It’s becoming a trend for film companies to repurpose movie ideas for new TV shows. Some of these have been excellent, as when CBS reworked Limitless for TV. Others have been duds, including the highly touted Minority Report, which fell flat after just a few episodes. Sometimes these movies-turned-TV projects are also unexpected, as happened today when Netflix announced it was ordering a Dear White People TV series.
Dear White People actually sounds markedly similar to the original movie, which was about a group of diverse students navigating life at a prestigious university on a campus that was predominantly white. The notice from Netflix this morning says TV’s Dear White People will be about… “a diverse group of students of color as they navigate a predominantly white Ivy League college where racial tensions are often swept under the rug.” Yup, sounds pretty much like the same project, just in serialized form. In fact, Dear White People director and producer Justin Simien will be back for the Netflix series, and will lend both his directing and writing expertise to the project.
Ten episodes will be produced for Season 1, and then we’ll see how long the series is perpetually renewed after that. (Get it, because Netflix renews almost everything?) Each episode will be 30 minutes. Dear White People made a pretty decent splash when it hit the indie circuit, but we'll have to wait and see how it translates to TV. The production as a whole won’t hit the schedule until 2017, but at that point, Dear White People will be released worldwide.
Netflix is spending a whopping $6 billion on new originals this year. Moreover, the subscription streaming service is able to put together a slew of projects that may not work on regular TV because they wouldn’t yield a high enough audience to cover the budget costs. Regular TV needs advertisers. Netflix just needs subscribers, and while it does need a few recognizable shows to keep the brand in the limelight, it can play around a lot more with its content.
This means we are getting revived shows like Gilmore Girls and Season 2 of Fuller House. We are getting more international shows like Marseille and the German production Dark. And, yes, we are getting movies that are being made into TV shows like Wet Hot American Summer--which also just got renewed—and now Dear White People. It would take me too long to list all of the other projects that Netflix is getting together, but you get the gist.
While we wait for Dear White People and other projects to hit the schedule, you can see what Netflix has coming up with the subscription streaming service’s premiere schedule. Interestingly, if you want to catch the movie before the TV series, you can do so on Hulu.