Neil Gaiman is a popular man in Hollywood these days. His novel American Gods is on track over at Starz, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt is still working toward getting Sandman on the big screen. Now he has another property looking at becoming a TV series, and although this one has been there before, somebody on this side of the pond wants to make Neverwhere an American series.
Mark Gordon, the executive producer of Criminal Minds (among many other things) is currently working with Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence to produce multiple series, one of which is an adaptation of Gaiman’s urban fantasy tale about an average Londoner named Richard Mayhew who attempts to help a troubled young girl, and in doing so is introduced to “London Below,” an entire world unknown to everybody but its otherworldly residents.
While Gaiman is mostly known for writing novels and comics - and Neverwhere exists in both forms - this actually started its life as a miniseries for the BBC, and Gaiman wrote the novel later. It was also aired as a BBC Radio 4 drama as recently as 2013 and included performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and James McAvoy. The original miniseries aired in the UK in 1996, and if you haven’t seen it, you should remedy that.
Turning British television into an American series is a tried and true tradition over here, but one that has had mixed results. The American version of The Office was a big hit. Coupling not so much. House of Cards has been popular. Gracepoint, the American version of Broadchurch? Ummm...no.
House of Cards might me the best potential comparison to a Neverwhere series. The original British version of that was a limited series, with 3 chapters each made up of four one-hour long episodes. The American version had more screen time in its first season than the original had in its entire run, and has gone on to multiple seasons from there. It doesn’t appear that the American Neverwhere is planning to be a limited series, so expect this version to be a regular multi-season series, should it indeed get picked up.
There’s no mention from Deadline of Gaiman being directly involved either, and while that’s not a deal breaker, it would be nice to see. If they're looking to have the project go for years, they'll need new content, and having Gaiman involved in that would be a must for fans. Though with all the other projects that he’s involved in, it might not be possible even if that door was open. Is an American Neverwhere a thing that needs to exist, or are we asking for trouble? And most importantly, who should play The Marquis de Carabas?