, and that it’s actually good enough for FX to bring to series.

Whoever gets brought in to direct this potential pilot needs to be someone who makes good use of his or her rich source material. Eddie Campbell’s stark black-and-white images in From Hell are just as memorable as Moore’s words, and could create a stunningly original TV palate if they’re used properly.

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It was only a month ago that I openly requested that From Hell get turned into a series, so I’m predictably jazzed by this news. Maybe here is where I can make my soapbox stance that Matt Bomer should play Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline.
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