George Smiley
Jesse’s Pick: The Circus’ George Smiley
FX may have already brought cold-war espionage to the small screen with (the excellent) The Americans but there's certainly room for another drama set in the fascinating era, especially one based on the work of John le Carré that follows his MI6 spy George Smiley. The last time audiences got an adaptation involving Smiley, it was the underrated Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (from Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson) that featured an Academy Award nominated performance by Gary Oldman in the literary-based lead role.

One of the primary complaints lobbied against the (what I would call an impeccably crafted) feature film was that it was too dense, leaving viewers both confused and cold suggesting that the 'anti-Bond' material might be better suited for long form storytelling. That's also what makes the BBC version of TTSS, with the late Sir Alec Guiness as Smiley, a great watch and why the character (and setting) would be perfect for serialized exploration on a cable network. And with the spy showing up as the main character in five novels (as well as a minor one in three others), le Carré has produced a a wealth of material to draw from for a potential series. I would love to see a show called The Circus that shows both Smiley's early years in intelligence (and his burgeoning rivalry with Karla) to him running things in his old age. Are there two British actors, third years apart, who look alike? Bill Nighy and Ben Whishaw?

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