Thanks to critically adored prestige dramas like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, AMC became a channel where every potential new project had a chance to explode. No bigger explosions happened than The Walking Dead's arrival and subsequent ratings monopoly, and even though the companion series Fear the Walking Dead was birthed from it, AMC has somehow failed to dip back into the horror genre. Thankfully, that hiccup appears to have been cleared away, as it's been announced Joe Hill's fantastically haunting novel NOS4A2 is now on the fast track for straight-to-series development.
How "fast" that track will be is certainly up for debate, since AMC has technically been dancing around bringing NOS4A2 to TV for a year and a half now. But there was really only one brief update on the project since the tail end of 2015, so we'll assume that this announcement is a sign of very good things to come, and that Charlie Manx isn't just sitting inside his Rolls Royce and thriving on our doomed hopes for this project.
While it's not exactly clear what was being done with NOS4A2 in recent months, the key shift in direction here comes with the opening of a writers room to be fronted by the previously tapped writer and executive producer Jami O'Brien, a veteran of AMC's Hell on Wheels whose credits also include the aforementioned and soon-to-return Fear the Walking Dead. The goal of the writers room will be to crank out a number of episodic scripts so that AMC's execs can review them and decide if NOS4A2 is worth the efforts to produce a full season. It's a pre-series model that is becoming more popular in places where producing pilots isn't feasible.
Joe Hill, the noteworthy son of horror legend Stephen King, crafted a story like few others with NOS4A2, and this is just the kind of twisted and creeptastic world that a channel like AMC could make as lush as our imaginations pictured it. The story centers on Vic McQueen, a mother with strange and dormant talents, whose son becomes the target for one Charlie Manx, an intensely frightening supernatural killer who takes children to his sordid "home" of Christmasland. It's a crazy story through and through, and both Vic and Manx are insanely strong characters that are deserving of top-notch talent, should the project make it to series.
Beyond NOS4A2, AMC is also going the writers room route with two other projects. One is another adaptation, this time for Silent History -- the app and novel created by Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby and Kevin Moffatt -- which tells the story of children who grow up with some very unique skills, though without the ability to grasp language. The second is Pandora, a mystery-thriller that splices together three different stories in a world where the Internet has been hit with a malware virus that leads to many dangerous and dark secrets leaking out into the world. They both sound decent, but I'm definitely hoping for more scares to come to AMC in the future.
While we're obviously not sure when the next update on NOS4A2 is coming, the writers rooms are going to be plugging forward for a set amount of time, at which point a decision will be made. Here's hoping we're all terrified and nestled into Christmasland by this time next year. In the meantime, embrace the relatively recent embrace of genre storytelling, and head to our summer TV schedule to see what the coming months have to offer on that front.