Why Syfy's Happy! Premiere Twist Came Sooner Than In The Comics, According To Grant Morrison

Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched Happy!'s premiere episode, titled "St. Nick."

With its just-debuted series Happy!, Syfy delivered TV's weirdest and wildest new comic book adaptation, boasting the always captivating Christopher Meloni as Nick Sax and Patton Oswalt as the voice of the titular, hyper-optimistic horse. Fans of the comic series probably had a shock at the premiere's end, when it was revealed that Happy's human friend Hailey is actually Nick's daughter, a twist that came quite a bit later in the snow-covered source material. CinemaBlend recently spoke with comic co-creator Grant Morrison, who's also behind the TV show, and here's what he said about that big change.

That's one of those decisions that you make. Way back, early in the pilot, everybody in the studio and the network kinda just wanted, 'Can we get to the reveal quickly?' And as you say, that doesn't happen until halfway through the book. In the book, we play a lot more with the idea that Happy's completely a hallucination, and that Nick is actually just either suffering from the DTs or he's taken one too many morphine shots. But for the show, it seemed like it was more audience-friendly to just get the premise up front. So I kind of agreed with that. These things are processed as a translation from one medium to another, and you gotta get on into the strengths of each.

That's definitely the mature route to take in this case, especially for one-half of the original creator team. Grant Morrison could have very well fought to keep the story flowing in the same way the comics did, but this is one of those cases where the network notes weren't altogether ridiculous or ludicrously demanding. As fun and crazy as the series premiere is before those last few moments, it's not hard to understand the need was felt to really hook viewers by bringing the daughter twist in earlier. Sure, there's less time for the story to build up to make that information all the more effective, but it was still probably the best way to cap the episode and ensure the most repeat viewers at the same time.

Even though things won't be like the comic, Nick isn't exactly going to dive right into the idea of being a father, and the next episode tackles that in such an amusing way. Plus, Grant Morrison also assured me that Nick will still be getting trashed in upcoming episodes. So, luckily, there won't be any lack of blitzed-out Chris Meloni throughout the season, which is possibly Happy!'s most captivating attribute in these early days.

Other than that big change-up in sequential situations, Happy!'s premiere was very close to the source material, which is both a great thing and an unbelievable thing. The comic series is filled with moments that would seemingly be unfit for TV, but Happy! pulled nothing back. Even though bringing this story to television seemed like a long shot, Grant Morrison told me why he was down to do it, and why TV is in just the right place for Happy! on the small screen.

I like the character so much, I've always wanted to go back and so something, you know? So when the chance came up to do this, it was really really unlikely, but I really wanted to. . . . That's the great thing, that television has now expanded its boundaries so far and so hard. We have something like 400 shows on the air and in development at any given time. So I think that the boundaries have certainly become much more elastic, and a little bit more wildness is creeping into television.

I would have to agree with that, since 2017 had quite possibly the biggest assortment of weird TV series of any year in the medium's history. And Happy! makes a fine contribution to the list, regardless of how obsessively close it actually stays to the source material.

Happy! airs Wednesday nights on Syfy at 10:00 p.m. ET, so be sure to keep watching, ensuring we'll get Chris Meloni's Nick Sax on our TVs for years to come. Check out how Meloni's past TV gig is helping his current one, and then head to our fall TV premiere schedule and our 2018 midseason premiere schedule to see everything else that's coming to the small screen soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.